The specter of another school year has quietly established its presence in the form of back-to-school sales, summer festivals, the noisome "Are-you-ready-for-school?" questions, shorter days, the blooms of dune grass, meteor showers, morning fog hanging on the river, hay fever sneezes, and even a few falling leaves. Trust me: I've gone back to school forty out of forty-five years, so I know all of the tell-tale signs. Summer's almost gone, so "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may."
As some of you may have noticed, my sting of weekly posts was discontinued with the arrival of August. (Attentive readers will note that I used the passive voice in that last sentence to defray ownership of that lapse.) I guess the allure of summer ease prevailed. I relaxed and exhaled. I'm sure you were heart-broken. With only a few weeks left, I considered asking you to do one more post, but . . . why don't you just enjoy the rest of your summer? I think it's been good enough. We've accomplished our goal.
In terms of your efforts this summer in this space, I wanted to relay a couple of thoughts. First of all, I've read each and every single comment that you submitted, and you have done a wonderful job. Well done! One benefit is that we've already started down the road of creating a community of academic discussion. The comments were clear, thoughtful, appropriate, and reasoned. I noticed that commenting upon the author's style, tone, diction, structure, theme, and historical context is something that we'll need to practice. You'll get it, but it will take some time. It's a new way to approach any text.
Finally, in terms of evaluation, each week is going to be valued at five points for a total of thirty-five points. I'm basically looking for three things:
- Did you do it or not?
- To what extent did you answer the prompt?
- To what extent did your comment make it clear that you read and understood the essay or video?
Essentially, you'll earn at least 3 out of 5 if you added a coherent comment. Then, to the extent that you answered the prompt and illustrated that you read and thought about the essay or video, you'll earn 3.5, 4, 4.5, or 5 out of 5 points.
If you want a mulligan on a week or three, feel free to go back and re-submit comments. I will evaluate your final comment for the grade. In terms of the timeline, I will have these evaluated and a score to you by the end of the first week of school. You should try to have your comments wrapped up as soon as possible. I know that I will not be grading anything before August 26th. After that, let's say it's all fair game.
I know that some of you do not have easy access to the Internet right now, so we can work out something. If there are extenuating circumstances that are preventing you from completing your submissions before August 26th, please e-mail me at email@example.com. Thanks!!!
See you around,