Comedy as Critique
"Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot." — Charlie Chaplin
Grading, Policies, & Expectations





Peer Review:………………………5%

In-Class Work:…..……………….5%

Annotated Bibliography:…………5%

Reflective Cover Letters:…………5%

Assignment 1:……………………10%

Assignment 2:……………………15%

Assignment 3:……………………20%

Assignment 4:……………………15%

Active Contributor Status:………15%


CONTRACT GRADING AND PORTFOLIO: For each graded part of this class, I will provide all students with a set of baseline requirements with objective criteria — see the “Course Contract” page of this site to see those criteria. Every student who consistently meets these criteria will be guaranteed the grade of B in the course, with grades above B indicating that the work you’ve done is particularly effective and grades below B indicating that you’ve failed to meet baseline requirements. On individual assignments, students will not receive letter grades. Instead, they will receive written feedback and an indication of whether or not they’ve failed to meet any of the baseline requirements. However, students will be informed if their work either fell significantly above or below expectations. I will mark assignments with a “U” if the work is, as of now, unsatisfactory. If the work is exceptional, I will mark it with an “H” (for honors, roughly equivalent to the letter grade of A) so that students have a sense of where they stand in the class. However, most papers will not receive either mark.


At the end of the semester, students will submit all of their formal assignments in a portfolio, which can be revised based on my earlier feedback. It is this version of the work that will determine grades at the end of the semester.


A sheet is attached that lists the baseline requirements expected of all students. All students have my guarantee that their minimum grade in the class will be at least a B if they have met the requirements of the contract attached.



ASSIGNMENT FORMAT AND LATE PAPER POLICY: You will work on and develop your work via Google Docs so you can always access the most updated version of your work. You will have a Google folder accessible by me where this is kept, and you must have a full draft in your Google folder by the date and time of the Peer Review Workshop. However, you will turn in all final papers in hard copy by the dates indicated on this syllabus. We will workshop drafts in class, and you will then revise to showcase your most polished, sophisticated work. The final version will be accompanied by a ½ page reflection on your writing and revision process (see “Cover Letters” above). All final drafts should consistently follow one style guide (MLA, APA, or Chicago).


Each student in the class will have a maximum of seven late days. In other words, you may submit assignments late without penalty if the total days all your papers have been late added together is seven or less. So, for instance, if your first paper is three days late, you only have four late days left to use for the rest of the semester. After your late days have been used up, no late work will be accepted for the rest of the semester. If work appears in your portfolio that I did not receive at its original deadline, you will receive at most, half credit.


If you are submitting late work on a day that is not a class day, I ask that you simply email me to let me know when you have completed work (so I will stop counting late days) and then bring me a hard copy when you see me next. However, the hard copy you give me MUST NOT reflect edits made after the email you sent me. I will check the history of your Google Doc to be sure.


You may ask me to look at the in-progress work in your Google folder at any time to give you feedback, but even if I have seen a draft, you must still submit hard copies when otherwise required for credit.


ACTIVE CONTRIBUTOR STATUS: I expect you to take seriously your vital role in this classroom. The responsibilities you have accepted by enrolling include coming prepared to class, staying up-to-date on any necessary changes in scheduling or course requirements, and contributing regularly and thoughtfully to our conversations and to the written documentation of those conversations via our shared Google Docs.


To become/stay an active contributor, you should do these things:


  • Come prepared with necessary materials and having looked at readings/clips assigned for the day
  • Come to class with something to say and ask questions when you have them
  • Contribute at least three items per class day to our Google Doc record. Items could include:
    • Thoughts or follow-up questions you have in response to the guiding question for the day or the assigned comedic piece before class ever starts – in other words, you may begin to contribute to this document at any time, and may choose to write some or all of your three contributing items ahead of time, in the week leading up to class.
    • Links to relevant articles or other outside media that might illuminate our conversation
    • A record of a question you asked in the open group discussion
    • A record of observations or assertions you made in the open group discussion
    • Questions or observations you had internally in the open group discussion but did not get the chance to say out loud
    • Advice or pieces of information you’d like to remember from our talks about writing issues
    • Records of important practical information – websites we might want to visit, changes to the class schedule, etc.


You will receive full points as an active contributor if you are doing all of these things consistently. However, you can still make a B if you are regularly meeting at least 2 of the above 3 categories. If you are deficient in 2 or all of the categories, however, this grade will drop. So you should always be in class, ready to contribute either to the verbal or written discussion (if not both). If you are unable to attend a few class periods, you should let me know ahead of time, and you can make up for it through extra contribution to the Google Doc. However…


** Attendance is extremely important to me. If you have consistent attendance issues, you WILL NOT receive a passing grade for your active contributor status. If your attendance issues are significant enough that they affect your work in the class, I will speak to you about your options in terms of dropping the course.


SAFE CLASSROOM ENVIRONMENT: In this class, we will spend a great portion of our time in discussion. It is extremely important to me that every member of the class be treated with respect. We are all different, and because of differences in gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or just ways of thinking, we are bound to disagree from time to time – this is fine. However, all students should consider this classroom a safe environment, and it is the responsibility of every one of you to maintain that safety through respect and kindness.

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