Here are some comments I wrote in answer to e-mail about grading and
suchlike for this course. On reflection it seemed like something I
should say to everybody.
>> ... I was just curious about the
>> grading for the term. Assuming one reads all the assigned readings
>> and works diligently on the web page, are there any other graded
> The nice thing about the 'seminar' format is that it doesn't have
> to concentrate on the mechanics of generating a grade (quizzes,
> exams, stuff like that). But from the student perspective this
> makes for a bit of anxiety (sooooo.... how am I gonna be
> evaluated?). I could say "fear not" and promise that virtue will
> be rewarded, and suggest that it's not really a competition with
> others in the class, but that might not relieve the anxiety that
> years of formal education have worked to build up. Certainly John
> and I don't think of the grading part as anything but background
> bureaucratic necessity, and my own approach is to consider what
> a person has done in terms of where he/she started from --not in
> terms of some universal standard. For me, the
> important things are inventiveness, exploratory zeal, contribution
> to discussion --all very subjective things.
>> Furthermore, I am slightly concerned about my web page.
>> While I like to consider myself computer literate (my dad doesn't
>> know where the power button is), I am not nearly as versed in
>> web-page construction as Tara, as was obvious from the intricacy of
>> her web page on Friday. If there is anything extra I can or should
>> do to better myself, please let me know.
> Another thing about the seminar format is that you're more in
> control than would be the case in a lecture-style class. In
> the context of web pages, what that amounts to is that YOU get
> to think about and articulate what you wish you could accomplish
> and WE get to help you figure out how to do it. In practical
> terms, I'd say you should start looking at web pages from the
> point of view of "hey, how did they DO that??", and then looking
> at the html source code (we'll show you how to do this on Friday)
> in order to teach yourself how to do more with the medium. So
> much of this is truly exploratory --there aren't a whole lot of
> rules about how things must be done (in comparison to the
> straitjacket of paper scholarship), and it's evolving rapidly.
> Hope some of that is helpful...