As people begin their significant posts (thanks to Hassan for going first), and pursuant to our class discussion on Tuesday (before the Woodward Ave. construction people so rudely ruined our day by causing a gas leak), here are the quasi-democratic significant post guidelines:
Unlike regular weekly blog posts, significant posts will be graded on the 10-point scale described on our grading page.
As always, I reserve a point for brilliance, to reward truly exceptional work. (This extra point take you from an A to an A+, a grade I cannot in fact give you for the semester. Do not trust fans of American football; extra points are not foregone conclusions.)
The remaining 9 points break down as follows, with 3 points to be assessed in each category not according to a specific tallying of sub-points, but rather in an overall assessment of performance, responding to the following criteria:
• Writing, style, and argument. Is the piece grammatically written? Is the punctuation correct? Are the mechanics working? Is the diction clear? Is the jargon substantially correct? Does the writer develop a humane voice? Is it enjoyable to read? Is the prose stylish? Does it pursue a clear agenda? Does it make points in a manner that is easy to follow? Does it make its points concisely? Does the writing have purpose beyond course requirements?
• Engagement and analysis. Does the piece explain the text (or selected parts of it) well? Is the scope of explanation narrow or specific enough? Does it develop a largely correct summary account of the piece (or selected parts of it)? Does the piece address questions, lacunae, problems, or failures to understand? Does it engage conversations that have been playing out on the blogs? Are the pingbacks substantial? Does it address the specifics of the texts and conversations? Does the piece pursue analysis of the text?
• Sophistication and creativity. Are the stakes clearly articulated? Does the post teach its readers something new? Are there surprises? Do the examples or anecdotes lead to new discoveries? Or, does the post lead us to new questions we didn’t know how to ask before? Is there an argument? Is it unexpected? Does it put the texts into new contexts? Does it transform our understanding of those contexts? Does the analysis lead to novel arguments about the text, or to new ways of reading it?
You’ll get a grade and comments on significant posts within 1-2 weeks of the post. I will offer comments along the above lines, according to these three categories. I will also give you a cumulative grade whenever I deliver such comments.