10%: Class Participation and Written Commentaries: To foster reading comprehension and analytical skills via working together as a group, you will share a written commentary on current course material (film and written texts) at the beginning of our Monday class meetings (unless otherwise noted in the schedule). Each commentary must reference at least one current text or film and provide a quotation and proper citation. I will grade commentaries on relevance to the course, clarity of expression, depth of engagement with the material, and adherence to assignment directions. Examples of in-depth engagement with the material are striving for connections across course texts and attempting to answer your own difficult questions. Each week’s commentary will count as one class participation grade.
30% (2 x 15% each): Learning Activities: During the semester, you will complete two (of four possible) learning activities. You will choose the learning activity that you wish to complete. Each learning activity is listed on the class schedule and must be completed by the listed due date. You may elect to submit a draft of any activity for review and feedback before the final paper is submitted. Optional draft due dates are listed in the syllabus.
40% (2 x 20%): Exams (Mid-term and Final).
20%: Group Community Service Project and Presentation: During the semester, you will form a group with three others to design and carry out a service project on campus and/or in the surrounding community that demonstrates your in-depth understanding of a theme or issue from the course. The project’s purpose is to help students to better understand the artists and the art which we have studied by considering these questions: What social conditions motivate these artists to create? How do they choose their subjects, media, and audiences? How do these artists define “art”? How might the creative lessons learned from these artists inform your own community involvement? Groups will complete the project during the semester. They will then make a presentation to the class at the end of the semester which outlines (and, if applicable, displays) the project’s goals, methodology, outcome, and lessons learned. Projects should above all benefit the community, but projects and presentations must also be creative, well planned, relevant, well researched, and intellectually productive. Your project may engage with an organized service program either at JMU or in Harrisonburg or Rockingham County (see links on course blog for some campus and community examples). More risky, but perhaps more rewarding, the group may elect to design and carry out an original project. Original projects must receive my approval to proceed, but I am happy to consult with students on both original and text-derived projects. Groups must meet with me and present a written project proposal and must receive approval before beginning any collaborative work for credit.
I use JMU’s four-point scale to record and compute grades.