Class participation is essential. You should come to class well prepared to discuss the material you've read and been thinking about. The assignments are designed to help you along with the process.
I will be keeping attendance. Coming late to class will count against your attendance grade. Just showing up to class isn't adequate, you must also actively participate. If you are shy and have trouble speaking up in class, or if there is a language or cultural barrier, feel free to see me in office hours and we can talk about methods of overcoming this.
Students not attending the first day of class will be dropped from the course roster if the course is at risk of being oversubscribed.
Most of my courses are reading intensive. In these classes, you will be expected to read between 2-3 articles (around 50-75 pages) before we meet for class. This is approximately 100-150 pages a week. In terms of strategizing, you'll find it makes much more sense to try to read as much as possible over the weekend, since you won't want to have to scramble on Wednesday to make Thursday's readings. If you have any questions about the readings, please don't hesitate to contact me via e-mail (karen.nakamura@yale). In general the first half of the readings are due to be read by Tuesday, the second half on Thursday.
Remember that academic reading is an acquired skill. The more you do, the better you get at it. There are many different styles to reading an academic paper or book chapter. We'll go over these methods in class and hopefully you'll find one that matches how you read and think. That being said, trying to read 50 pages of dense material at 4am before class is definitely not a method that has met with much success.
I treat the issue of plagiarism very, very, very seriously. If you cite from a book, article, or web page, you must note the source in your paper and clearly mark the citation with quote marks "" or block citation styles. We'll go over academic citation methods in class.
The ease of cutting and pasting material from web pages has made the problem worse in the last several years. Students do not realize that copying a couple of paragraphs or even sentences from the web constitutes academic plagiarism. It does. Please note, that I am an avid web surfer myself with an eidetic memory for written material. I will fail any students who I catch plagiarizing (even on drafts or short assignments). In addition to failing the course, students will be referred to the dean's office where they will be put in stockades and publicly humiliated (barring that, serious academic penalization including suspension or expulsion).
Recycling material that you wrote for other classes is also plagiarism unless you clear it with me beforehand. Although I think it's great if you engage this course's materials with thoughts from other classes, you should keep a strict firewall between the two in terms of the material you write. Plagiarizing from yourself will get you failed in this course just as quickly as plagiarizing from other people.
I reserve the right to submit your any of your work (including drafts and informal pieces) to plagiarism search engines or sites. If I suspect plagiarism, I also reserve the right to give you a short quiz about your paper (if you wrote it, you should be able to handle with aplomb).
That being said, I encourage you to scaffold your assignments in this course. That is, you should feel free to develop ideas from your shorter essays and use them in your longer pieces. But note that if I see you saying the same thing over and over again in different places, I'll figure you don't have that much to say. So keep it within reason.
Students are usually morbidly fascinated with the grading process. While many suspect that faculty simply weigh their papers and the heaviest get 'A's (which is a good argument for using high quality, heavy paper), the reality is a bit different (just a bit).
Please note that after reading through a dozen papers, I don't really want to read another summary of the material, prefaced with "I thought this book was interesting." I want to know what interested you, what challenged you, what made you curious, what it made you think of. Tie together material that you've read in other classes. Think! Ponder! Talk to your friends about your ideas. And then write. As one professor has written, "The sure mark of an A paper is that you will find yourself telling someone else about it."
An 'A' paper shows depth and insight. It brings out aspects of the readings, lectures, and film showings that might not be readily apparent on the surface. It supports its arguments with citations that reveal a close reading of the material. The paper is articulated and argued with polish, with very few spelling or grammar errors.
A 'B' paper does a very good job of (re-)articulating the major arguments that are already present in the readings and articles. It uses citations to indicate that the texts were read with some attention. Spelling and grammar mistakes slightly mar the presentation.
A 'C' paper presents only a superficial understanding of the material presented. The student may have done the reading, but it is unclear how much the student really understands.
'D' and 'F' papers mock the process. Is this what you and your parents are paying good money for?
|Cs||as above (70-79.9999%)|
|Ds||as above (60-69.9999%)|
|F||< 60% or missing a substantial part of coursework or substantial absences or plagiarism|
As a general rule, late assignments will not be accepted. You will be docked grade points for lateness: one half-grade level per day late (i.e., if you hand in a paper due Monday on Wednesday, that's 2 days late, so a 'B' grade becomes a 'C' grade). No assignment will be accepted over one week past due without permission. I am particularly strict at the end of the term when papers that are not handed in by the final due-date will be counted as 0% as I do not allow incompletes.
A letter from your dean must accompany any excused lateness or absences (i.e., death in the family; dismemberment; roommate suicide; catching the plague, etc.). Academics do come before athletics and extracurricular activities, so work out with your coach a suitable schedule that will allow you to come to class and complete your assignments on time. You are allowed up to two (2) unexcused absences, which includes all required lectures and film screenings. After that your final grade drops down 1/3 grade point (A => A-) for each ensuing absence.