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Self-Quiz for Course "Savvy"

FYI: Not to be handed in)

    Using this syllabus and the rest of this website, your textbook, your classmates, and your teacher, you should be able to piece together answers to the following questions.  (Copy this page to your word processor and space as needed to jot down answers.)  Some of your answers will be subjective, but that's ok because you have to set your own goals and design your own time schedule for getting the most education you can out of this course.  Effort, concentration, and careful pacing are required; beyond those, relax and enjoy the ride. (Scroll down to see sample answers at the bottom of this page; then scroll back up to try answering the next question yourself before comparing answers with the samples.)

  1. What do I have to do to get an A in this course?
  2. When should I start preparing my essays, shorter writings, and midterm presentation?
  3. If all of the course work is not evenly distributed, when are the uneven, dense times?
  4. How do I make up missed short writings, essays, or the midterm presentation, if I miss one?
  5. How can I do well in this course even if I haven't read much literature before nor had a course like this one?
  6. What's the last day to withdraw?  Why might I want to?  What if I don't?  How do I?
  7. What does "read" mean in the assignment calendar?
  8. How much does each of these affect my course grade?

   ___ essays           ___  shorter writings          ___ visiting online sites

   ___ midterm presentation    ___ reading      ___ doing extra-credit writing

  1. What do I do if I just can't figure out what to write for an assignment?
  2. other:

Ernest Hemingway, Ava Gardner, and bullfighter DominguinThis is the writer who gets us to identify with a pregnant young woman in "Hills Like White Elephants"?  Hemingway's public image didn't always match his writing personality.
Photo of Ernest Hemingway waving a bullfighter's cape while actress Ava Gardner and world famous bullfighter Dominguin look on is linked to from one of the six "Papa Pages":      According to the page author, Marcel Mitran, the picture is from Ernest Hemingway's The Dangerous Summer (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1960).  Specific attribution is at The photo may not be copied for profit.

     The URL of this page is:  

Sample Answers
1.  To earn an A for the course, you need to keep a 90% average.  That means you need to score 18 out of 20 on forum answers and module question sets (if any are assigned) 45 out of 50 for a couple pages of detailed writing for quizzes to end a module, and 90 on essays (3-5 pages of well supported insights showing analytical [aka "critical"]) thinking and your presentation.  How?  For postings, be detailed and original--read the assigned work and the existing responses at the forum.  For presentations, be a helpful guide to the work; what you say matters more than the handout and more than the selection you present.  Be organized, detailed, and even well rehearsed.  For essays, be thoughtful, use plentiful support (references to happenings and statements in the work), and explain how your support enhances your thesis--in stylish, carefully edited prose.  

FYI: Some students write their forum answers in Word to minimize online time and then paste it into the comment box for a discussion forum; other students get confused or run into some malfunction that prevents them from answering or even getting to the forum, but their email works, so they email me to retrieve the question and then email the answer, preferably pasted into the email message rather than attached in a file.  The helpful ones copy any error message they encounter and include that in their email message.

2.  The pace of the course is pretty even, but some students start pondering the presentation and looking at the online samples early. 

3.  Print the course calendar page now and return to it to click on some of the links to assignments and to forums.  Overview the course during the first week to assess its pace and see where deadlines sometimes bunch up.  Having seen the essay topics, you may have some idea how to handle them long before the due date.  Notice where your options are and select judiciously the works you choose to write about, selecting those that interest you most.

4.  Around midterm the largest assignment is due (presentation with handout; some students do a PowerPoint, and individuals have to include their own voice as they speak their analysis of a work) .  If your other essays are late, you may be scrambling to do those and extra-credit work when you should be preparing your presentation, which would magnify the "crunch."

5.  "Make up" can mean do the assigned written work and substitute extra-credit writings for the missed presentation.  If the reading baffles you so that you can't figure out what to say in an essay, contact me for ideas or do more extra-credit writing.  Be advised: although the extra-credit tasks can be more fun, they can also be more time-consuming than reading a story or poem and writing a 50-point or 100-point essay.

6.  Extra time on tasks will likely be needed by students who didn't have literature courses in high school or previously at college.  That means reading the introductions in the textbook and working through each of the genre introductions in the Literature Online webs.  Extra time should also be spent discussing the essay assignments with the instructor or one of the staff at the learning assistance center, e.g. B-204 at the Parham Road Campus (371-3600) or the same facility at the Downtown Campus.

7.  The last date to withdraw from a class without penalizing your grade point average (e.g. to avoid an F or D that would be averaged with your other grades) is 60% of the way through the course.  The college calendar for each semester lists the date by which all "Withdrawal from Course" forms must be signed by students and turned in at the campus Admissions and Records office.  You can grant your course instructor permission by telephone or email to fill out and submit such a form for you, if the instructor is willing (as I am).

8.  "Read" means re-read and study and ponder enough to make a thoughtful and detailed written response.  It also means applying considerations from textbook or from Litonline introductions about facets of each genre and questions in the text about the work.  For instance, you should be able to follow the plot (conflict) in a story or play; but you should also (maybe in a second or later re-reading) see props in a drama for their symbolic value, note how the setting influences the characters and hints at the theme.  For poetry and prose, you should consider the implications of figurative language: When Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman tells his boss that he can't "eat the orange and throw away the peel," he is talking about how he feels the boss is treating him--by taking him off commission and then firing him.

9.  On this semester's grade roster, the three essays count about 1/2 of the total course grade (50%, actually, so each essay counts about 12.5%), the presentation totals as much as one essay, and the shorter essays count about 25% altogether (so each one counts about 2.5% of the course grade).  That's about 100%.  Extra-credit writings can supplement or substitute for any of this work.  A couple of students have ended the course with totals above the maximum by doing extra writing--of high quality.  Many students have thrown away time doing glib work on the seemingly "easier" extra-credit assignments and ended up slighting their regular work, finishing with mediocre grades, even failing grades, if their total output was a meager amount of unthoughtful and undetailed work.

10.  Stuck?  Contact me or the campus Academic Support Center.  Usually, we can kick around ideas and get you started.  Some students have read paragraphs or short rough drafts over the phone so that I could suggest directions, help them see the thesis in their writing so far, or tell what pitfalls I foresee.  Of course, email is an easy option for showing me what you've got so far, even if it's only brainstorming about one or two works from which you will choose one to write about.

11.  Other questions?  Email or call.

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