Assignments

Participation in our Course Website

You will be a co-author on this Plymouth Create site for your Daily Posts and for your Projects for this class. I ask that you post under an appropriate Creative Commons license so that I may share your work with future iterations of this course (There’s a blanket version of this CC license on our home page that covers the entire site. However, sharing your work after the semester ends is not mandatory, and you’re free to take down your posts after May 31. You’re also free to use a pseudonym for your username if you’d prefer.

If you’d prefer to use audio rather than text for your assignments, you may do so with the following caveats:

  • Audio should be first uploaded to YouTube or SoundCloud and then embedded in a WordPress post using the appropriate Embed Block.
  • Audio recordings should be rehearsed. Just as you rarely want to turn in an unedited first draft, you rarely should submit an unrehearsed audio recording.
  • Be sure to enable captions on your video, or to provide a written transcript. (YouTube is great for this.)
  • 150 words of text is about a minute of audio when read at a calm, measured pace. Plan your recordings accordingly.

Habits of Mind developed by participation in our Course Website: Purposeful Communication (Effective Application of Strategies for Communication), Integrated Perspective (Collaboration), Self-Regulated Learning (Engagement in the Learning Process).

Posts

For each day of class including the Final Exam (unless noted otherwise by our course schedule), you are responsible for two posts to WordPress. Choose one of the two following three options, and categorize your post with “Posts Spring 2022.”

Option 1: Daily Questions

For each day of class (unless noted otherwise), you are responsible for posting one question to WordPress. These should be questions about the readings for the week, and should address thematic or stylistic issues.  Think of the questions as guides for class discussion.  For example: Why did the author choose to end the story this way?  Why does the poem use a specific metaphor?  How does history change our reading of the work?

Each question should specifically cite and quote one of the texts we are discussing that week (literary or secondary). Depending on the nature of the question, you may want to include multiple quotations. You do not need to answer this question yourself! Questions may be speculative rather than definitive, and we will be tackling them together during class (and individually during Reflections).

Each question and its accompanying quotation(s) should be about 150 words. Daily questions are due the night before each class.

Habits of Mind developed by Weekly Questions: Purposeful Communication (Comprehension), Integrated Perspective (Perspective Seeking), Self-Regulated Learning (Responsibility for One’s Own Learning)

Option 2: Collaborations

For each day of class (unless noted otherwise), we’ll be collaborating in class sessions on Padlets to track our class and small-group discussions. The style of these Padlets will change as we go, but they will always include a way to note your class participation (whether that is in-person or via Teams), and I will always post them to WordPress after each class as a PDF. All participants will be tagged as co-authors, so we can easily track the Collaborations that everyone has been a part of.

Since this is a synchronous activity, you will need to attend a class (either in-person or via Teams) to participate. However, since each class has three post opportunities and you’re only expected to do two, if you can’t attend class synchronously for whatever reason you can still complete Options 1 and 3.

Habits of Mind developed by Collaborations: Purposeful Communication (Effective Application of Strategies for Communication), Integrated Perspective (Perspective Seeking).

Option 3: Reflections

For each day of class (unless noted otherwise), after you’ve participated in class discussion (synchronous or asynchronous), you may write and post a reflection on that discussion to WordPress. The subject matter of this reflection is up to you: are you interested in a particular line or scene we discussed at length? one we didn’t discuss? a connection to contemporary culture?

Be sure to include 1) at least two brief quotations and citations to the literary work in question and 2) at least one hyperlinked reference to another recent post from another class member(s). If you’re connecting our discussion to contemporary culture, please also include references, such as hyperlinks to outside material, embedded videos, images, or Tweets, or your own original creative work.

Each daily reflection should be a 150 words minimum. Reflections are due on Fridays each week for both class meetings of that week.

Habits of Mind developed by Weekly Reflections: Purposeful Communication (Awareness of Context), Integrated Perspective (Self-Awareness), Self-Regulated Learning (Metacognitive Awareness)

Projects

You will complete a Project for each half of the course. These projects can either be traditional Essays or Unessays (or a hybrid of the two forms!).

Traditional Essays should be 1250-1500 word papers connecting a single theme across multiple texts/authors from that particular unit. (These may be texts we’ve read for class as well as texts from the broader literary period). These essays should emphasize coverage as well as argument and analysis. Be sure to quote and cite the literary texts as evidence for your argument. Outside research is required for traditional essays, as well-deployed research makes for a stronger argument, and may include scholarly articles as well as contemporary journalism and creative work. Three outside sources is the bare minimum; your argument may warrant more. (Word counts include all material in the essay, including headers, notes, and the list of works cited.)

Here’s an outstanding traditional essay from Fall 2021, courtesy of Luke Harding.

Unessays should be a creation to show what you’ve learned. Maybe you could illustrate a page similar to those of The Book of Kells, or maybe you could create a board game that would teach players something about British imperialism, or maybe you could write (and perform?) a sonnet inspired by Joy Harjo. If you’re a writer, maybe write a short story that revises or rewrites a scene from Soyinka or Kālidāsa. Paint a portrait (or do a photoshoot) in the style of Bunraku puppet theater. Maybe your project will connect something we’ve read to your experience of the global pandemic we’re currently living through. You can even consider hybrid forms between the traditional essay and the unessay, like a public-facing essay or an argument that builds on autobiography. The possibilities are literally endless.  (Note: Your unessay should not be a Presi or Powerpoint-style presentation.)

Your unessay should be accompanied by a 600-word minimum (or short video) reflection on what you did and why, and how it responds to the question: Why does your response to this literature matter? In the case of hybrid unessays, where non-fiction writing makes up a bulk of the work, this reflection may be included in that writing. Outside research is required for Unessays, as no creative project is created ex nihilo: cite your inspirations, your models, and your source materials. Sources may also include scholarly articles as well as contemporary journalism and, of course, creative work. Three outside sources is the bare minimum; your project may draw from more. (Word counts include all material in the essay, including headers, notes, and the list of works cited.)

Here’s a thrilling hybrid unessay from Miranda Kaplan, Fall 2021

How will your unessay be evaluated? Your unessay will be evaluated based on how creative, compelling, and relevant it is. Creative is a broad term, but your idea should be original and unique. Compelling means that people will want to look at your project because it is attractive, interesting, and carefully produced (not sloppy and haphazard). Relevant means that it really engages with an original piece, author, or historic period that we’ve studied this semester, with attention to details and accuracy. (Unessay assignment adapted with permission from Kristin Stelmok.)

Due dates are listed on the course schedule. Please categorize each post as “Projects Spring 2022” and add tags as appropriate.

Habits of Mind developed by Projects: Purposeful Communication (Purposeful Expression), Integrated Perspective (Collaboration), Self-Regulated Learning (Responsibility for One’s Own Learning). As Projects also involve one-on-one conferences and peer reviews, they offer an opportunity to engage in the Problem Solving Habit of Mind, particularly in Plan Development, Decision-making and Revision, and Evaluation of Progress.

For other sundry examples of Essays and Unessays, check out these projects from Fall 2020: