Requirements & Grading

Jump to: Requirements | Distribution of Credit | Grading Scales



There are three components to the term work for this course: two exams, one term project/presentation, and a series of tasks–in three broad categories–that you will select for yourself from a variety of options (see the “Tasks” menu).

Exams: This course will have two exams (a midterm and a non-comprehensive final) that will evaluate your mastery and retention of the fundamental information, terminology, and concepts presented in the lectures, readings, and assigned audio/visual examples. The format will be posted ahead of time, but expect short answer questions, short essays, and some identification of listening examples.

Final project: Over the course of the semester, you will complete an independent research project on a topic selected by you and approved by me. Early on in the semester, you will submit a topic proposal and a research plan. During the last week of the semester, you will present your research to the class. During finals week, and as a capstone for the course, you will submit your project to me as a paper of approximately 2,000-2,500 words (that’s about 8–10 pages, not including notes or bibliography). You may also propose to submit your project in an alternate format (such as a website, video, or podcast) if that is appropriate for your topic–but please do make arrangements for this with me ahead of time.

Tasks: The remaining 60% of your grade (see the distribution of credit below) will be based on your achievement in three different areas: participation, critical writing, and research. To demonstrate achievement, you will complete tasks and challenges in each of these areas. You may choose from a variety of options listed on the schedule and under the “tasks” menu. These tasks will be graded on a pass/fail basis (1/2 credit may be given for late or barely passing work at the instructor’s discretion). To achieve an A grade in a given area, you must successfully earn five task credits, so you should strive to complete about fifteen total over the course of the semester, or an average of one per week. (See the complete grading scale below.) Please note that most tasks are tied to a particular class and therefore have a submission deadline, so plan carefully!

Participation. I always expect you to prepare for and attend class, think critically about the course material, and contribute regularly to in-class discussions and activities. (See the policy on excusable absences for more information.) Beyond this, you will earn participation credits for taking on a leadership role: guiding discussions and bringing examples to class.

You can earn two participation credits for a perfect attendance record: that is, having no unexcused absences and regularly participating in class. You will earn one credit if you have fewer than two unexcused absences in addition to regular class participation.

Critical writing: You should complete the assigned reading and listen to/view the assigned multimedia examples listed on the schedule below before the class meeting. Beyond this, you will earn critical writing credit for writing short response papers (generally 1 page or less), answering essay questions about the assigned materials, and/or for taking quizzes on Blackboard.

Research: Research credits can be earned by investigating a topic beyond what has been covered in class or in the assigned readings. To receive credit, you’ll need to share your findings in class or on our course Blackboard site.

Distribution of credit

Distribution of credit will be as follows:

Two exams @ 20% (10% for each)
Final project @ 20%
Participation @ 20%
Research @ 20%
Critical writing @ 20%


Grading Scales

The following scale will be used to translate task achievements into point values, for each task category (participation, critical writing, and research):

Number of task credits earned Letter (Percentage)
5.5+ A+ (100)
5 A (95)
4.5 A-/B+ (90)
4 B (85)
3.5 B-/C+ (80)
3 C (75)
2.5 C-/D+ (70)
2 D (65)
1.5 or fewer F (0)

The following scale will be used to translate point values into letter grades, and vice versa, for the exams and final project. It will also be used for determining final letter grades (please note: plusses and minuses are not used for final course grades at CWRU–any “A” grade is recorded as A, any “B” grade as B, etc.).

Letter Range Midpoint
A+ 97–100 98.5
A 94–96 95
A- 90–93 91.5
B+ 87–89 88
B 84–86 85
B- 80–83 81.5
C+ 77–79 78
C 74–76 75
C- 70–73 71.5
D+ 67–69 68
D 65–66 65.5
F 0–64 n/a