ASSIGNMENTS & GRADING

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING

As the due date for each assignment draws near, detailed assignment sheets will be circulated on the course website and via e-mail. It is critical that you enter a valid e-mail address in your “MyConcordia” account in order to receive important messages.

The essay exams are structured around materials provided in this course (lectures, films, readings, and if applicable, class discussions). Essays should have an introduction, main body, and conclusion. Sources need to be documented. In the main body, each paragraph should begin with a meaningful statement that indicates both the subject of the paragraph, while fitting in with the larger “map” of your essay as outlined in your introduction. Don’t read the assigned readings passively: for helpful hints on how to write, closely examine the writings of our authors in this course. In these essay exercises, usually only one question will be assigned, and the class will usually have no more than one or two weeks to complete the assignment.

Normally, papers will be returned to students two weeks after they have been submitted.

COURSE POLICIES

Please do not expect to receive any extensions for your assignments, and do not be late in submitting them. Only in extreme cases will late work be accepted, pending full and original documentation, and the final decision rests with the instructor. In all cases, precise, original documentation will be required before any extension can be granted, and only in the case of a death in one’s immediate family (i.e. parents, siblings), or serious illness. In such cases, the illness or death must cover most of the period during which given work has been assigned.

Students are responsible for acquiring course content. Therefore, if a class is missed, no independent tutorial will be provided by the professor to brief the student on what transpired in the class the student missed, nor will a summary or any notes be provided. Students may not video or audio record any lectures, nor take photographs during class. Students should make arrangements with one another to get a photocopy of the notes for a missed class, and be willing to return the favour.

If you enter the course with a pre-existing medical condition that will impede you from completing the course, then please speak to the instructor about your ability to successfully complete the course. This is to avoid any requests for late completion, which are generally not granted, and never granted after the course has already passed its last day of class.

Arrangements for Late Completion should be negotiated and arranged with the instructor before final grades are due. Only the most compelling reasons, with convincing documentation, can be considered. Please keep in mind that the instructor will most likely not accept requests for late completion.

There is one major exception to these policies: in the event of a major public health crisis, or events beyond the University’s control, alternative course requirements and grading policies will be developed and used.

There will be no supplemental work.

Do not call the main office for course-related inquiries.

GRADING POLICIES

The grading scale above is that which has been officially established by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and is followed by all faculty.

It is important that you note the qualitative terms associated with numerical grades. Your work is first assessed qualitatively, and secondly the appropriate numerical equivalent is generated (usually to mark differences between papers received – see below). Please note that work that meets the basic requirements, that is fair, without major flaws, that is satisfactory, can only achieve a grade in the C range. Not getting a grade higher than that does not mean that you “lost points,” but rather that the points were never gained. Grades in the A range are not liberally awarded and thus tend to be more rare.

In general, student work is assessed in the following manner: Student assignments are evaluated in comparison with each other, normally done by the instructor assembling a random sample and highlighting the best elements of each paper, which then forms the template by which papers are judged. The paper(s) that set(s) the highest standards for student work will receive the highest grades. Numerical grading is used not so much as a tally of points, but as a means of distinguishing the achievements of various papers, in comparison with one another. Students will tend to judge their paper in isolation, which is understandable; however, please keep in mind that the instructor’s determination is a comparative one.

If a student feels that factual errors were made in an assessment, or that the evaluation was manifestly unfair, then of course the student should speak to the professor. Asking for a paper to be reassessed, however, does not mean that a higher grade will be the guaranteed outcome: in fact, the grade could go lower, or stay the same. Students’ performance in other courses is most assuredly not a valid basis for anticipating particular grade outcomes in this course.

Students are evaluated on the extent and depth to which they have utilized assigned readings, lectures, films, and class discussions when applicable. Students are also evaluated on their ability to successfully apply key course concepts to their own writing, and to write clearly and professionally. Analytical and conceptual clarity (the argument does not contradict itself repeatedly, the writer stays focused, any concepts used are defined, concepts are related to one another when applicable, pros and cons are considered, assertions are supported with evidence or logic), are vital elements of a paper deemed to be “very good” or better. Structure, logical organization, and effective writing are of substantial importance.

The allocation of points for course work follows this general pattern (assume that an assignment is marked out of 100 points):

20 points – Writing, Structure and Organization:

• an effective introduction that shows an understanding of the problem at hand, without modifying the original question to such an extent that the student is effectively addressing a problem that was not assigned;
• a conclusion that does not just repeat or summarize, but that draws together the main themes and ideas of the paper;
• significant ideas forming the first sentence of each new paragraph;
• ideas and paragraphs that flow from one to the other, so that there is no abrupt break; and,
• logical presentation: statements that logically follow from one another.

30 points – Analysis, Conceptualization:

• an effective paper is not one that contradicts its own main premises and statements, without a discussion of the reasons for the apparent contradiction;
• better papers tend to have a clear picture of the problem as a whole and its constituent parts;
• a demonstrated understanding of the key ideas, concepts, or theories is required – being able to apply and scrutinize those ideas, concepts, or theories makes for a better paper.

50 points – Supporting Materials:

• a well reasoned, logical, and analytical paper is further strengthened by being able to refer to supporting ideas or details from the assigned readings and other course materials; and,
• it is expected that students will try to cover, as much as is reasonable and applicable given the specific question, the assigned readings, films and lectures, without any unjustifiable exclusions.

ACADEMIC REGULATIONS AND PLAGIARISM ISSUES

Section 16 (Academic Information: Definitions and Regulations) of the Undergraduate Calendar will be strictly administered – particularly on deadlines, Failing Grades, Administrative Notations, Late Completions=‘INCompletes’ (Grade/INC), ‘Failed No Supplementals’ (FNS), ‘Did Not Writes’ (Grade/DNW).

For this course, no bibliography is required when referring to assigned readings, in any assignment that is based solely on assigned readings. In such cases, when quoting one of your readings, or drawing attention to a supporting fact in a reading, simply end the sentence with a bracketed reference that contains the author’s surname, and the original page number – for example: (Smith, 22). Note that, like in all sentences, the final period comes after the closing parenthesis of the reference.

No references are required for lecture notes. You may encounter different policies on this elsewhere. However, the professor in this course believes that once a lecture is delivered, it becomes common knowledge for the course.

No references are required for class discussions. Thus you can also eliminate starting a sentence with “As we discussed in class.”

Note: You should generally not be writing for your professor but for an assumed general, educated audience, that may not know what you are talking about and thus needs you to explain it.

When referring to a film for the first time in a paper, write out its full name in italics, i.e., Chronicle of a Summer. Subsequent references can be shortened, i.e., Chronicle.

Do not waste any space by writing out the full title of an article or chapter within the body of an essay, unless it is an especially important piece.

DISCLAIMER

In the event of extraordinary circumstances beyond the University’s control, the content and/or evaluation scheme in this course is subject to change”.

IMPROVING STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC EXPERIENCE

The University offers many services that can help students. To improve students’ ability to succeed in their courses, get the most out of the university experience, and ensure their success in completing their degree, it is strongly recommended that you make a note of the following list of services: