Reading/Watching/Listening Notes

To succeed in this course you will have to be an active reader/listener/viewer. That doesn’t mean doing these things fast, but carefully and critically – taking notes and asking questions along the way. One way I will follow your reaction to the “texts” (I mean that in the broadest sense – books, articles, podcasts, videos, documentaries) is through reading notes, which you will write for each assigned text. These notes will be submitted to me on the Google doc you created and shared with me. Put new notes on the top, much like a blog. All of your notes for the semester will be contained in a single Google doc. Name the document – “Your Name – Class Name Reading Notes.” Email me the link and be sure it is editable.

For each reading listed in the schedule, you will need:

• A summary of the major ideas presented in each text (this should be 350-500 words).

• One quote from the text (the most interesting/alarming/compelling/confusing—your choice).

• Brief definitions of key terms that are listed in the under that reading on the schedule. These should be defined within the context of the reading. “Medium,” for example, has many meanings, but it means something specific in McLuhan’s The Medium is the Message.

• Two discussion questions pulled from the text. These should be “how” or “why” types of questions that can’t be easily answered “yes” or “no.”

You should complete these notes for any assigned reading. The deadline for the notes is two hours before class. Any notes completed after that time will not be accepted. These notes will help shape class discussion so the deadline is firm and enforcement is unwavering.

Always add new reading notes to the top of the document.  You will also want to clearly label each day (with a header) so you can refer back to them. Here is an example.

Reading notes count considerably toward your final grade. They are assessed as: “3” – very insightful comments on the reading and evidence of a comprehensive engagement with the texts (does it show that you read/listened/watched thoroughly?) “2” – your engaged all of the readings and all of the parts of the notes; “1” you engaged some of the readings or some of the sections; “0” you didn’t submit anything or you’re trying to bullshit me.

(Thanks to Dave Parry for making his syllabus accessible. I borrowed this from it.)