In this course, you’ll be assessed on the following pieces of work:

  • Essay 1: Close Reading — 20% (10% version 1; 10% revision)
  • Essay 2: Text & Context  — 25% (revision optional)
  • Essay 3: Literature Analysis — 30% (revision optional)
  • Weekly reading responses / blog posts — 10%
  • In-class presentation — 15% (7.5% peer-assessed, 7.5% instructor-assessed)

Deadlines for each assignment can be found on the course schedule.

Prompts & Guidelines


Each major piece of work (essays and presentation) will earn a letter grade that corresponds to the 4.0 scale as follows: A = 4.0, A- = 3.67, B+ = 3.34, B = 3.0, etc. These numerical scores will be used to calculate a final grade, for which the letter cut-offs are as follows: >3.8 = A, 3.6-3.79 = A-, 3.3-3.59 = B+, 2.8-3.29 = B, etc.

Blog posts are assessed on a check-plus, check, check-minus scale.

Final grades will include the full range, including A, A-, B+, B, etc. The University does not recognise the grade of A+.

I will not do mid-semester maths for you, but to make your life easier, I have created this Excel spreadsheet which will (direct link to xls; right-click and save as to use the file; don’t edit or delete the formulae in the yellow cells!). Of course, once you know where you’re at and you want to talk about your results and come up with a plan for improvement (or targetted slacking off, depending on your own goals and desires!), my door is always open to you! Please be aware that, to protect your privacy and comply with federal law, I cannot under any circumstances discuss grades over email.


For Essay 1 — and optionally for Essays 2 and 3 — you will produce multiple drafts to be reviewed by both your peers and myself. The revisions made to papers in this course must be substantial. In other words, you cannot only edit, proofread, or correct for spelling and minor grammatical errors. You must also revise to change and enhance the overall structure of your arguments. I will be looking for revisions that focus on global aspects of writing, such as responding to the assignment, using appropriate and consistent tone, fair summary, good organization, effective argumentation and source use and critical thinking; I will be grading revised papers based on these changes and improvements, not simply on the overall quality of the final product.