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Assignments

Page history last edited by Alan Liu 2 years, 3 months ago

English 25,"Literature and the Information, Media, and Communication Revolutions" (Spring 2020, Professor Alan Liu)

Grading & Attendance Policy | Assignments & Exams (Essays 1, 2, 3; Midterm, Final Exam) | Guidelines for Writing a Good Essay

Emergency light iconImportant late-breaking announcement about the final exam, which will be now a "no-fault" exam: see announcement. (The details were also sent to students by email.)
Date of announcement: June 3, 2020

 

["X" or Experimental Version of Course for Online Instruction Only. See also supplementary Gauchospace site supporting this course.]

Emergency light icon  Updated 4/3/2020  Sections in English 25 (previously canceled due to the COLA TA strike) are now beginning in the second week of instruction. Grading percentages have been adjusted to restore the section participation grade that counts for 10% of the final grade.

Emergency light icon See notices below about how this course has been adapted on an emergency basis for the COVID-19 virus and COLA strike situations. (See also FAQ on special course procedures in Spring 2020)

 

Grading and Attendance Policy

(See also Intellectual Property & Academic Integrity Guidelines)

 

Emergency light iconIn this "X" version of English 25, attendance and enrollment policies have been changed from the the original policies (crossed-out below) as follows:

  • Enrollment Process
    • Through the end of the first week of instruction (through the end of Friday April 3), students on the wait list in GOLD will be auto-added to the course enrollment when spaces open up.
    • After Friday April 3, auto-add from the wait list will be turned off.  From that point on, Professor Liu will need to give add codes to those on the wait list or those wishing to crash the course (and also to enrolled students who wish to switch sections.) To manage enrollment issues in the absence of TAS (due to the COLA strike), all students (whether enrolled, wait-listed, or crashing) are required to fill out a Google Form here: https://forms.gle/Lqfo6NoZFnvAExeF7 between Friday April 3 at 2 pm and Sunday April 5 at noon (all times Pacific Daylight Time). Important: All students must fill out this form even if they are officially enrolled to hold their place in the course. (This is so that the places of enrolled students who never actually showed up or who intend to drop the course but are still in GOLD can be freed up for others.)
  • Attendance Requirements
    • Because this "X" version of English 25 is being offered remotely in both synchronous and asynchronous form--allowing students to choose whether to watch the professor's live lectures or to watch recordings of them later (as well as review his slides)--attendance at lectures will not be taken. However, Professor Liu strongly recommends that students watch his lectures either live or as recordings instead of only looking at his PowerPoint slides. His lectures explain the context, logic, and transitions between slides in a way that will be hard to follow purely from the slides themselves.
    • During the COLA strike by TAs, there will be no section meetings and thus no required section attendance or participation. However, if the strike ends and sections start, a portion of the final grade for students will be based on section participation. The nature of such section participation will be either synchronous or asynchronous in a format that will be designed by the individual TA. [Update: Section participation has started in the course beginning the second week; and 10% of the final grade for course will be based on section participation. See details on course FAQ page here.]
  • Late Assignment Grading Policy
    • Required essays (and any minor assignments in the course that are currently optional but may resume as requirements depending on the evolving situation) are due by 11:59 pm Pacific time on their due date. Late assignments for which an extension was not approved by the TA in advance decay by one partial letter-step grade for each day they are late (so, for example, a B+ paper turned in one day late will become a B paper; a B paper will become a B-; or a B- paper will become a C+ paper). 

 

Crossed-out version of original English 25 attendance and enrollment requirements

 

Assignments & Exams (Descriptions and Instructions)

 


(A) Create your system for working with online readings 

Emergency light icon Due to the fact that sections begin only in the second week of instruction due to the strike by TAs, this assignment ("Create your system for working with online readings") will not be checked by the TAs. The assignment has thus been changed to optional instead of required. However, it is strongly recommended that you conduct this assignment because it will benefit your work with all the online readings in the course (and in other courses too!).

 

  • Due in section meeting in second week of course (week of April 6th).
  • Percent of final grade: Required to pass course, but not graded.

 

Because so many of the readings in this course are online, students are required to demonstrate in section to their TA that they have the means to annotate and save copies of online materials according to one of the methods described in Guide to Downloading and Managing Online Readings.  For your section meeting during the second full week of the course, bring on your laptop or other digital device copies of the two assigned readings for Week 1 of the course (originally PDFs) plus at least one of the readings for Week 2 that was originally a Web page. These are readings that you should have downloaded, stored in an organized manner, and highlighted or otherwise annotated.  If you do not own a laptop, tablet, or other digital device, then bring a printed copy of one assigned reading. % of course final grade: This assignment is not graded; but students cannot earn a course final grade unless this assignment is completed to the satisfaction of their TA.


(B) Essay 1: The Future of Computing

4 pages of double-spaced text (approx. 1,200 words, not counting notes, bibliography, and any multimedia material). Essay 1 must be turned into your TA by email.

Put yourself imaginatively in the year 2050 (a "near future" far enough ahead to get you beyond today's trends, but not so far as to inspire pure utopian or dystopian science fiction). Write an essay that draws on what you have learned about the development of media, computing, and the Internet, and also on what you know about the contemporary state of digital media/communication/information, to give a prediction about computing and digital communication/information in 2050.

        (You can choose instead a variant version of this topic if you prefer: write an essay that draws on what you have learned about the development of media, computing, and the Internet to give a prediction about the future of "old" media in 2050--e.g., the future of the book, the future of orality, etc.)

        Your essay can be written either in a descriptive/analytical mode (e.g., "In the year 2050, people will...") or in a "fictional" or POV (1st or 3rd-person "point of view") mode (e.g., "Jane woke up early and checked her I'm-smarter-than-you phone..."). Your essay will be graded based on a combination of the following criteria:

  • Whether you draw on features/trends of the past and present of media, computing, and digital communication/information to help shape your prophecy. (If you do not refer to such evidence or reading materials in your explicit argument, add notes and links for the purpose).
  • The quality of your insight or vision.
  • Cohesiveness and effectiveness of your argument (including organizational cohesiveness).
  • Writing quality.
  • And appropriate (but not over-the-top) "bells and whistles" (e.g., links, images, example audio or video files, and any other material useful in exemplifying your thesis).
  • See General Guidelines for Writing a Good Essay
  • (See also Intellectual Property & Academic Integrity Guidelines)

Midterm Exam

Emergency light icon

During the COVID-19 virus situation, the midterm exam will be taken by students in online form through the GauchoSpace site for the course. The exam is designed to be 50 minutes long, but students will have a 60 minutes between starting the exam and submitting it (to allow for any delays or technical problems in the online test-taking process). The window of time during which students can start the timed, 60-minute exam will open at 8:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on May 4th.

  • Clarification: Exam may be opened anytime between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Students who open the exam at 8 p.m. will still have 60 minutes to complete it before submitting it (or having Gauchospace automatically submit it for them at 9 p.m.) If you open the exam after 8 p.m., however, you will not have the full 60 minutes before the exam automatically closes at 9 p.m.) 

(Special time affordances will be established for DSP students.) Watch for course announcements with further details as Professor Liu designs the online exam.

  • M., May 4
  • 60 minutes to submit the exam after opening it
  • Exam may be opened anytime between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm PDT on May 4th
  • Percent of course final grade: 18%
  • Note: details of mechanics of the exam are subject to change (watch for announcements from the professor)

 

60-minute exam. (On the course Gauchospace site here.)

Exam on readings in the course to date. The exam is more or less "factual" or "objective." It is designed to see if students recognize and comprehend key ideas, specifics, and other material in the readings. It will also include some questions specific to material or comments the professor presented in lecture (i.e., "you had to be there" or have seen the lecture recording). The exam is designed to reward students who regularly keep up with readings and lectures.

  • There will be three sections of the exam:
    1. Multiple-choice questions -- 28 questions (3 pts. each) (questions for each student will be randomly drawn from a question bank in Gauchospace)
    2. Mini-essay questions -- 2 questions (8 pts. each). Choose two out of several possible questions to answer (randomly drawn for each student from a question bank in Gauchospace). Questions will ask you briefly to explain in your own words an important work, passage, or concept. (Aim for no more than 200-300 words for each answer. You can include some quoted words as needed, so long as they are clearly indicated by quote marks.) Tip to the wise: the best answers will be ones that:
      • clearly summarize or paraphrase a reading, passage, or concept;
      • but in a way that shows you understand it and its importance (as opposed, for example, to just listing features);
      • and provides a specific detail or two in order to be more persuasive that you know what you are talking about.
    1. Bonus section for extra credit (multiple-choice format, 2 pts. each) -- Questions will be based on the professor's lectures. (E.g., "In explaining [a particular idea] in lecture, the professor did A, B, C, or D.")
  • The Gauchospace Exam interface
    • When the exam window opens (8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on May 4th), you will be able to access the exam and start an "attempt." Use the "Start attempt" button at the bottom of the exam's first page: Gauchospace quizz "start attempt" button. You can make one attempt only, lasting up to 60 minutes. If you have not submitted your completed exam by the end of 60 minutes, Gauchospace will automatically submit it for you.
      • Clarification: The exam may be opened anytime between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Students who open the exam at 8 p.m. will still have 60 minutes to complete it before submitting it (or having Gauchospace automatically submit it for them at 9 p.m.) If you open the exam after 8 p.m., however, you will not have the full 60 minutes before the exam automatically closes at 9 p.m.) 
    • The exam interface organizes the exam's sections in successive "pages".
      • Important: The information you enter on any exam page is not saved in the system until you move to another page (e.g., by going to the next page or back to the previous page)
      • Important: If you are moving sequentially through the exam, use the "Previous Page" and "Next Page" buttons at the bottom of each page. (Don't use your browser's back and forward functions).

        Gauchospace navigation interface: Next and Previous page buttons
      • There is also a navigation table at the top of the right sidebar that allows you to jump freely back and forth to different sections and questions.

        Gauchospace quizz interface: Navigation table in sidebare
    • You can "flag" questions for attention as you work (e.g, to remember to go back to a question).

      Gauchospace quizz "flag" and "unflag" question feature 
    • Section 2 of the exam ("Mini-essays") asks you to choose to answer two out of a possible four questions. Each question is on a separate page (go forward and back to see them all).

      Midterm Section 2 (Mini-Essays) 
      Important: remember that Gauchospace does not save your work until you navigate to another page. For the mini-essays, you may wish to draft your work in a word processor first and then paste into the exam (to protect your work in case you have an internet outage or some other problem).
    • When you are finished with the exam, be sure to press the "Finish Attempt" button and then, on the confirmation dialogue that next opens, the "Submit All and Finish" button.

       
    • After you have submitted your exam, and while the exam is still open for other students, Gauchospace will for two minutes only show you your incorrect answers on the multiple choice questions and what the correct answers are. (Later, after the exam has been closed for everyone, Gauchospace will again allow you to see your correct and incorrect answers.) 
  • Policy for referring to readings and notes for the exam:
    • English 25 exams are mostly "factual" and "objective" because they are designed to assess whether students have been keeping up with the readings and lectures. They were not originally designed for open-notes and open-readings exam-taking, which would require many more "thinking" questions that ask students to synthesize, analyze, and evaluate the materials.
    • However, because there is no proctoring in the current situation, there is no way for the professor and the TAs to enforce a no-open-notes practice (except indirectly because the nature of many questions and the number of them constrain the use of notes to a diminishing return).
    • Therefore, to be clear and realistic about exam policy and also to alleviate ambiguity about what counts as "academic integrity" in taking the exam, the policy for English 25 exams will be that it is fine for students to look at the readings and their notes during the exam.
    • However, students should plan on sparingly and only occasionally referring to the readings and notes. The exam is constructed in such a way that it is unrealistic and counter-productive to try frantically to research all the materials during the time allotment of 60 minutes. It would be foolish to expect to do well on the exam without having kept up with the readings and lectures and studying them.  
  • See Intellectual Property & Academic Integrity Guidelines 
  • Janet Douglas, Instructional Program Assistant for the English Dept. (SH 3431), is assisting with DSP arrangements. janetdouglas@hfa.ucsb.edu 

(C) Essay 2: Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49
  • Update: Deadline extended to May 13 -- Due by email to your TA by 11:59 pm PDT on day of Class 19 (M, May 11(See FAQ on format for essay)
  • Percent of final grade: 18%

4-5 pages of double-spaced text (approx. 1200-1800 words, not counting notes, bibliography, and any multimedia). Essay 2 must be turned into your TA by email.

Write an essay on The Crying of Lot 49 in which you use at least one reading from earlier in the course (e.g., Marshall McLuhan, Walter Ong, Plato, Alberto Manguel, Claude Shannon, Warren Weaver, Vannevar Bush, Lev Manovitch, etc.) to show how we can gain a deeper, richer understanding of some key aspect, idea, character, action, or stylistic/formal feature of the novel.
        (See General Guidelines for Writing a Good Essay.  Your essay should have a title that relates descriptively and/or allusively to its specific topic.) (Note: this novel is one of the mostly widely read texts in colleges. Instructors in English 25 are especially on guard against plagiarism in essays about this novel. Please do not copy anyone else's work without attribution! See Intellectual Property & Academic Integrity Guidelines)



(D) Spreadsheet Comparison: Being Human in the Age of Information Knowledge Work

Emergency light icon This assignment ("Spreadsheet on Being Human in the Age of Knowledge Work") will be optional instead of required. However, it is strongly recommended that you try doing it on your own because the assignment aids in the completion of the upcoming, last essay assignment in the course. (See the instructions for Essay 3 on the Assignments page.

  • Due in lecture in class 23 (W, May 20)
  • Percent of final grade: 5%

 

Spreadsheet

Using a spreadsheet program (e.g., Excel or Google Spreadsheets), create a spreadsheet (or set of sheets) that compares:

  • (A) The life of a typical college student at UCSB. (If you model your student after yourself or someone you actually know, please do not identify anyone by name for reasons of privacy.)
  • (B) The life you think you will have in the future as a career worker or professional in the field of your choice. (If you have not yet decided on your dream career or profession, choose a possible one you could see yourself pursuing.)
  • (C) Case's life while "working" in his role as the hero of William Gibson's Neuromancer (based on your deduction about what his life is like). 

Please turn in your spreadsheet in printed form if possible. If not, or if there are formulas or dynamic features in the spreadsheet, please email the spreadsheet to your TA (in the case of Google spreadsheets, "share" it with your TA).

     The following is a partial example of the columns/rows format you can use for an Excel, Google, or other spreadsheet for the English 25 assignment titled "Being Human in the Age of Information Knowledge Work." (Download actual Excel spreadsheet or Google spreadsheet.) (Or view as jpg image.) Feel free to vary this template if you have a better idea. You can also use separate sheets for each part of the assignment if you wish.
Spreadsheet example for assignment     Adapt as needed the activity labels in this example ("sleep," "eat," "study," etc.), but strive for some standardization (e.g., "eat" instead of "lunch") so that general patterns are discernible. (You can also include other kinds of typical activities that are not appropriate for an instructor to make explicit in a template like this!)
     For "total hours per activity over 7 days", do a back-of-envelope calculation to scale up from the one typical weekday and the one typical weekend day.
     As indicated in the example, add a brief explanation or comment in a cell with your observations on each kind of life.
     (If you have spreadsheet skills, you can use formulas to calculate and/or graphs if you wish.)

 

Help resources for students new to spreadsheets:

 


(E) Essay 3: Being Human in the Age of Information Knowledge Work

4-5 pages of double-spaced text (approx. 1200-1800 words, not counting notes, bibliography, and any multimedia). Essay 3 must be turned into your TA in hard copy.

Write an essay that  substantively uses at least one work from the section of the course on "The Postindustrial and Neoliberal age" (e.g., Taylor, Zuboff, Brown, Critical Art Ensemble, Gibson's Neuromancer) and optionally the spreadsheet you created for the previous optional spreadsheet assignment to explore the question: What does it mean to live a "human" life in the age of informational knowledge work? "Substantively" means that you use some key idea(s) or passage(s) from the work(s) in the course (and optionally your spreadsheet) to help you frame and think through the issues.
        (See General Guidelines for Writing a Good Essay.  Your essay should have a title that relates descriptively and/or allusively to its specific topic.) (See also Intellectual Property & Academic Integrity Guidelines)


 (F) Text Analysis Exercise & Short Commentary

Emergency light icon If the COLA strike by TAs is still continuing at this time in the quarter, this assignment ("Text Analysis Exercise & Short Commentary") will be optional instead of required.

  • Due by email to your TA 24 hours in advance of section meeting in 10th week of course (week of June 1st)
  • Percent of course final grade: 10%

 

Part 1 - Text-analysis Exercise

What you will need for this exercise:

  • Download the Antconc program
  • Download the following stopwords list and save it as (or copy it into) a plain-text ".txt" file on your computer: buckley-salton.txt
  • A long document or set of documents (up to several hundred if you wish) that you have access to as plain text files (stored as ".txt" files). [See suggestions for sources of texts below] 

  • 1. Download onto your computer the Antconc text-analysis program (available for Mac, Windows, Linux). Antconc comes as a simple executable file that does not need to be "installed." You just run the file. (Note: if you do not have a computer you can use for this purpose, see your TA or the professor for suggestions of labs available for use on campus and in the English department.)
    • Note for Mac Users: When you try to open AntConc, there will be a security message that says the app was prevented from opening. In order to get around this, you need to click the Apple icon, go to System Preferences, then Security & Privacy, and (if you haven’t already) change your preferences to Allow apps downloaded from "App Store and identified developers." Even if these are your settings, the system will prevent AntConc from opening (it’s not an identified developer), but there will be a caption next to the radio buttons that says something along the lines of “AntConc was prevented from opening” and a button labeled “Open Anyway.” Click Open Anyway, and you shouldn’t have any issues running the application after that. 
  • 2. Find or create a plain-text (.txt) version of a long literary work or collection of works. Possible sources:
    • Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49 in someone's online version (This is a PDF file from which you will need to copy the text and put it in a plain-text .txt file).
    • William Gibson's Neuromancer in The Cyberpunk Project's online HTML version. (This is a HTML file from which you will need to copy the text and put it in a plain-text .txt file).
    • One of the literary or related collections of works available in plain-text form in this section of Professor Liu's Digital Humanities Toychest site.
  • 3. Study your chosen work(s) with Antconc.  Then take "souvenirs" of your explorations with Antconc (hopefully something interesting) that you can show your TA (e.g., screenshots, exports into spreadsheets, etc.). Send your souvenirs to your TA 24 hours before your section; and also bring your souvenirs to section in printed form.

  • Tutorials for Antconc:
  • Basic Instructions for using Antconc: (click on thumbnails for larger screenshot images)
    •  (Step 1) Open either a file or a whole folder of files stored on your computer (must be .txt files).
    • (Step 2) Go to "Tool Preferences" to load a stopwords list (and, if you wish, also a comparison "reference" text or texts for use with Antconc's "keywords" function). See below.

      Antconc - loading files and accessing the tool preferences 
  • Instructions for using a "stopwords" list in Antconc (to filter out common words like "the," "of," etc.):
    • Download the following stopwords list and save it as (or copy it into) a plain-text "txt" file on your computer: buckley-salton.txt
    • In AntConc, click on "Tool Preferences" among the tabs at the top. Then follow these steps:
      • (Step 1) Select "Word list" preferences
      • (Step 2) Choose "Use a stoplist below"
      • (Step 3) Open a stoplist file ("Add words from a file" > ""Open)
        • Choose the buckley-salton.txt file on your computer
      • (Step 4) Then press "Apply" at the bottom.

        Antconc - loading a stoplist (stopwords list)
  • Instructions for loading a "reference" comparison file(s) for use with Antconc's "Keywords" function (to see what words are most unique in a text, or have most "keyness," compared with the reference files):
    • Have available a reference comparison file, or multiple files on your computer (must be plain-text "txt" files)
    • In AntConc, click on "Tool Preferences" among the tabs at the top. Then follow these steps:
      • (Step 1) Select "Keyword list" preferences
      • (Step 2) Click on "Add files" to choose the reference comparison file(s)
      • (Step 3) Click on "Load" to actually load the reference comparison file(s)
      • (Step 4) Click on "Apply"

        Antconc - Loading a "reference" comparison file(s) for use with the Keywords function
  • Now you can start exploring the document file(s) you chose for study using Antconc. The best way to start is to count all the words in the document(s):
    • (Step 1) Choose the "Word List" tab at the top
    • (Step 2) Click on "Start" to generate a list of all words found in your document(s), ranked by frequency of occurrence. 

      Antconc - generating a word frequency list

 

Part 2 - Short Commentary (1-2 pages of double-spaced text). This short commentary must be turned into your TA in hard copy.

Write a short commentary in which you use your explorations of your literary work(s) with Antconc to note aspects of the work that came to light through text analysis and that could lead a scholar to pursue possible future directions/topics of research.


Final Exam

Emergency light iconImportant late-breaking announcement about the final exam, which will now be a "no-fault" exam: see announcement. (The details were also sent to students by email.) Date of announcement: June 3, 2020

Emergency light icon During the COVID-19 virus situation, the final exam will be taken by students in online form through the GauchoSpace site for the course. The exam is designed to be 50 minutes long, but students will have a 60 minutes between starting the exam and submitting it (to allow for any delays or technical problems in the online test-taking process). The window of time during which students can start the timed, 60-minute exam will open at 8:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on June 10th. (Special time affordances will be established for DSP students.) Watch for course announcements with further details as Professor Liu designs the online exam.

  • W, June 10
  • 60 minutes to submit the exam after opening it
  • Exam may be taken anytime between 8:00 am and 8:pm PDT on June 10th
  • Percent of course final grade: 18%
  • Note: details of the mechanics of the exam are subject to change (watch for announcements from the professor)

60-minute exam. (To be taken on the course Gauchospace site here.)

Exam on material in the course since the midterm. (Important: the final exam is not cumulative. Only readings and lectures after the midterm are covered in it.) Like the midterm, the final exam is more or less "factual" or "objective." It is designed to see if students recognize and comprehend key ideas, specifics, and other material in the readings. It will also include some questions specific to material or comments the professor presented in lecture (i.e., "you had to be there" or have seen the lecture recording). The exam is designed to reward students who regularly keep up with readings and attend lectures and sections.

  • Sections of the Exam. Just as in the midterm, there will be three sections of the final exam:
    1. Multiple-choice questions -- 28 questions (3 pts. each) (questions for each student will be randomly drawn from a question bank in Gauchospace)
    2. Mini-essay questions -- 2 questions (8 pts. each). Choose two out of several possible questions to answer (randomly drawn for each student from a question bank in Gauchospace). Questions will ask you briefly to explain in your own words an important work, passage, or concept. (Aim for no more than 200-300 words for each answer. You can include some quoted words as needed, so long as they are clearly indicated by quote marks.) Tip to the wise: the best answers will be ones that:
      • clearly summarize or paraphrase a reading, passage, or concept;
      • but in a way that shows you understand it and its importance (as opposed, for example, to just listing features);
      • and provides a specific detail or two in order to be more persuasive that you know what you are talking about.
    1. Bonus section for extra credit (multiple-choice format, 2 pts. each) -- Questions will be based on the professor's lectures. (E.g., "In explaining [a particular idea] in lecture, the professor did A, B, C, or D.")
  • Starting and Navigating the Gauchospace Exam interface
    • When the exam window opens (8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on June 10th), you will be able to access the exam and start an "attempt." Use the "Start attempt" button at the bottom of the exam's first page: Gauchospace quizz "start attempt" button. You can make one attempt only, lasting up to 60 minutes. If you have not submitted your completed exam by the end of 60 minutes, Gauchospace will automatically submit it for you.
      • Clarification: The exam may be opened anytime between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Students who open the exam at 8 p.m. will still have 60 minutes to complete it before submitting it (or having Gauchospace automatically submit it for them at 9 p.m.) If you open the exam after 8 p.m., however, you will not have the full 60 minutes before the exam automatically closes at 9 p.m.) 
    • For additional descriptions and instructions about using the Gauchospace exam (or "quizz") interface, see under Midterm Exam above on this page.
  • Policy for referring to readings and notes for the exam:
    • English 25 exams are mostly "factual" and "objective" because they are designed to assess whether students have been keeping up with the readings and lectures. They were not originally designed for open-notes and open-readings exam-taking, which would require many more "thinking" questions that ask students to synthesize, analyze, and evaluate the materials.
    • However, because there is no proctoring in the current situation, there is no way for the professor and the TAs to enforce a no-open-notes practice (except indirectly because the nature of many questions and the number of them constrain the use of notes to a diminishing return).
    • Therefore, to be clear and realistic about exam policy and also to alleviate ambiguity about what counts as "academic integrity" in taking the exam, the policy for English 25 exams will be that it is fine for students to look at the readings and their notes during the exam.
    • However, students should plan on sparingly and only occasionally referring to the readings and notes. The exam is constructed in such a way that it is unrealistic and counter-productive to try frantically to research all the materials during the time allotment of 60 minutes. It would be foolish to expect to do well on the exam without having kept up with the readings and lectures and studying them.  
  • See Intellectual Property & Academic Integrity Guidelines
  • Janet Douglas, Instructional Program Assistant for the English Dept. (SH 3431), is assisting with DSP arrangements. janetdouglas@hfa.ucsb.edu 

 

Please remember that 10% of the final grade for the course is determined by a student's TA on the basis of participation in section discussion.

 ALERT icon Updated 4/2/2020  The grade for section participation has been restored in the course because the English 25 TAs will be leading section activities beginning the second week of instruction. 

 

 

 

General Guidelines for Writing a Good Essay

 

 

 

 

Your essay must focus on an interesting topic or problem: Write about something that really interests you or that you care about.  A topic doesn't have to be a "point" you are making; it can also be a problem or question you want to consider from various angles as part of an argument drawing them together in a conclusion or, as sometimes happens in good papers, resolves them in a higher-level problem or question.

Your essay must have an argument: You need not only a topic or problem but an argument about it, even if the argument is not a direct one but instead is designed to take twists and turns to explore various views before coming to your conclusion.  Some tips for writing an argument (based on the fact that awareness of your audience is important in good writing): Assume that your reader is not just your instructor with an "insider's" understanding of the course but is instead someone you don't know.  For the purpose of a scholarly paper, your audience is intelligent and educated, but does not know everything you do about your particular topic.  Arrow right Your audience thus needs your help in focusing on a particular path through an issue (rather than being lost in a forest of issues).  Arrow right Your audience needs your help in getting from point A to Z in your argument, which means you need to lead the argument through points B, C, D, etc. (even if it appears blindingly obvious to you). Arrow right Last, but not least, your audience doesn't want to be bored to death with totally predictable arguments that steamroll over everything in their path to get from their beginning "This is what I will argue" through their middle "This is my argument" to their concluding "This is what I argued."

 

So be sure to: Arrow right focus your essay around a main issue, including other issues as necessary but in a manner logically subordinate to your argument (i.e., in ways that make them supports, components, extensions, or challenges to your argument). Arrow right Be sure to demonstrate steps A to Z of your logic so that your audience can follow your trail of thought.  Arrow right And also be sure that you actually deal with something important or that you care about, which naturally means that there is some problem or open question that puts a kink in any totally predictable argument.  For example, good essays often include a pivotal intellectual turning point, question, challenge, or complicating problem in mid-flow.  Here's an example (in outline form):


[a] Thesis argument (e.g., "Today we live in an age of information, audio-visual entertainment, and other multimedia materials that require us to 'close read' such materials if we hope to be literate consumers....")

[b] Turning point or challenge (e.g., "But unlike the texts that the New Critics studied, some of the new information and multimedia carry hidden structures and codes that cannot be "read," or even seen, in any ordinary way.  How can we be 'close readers' of such materials today?")

[c] Resolution (e.g., "If we look more deeply into the issue, we can see that literacy now requires an understanding of the underlying structures and history of information or entertainment that are analogous to those of the print literature. These new structures are different but also similar....")

 

Arrow right Essays should include notes with citations in MLA style (unless there is a reason to choose a different style). (See the Purdue Online Writing Lab's "MLA Formatting and Style Guide". A handy tool for automatically generating citations in various styles is ZoteroBib.)  Be sure to cite works that you quote or otherwise use (see course Intellectual Property Guidelines). 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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