Make-Up "Quiz"

English 10
Teaching Associate: Patrick Mooney
Summer 2015

Overview: This quiz is a final opportunity to shove a relatively high number into your quiz scores before I calculate your overall grade for the quarter. To pick up points here, you need to make a substantial contribution to a collaboratively edited study guide for the final exam. Note that, in order to do so, you will need to have a Google account and request that I approve you as an editor for the document — you should realize that it may take several hours for me to see and respond to your request for permission to edit the study guide.

This assignment is completely optional, and there is no penalty for choosing not to complete it. However, those who are currently struggling with their overall quiz scores have a strong incentive to do this assignment, and everyone may find that it is a helpful way of studying for the final. Anyone who is in danger of not completing the seven quizzes required to get a passing grade in the course may count this quiz as one of the mandatory seven.

As I told you at the beginning of the quarter, I will drop your two lowest quiz scores from consideration in your final grade. If you score any points on this quiz, I will include those points as an additional quiz you have taken, and I will drop your lowest three quiz scores, instead of your lowest two.

It should go without saying that anyone who has missed more than two quizzes should think strongly about contributing to the study guide, because doing so will replace a zero that would otherwise become part of your grade with a higher number. Conversely, anyone who has a low number currently being figured into their grade after their two lowest quiz scores have been dropped also has a strong incentive to do this assignment. You may also find that doing this assignment is a way of doing some helpful studying for the final.

If you have questions about your quiz scores, please come by my office or speak with me after class.

This assignment is due at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, 29 July. No late make-up quizzes will be accepted for any reason at all — not even in the event of a technological failure, or terrorist attack, or natural disaster, or documented alien abduction, or an emergency. You should plan ahead and provide your contributions as far in advance as possible, both because you can't pick up points for duplicating the work of others and because it's not safe to assume that the group-edited guide will necessarily and definitely be available in the last few hours before the assignment is due. The cutoff listed above is absolute, even if the resource you need to edit becomes unavailable for reasons beyond your control (and/or mine) shortly before the due date listed above. If you wait until the absolute last minute to make your contribution, then you are gambling that everything is going to work well; if your gamble doesn't pay off, then you'll find yourself without the opportunity to do this extra-credit assignment. Making your contributions early is a smart move for these and other reasons.

Assignment: Contribute to a collaborative study guide for the course available as a Google Document. (The link to that document is at the bottom of this page.)

Scoring: Anyone who makes a substantial overall contribution to how useful the document is as a study guide for the class as a whole will receive at least five points, and possibly more, as a score on this "quiz." The student who makes the strongest overall contribution will receive eleven points. Most students who complete this assignment will (most likely) receive a number of points somewhere in the middle.

If you're thinking about asking what the minimum number of edits that constitute a substantial contribution might be, or just how substantial they have to be, then you probably have not yet made a substantial contribution. Shooting for the minimum required is not a safe strategy here, because the minimum required will depend partially on how much work other people do.

Caveats: You need to be able to log in to Google Documents to do this assignment (this may mean that you need to sign up for a Google account, which takes only a few minutes, and which you can cancel, if you like, once you've received a final grade for the quarter). You must request permission to edit the document, and I have to approve you, before you can edit it; be aware that I am often away from my computer for several hours at a time and may not necessarily approve you immediately (though I will approve editors as quickly and often as possible). You need to make sure that the account with which you sign in displays your real name, not something clever, unintelligible, or obscure. If I can't tell immediately upon looking at your account name who you are, I will not put any additional effort into researching your identity, you will not receive any points for this assignment, and you will not be able to retroactively claim credit for them later.

Remember that I can tell who made which edits, and that I can revert to earlier versions of the document. Looking through the document's revision history will be a part of how I evaluate your score. If you attempt to make it look as if you are trying to appropriate credit for someone else's work, you will receive zero points. If you sabotage the document by removing information of genuine utility, you will also receive zero points. Students who make genuine contributions to the guide will receive the highest scores. However, I will also reward small-scale, perceptive, detail-oriented contributions with high numbers of points in at least some cases.

If you are profoundly off-topic, abusive to other class members, or do anything else that is basically inappropriate, then you will (at a minimum) receive zero points for the assignment.

I am not going to be intervening (extensively) in this document as it is created, unless it becomes absolutely necessary — this is a resource that you are developing for each other. (However, I will respond as quickly as possible if anyone reports that there is a real problem, and, if I agree with you that it is a real problem, will resolve it as rapidly as possible.) The fact that an idea appears on the study guide should not be taken to imply that I endorse that idea, or that it will be on the final exam. (Contrapositively, the fact that something does not appear on this guide should not be taken to mean that it will not be on the final.)

Plagiarism: Although it is not necessary to adhere to the MLA citation standard here, it is necessary to indicate in some clear way when you use someone else's language or ideas. Don't copy and paste big blocks of text.

Community guidelines: Be polite and honest. Don't get in turf wars. Assume other people are acting in good faith, even if they're not producing what you would like them to produce. Remember that the overall goal for this exercise is to produce a useful study guide. If someone else has already made the contributions that you wanted to make, then find another way to contribute, rather than trying to appropriate credit for their work. Cleaning up text and editing verbiage to make it more specific, focused, useful, etc. are all excellent ways to contribute, but try not to be nitpicky (about grammar, say) just for the sake of being nitpicky. (However, correcting factual errors and fundamentally off-base interpretations is definitely a substantial contribution. So is adding additional detail or more examples, provided that the material added is relevant and useful.) Though there are many ways to contribute meaningfully to this assignment, remember that providing useful content is your primary goal.

It is perfectly acceptable for the study guide to contain differences of opinion, though these should be expressed politely and as fairly and objectively as possible. If multiple people have multiple different interpretations of (an aspect of) a text or a topic or a theoretical approach, then those multiple interpretations can all be reflected under the appropriate heading, perhaps by using appropriate subheadings (Brad's understanding of confessional poetry, Janet's understanding of confessional poetry, etc.).

General suggestions: I have provided an outline of topics that I think may be worth thinking about, but these are really just suggested headings to get you started. Feel free to add additional headings. Under each heading, you should outline what you think of as the major features of the text or idea in question, plus enough information to make your information a useful summary for someone else. This may include summaries of arguments for theoretical texts; lists of characters and places in novels, plays, or narrative poetry; characteristics of diction for various authors; or anything else that you think makes connections between the text(s) and the major topics of the course. Being able to see the structure of the course as a whole, and to relate major topics to specific textual details, is what most students will probably find most helpful in studying for the final exam, and this is what I will be looking for as I assess your contributions.

Log in to Google Documents, and then edit the study guide.