The grade structure in this course is two part: 1) objective, content based quizzes, and a final exam, and 2) subjective, interpretational assessments of your writing and participation. The quizzes and exam are not meant to produce anxiety, and are well-designed to reduce stress and increase productivity. The writing assessments are web-based, and discussion of writing is group-based and conversational. The goal is to learn what makes good writing together, and what makes writing relevant within the context of our culture.

40% Participation

I am excited to meet you. I’d like to get to know you. Your participation is required. The success of this course depends on your willingness to engage the material and your fellow student’s writing. Often your participation in group readings and attitude while providing feedback about your colleague’s work will take the place of a letter grade. Preparatory writing assignments will often be assigned as pass/fail, and a significant portion of your “pass” will be participation and feedback.

Some people are shy and don’t like to talk in class. I get that. In addition to your physical presence and verbal participation, a portion of your participation grade will come from annotated copies of your readings. Annotations are more than just notes: you’ll be asked to highlight and underline passages, and include commentary in the margins on the significance of the readings. Please bring printed, annotated copies of readings to class to be handed in for participation credit.

You can’t participate if you are not present. Attendance is required. Absences are excused with proper documentation only. Unexcused absences will result in a reduction of 3.5% from your final grade for each absence. Your grade will drop one full letter grade for every three unexcused absences. Please see the Administrative Policy: Makeup Work for Legitimate Absences: Twin Cities, Crookston, Morris, Rochester for complete details.

15% Quizzes

There will be a content quizzes based on the reading assignments and class lectures for particular topics. No tricks–these quizzes are not meant to “test” you, rather to help you identify the most important elements of the readings—the stuff you need to know; the “content” of this course. Whether or not you remember the intricate details of the story is up to you. I only ask that you show that you know where to find the materials you may choose to use later in the course.

15% Final Exam

The final exam, too, is intended to be as straightforward as I can make it: the final exam will consist of multiple-choice questions culled directly from the quizzes. If you come to every class, you will take every quiz. If you take every quiz, you will have every answer. Study the answers—ace the final exam.

30% Writing

As a designated writing intensive course (the “W” in CSCL 1301W), students must complete a certain number of pages of writing and revision in order to satisfy the requirements of this course. We’re going to talk a lot about what that means in this course but, for now, know that the combined total of all of your writing for this course will be worth 30% of your grade and will include the following assignments:

  • A three-part, free-writing assignment (3–6 pages total)
  • An outline activity that will help you think through your writing projects (1 page)
  • A distillation project that will help you say what you mean to say (1 page)
  • 4-6 blog posts, as assigned, throughout the semester (4–5 pages)
  • A final revision essay (including revisions and meta-commentary; 1–2 pages)

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