I continue to have trouble understanding the assignments in this course. This seems to be related to the course’s online nature (and my own obtuseness).
First, I’m never really sure what’s due. That’s my fault, for not reading the syllabus, or for not paying attention (or taking notes) when I do read it. What is due tonight is a weekly check-in. That’s what I’m doing right now. However, I’ve received a grade so far for “timeline” and “pre-thesis.” Do these count as check-ins for their respective weeks? I doubt it. Did I get credit for my prior check-ins?
Second, my grades for these two items were 10 and 40, respectively. That would seem to be a 100% (10 out of 10) and a 67% (40 out of 60) on these assignments. 67% is not acceptable, personally, but that isn’t the end of the story: the comment reads “a good start!” Does that mean I’ll be getting more points here as I fill in the thesis? I can’t really tell.
Unrelated to that, I got the good news this week that I’ve been accepted into the MA program. Since I started working toward this degree, in Spring 2007, I was seeking and being given permission to take each course. I was missing only my writing requirement. I passed the WREE in February. My status as a student in the MA program is one big thing I no longer have to worry about.
Research for the literature review continues. I am spending too much time on the search, limiting the time I have to write. This isn’t good, but it isn’t horrible, since I can write quickly. (I had a six-year career as a journalist in my 20s. I wrote a lot, and I occasionally was required to write single-draft copy extremely quickly.)
My next decision is how to break what I’ve found into three sections. My paper will be on the use of an online classroom-participation system as a tool to enhance participation, and I believe I’ve identified section three: do we even need participation? I’ve found an interesting article that questions the fundamental assumptions about this popular grading component. I’ll look for other articles to support or refute the importance of classroom participation.
I’m not sure what sections one and two will be about. Most likely one of them will be a survey of existing participation-tracking systems. Maybe section one will be low-tech systems and section two will be high-tech systems. I welcome suggestions here.