Grading Policies and Guidelines
Students have the opportunity to earn 100 points during the course of the semester. There are no extra credit assignments. In accordance with UT undergraduate grading policies, students in the course will be graded on a 100-point scale which includes + and -.
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Attendance and Class Preparation/Participation (10%):
The final grade for this course reflects both attendance and participation.
Our course will be conducted entirely online via Zoom. Please see your Canvas course page for the regular Zoom locations for both lectures and sections. You are expected to attend our virtual class meetings regularly, participate actively in all discussions and complete all assigned readings.
Part of your participation is that, barring special accommodations, you should be online with video and audio on. Please mute your audio when not speaking. Critical analysis, synthesis and argumentation are essential to the success of the course and to your own success. Absences mean that you are not contributing to the in-class conversation and excessive absences and/or tardiness will result in the lowering of your final grade.
Please keep in mind that how much you do or do not contribute in section may be a decisive factor in your final grade. Active participation in lectures, discussion sections, office hours, etc. will be reflected in the attendance and participation score. Students who attend but do not participate actively will receive the score for their written work as their final grade. Tardiness and/or leaving early will count as absence.
Given the current COVID-19 situation and all the complications it entails, sometimes you may not be able to join the lecture and/or your section. There are two ways to demonstrate that you have attended lecture/section:
- Join the scheduled Zoom lectures on Tuesdays and Thursdays and your assigned discussion sections and participate via live discussion, responding to polls and chat.
- If you are unable to attend one or more of the scheduled Zoom meeting(s), you must notify your TA 48 hours in advance, view the Zoom recording of the meeting you missed, and schedule a brief individual Zoom meeting with your TA within 7 days (i.e. before the next section meeting) to follow up on what you have missed. If you follow up in this way on days you have missed, we will excuse the absence. If you do not follow up the absence will be considered unexcused.
If you have a foreseeable reason to be absent (you are observing a religious holiday, you have a job interview, you have a family obligation, etc.), you must contact your TA at least 48 hours in advance, so that they may evaluate the situation more closely and see whether it is appropriate to excuse the absence.
You are allowed three unexcused absences without any impact on your grade. If you have three or fewer absences, your final grade for the course will be the same as what you earned on the written assignments. Any further absences, either from lecture or from section, will lower your grade for the course by a half grade (i.e. a B becomes a B-, and a B- becomes a C+). Active participation in lectures, discussion sections, office hours, etc. may allow you to raise your attendance and participation score above the score for your written work by one or two points. For example, a student with an 80 average in the course who attends but does not participate actively will receive 8/10 for the attendance portion of the final grade.
You are expected to behave in a collegial and respectful manner during lectures and in the discussion sections. Texting, answering email, talking with other students, and in any way being disruptive of lectures or discussion sessions is not permitted. Using oppressive or offensive language will not be tolerated. This virtual classroom will be a safe place for all of you respectfully to express your opinions, concerns, interests and interactions with the material on the syllabus.
Your TA will provide you with a policy statement about your section and will hold regularly scheduled weekly office hours on Zoom.
Written Assignments (20% + 5% + 30% + 20% + 15%):
Detailed instructions for the written assignments listed below appear on the “Assignment” tab.
- 2-page essay on a passage chosen by each student using the 5-Step Literary Analysis Rubric. (20%)
- Formal written prospectus (100 words) proposing topic, selection of works, and methodology for the video project. The prospectus must be approved by your TA. (5%)
- Video assignment on the topic proposed in the prospectus that has been approved by the instructor and/or TA. (30%)
- “Travel Log,” which will consist of 100-word entries prepared in advance of each meeting of the class for which readings are assigned. The book will contain your impression of the materials assigned for the day and assist you in developing the analytic techniques that are required for the more formal assignments. The book will be collected in two halves. (10% +10%)
- Final 2-page comparative essay (15%)
All assignments must be uploaded on Canvas prior to the class meeting. The final grade for the course will be cumulative and based upon the percentages indicated. There will be no midterm or final examination.
Any assignment submitted late will be held to a higher standard because you have had the unfair advantage of more time to prepare. It will be evaluated more severely as a result. Late assignments will only be accepted until the class meeting before the next assignment is due. All work submitted for the course must be your own and all outside sources must be noted appropriately in bibliographies and footnotes. The written assignments should be carefully edited, typed in a standard compact 12-point font (like Times), and double-spaced with appropriate one-inch margins. No assignments will be accepted after 5 PM on the last Friday of the semester.
In order to pass the course, all assignments must be completed.
Failure to complete any of the assignments constitutes failing the course.
Expectations for Written Assignments
Students should keep in mind the Literary Analysis Diagnostic (LAD) and and the five sequential steps involved in close reading and how they are weighted. All written work for the course will be graded using this rubric.
Therefore, while the capacity to summarize the plots of the texts and to present appropriate details from the text may be part of successful performance on written assignments, such descriptive answers alone will not earn students full credit. Students must include analytic and evaluative commentary as well as plot details.
Students should offer analytic and critical comments which go beyond assessing the details of the text in context. They should make clear, and demonstrate persuasively, the larger issues raised by the texts both within the context of the texts themselves and/or their implications beyond.
Together with the TAs who read all the assignments, the instructor assigns all scores, and the instructor is responsible for the final assigning of grades. The instructor and TAs will not be looking for particular interpretations or conclusions, but rather we will be looking for a level of sophistication and care in the analysis. Whether out of 20, 10 or 5 possible points for the item, the student’s submission will be evaluated qualitatively. Therefore, all possible scores (20, 19 and 18 for example) will be used to reflect the exact strengths and weaknesses of students’ work. Students should read the instructions carefully. While style and grammatical correctness are not a primary concern for this non-SWC course, students are expected to write as clearly and as correctly as possible. Errors in style and grammar will count against the student where these errors obscure content. An assignment that never includes material beyond plot summary will not receive a grade of better than 70%. Most strong assignments will have a thesis statement and will follow that claim with appropriate textual evidence and arguments.