Literary & Historical Utopias: syllabus details
Your reading for the course is partly tested by your
participation in class discussions of reading assignments led by the instructor
and other students. If you do not participate in or follow these discussions,
the instructor will assume you have not prepared for class, and your
participation & overall grade will suffer.
At least occasionally each student should participate
in discussion by specifically referring to contents or specific pages of the
Students should give visible evidence of reading by
“tracking” the discussion. If students appear unusually bored or clueless,
they’re typically willing to blame it on the content, but it’s often a fair sign
that they haven’t done their reading and are incapable of following the
Participation is judged less on quantity than on
appropriateness to the topic under discussion and the point being pursued. When
you are called upon to speak, avoid telling a long story with lots of
background. Make one point per turn. A list of remarks on several topics
confuses your instructor’s or classmates’ response. Choose the most important
thing to say at the given moment.
If I don’t always follow up your comments, this
doesn’t indicate a negative reaction. Unless I have something potentially
valuable to add, I let a student’s comment “speak for itself” rather than
forcing further words when none may be necessary.