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Overview of Assignments and Grading

This course rewards your individual work (75% of your final grade) and also bases part of your final grade (25%) on the quality of the collective class project.  See assignment shedule and assignment instructions below.


Attendance Policy

Since there is no exam in this course, regular attendance and participation is a must (and will figure in the final grade).  To pass the course you must be in class the majority of the time (you are allowed a maximum of two absences without permission, with the count started after the first week of classes).




Assignment Schedule

(for assignment instructions, see below)


Date Due
Solo Assignments
Team Assignment
 % of Final Course Grade
Classes 3-8
   Graded as part of your portfolio. Practicums are due to be posted on the course Student Work site on a class-by-class basis so that they can be used as prompts for class discussion.  Practicums also go into your individual portfolio, and the portfolio is graded as a whole at the end of the course.
Class 9 (Apr. 30)
"Thought" Essay #1 (4 pages)
Class 9 (Apr. 30)
Portfolio (in progress)
   (Your in-progress portfolio will reviewed by the instructor, who will give feedback on any changes needed in the way you are keeping the portfolio.  The final portfolio will be graded at the end of the course.)
Class 18 (June 4)
  Collective Class Project (finished by this date)
(This portion of our final grade will reflect the overall quality of the class team project, including such factors as: the project's research content and analysis; supporting materials;  organization; and presentation on a page (or pages) on the course Student Work site.
(June 5)
Portfolio (final)
(June 8)
"Thought" Essay #2 (4 pages)
There is no midterm or final exam in this course. 



Assignment Instructions

Solo Assignments  Solo Assignments

Practicums Solo Assignment  (see Practicum Assignments page for details) 


Classes 3-8 in the Course: Course "practicums" are required to pass the course, and are due to be posted on the course Student Work site on a class-by-class basis so that they can serve as prompts for class discussion.  Practicums are hands-on, small-scale exercises that ask students to learn at a beginner's level about the concepts, methods, and tools of the digital humanities. Classes 3-8 in the course each include a practicum assignment that should be completed before class.  Typically, a practicum asks students to try out a digital tool and method, then to leave an interesting "souvenir" on a page they create on the Student Work site for this course.  The "souvenir" can be as simple as a screenshot of or link to something created (or found) during the exploration.  Practicums should be collected as part of a student's individual portfolio and will factor in the grading of the portfolio.  For detailed instructions on the individual practicums and on how to leave a "souvenir," see the Practicum Assignments page.  (Graded as part of Portfolio assignment).


"Thought" Essay  #1 (4 pages) Solo Assignment


Due Apr. 30 (Class 9): Write a four-page essay that refers to one or more  works, concepts, and/or tools you have learned in the course to offer a thoughtful argument about the use of digital methods in interpreting literature.  You can set the focus of your essay wide (taking up the topic in general) or narrow (looking at a particular example as a springboard for thought), but in any case your essay should include some specifics.  The paper should be "thoughtful," meaning that it is not just a report but shows you thinking about an issue that matters (e.g., asking a question or addressing a problem, analyzing the issues, setting them in context, and/or seeing the issues from various perspectives, pro and con).  And the paper should be an "argument," meaning that it should have both a main topic and an argument about that topic.  (Students are allowed to borrow materials and writing from their portfolio for the essay, so long as the essay develops the ideas more fully and formally.)
       Include notes or a bibliography as needed. (Use MLA style for notes or bibliography . See the Purdue Online Writing Lab's "MLA Formatting and Style Guide")

      Turn in to instructor by email as a PDF file (preferred) or a .doc or .docx file (or equivalent). (20% of final grade)


Portfolio Solo Assignment


In-progress portfolio should be available for the instructor to see on Apr. 30 (Class 9). The final portfolio is due June 5 (day after our last class).

What Is a Portfolio? What Are a Portfolio's Main Goals?:

    Students are required to create a portfolio of their work and thinking for the course.  The purpose of a portfolio is threefold:

  • To document your work during the course, including your individual contributions to the class collective project;
  • To reflect on your work and the topics or materials that interest you.
  • To showcase highlights of your work (in a way that might later be of use to you as you create a more general portfolio of your work for school, internship, or job applications).

     Portfolios are thus some combination of a journal, scrapbook, blog, or gallery that includes concrete examples of your work and topics that intrigue you (e.g., screenshots, quotations from readings, samples of text analysis or topic modeling you are doing) and also reflections on those items (e.g., your thoughts about a particular example, method, tool, or task you are working with).  Portfolios can be organized in a number of ways, including chronologically or by category and section.  For examples of possible formats, see English 197 Portfolio (example).

How to Create Your Portfolio?:

     Create your portfolio as a page in the Portfolio folder of the Student Work site.  Alternatively, you can create a portfolio elsewhere online on platforms designed for blogs (e.g., WordPress.com), wikis (e.g., PBWorks), microblogs (e.g., Tumblr), or designer portfolios and self-published magazines (e.g., Squarespace, Weebly, Wix Issuu, etc.) and simply link to it from a page in the Portfolio folder of the Student Work site.  You can even create a physical portfolio (though in this case you should consider scanning or taking pictures of it so that you can include samples on an online page).  If you keep a more general portfolio of your schoolwork, employment, professional interests, projects, etc. (examples of students with such portfolios), you can include the portfolio for this course there as one of your projects.

How Much Material Should Be in Your Portfolio?:

     Work on your portfolio incrementally as you progress through the course, rather than try to manufacture it retrospectively (which is much harder) just before the due date.  In terms of quantity of content, collect and assemble materials as appropriate in accompaniment to your work in the course, but aim for at least one thoughtful, reflective entry or post each week (e.g., one set of materials to which you add a paragraph of thoughts).

Can You Revise Parts of Your Portfolio Later?:

     You can revise, redesign, or rearrange your portfolio entries in any way you wish before turning in the final portfolio.

Can You Use Parts of Your Portfolio as Material for Your Essays?:

     Anything you create or write in your portfolio can be reused (with further development) in your "thought" essay assignments for the course.

How Will Your Portfolio Be Graded?:

     The grading rubric the instructor will use to grade your prospectus in its final form is based on the three main goals for a portfolio mentioned above.  How well does your portfolio document your work during the course, including your individual contributions to the collective class project?  How well does your portfolio demonstration your ability to reflect on your work and topics that interest you?  How well does your portfolio showcase highlights of your work (organizing and exhibiting effectively rather than leaving everything in the state of the proverbial "shoebox full of stuff").

     (35% of final grade)


"Thought" Essay #2 (4 pages) Solo Assignment


Due June 8 (the Monday after classes are over): This final "thought" essay is similar to the one earlier in the course in asking you for a thoughtful argument about something that interests you (see instructions for the first "thought" essay).  The difference is that the final "thought" essay should deal with some aspect or issue of the class collective project.  Note: the essay should not be a "report" on or "description" of the class project, but a reflection on the project, its issues, or its materials and the literary works it addresses. Revised assignment: This final "thought" essay is your chance to focus on some finding from the class project (a discovery, feature, phenomenon that the project reveals) and interpret it in the context of children's literature of the 1880s, literature of the 1880's in general, and/or our methods of "distant reading" study.  Note: the essay should not be just a "report" on or "description" of the class project, but a reflection or analysis of some finding from the project.  Your essay (or excerpts from it) will join others from the class on the "Our Findings and Interpretations" subpage of the Class Project site.

      Turn in to instructor by email as a .doc or .docx file (or equivalent). (20% of final grade)



Team Assignment   Collective Class Project

Due June 4 (Class 18): This course is an experiment in collaborative project-making.  With the help and supervision of the instructor, we're going to use the new digital methods to make a class project demonstrating the digital reading of literature.  Parts of several classes in the first weeks of the course will be devoted to class discussion about what we would like to do.  A tentative working plan is as follows, with more detailed working plans and tasks to follow:

  • The class will collect or create a digital "corpus" (a collection of texts in digitized form) for a particular kind or period of literature.
  • Several teams will then be formed in the class if appropriate for the project, each team charged with particular tasks and using specific digital methods to study the corpus.
  • The teams will then integrate the results of their approaches in a single project site showcasing the class project and its interpretive conclusions.









































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