I. Participation (20%)

In Class Participation: All students are expected to come to class prepared and on time, ready to participate in the class discussion.  While I recognize and value different personalities, I expect every student to contribute to the overall quality of discussions, which means that you should come to class having thought about the readings and ready to offer your own reflections, comments, analysis, and/or questions.  The quality of your contributions is as important as their quantity, but a good rule of thumb is to aim to speak up at least once or twice per class period.  This portion of your participation grade will also be influenced by activities we do in class (including reading quizzes if necessary).

Online Participation: The second half of your participation grade consists of the work you’ll perform in three rotating activities: collecting relevant materials on our class Pinterest Board; writing and maintaining class notes on our Wiki site; and responding to blog posts with respectful and thoughtful comments.  You will be assigned a group on the first day of class and will rotate roles each week accordingly as indicated on the syllabus.  See Weekly Roles and Responsibilities for more details.


II. Course Blog (20%)

Throughout the semester, we will be keeping a class blog where you can critically reflect on issues discussed in or related to course material.  Each student is required to write 10 blog posts over the course of the semester and write at least 10-15 substantial comments on their classmate’s entries.  You may not submit (for credit) more than two blog posts per week, though you’re free to write more if you wish.  At least five of your posts should be written in the first eight weeks, so do not wait to start writing and commenting.

Each entry should be at least 250 words in length and needs to be posted by midnight the day before the class reading is assigned (e.g., Monday at midnight for Tuesday readings; Wednesday at midnight for Thursday readings).  Although the blogs should be written informally, they should be well-written and spell-checked, with no grammatical errors or careless punctuation.  Students are required to create tags (as many as you want) for each blog post they submit.  Untagged posts will not receive a grade.  For more details on how the course blog will work and be evaluated, read the full Blog Assignment.

Halfway into the semester, you will be asked to perform a Blog Audit of your own posts.  Here is the full description of what this involves: Blog Audit.


III. Short Essay (20%)

In addition to the blog requirements, students will write a short essay between 1000 and 1500 words that reflects on one of the early texts assigned for the course.  I will provide detailed instructions on this assignment a few weeks into the semester.  Student will have plenty of time to workshop the essay and speak with me during office hours for feedback before the final deadline.


IV. Review Essay (10%)

Later in the semester, students will write a Review Essay (about 1000 words) of a Reality TV program that they choose to analyze and interpret.  It will include images and/or clips and will be featured on a sub-section of the course website.  I will provide instructions on this assignment later in the semester, but be thinking about what “reality” program sparks your critical interest.  I will leave plenty of time for drafts and revisions.


V. Final Project (20%)

Working together in small groups (and as a class), students will be required to design and develop a public project that features the work they have generated over the course of the semester.  More details will be provided as the semester unfolds.


VI. Final Exam (10%)

The final exam will be discussed in more detail toward the end of the semester.  By the time it occurs, you will know what to expect.


Grade Breakdown

Participation:              20%

Course Blog:               20%

Short Essay:                 20%

Review Essay:             10%

Final Project:               20%

Final Exam:                 10%


Please note: Each student is required by the General Education Literature program to keep a portfolio of all major written assignments for the course (which includes saved copies of your blog posts, one copy of the formal paper and review essay, and copies of your contribution to the final project).  In addition to gathering these materials, each must also add to the portfolio a 2-3 page reflective paper discussing what the student has and has not learned during the course.  Note:  This is to be more a reflection on the student’s own learning processes than an “evaluation” of the course or the instructor.  At the end of the semester, I will require students to turn in to the ICON dropbox the portfolio and their individual reflection.  Although required, this is not a graded assignment.