Thursday, November 16, 2017

Leading up to Week 13

On the last night of class, we will have our "final exam" activity which is worth 20 of the 200 participation points for the semester. There is no way to earn those 20 points other than by participating in this activity on that date.

The activity will be based on reading of  "A Jury of Her Peers" by Susan Glaspell. You must print, mark up, and read this story, and bring it to class on the final night. Of course, you should read it much earlier and prepare your arguments.

The debate will happen in 3 rounds, each round being devoted to one question. You need to prepare responses to both sides of each of these  questions because in class you will be randomly assigned ONE side to defend for each question. Each student participates in two of the three debates and acts as a "judge" for the other debate.

Your arguments will not be strong unless you can quote passages from the text in support, so expect a low grade if you have no marked-up text to work with. 

Here are the questions:

1. From a moral (not a legal viewpoint), did Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters do the right thing by hiding the evidence against Minnie? This question does not ask whether they would face legal repercussions for their actions (of course, they would). Rather, it is a question about morality. Argue whether or not you feel they should be punished for their actions, regardless of what the law actually is.

2. Assume for this question only that it is proven that Minnie did indeed strangle her husband to death. By today's legal standards (and you may want to do some research in preparation as to what those standards are) could Minnie avoid a guilty conviction regardless? By what arguments?

3. At the time this story was written, it was illegal for a woman to serve on a jury. Does this story build a case in favor of allowing women to serve on a jury, or does it build case against it? As part of answering this question, examine what the story seems to be saying about the differences in essential nature between men and women (the ways in which each is "better" or "worse" than the other). You should also do some research into what the phrase "jury of one's peers" means exactly, what is controversial about the idea of forming a jury out of "peers," and what is significant about naming the story "A Jury of Her Peers."

On another note, class on the night of November 21/22 is optional. I will spend the night looking at complete (only) drafts of Essay 4. If you have a draft you want me to review, bring it and I will look at it one-on-one in the order you arrive. I will not use that time to help you think about an essay that is incomplete or not yet begun. I will only look at complete, typed drafts.
On yet another note, the last night to drop a class is November 17th. After that, you will not be able to request a grade of "W" from the college. To know your position in the class, simply go to and look at your percentage. 90-100 = A, 80-89 = B, 70-79=C, 60-69 = D. If you are missing Essay 1 or Essay 2 you obviously don't enough points to be passing at this point. As to whether you can make up for it with the last 3 essays, participation, final exam, and presentation, you will have to work the numbers to judge for yourself. There are 580 points left to be earned and you need 700 to pass with a "C."

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Leading Up to Week 12

Remember to bring the class textbook every week. We will be using it regularly,

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Leading Up to Week 11

Remember that Nov 17 is the last day to drop classes and receive a "W" rather than an "F" for non-completion. State law prohibits us from giving a "W" to anyone still in the class past that date.

Essay 2 grades have been posted to Add up your scores for Essay 1 and Essay 2. Keep in mind that the participation score is currently out of 100 points to represent the first 8 weeks of the semester. At the end of the semester, another 80 points for participation will be included (largely reflecting your work on the Honora Parker presentation), plus 20 for the "final exam" debate activity.

Get your total, then divide it by 420 to get an idea of what percentage of points you currently have. 294 is the minimal passing grade, and 58% of the points are yet to be earned.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Leading Up To Week 10

Assignment for Oct 31/Nov 1
For Oct 31/Nov 1, see the post just before this one for the instructions -- you need to post to an example of a flawed statistical study that you will discuss in class. Due to instructor absence last week, this assignment is postponed for now. We will discuss it at the upcoming class.

Groups for Presentation Leading Up to Essay 4
If you have been absent ever since we formed groups, you may no longer be in a group at all. You need to contact me at so that you do not end up having to present all on your own.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Class Cancelled October 24 AND 25

Class is cancelled for October 24 and 25. Please meet with your groups at the library or elsewhere if necessary. Otherwise, go home!

For the Tuesday class only, the groups presenting on Juliet's mom, Juliet's dad, and Pauline's dad will present first on November 7. The others will present on November 14. You will only get a little time on October 31 to meet with your group, so do what you have to do tonight or outside class.

If you are in the Wednesday class, the groups presenting on Juliet's mom, Juliet's dad, and Pauline's dad will present second on November 15. Everyone else will present on November 8.

If you were never placed in a group, email me right away at to avoid being dropped from the class.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Leading up to Week 9

  • I have posted Participation grades for the first half of the semester on Use the gradebook feature on that site to view. This is out of 100 points with 100 points more being given at the end of the semester. There is no reason that the second score can't be much higher or lower than the first score. 20 of those points come from the first-week assignment. The other 80 are based on participation in weeks 2-8.
  • I get many extra credit requests at the end of the semester. My reply is always that the opportunity to raise the grade is present all semester long in the form of Participation points. Owning the texts is helpful. Reading them, more helpful still.

Heads up: At the upcoming class I will ask you -- before class on on Oct 31/Nov 1 -- to find and post an example of a flawed/misleading statistical study. Due to instructor absence on 10/24 - 10/25, this assignment has been postponed for now. There are different ways a study can mislead. The problem might be with ambiguous terminology, inaccurate graphic representations, faulty conclusions, bad assumptions, or illogical methodology. An example of a bad statistical study due to ambiguous terminology: A study showing that 75% of English major graduates are successful after college. "Successful" is not defined, which could lead to meaningless results. Example 2: A study showing that 30% of homes in a neighborhood contain at least one criminal. What is a criminal? Does that include people who speed, who walk their dogs off-leash, who were cited for a noisy party, who littered?

Post your example (a link to the article) to the Discussion Forum as you did for the DUI ad. Your post should consist of the link to the article. You will explain the problem with the study in class.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Leading up to Week 8

  • Continue bringing Elements of Argument to class.  Essay 2 is due at next class, following guidelines in syllabus as before.
  • Scores for Essay 1 are posted on There is a gradebook feature in turnitin that will show your score as well as feedback.
  • It's important that Essay #2 reflect a thorough familiarity with the text and its details. Essays that look like they could have been written without having the read the novel won't get satisfactory scores.
  • Office hours on October 16 and October 30 only will be changed to 4-6 pm
On Oct 17-18, everyone was placed into a group for the purposes of the Honora Parker Murder presentation. The groups are listed below. If you were absent please tell me at promptly the way you want your group to contact you (email or phone). And indicate your permission for me to give that info to your group. Also, see the syllabus for Essay #4 under the timeline section -- you will see that an annotated bibliography is due as hard copy at the next class. Yes, in addition to that being the Essay 2 deadline. Read the instructions in the syllabus and google "what is an annotated bibliography" to see what to do. How many sources do you need? As many as you can reasonably find and contribute to your group.

If you were in class but had an absent member in your group, I will send you contact info for that person via whatever email address you supplied to No need to contact me.


Juliet's Mom (Axis of Evil)

Juliet's Dad (Legion of Doom)

Pauline's Mom (Zany Abusers)

Pauline's Dad (Combustible Pandas)

Juliet (Spambots Unleashed)
Stephanie R
Stephanie N

Pauline (Disenfranchised Ghouls of the Hard Rock Cafe)


Juliet's Mom (Axis of Evil)

Juliet's Dad (Legion of Doom)

Pauline's Dad (Raiders of the Lost Arf)

Juliet (Combustible Pandas)

Pauline (Disenfranchised Wraiths of the Hard Rock Cafe)