Weekly Homework Assignments (35%)

Aside from the required reading, one of four different homework assignments will be due almost every week: composing discussion questions, writing informal responses, doing outside research, or serving as a respondent for the other students. These assignments will ensure interactive and engaged class discussions throughout the semester, while also enabling you to focus on the research paper at the end of the term (the homework serving in lieu of a cumulative exam). All in all, you will cycle though these four assignments twice, doing each one in turn depending on your group number. The List of Group Assignments specifies which group you are in, and the Schedule on the syllabus specifies the tasks that you will be doing and the materials that you will be covering.

Important Technicalities:

         Email discussion questions and descriptions of outside research to acoykenda at emich.edu by 5:45 Wednesday so that I can put them on the handout for the week. If you cannot email them in time, bring at least two copies to class, perhaps by pasting them several times on the same page to save paper.

         Responses need to be emailed to the course listserv (novel at list.emich.edu) before class time, with a copy brought with you for reference.

         Members of groups doing responses or discussion questions must focus on different materials (supposing that there are multiple ones) to ensure an appropriate amount of attention to each during class. Student a in Group 2 will be responsible for those marked 2a on the Schedule, student b in Group 3 will be responsible those marked 3b, and so on. You can exchange these items with other group members if they are willing to do so. You can also draw on additional texts so long as you concentrate on the designated ones primarily.

         Members of groups doing outside research need keep in contact with each other to ensure different materials are covered. Quick links to email addresses of group members are available on the List of Group Assignments.

I. Discussion Questions

A discussion question is essentially a thesis statement in reverse: a provocative yet pertinent line of inquiry that challenges your peers to interpret texts in a more nuanced fashion than they might have otherwise. Because you will not have to answer these questions yourself, composing them should encourage you to think against the grain, press the boundaries of conventional thought, and perhaps even generate unexpected avenues for future research.

Once you have a question in mind (or a series of related questions), make sure to put yourself in the shoes of the students who will be contemplating it in class: Will they have too little background to answer it? Is it too broad or narrow in scope to provoke thought? Is it too polemic or too little polemic to incite a healthy debate?

II. Responses

Responses are informal reactions to one of the literary texts that we read for the week, of around two paragraphs in length and incorporating at least one major concept from a theorist also covered that week. Email your responses to the course listserv before class time (novel at list.emich.edu) so that other students can benefit from your ideas. If you desire privacy or lack access to a computer, you can turn them in by hand. Either way, bring a copy of all responses to class, where you will have an opportunity to discuss them with your peers. An archive of all responses or other posts to the listserv is online: https://list.emich.edu/pipermail/novel/.

III. Outside Research

For this assignment, you will be reading scholarly works not otherwise assigned and presenting briefly on that material so that your fellow students can share in the additional knowledge that you have acquired.

The outside readings can be 1) optional texts identified on the Schedule for the week; 2) supplemental materials in the Electronic Reserves; or 3) secondary criticism found through the MLA Bibliography. If the latter, search only for current scholarship directly relating to the primary materials, especially that which seems most of interest to you or most germane to the focus of the course at that time. Searching databases by subject (using the author, title, or both) is more efficient than by keyword. See the Researching Literature handout for more detailed information.

Once you determine what you will be reading, contact the peers in your group so that they know not to cover the same materials, and then do the following for the class handout:

1.      Make a list of two main concepts or arguments (use brief bullets rather than complete sentences);

2.      Transcribe one of your favorite quotes (the one that you find most suggestive or debatable);

3.      Note down the minimal bibliographic information necessary for others to access the source.

IV. Respondent

Being a respondent is, in a way, having no homework at all other than to read the materials for the week extra carefully. You will be serving as the main addressee when your peers describe their responses or research in class, offering substantive questions or substantive commentary to incite further discussion.


List of Links:

     Course Syllabus (http://people.emich.edu/acoykenda/561/w08/)

     Electronic Reserves (http://reserves.emich.edu/eres/coursepage.aspx?cid=1842)

     List of Group Assignments (http://people.emich.edu/acoykenda/561/groups.htm)

     Weekly Homework Assignments (http://people.emich.edu/acoykenda/561/hmwk.htm)

     Listserv Information (https://list.emich.edu/mailman/listinfo/novel)

     Listserv Email Address (novel at list.emich.edu)

     Listserv Archives (https://list.emich.edu/pipermail/novel/)

     Broadview Anthology Companion Website (http://www.broadviewpress.com/babl/)

     Suggestions for Discussion Questions (http://people.emich.edu/acoykenda/dq.htm)

     Schedule for Conferences (http://people.emich.edu/acoykenda/561/confer.htm)

     Guidelines on the Research Essay (http://people.emich.edu/acoykenda/561/essay.htm)

     Guidelines on Plagiarism (http://www.emich.edu/halle/plagiarism.html)