Reading Notes Guide

To succeed in this course you will have to be an active reader. That doesn’t meaning fast, but reading carefully and critically – taking notes and asking questions along the way. One way I will follow your reaction to the reading is through reading notes, which you will write for each assigned reading. 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.

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

• A summary of the major ideas presented in the text (this should be 200-400 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 starts (or 9 a.m., which ever comes later). 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 reading notes to the top of the document and make sure that your name is always at the very top of the document. That is the most recent day should be at the top. 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: “2” – your engaged all of the readings and all of the parts of the notes; “1” you engaged someof the readings or some of the sections; “0” you didn’t submit anything or you’re trying to bullshit me.

Creating and Sharing Google Doc:

You need to create a Google Doc to share reading notes with me. If you’re not sure how to do that, check out the video below. Create a doc with the title ‘[YourName] 201 Notes.” So mine would be Mike Lyons 200 Notes.

Be sure to change the settings to “anyone with the link” can access and “anyone can edit.” Then e-mail me the link with the subject (your name) link. The reason I want you to use those settings is so that I can look at your document and add comments.

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


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