Details about the Requirements for All Assignments

ENGL 2631: Assignments

Reading Quizzes

Each week, you will take a closed-book, closed-notes reading quiz on BlackBoard.  These quizzes will test how well you have read, remembered, and comprehended the assigned readings and/or lectures and class discussions. 
Each reading quiz is worth 10 points; taken together, these tests of your commitment to the reading account for nearly 25% of your final grade. So, yes, “blowing off” the quizzes or doing poorly on them can really hurt your final grade.
Study first: The quizzes are timed for 10 minutes (twice as long as I allow for the same quizzes delivered on paper in my traditional classrooms); therefore the only way to do well for them is to consult the weekly modules on BlackBoard, familiarize yourself with the Learning Outcomes for each week, and study the assigned readings until you know the names, plot points, and other information relevant to those Learning Outcomes. Only then will you be ready to visit BlackBoard and take your quiz.
Be on time: The quizzes are only available between TH at midnight and Saturday at midnight (48 hours). BlackBoard will not permit you to take the quiz earlier or later than this window of opportunity. Don’t miss your opportunity; missed quizzes may not be made up.
Warning: Do NOT take your exams using your mobile device. BlackBoard will assume you’ve finished your quiz if your mobile device temporarily loses signal strength. Therefore, for best results, take your quizzes using one of YSU’s campus labs or a home- or office-based computer that has recently updated system software.
I will attempt to grade your quizzes within seven days of your having taken them. Check BlackBoard frequently to see how you’re doing on these quizzes. There is no way to earn a grade above C for the semester if you do not take all the quizzes and earn most of the points.

Analyzing The Matrix

You will need to arrange to watch the movie, The Matrix. Read the online materials titled “Joseph Campbell Notes.” Watch the movie, taking notes relevant to how the movie relates to Campbell’s “monomyth” scheme. The most logical way to organize this analysis is to
Example: Campbell says that when the hero crosses the first Threshold he appears (at least to those he leaves behind) to have died; but he is in fact reborn in a strange new “dreamscape” where he undergoes a series of trials which reveal his true power and character. So what scene(s) in the movie best invoke the idea of death and rebirth? As it happens, this movie features onscreen images that powerfully communicate the moment of the hero’s dying in one world and birth in another. So your analysis should quote what Campbell says about the Threshold Crossing, describe the scene in the movie during which Neo crosses the threshold, citing relevant visual details and dialog from the movie as you explain why this scene is the best described as the Threshold Crossing. You need to perform similar moves for each of the 17 substages of Campbell’s “monomyth” scheme.
To earn full points: Your quest, young heroes, is to prove to me you “get” Campbell and that you watched the movie attentively. Therefore, discuss the handout in enough detail to demonstrate how well you understand Campbell’s ideas. Make a case that the scene you’ve chosen are the best fit for a particular stage. That means you need to include enough details from the movie to show the connection you’re making.
Welcome to the real world, Neo. Watching movies for class isn’t a freebie.

Midterm and Final Exams

The midterm and final exams in this class will feature a menu of questions. You will be given one week to choose one of those questions, review the reading, and compose an essay in response to it. While I do not impose page limits, past experience indicates that doing the job thoroughly will take you at least 5 pages.
Grading criteria. Your grade will depend on the quality of your ideas and insights, the clarity of your expression, how deeply you dig into the assigned readings for examples, and how precisely you use quotes to illustrate your points.  Demonstrate your familiarity with and understanding of the readings by using direct quotation!  It is also of the utmost importance that you address all parts of your chosen question.

Course Evaluation Memo

Your final assignment—when you’re really tired and cranky—will be to evaluate this class.  Your grade will not be based on whether I “like” what you have to say, but on how thoroughly you have thought through your response.  Be honest!  You can tell me that the class was a complete waste of time, that you think I ought to find a different line of work, and that you didn’t learn anything you didn’t already know and still get full points for this assignment.  But you’ve got to be thoughtful and support your comments with examples.  That means no down-and-dirty, first-draft-only-draft parting shots prepared the hour before these memos are due!
Consider all of the following in your memo:
  • The Readings. Which were your favorite readings? Which were your least favorite? Why and/or why not? Which would you cut? Are there any readings that you would add?
  • The Assignments. What did you think of the assignments? Do you feel that they were sufficiently broad to permit freedom of choice? Or were the assignments too restrictive? Were the assignment sheets clear? What did you like the most/the least about the assignments?
  • The grading. Was the grading, in your view, fair? Why do you or don’t you think so?
  • Teaching style. How’d I do? Did I articulate course expectations clearly enough? Did I answer questions well? Did I seem to pay equal attention to everyone? What did I cover well? What strengths and/or weaknesses do I possess as a teacher? Please also include any feedback you have about the BlackBoard 9 learning environment created for this course and anything else relevant to your experience with a web-based (asynchronous) learning environment.
  • The Course. What would you change about the course if you could? What would you NOT change about the course no matter what? Pretend that one of your best friends has signed up for this course next semester: what advice would you give to help him or her do a good job in class?