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This assignment is an opportunity for you to engage with the kinds of information you are able to draw out of texts using different reading strategies, and to evaluate that information with a critical lens. You will apply one of the digital mapping tools provided to the “Wandering Rocks” episode of James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922).
You will then produce a written assignment of up to 500 words that is a critical response to the results you produced using this kind of analysis. In general, a critical response should keep these kinds of questions in mind: What are the advantages of the analysis you performed? What are the disadvantages? What other kinds of information do you need to analyze the text? You can also ask yourself more specific questions: How might this differ for other texts? Can you experiment with another text from class to get a sense of this? Can you account for your results in light of the subjects represented in the texts?
You will be evaluated on the effort and depth of your experimentation with both the software and the literary text. You will not be evaluated on reaching a pre-approved result or on successful application of the software. I will provide a full marking rubric for this assignment during the course.
Software tutorials will be available on the course management website, and I will book large blocks of time for you to work with your peers while I am present for questions that might come up. I will also model how to write a response paper based on digital methods in class, but you will be responsible for performing your own original work. As this methodology will be new for many of you, I strongly recommend starting this assignment at least two weeks before it is due (this means reading the text early as well!). As you work, you should consider what kinds of visuals (screen shots or links, for instance) you might need to include in your response in order to provide evidence for your claims. Plain text files are available for you to use, but for this assignment I also suggest that you keep track of place names during your reading.
You will produce a blog post for the course-specific blog that explores a single idea that you come across in your reading. Think of the blog post like a response paper: allow yourself to engage deeply with one or two ideas in your reading as they come up; demonstrate how you’ve been thinking about the text; feel free to bring in outside ideas, or to stick closely to the ideas within the text. You will be evaluated on your effort and engagement with the text. Pull out interesting ideas, ask questions, and stretch yourself.
I will pass around a sign-up sheet for this assignment in the first week of class. These assignments are to be posted on the course blog at least 72 hours in advance of the class in which we discuss the text you have signed up for, and your peers will respond to them in this forum. As your peers will rely on your timely submission in order to complete their own assignments, late submission will receive a grade of 0. I may draw on your ideas in lecture. If for any reason you do not wish to use your own name or identifying marks in your blog profile, you are free to use a pseudonym; the blog will be open only to students enrolled in the class. Please come see me during office hours as soon as possible if you have any other concerns.
You will respond generatively and constructively to a Blog Post by one of your peers. See if you can expand on their ideas; think about what their response revealed to you that you had not thought about; suggest ways that their post can deepen or nuance its thinking. You will be evaluated on your honest engagement with the ideas of your peers and your ability to comprehend and draw out their ideas.
I will pass around a sign-up sheet for this assignment in the first week of class. You may not sign up for a response on the same day or text for which you write a Blog Post. You will post your response at least 24 hours in advance of the class in which we discuss the text you have signed up for. Late submission will receive a grade of 0.
The major assignment may be either 1) a critical essay of 1500 words on one or more assigned text, or 2) a digital project that critically engages with one or more assigned text. For both options, substantial external research is not required, and sound argument and detailed, close attention to the texts at hand will be the primary criteria for evaluation.
Prompts for the Major Assignment will be distributed in Week Seven. If you wish to use the analyses you produced in your Digital Map or in your Blog Posts, I encourage you to do so. However, the Major Assignment must represent a significant expansion from previous assignments, and I will be attentive to whether you incorporated feedback from previous assignments into your Major Assignment.
If you wish to do an assignment other than those indicated in the prompts, you must submit a short, formal proposal to me by email by 4:00pm on Friday, March 2nd (Week 8) for approval. This proposal can double as your introductory paragraph. I will provide feedback on its feasibility.
Four pop quizzes will be given unannounced at the beginning of class. The quizzes will consist of factual and short-answer questions on the text assigned for that day. The top three out of four pop quizzes will count towards your grade.
If you miss a pop quiz, there will be no opportunities to make up the mark. If you require specific accommodations for this kind of evaluation, please arrange a meeting with me within the first week of class.
A final exam will be held during the official exam period. The exam will consist of short-answer and essay questions. None of the material that has been tested in pop quizzes will be included in the exam. You may not write on a text that you have written on your either your Digital Map or your Major Assignment for the essay portion of the exam.
Please do not make any travel plans during the exam period until the exam schedule has been released. There will be no accommodations for travel plans.