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Summary: This document summarizes guidelines for reading and preparing for classes.
Throughout the semester, I will assign readings from a variety of texts. You will be expected to do the assigned readings before class. To provide direction for our class meetings, you will be expected to email me discussion questions the morning before class.
Over the semester, we'll read both from a textbook and from a variety of primary sources.
I suggest you read/skim each assignment two or three times. I find I am usually better off not making any notes at all during my first reading---my early notes are often beside the point as I don't know how the pieces fit together. You will likely prefer one or the other of these strategies, depending on your learning style:
You may find it more efficient to combine your second and third readings. I may provide additional suggestions for reading specific types of texts as the term progresses.
Discussion questions serve, well, to guide our discussion. Thus, questions should help guide us toward a productive discussion in one of two ways: It should help you and other students to understand the concepts, or it should lead us towards insights that go beyond the concepts that are presented.
Bearing these goals in mind, consider asking the following types of questions:
Your questions should be related to the text. Provide adequate context: It should be clear what your question is about. Cite an author and page number(s) in your questions, using direct quotes when appropriate.
Students should submit at least one well-thought-out question for each day on which discussion questions are required. If we read more than one text for class, you need only ask one question. Students may submit additional questions for support and for extra credit.
Questions must be submitted via email before 10 a.m. on the day of the discussion. I will collate discussion questions into a document which I will then place online (accessible only within Grinnell college).
I will grade discussion questions on a plus/check/minus/zero scale. Most questions will receive a check. Particularly valuable or insightful questions will receive a plus. Questions that are out of context, trivial, or particularly poorly phrased will receive a minus. Students who fail to submit their questions on time will receive a zero.
I will drop your five lowest grades on discussion questions (including zeros).
Janet Davis (email@example.com)Created January 21, 2007