Work Spring 2010


There are no exams.

Coursework will be weighted as follows:
1.  Classroom Engagement: 15 pts.
2. Online Journal: 25 pts.
3. Research Paper: 60 pts.

Total: 100 ptsa

The Grading Scale
I will be using the following grading scale in this course:

98-100 A+
94-97 A
90-93 A-
87-89 B+
84-86 B
80-83 B-
77-79 C+
74-76 C
70 – 73 C-
69/below D
59/below F

Note on Late Assignments:
Late assignments will be graded down 5 percent for each day late, to a maximum of 50% off the credit for the assignment. No matter how late an assignment is, it will always be worth submitting (you can always get up to 50% credit).

1. Classroom Engagement: Participation and Attendance (15%)

This course requires not only attendance but also active participation. This entails doing the readings before class, thinking critically about them and the topics we are discussing. Active participation can significantly help your grade in the course, non-participation can significantly lower your grade, and non-attendance WILL significantly lower your grade.

Attendance and active participation

  1. You must attend class. Think of it as if you are a pilot learning to fly. You have to put in a number of hours in the cockpit to qualify.
  2. You must be active in class. This can take a variety of forms, including: speaking in class, asking questions, emailing me questions, and extra participation on the course blog.
  3. You can miss two classes without any serious consequence. If you miss more than 5 classes you will receive no participation credit.

2. Online Journal:  Country and Reading Posts (25%)

  1. Sign-in using your name so that I can recognize who is posting
  2. “Tag” your posts using the appropriate categories
  3. Your posts are due the MIDNIGHT PRIOR to class.

A. Country Posts (6)

You also will develop a country expertise.  In the second week of the course you will be assigned a country in Africa.  For that country, you will be asked to keep an online journal in which you will react to the topic and readings we are covering in a given week as it relates to your country. You will also be asked to write about current events in your country.  So, for instance, if we are covering the impact of colonialism on Sub-Saharan Africa, you will be asked to write an analysis of how colonialism has affected your country.  The specific topics for you to address will be under each section in the syllabus.  Likewise, you will be called upon in class to provide input on these topics as it relates to your country.  You will become the class expert for your country. You will post these journal items in a course blog that we all share.

  1. There will be 6 country posts.
  2. Add the category “Countries” to the post
  3. It is better to provide specific examples than to cover many subjects in broad terms.
  4. LENGTH OF EACH POST: 500 words.

B. Reading Posts (1)

You will be assigned 1 course day to comment on readings.  It may overlap with other students.  Your comments should be original reflections on and/or critiques of the readings, not summaries.

  1. There will be 1 reading post.
  2. Add the category “Readings” to the post
  3. LENGTH OF EACH POST: 500 words.


The posts will be assessed as a whole at the end of the semester.  However, at mid-semester I will provide a provisional grade on the body of your journal posts up to that point in time.

General Criteria:

A: Excellent in all or nearly all aspects. Posts are marked by creativity and originality. The interest of the reader is engaged by the ideas and presentation. Reading posts do not summarize. Country posts demonstrate some level of research that goes beyond the material provided in class. (Note: I do not expect extensive research, but I do expect a moderate degree of research that goes beyond Wikepedia.)  All posts consistently meet this criteria.

B: A “B- range” grade may indicate that not all posts consistently met the criteria for an “A”.  Or, that the posts were consistently below the “A” level. Such posts may be technically competent with occasional lapses. You are either significantly over OR under the word limit on a regular basis.

C: A “C-range” grade indicates that many or all posts did not meet the criteria for an “A”. These may be competent posts, but are obvious.  The reading post may largely summarize, rather than evaluate, reflect, or critique the readings. The country posts may never use outside sources. Writing may be sloppy.


3. Research Paper (60%)


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