Credit, & Participation
Below is a brief description of how the overall attendance grade is
determined and how your participation and improvement affect your
overall grade. Policies for make ups and extra credit also are
described. If you're wondering what
general types of activities you can do for extra credit, that is
described below, too.
(Note: Parts of
these "Basics of Grading" also appear at
the beginning of the "Attendance" web page and
in the "Records" web pages. This repetition is to help those who don't look at
our entire web site, or who have trouble adding their X's, to better figure
out their grade at any given time.)
What is the "X's" System?
Attendance and Weekly Papers are based on an "X's System" of
100 X's, total, for attendance and weekly papers. You usually get one or two
X's for each attendance and each homework assignment. A "C" in the course
means you've earned at least 70 X's; a "B" means you've earned at least 80
X's; an "A" means you've earned at least 90 X's.
It also may help you to remember that this course is a four-credit class
(not the normal three credits), and so the workload is 33% more--and
normally expected for a three-credit class. 3-credit college classes usually
expect you to attend and do homework for 9 hrs./wk. for an "A."
However, 4-credit classes usually expect you to attend and do homework for
12 hrs./wk. for an "A." In regard to attendance specifically, in this
class, the expected time
spent is the same as four 50-min. classes, or 200 minutes per week.
The grading for the semester is
based on 100 X's (100 points or 100%) being equal to an A+. The X's you
can earn are divided as follows:
About 55 X's (very roughly, depending
on the semester) are for weekly homework papers (part of which
includes a Final Paper worth 9 X's).
About 20-25 X's (very roughly, depending on the semester)
are for attendance on D2L
The rest--roughly 10-15 X's--is attendance
in real or online time at special events or meetings.
Extra Credit X's also are allowed. (See below.)
Participation, attitude, attention, and hard work can lower or slightly raise
final grade for the course
At least half of all the X's/points you
earn--for whatever grade you earn--must come from the regularly assigned
homework and attendance. In other words, you must complete at least half of
the expected assignments for your grade, with extra credit only being able
to substitute for the other half.
earn X's by completing the work. In attendance, an "X" (or a "V")
is about 100 min. of work. The same is true for extra credit - about
min. of work per X. (In weekly homework, most assignments are worth 1 X
each, with a few being equal to 2 X's.) By the end of the term, your
total X's for attendance, extra credit, and homework will determine your grade as follows:
100 (or more) X's = A+
90-99 X's = A
80-89 X's = B
70-79 X's = C
60-69 X's = D
0-59 X's = F
method of doing well in this class is to earn as many X's as you can, depending
on what grade you want. 2009 was the first year in which I
have started using this system in online classes. However, I have used
this X's system of grading since 2006 in writing classes on campus, and
about 90-95% of students - once they get used to it - report by the end of
the term that they think it is a great system, one of the clearest and most
fair they have ever used, and they recommend I use it with future classes.
How to Estimate Your Grade
It might help you to remember that you need at least 90% of the
X's for an "A." If you have about 3/4ths of the X's and 1/4th 0's, you would
earn a "C." If you'd like more detail, here are three ways to know your grade by
counting your X's and 0's:
EASY WAY. Every week or two, be sure you earn this many X's:
Earn at least three out of every five possible X's for a "D."
Earn three out of every four possible X's for a "C."
Earn at least four out of every five possible X's for a "B."
Earn at least nine out of every ten possible X's for an "A."
Simply look at the X's on the attendance and weekly papers
records, see how many are possible every week or two of three, and
then count each one you have earned. (If this is confusing to you, do some
counting; then email me, Richard, with the results and tell me where/how you
MEDIUM-DIFFICULT WAY. At any point in the semester, you can count how many
X's and 0's you have on the records. Then use this simple chart:
With half X's & half 0's,
you so far have an "F."
(For example, 20 X's & 20 0's would be an "F.")
With 2/3rds X's
and 1/3rd 0's, you so far have a "D+."
(E.g., 22 X's and 11 0's would be, so far,
X's and 1/5th 0's, you so far have a "B-."
(E.g., 20 X's and 5 0's would be, so far, a
With 9/10ths X's and
1/10th 0's, you so far have an "A."
(E.g., 45 X's and 5 0's would be, at the time,
LONGER, MORE DETAILED WAY. You
can count your X's now, and also estimate the
X's you expect to get; then use this overall
chart to determine your grade:
90-100 X's = A for the course
80-89 X's = B for the course
70-79 X's = C for the course
60-69 X's = D for the course
59 or lower X's = F for the
Basically, you can build your own grade by how many X's you earn.
I have been using this method in online literature classes since 2009, and
the great majority of students have recommended that I keep using this
system as a way of grading because it is more fair and clearer.
Note: Remember that this is a four-credit
(not just the normal three credits). And so the workload is 33% more than is
normally expected for a three-credit class. This applies to the total time
you spend both in attendance and homework. For attendance, the expected time
spent is the same as four 50-min. classes, or 200 minutes per week. In
addition, if you are a significantly slower-than-average reader, the course
may take even more time.
Basics of Attendance
Attendance in this course and section is very important. Why? Most of the
course will not be lecture (and when it is, I'll try to offer something not in
the textbooks, or bring together parts of the textbooks in ways the books
themselves do not). Instead, the course will have more of a
practical workshop format: you'll actually be doing or observing
something about or in the humanities--practicing them and discovering
them--in class. There will be group activities, movies, perhaps even
music and visits to such places as museums. Everything we do in class
is designed to be the centerpiece of the week's study and work--to draw
everything you've read together. For these reasons, I ask that
you be there regularly (or do substitute work when you miss). However,
if you are willing to do extra work outside of class, you can also treat
this course as a sort of semi-independent study by regularly doing "make-up"
Each week, we have the equivalent of three classes, each one
about 70 min. long. (This 210 min. is about the equivalent of having four
50-min. classes each week.) Most of these online attendances are online on D2L;
some of them are "special events," such as visits to museums and plays (which
you can make up in other ways online, if you want, or attend in real time on
earn X's by completing the D2L (or other special-event) attendance. In
attendance, an "X" (or a "V") is about 70 min. of work. The same is
true for extra credit - about 70 min. of work per X.
Also note: anyone going 2 weeks with no
attendance or homework activity can be dropped from the class. I generally
drop people after 2.5-3 wks. of no attendance or sending in of assignments.
INVER HILLS ATTENDANCE POLICY AS OF 2012:
"Students are expected to attend all sessions of each class in
which they are enrolled. If an illness or emergency results in an absence,
students should meet with their instructors to determine if missed work can be
completed. A student may receive a course grade of FN or NC after two
consecutive weeks (or equivalent in accelerated courses/terms) of unexcused
absence at any time during the semester. Students who receive and FN grade may
request to have their grade changed to a W (withdraw) if done so by the course’s
withdrawal deadline. Class attendance is defined as being physically present in
the classroom. Online attendance is defined as having submitted an assignment,
taken a quiz, or posted/made a course content-related comment on the
discussion/chat board for the course in which the student is registered."
"Subpart A. Last date of attendance:
Instructors issue a grade of FN for students who never attend
class or stop coming to class. If a student misses two weeks of class (or
equivalent in accelerated courses/terms), instructors may report a last date of
attendance and issue a grade of FN. The FN grade is punitive because it counts
against both GPA and completion rate."
"Subpart B. Academic calendar:
PSEO students and students enrolled at other colleges must follow
the Inver Hills official academic calendar as it relates to their attendance and
registration at Inver Hills. Term breaks, holidays, and non-class days at other
institutions and vacations do not supersede the Inver Hills requirements or
Museum(s) and Plays
version--slightly newer than "WklyAsgnmnts." page's version)
Visits to Art Museum(s):
- Go with me (Richard) to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA)
for two Thursday nights. There will be 2 docent-led tours (ancient art, and
classical Greek and Roman art) on the first evening; on the second evening,
there will be 1 docent-led tour (medieval and renaissance art) and 1 self-led
tour on your own. That will be a total of 2+ hrs. of tours per evening for two
Thursday evenings. (MIA is open six days a week--not Mondays--and only one
evening per week--Thursdays.) Cost: free (parking free or $3). To get credit,
write 200+ w. per tour (i.e., 400+ w. per two-hour visit). (You'll get credit
for tour times, a short break, a short waiting time at the beginning, and for
travel time--or roughly 200 min. per visit.) For specific evenings and times,
see the beginning of the "Wkly.Asgnmnt." page.
- Do the above on your own at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts or in any
other major general art museum (not a science or technical museum) in a
major city near you for two visits.
(MIA is open six days a week--not Mondays--and only one
evening per week--Thursdays.)
Each of your two visits should take a total of 200 minutes of time: 120 min. of
seeing the art, and 80 minutes for travel time, a short break, and any extra
writing time. For your first visit, please see (and write about them as you see
them) visual and/or sculptural arts from (a) ancient Western
times, and from (b) Western classical Greek and Roman times for 120
min. And in your second visit, please see (and write about them as you visit
them (c) Western medieval and renaissance art/sculpture for 60
min., and then look at (d) anything you want (from anytime and
anywhere) for another 60 min. For every 60 min., write 100+ w. about it (or 200+
w. per two-hour visit), while you're looking at it.
- Do the
above, except do it online. You can visit any of dozens of art museum
collections online around the world. Do two visits as outlined above. Break them
into 200 min. per visit (and do 2 visits total, or 400+ min.). For each 200 min.
visit, go on an online art tour--of online museums--to find and describe art
from the Western time periods above. Overall, spend about 200 min. on
Western ancient art, and classical Greek and Roman art. And spend another
200 min. on a combination of Western medieval and renaissance art and
some time seeing any art you want. Write notes as you do all of this: the notes
should be about 100+ w. per every 100 min. Then give me your rough draft notes
(no need to retype) by mail, at school, or by email with the amount of time at
the top and how much time you devoted to each of the four "parts" named just
above. (Count your writing time as part of the time you spend, as well.)
Visits to Two Live, Full-length
Plays (or the equivalent):
- Attend two
literary plays at a professional or college theater as described in the
beginning of the "Wkly.Asgnmnt." page of this website. Write 400 w. per play
during or after each play and give them to me (only rough-draft form is
needed, no matter how rough draft it may be) by mail, under my office door,
or by email. Write at the top what you saw, where, and for how many minutes
(include writing time in your minutes).
- Attend two literary plays at a professional or college theater on your
own, choosing either the plays recommended by me (Richard) or some plays on
your own for which you have received permission from me to see. They must be
full-length plays. One play must cover our time period (ancient through
renaissance times) and geographical area (Western, North African, and Middle
Eastern regions). One of the plays may be any high-quality, full-length play
at a college or professional theater. You must see both plays during the
current semester. (Alternate: If you can find a live musical performance
from any of our time periods and geographical places, you are welcome to do
that, instead.) Then write 400+ w. per play as described above. Please
include something about the actors' names and/or the video productions so I
can tell that you didn't just read the material.
- Spend 600 minutes watching videos based on literary plays. (If
you're not sure whether something is okay, be sure to ask me!) The plays may
be any mix of short and full-length that helps you reach your 800 min. of
watching and writing time. Include something about the actors' names and/or
the video productions so I can tell that you didn't just read the material.
Then write a total of 600+ w. about them, or about 100+ w. per hour, as
Other alternative events: See the beginning of the "Wkly.Asgnment."
page for a description of other alternative events.
and Extra Credit (4-4-04)
You may make up missed attendance by doing extra writing.
No make up is allowed of missed writing assignments. However, you may
complete extra-credit writing for a higher attendance grade to help
counterbalance a lower weekly-papers grade (or simply to raise your overall
grade). Here is how make up and extra-credit writing work:
Make up is like independent study. However, I do not
consider it quite as valuable a way of spending time as the same amount of time
in class, working and discussing things with others. Therefore, I would
like two to three times as much work for independent make-up work as for class
time (with the exception of the first two items as noted below).
This means that you may make up 1 missed class hour as follows:
Do the equivalent of 1 class hr. (70 min.) of tutoring in or through the
Writing Center, with both in-person and online tutoring available (see www.inverhills.edu/StudentResources/WritingCenter/index.asp).
Count the time and have a tutor sign a slip saying how much time you spent
in actual tutoring. Then I'll give you double the amount of minutes you
Do 2 class hrs. (140 min.) of extra
Practice Activities (tell me the amount of time spent on
both reading and writing, and I'll give you half that much credit; see Homework/Practice
Do 2 class hrs. (140 min.) of combined reading and Comments (200+ w.) (tell me the amount of time spent on both reading and
writing, and I'll give you half that much credit; see Homework/Comments)
on a directly
related reading that is not in Lamm/Fiero (or that we skipped in
Do 2 class hrs. (140 min.) of being in a play
or musical presentation, yourself, along with writing 200+ words of comments,
IF THE PLAY OR PRESENTATION IS FROM OUR TIME PERIOD AND GEOGRAPHICAL AREAS
(e.g., a Shakespeare play, a medieval music presentation, etc.). (Tell me
the amount of time spent on learning your part, rehearsals, and final
productions, and write 200+ w./every 140 min., and I'll give you half
the amount of time spent on both the activity and the writing about it. (See
below if you are in a play that is NOT from our time period and geographical
Do 3 class hrs. (210 min.) of combined watching of or listening to something directly related,
and Comments (300+ w.). (Tell me the amount of time
spent on both reading and writing, and I'll give you one-third that much
credit.) For example, you may watch
directly-related videos, plays, movies, and TV shows (see "MOVIES"); listen to music intensively
(not while doing something else) from the periods we're covering; play games
(see "GAMES"), and/or look at
art books; etc. I'm open to suggestions. After or during your
watching/listening, you also and then summarize/explain/comment on what you've read, seen, or done for
300+ words (as part of your 3 class hrs.). (For some
movies with specific mythological themes for Eng 2235 click
here. Be sure to choose those that cover ancient-renaissance times,
not later, and the purpose of watching these myth-themed movies is to get a
sense of the myths and culture of a given time period/place.)
Show 3 class hrs. (210 min.) of a related humanities paper/art/craft
project and, if its not in written form, write 300+ words about
it. (Tell me the amount of time spent on both reading
and writing, and I'll give you one-third that much credit.) The project must be (1) from a class this semester and (2) from
this course's time period and geographical period.
Do 4 class hrs. (280 min.) at the Renaissance
Festival. Try to find things that seem actually part of medieval or
renaissance times. I will give you 1/4th the number of minutes you spend
visiting it and writing about it. (Unfortunately this festival is not worth
more than 1/4th the number of minutes you spend because many elements of it
are not true to actual, historical Middle Age and Renaissance times.)
Do 4 class hrs. (280 min.) of being in a play or musical presentation, yourself,
along with writing 200+ words of comments if the play is NOT from our time
period and geographical areas (e.g., a modern or contemporary play or
music presentation, etc.). (Tell me the amount of time spent on learning your
part, rehearsals, and final productions, and write 200+ w./every 280 min., and
I'll give you 1/4th the amount of time spent on both the activity and
the writing about it. (See above if you are in a play that IS from our time
period and geographical areas.)
Extra Credit: You may receive extra credit by doing
assignments as described immediately above in "Make Ups." Each 70 min. of
credit you receive is, as for make ups, worth 1 "X" (or "V") of attendance (or
as given above). The credit is the same--it applies the same way--whether
it is for make up or extra credit. The total X's you earn for extra credit/make
up are added to your other X's at the end of the class.
Note: You cannot replace more than 50% of your total X's with
extra credit or make up. In other words, you must complete at least 50% of the
assignments on time in the regular way before any extra credit/make up is
Improvement, Revision, etc.
The most important thing you can do in this course
is to participate fully. Participating fully means much more than just
attending class and doing the assignments. It also means actively putting
your mind, heart, and guts into learning in this classroom. It means
talking, listening, responding, thinking beyond the text, and being interactive
with the instructor and other students. It means that if you find the
assignments easy, you still won't get a good grade unless you learn and
participate beyond what you now know. It also means that if you struggle
to do the assignments and have difficulty getting good grades in them, you can
still get a good, strong grade in participation just for trying hard, working
hard, asking questions, and seeking help.
Everyone begins with a "no change" grade for this
part of the grade. That means that after I have figured the rest of your grade
(attendance, homework, and term paper), I usually assume you have been
participating reasonably well according to the grade you have for the rest of
the class. However, sometimes, when participation, improvement, revision
work, et al. are particularly superior or particularly poor, I may raise or
lower your overall grade by one letter grade (up or down). (And in
extremely unusual situations I might raise or lower your overall grade by two
letters.) If you are right on the edge between two grades when everything
else is averaged, then your quality of participation, improvement, and revision
can especially make a big difference in whether you receive the higher or the
lower grade. And if you have an average of a plus grade (e.g., a B+) or a
minus grade (e.g., a D-), then your extra participation and improvement - or
your special lack of it - can raise or lower your grade to the next grade higher
or lower. If you want to do well for participation and improvement, you'll
need to engage in a few of the following behaviors. If you want to receive an
A, you'll need to engage in at least some of these behaviors in some way:
Participate very verbally by
talking in the D2L online
attendance discussions, in class trips, and/or in seeking me out for questions and help
by email, in my office, or by calling or Skyping me.
1 hr. or more of tutoring help
from tutors or me when you are revising and editing your Final Homework
Paper (more time counts for more credit).
Show significant extra effort on
assignments--by extra length of writing or, clear for me to see, extra
Attend the individual consultations
between you and me that are planned as part of this course, or otherwise
get help from me when you need it in my office.
Demonstrate significant attention to
and good attitude about learning--not just to me but also to others in our
Be not just respectful, but also helpful and CREATIVE in D2L
discussions--i.e., don't just write the minimum and say what you think I
want to hear; rather come up with unique ideas and approaches, thoughts and
feelings, or reflections that are different in some way than the usual. D2L
can be as interesting or as boring as you decide to make it.
Can your participation grade go lower? Yes. You can
do the following to keep it low or push it lower:
keep quiet in class/on
the bulletin boards (offer few, poor, or
overly short or overly simple answers and responses),
avoid tutoring assistance,
avoid individual consultations,
be negative or cynical about learning or
about other students, and/or
leave work unfinished,
incomplete, or unsubstantial.
I enjoy teaching, and I want everyone to enjoy their
learning. If you are having some kind of significant problem, I hope you
will come talk to me about it so that together we can seek a possible
resolution. All information I learn about you in this regard is not (and cannot be)
reported to other teachers without your permission, and I would never tell other
students something in any way that would identify you personally. I've had
students tell me quite a bit over the years about a wide variety of their sorrows, problems,
and many other things, and my policy is to keep everything I hear to myself,
even if minor laws have been broken or past mental or physical health was
compromised. I only reserve the right to seek help from a counselor or
dean if I am strongly concerned about your future health and safety or that of
others around you, or if I believe that a major legal problem may exist (e.g.,
you hurt someone badly). If you are worried about what I do or do not keep
to myself, you can always ask me more about this before speaking to me about your problems. I
do hope you will
feel free to talk with me about problems that keep you from learning.
Estimating Your Participation
find the list for determining how well or poorly you are participating and
improving by clicking here on
is my grade?/Participation"
Talking as an
reading: Developing an academic community--and maintaining a positive,
balanced, objective tone in class, emails, bulletin boards, and other
communication--is very important. To see more details about this, please
go to "Talking as an Academic
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