Since this is a writing intensive course, you are expected to produce a lot of writing. Instead of following the traditional model of submitting separate assignments, you will create an ePortfolio that could be put together any way you want. You are still required to fulfill the general parameters of the assignments and to answer the questions, but I don’t want you to be limited to the traditional essay format. The ePortfolio is a product that you should consider as your personal exploration of South African literature, history, and culture. Of course, I expect you to cite and refer to information and material from the assigned readings, but I also want you to incorporate any other texts and ideas that you have about the course material. These could include videos, pictures, blogs, stories, etc. that you discovered during your reading about South Africa. If you find any parallels with the situation in the United States or other countries, bring it up. I will be actively looking through your ePortfolios throughout the semester and commenting on them. You will receive up to three extra percentage points on your final grade if you go above and beyond the requirements of the assignments. Remember, this is an opportunity to display your intellectual curiosity and discovery of a part of the world that you have probably not studied in detail.
Your ePortfolio will constitute 70% of your final grade. The calculation is as follows:
1. Reading responses (20%) – Every single week, you will be required to post a response to the assigned readings. I will offer a series of suggested questions for you to answer. If there is something else about the readings that interests you and you want to develop, go for it. It must be at least 400 words long. You must include at least two quotes from the text in your reading response. By noon, Monday before class, I want you to post a link to your response in the comments sections of the course ePortfolio. You will be excused for not submitting up to 2 reading responses. After that, I will take off three whole points for each missing one.
2. Literary and Historical Analyses (20% or 10% each) – You will be required to write two papers that closely analyze your chosen short stories. Both papers will deal with the same short story. (You must decide which one you will examine from a list of possibilities by March 26th. Only two students could analyze each short story. It is first-come, first-served.) For the first one, you will be required to do a close reading, finding the evidence within the text. You will focus in on one specific aspect of the text and figure out what you think the author is doing through this narrative. I am looking for a coherent, well-developed argument. Do NOT incorporate any outside sources. For the second paper, you will contextualize the story within a larger historical/ ideological framework. How does the short story capture the time period in which it was written and how does it respond to it? You must find at least three outside, academic or archival sources to back up your thesis. Link your points to the sources and incorporate a bibliography in proper MLA style somewhere in the ePortfolio. Each of these pieces must be at least 1200 words long. You must post a link on the assignment page by the due date. I will take off a percentage point for every day it is late.
3. Reflection on South African Literature (20%) – For this final paper, you must reflect on the themes discussed throughout the semester. Explain the connection between your short story and this body of work that has defined this notion of South African literature. What does this term mean to you? Has it changed your perceptions of South Africa? What is the relationship between literature and society? Although you are not required to bring any outside sources, you must respond to at least three different texts (fictional and academic) that we discussed throughout the semester. You are also free to bring in any other materials that could enhance your presentation. This component too must be at least 1200 words.
4. The ePortfolio itself (10%) – At the end of the semester, I will give you a grade for the presentation of the ePortfolio. You will be given a rubric that describes how I will grade the ePortfolio. I will consider how it captures your reaction to the material and how it is presented to the world. The aspects I will be grading you on include the aesthetics, the use of outside materials, and the overall presentation of the material. Click here for the rubric.
Another 20% (10% for in-class activities and 10% for the presentation). will be based on your in-class work. 10% will be given for the low-stakes writing assignments and activities that will occur during the class period. If you are consistently participating and doing the work, you will receive a high grade for participation. This will also include posting any drafts of papers that I assign. The other 10% is based on an in-class presentation. Individually or in pairs, you will provide a short presentation of your chosen short stories at the beginning of the class when we discuss your chosen short story. This presentation should not go over ten minutes. This is an opportunity for you to explain how the short story captures this notion of South African literature. You will conclude your presentation with a series of questions that will lead off the classroom discussion.
There will also be a final in-class reflective essay at the end of the semester based on the film Tsotsi. This will count for 10% of your final grade.