Dear HMXP Students:
Grading of discussion logs: Logs are optional but recommended.
Please note that I could just grade you for discussion based on my subjective impression of your contribution at the end of the semester. Instead, I am giving you a chance to show me exactly what you have done. This is more work for me, but it is fairer to you. If you talk a lot, make sure that your log reflects that fact. If you talk very little, the log should make it very clear that you need to increase your contributions to class discussion.
The university designed the course with an oral communication component. Many HMXP instructors have students present texts to the rest of the class—this means meetings with the professor, slide shows, discussion leadership, etc. I no longer do that, but I do expect you to keep track of your comments. The logs are the basis of your discussion grade. Therefore, all of you should be sure to turn in a log that reflects active participation in discussion.
Format of discussion logs: Here is how your entries should appear:
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
List each contribution as a bullet point. Bullet points start as just illustrated, not with hyphens.
Include only comments that you made in the large-group/whole-class discussions, not your small groups.
Don’t bother giving a bullet point for days when you were absent.
Don’t create an elaborate grid in which you match days and comments.
Just do the list as I am illustrating here.
A paragraph will be counted as one comment. Make this thing easy for me to evaluate: use bullet points.
One bullet point per comment to the whole class.
Key points about papers: Here is a list of common problems from a previous semester.
The introduction and the conclusion do not have topic sentences.
Introduce the focused topic and the textual connection before the thesis.
The thesis should include and be about the focused topic in connection with one of our texts.
All 3 clauses in the thesis should be about the focused topic.
The “although” clause should challenge the main and “because” clauses.
Background 1 is about your textual connection only.
Background 2 is about your focused topic only.
The topic sentence for the argument par. should echo the main and “because” clauses.
The topic sentence for the objection par. should echo the “although” clause.
Objections must object to arguments. Replies must reply to objections.
All pars. except background 1 must discuss the focused topic. Do not switch from the focused topic to persons in general.
As I graded your papers, I will emphasize the following things: 1) Did you write a thesis that fits the 3-part structure in both form and substance? 2) Did the things in your thesis receive adequate support in the body? More often than not, I found disconnections between the thesis and the body of the paper. That is the number one thing to watch out for.