Explanation of Assignments Short Papers and Informal Presentations Twice this semester, you will write a short paper exploring a communication theory in more depth, and deliver an informal presentation to the group. You should choose something that is mentioned in the text but not explained in detail. Think of this not as an explication of material we’ve already covered, but an extended sidebar on something the textbook mentions but does not develop. If in doubt about a topic, see me. The papers should be around 3 pages in length, double‐spaced, MLA or APA format, and make use of at least three sources besides the textbook. At least two of these sources (textbook included) need to be something other than a website. We’ll discuss appropriate websites in class. At the designated time during the semester, you will present your paper to the group. Please do not simply read it to us. A better way would be to summarize your main points, and then reinforce them with an activity or guided discussion. You will have a few minutes to teach the class; use them respectfully and well. You do not have to dress up, but I do expect you to prepare. Each of these papers/presentations are worth 100 points.
Cooperative Examinations Material like this requires a certain degree of memorization and application. However, testing will be done a bit differently. For each cooperative examination: 1. The group (since this is a small class, the class) will take the test together without the benefit of notes or text. Although everyone will be given a copy of the test, only a single designated copy will serve as the final answer sheet. 2. After this test is completed, a second test will be given individually. You will not cooperate on this test. It will consist of multiple choice and true/false questions covering the exact same material as the previous test. Failure to score 80% or above will result in the reduction of the individual test score as follows: Between 70 and 79=loss of five points from group score Between 60 and 69=loss of ten points Between 50 and 59=loss of twenty points Below 50=loss of thirty points
Thus, someone who has not studied for the test should not be able to achieve a high grade based only on group score. Also, anyone who makes 100% on the individual test will receive five bonus points to the group score. 3. Any group member late or absent will take the group version of the test individually. 4. If the final group score is unusually low, I may make adjustments. I encourage you to study as a class.
Course Wiki We’ve all used Wikipedia. Have you ever thought about what it is? The word “wiki” is from the Hawaiian “wiki wiki,” meaning, “fast.” Wikipedia is a quick, collaborative distillation of content. Essentially, a wiki is a web page that users can author and edit collaboratively. Think of it as a multimedia chalkboard. All of you have chalk, and all of you have erasers. (But what chalkboard allows you to post videos, images, links?) This course wiki will be our intellectual workspace for the class. I’ve assigned it a large amount of points (400 out of 1000) because it is so important. This is where you’ll collaboratively distill the content of our text, discussion, reflection, and other readings. For each chapter, you’ll collaboratively author a summary. These summaries should be complete. In other words, they should be no longer than necessary, but also no shorter. I’m not looking for a verbatim copy of the chapter, but neither can three pages be covered in three sentences. For each chapter, also, you each will pose a thoughtful question, and then seek to begin to answer a question that a classmate has posed. (If you are not in the habit of asking questions of a text as you read, you should get into that habit!) These questions should vault off what you learn in the text, but they should not be ones the text explicitly answers. Dig deep. Think for yourself. And when you answer the question a classmate has posed, you need not settle the issue permanently. Simply use the text, your insights, your experience, and any other readily available information, and answer to the best of your ability. I will be monitoring this wiki. I can tell from my Blackboard dashboard who is writing and editing what, so this is an opportunity to gain (or lose) quite a few points for the class. The ideal, of course, is that everyone in the class will contribute roughly the same amount. See Blackboard for more explanation.
Case Studies Finally, we will be discussing case studies in class. These case studies will be drawn from the end of each chapter, and in some cases, from photocopies of the original edition or from others I provide. I expect all of you to prepare responses to the case study questions before class, and to discuss them proactively during class. I will likely call on you in class to share your insights. This participation will reflect on your class participation score (200 out of 1000). I may also, in certain cases, ask you to come prepared to discuss a certain part of the reading or supplementary reading.
In Summary Ultimately, I’m trying to build a community of discourse in this class. That means that I hope and expect that everyone will read, reflect, and come prepared to digest the content collaboratively, both face‐to‐face and online. The course is designed to make hiding out difficult; if you choose not to read or participate, you will find it very difficult to pass the class. On the other hand, if you do read and participate, you will probably find that the workload is not particularly hard or odious. Who knows? It might even be fun.