English 320:  The Short Story



There will be 300 points possible to be earned in the course, distributed as follows:

2 interpretive essays, each worth 25 points

Mid-Term and Final Examinations, each worth 100 points

Credit for continuous participation, 50 points

Final course grades will be assigned according to the following scale, which indicates the lower cut-off score for grades A through D:
A =  270 points (90% of the 300 total points possible)
B =  240 points (80% of the total points possible)
C =  180 points (60% of the total points possible)
D =  150 points (50% the total points possible)
F =  below 150 points (under 50% of the total possible points)
Let's look at each of the point categories more closely.

Two-thirds of your grade will be determined by the two required examinations.

Approximately a week before each exam, I will post on the Web a guide to preparing for it (a "prep sheet").  The exam itself I will post around noon Central Standard Time (US).

Format of the exams.  For both the Mid-Term and the Final you will be required to write a well-organized, well-developed paragraph on each of 4-5 topics, or somewhat more thorough mini-essays on 2-3 topics, together with a brief series of shorter answers on questions directed to stories not covered in your essay answers. In each answer, whether shorter or longer, you will be expected to show familiarity with certain critical concepts and, of course, with the work under discussion.  In the Mid-Term, I will be looking to see whether you can undertake an appropriate sequence of moves in answering a specific question I pose about the work.  In the Final, I will begin looking to see whether you can formulate for yourself an appropriate agenda of curiosity, and carry it through in an appropriate way. In each case, you will be required to discuss at least one work that we have not focused on in class. (Being able to deal appropriately with material concerning which you have not been provided with a direct model is the "acid test" of whether you have internalized an appropriate battery of readerly moves.)  What I mean here by an "agenda of curiosity" and "appropriate sequence of readerly moves" is something it is the business of the course to communicate.

Remember:  for each exam, you will be provided a prep sheet, which will be posted approximately a week before the exam is due.  Here you will find more specific information about how the particular exam in question will satisfy the description you have just read.  There is, meanwhile, a succinct and a detailed statement of the criteria that will be used to evaluate answers on exams (as well as essays).

Special optional practice examination.  You will have the opportunity to take a practice examination after the first couple of weeks of our course.  It will be shorter than the Mid-Term and Final, since it will cover only the assignments for the initial 2 weeks of the course, and since it's purpose is just to familiarize you with the format of the questions you can expect to encounter on the real exams.  No one is required to take this practice examination.  (Whether you do so or not is entirely at your discretion.)  I will give comments on the answers submitted, and assign points, but I will not count these points in figuring your grade for the course.

In addition, to the required examinations, each student will submit a pair of short essays, each worth 25 points. Together they amount to one-sixth of the basis of your final course grade.

These essays are expected to be longer than the answers you write under the time pressure of the examinations.  (You should aim for around 500 words, which is roughly equivalent to 2 single-spaced pages with 1-inch margins in 12-point font.  More is welcome, of course, provided that it is non-repetitive and on-point.)   This greater length is supposed to be in the service of greater detail and depth of analysis.  Accordingly, you will have several days to reflect on the issues involved and to compose your analysis.

Each essay will be submitted electronically, by the individual student, using one of the methods outlined in the memo on Submitting your work for evaluation.  (Note that this procedure is different from what is required with the two examinations for the course.)

Deadlines for these assignments (also noted in Part 2 and Part 3 of the Course Schedule) are:

Deadline for electronic submission of Essay #1:  midnight of September 18 , in the time zone of the address from which you have registered for the course.

Deadline for electronic submission of Essay #2:  midnight of October 30, in the time zone of the address from which you have registered for the course.

These two essays will be devoted to a detailed analysis of a work or pair of works, on a specific topic chosen from among several I will pose. The important points to stress are that you will not be writing either a plot summary or an explication, nor will you be writing a research paper;.  Rather you will be writing either an analysis or a comparison-contrast. In the second paper, you may expect to deal with at least one work that we have not discussed in class.

You will want to review the memo on criteria for evaluating examination answers.  What is said here applies both to short essays written in-class and to longer essays written out of class.

In this connection, too, Kansas State University Faculty Senate Regulations require me to bring to your attention the University's provisions regarding Academic Honesty.

Another one-sixth of the points possible in the course will be assigned on the basis of your continuing and regular participation in discussions conducted over the Web. The main way in which you can earn credit in this category is by taking a thoughtful and active role in the discussions conducted over our class Threaded Message Board.  But you can also make your presence known during th  Live Lectures that take place on four particular Saturday mornings during the course of the semester..

Each week I will post one or more "Questions of the Day."  You should aim to contribute, in the course of the semester, at least 25 comments (follow-up questions are also welcome) in response to this question, or in response to another class member's comment or question in connection with this "Question of the Day."  Of course, you can at any time open a line of discussion on our class message board on any topic you choose concerning the stories we read or the critical concepts we are working with.  This, too, is a good way to demonstrate your on-going intellectual engagement in the issues generated by the course.

  Suggestions are welcome.  Please send your comments to lyman@ksu.edu .

   Contents copyright © 2000 by Lyman A. Baker.

Permission is granted for non-commercial educational use; all other rights reserved.
  This page last updated 17 elokuu 2000.