Because I believe that writing well stems from writing often, I have designed this course to reward both the quality of your finished writing and thoughtful and steady work over time.
You will earn a letter grade for both of your major projects for this course (blog and digitalal essay). Each of these grades will count for 40% of your semester grade. The final 20% of your grade will be based on the twelve brief responses (Rs) you post to this site over the course of the term.
I will follow your blog over the course of the semester and comment on it regularly. I will give your blog a “pencil grade” at spring break and an overall letter grade at the end of term. The pencil grade at midterm is meant simply to give you a sense of how you are doing; it will not be factored into your semester grade.
One of my own goals as the teacher of this course is to begin to formulate criteria for assessing digital writing like blogs. So I don’t have exact criteria to present to you now. The best I can tell you is that, in reading your blogs, I will look for
- a clear conceptual center or focus,
- consistent, thoughtful, and well-crafted posts,
- an attractive and functional design,
- engaged responses to your writing.
I am convinced that new, hybrid forms of writing are beginning to emerge online. I hope that in this course we will start to formulate ways of assessing these new forms. What I can tell you now, at the start of this work, is that I will look in these pieces for
- An ambitious project in writing,
- A lively, personal voice,
- A thoughtful use of the affordances of digital writing.
Over the course of the semester, I will ask you to write twelve brief pieces. Nine of these will be responses to readings, one will be a set-up for your blog, and two will be comments on the drafts of the digital essays of the members of your writing groupl. The purpose these writings is to advance our collective work in class. It is thus crucial that your writing be clear, concise, pointed, and on time.
I will use this check-system to grade each of your eight Rs:
√ Good 2 points
√- Hurried, late, incomplete 1 point
0 Missing 0
And I will use this scale to determine the cumulative grade for your Rs:
Work in seminar
I expect you to participate as an active member of this seminar: to meet deadlines, to respond thoughtfully to the work of the other writers in this course, and to make your voice heard in useful ways in our talk in class. I will ask you to do some writing during most of our class meetings, and I will expect you to share that work from time to time. I reserve the right to raise or lower your semester grade by one step (for instance, from a B to a B+ or a B-) to reflect the consistency and quality of your work in seminar.
Work out of class
The usual calculus is that you should work two hours out of class for each hour in class. That would mean about six hours of work out of class per week. Since this is a writing-centered course, I urge you to set aside one hour for your writing for this course five days per week. This will leave you another hour to keep up with the readings for the week. Such a schedule will help you do well in this course. More important, it will put you in the habit of writing regularly—which is a key part of the work life of any serious writer.
Missed work or plagiarism
I expect you to complete all work assigned for this course. Missing assignments count as an F. If you plagiarize any of your work for this course, the penalty will be an F for the semester, and I will report the incident to the Office of Student Conduct.