WS 102 M/W- Cora Agatucci
Introduction to Studies in Women and Gender:

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WS 102 Assignments: Online Handouts


No Credit

Participation Credits ("PC" for selected class activities) & informal written Dialogues (individual and small group responses to major course presentations & readings). Some may be made up or turned in late with no penalty by arrangement with instructor, and a limited number of extra credit options will be offered.

letter graded

Midterm Discussion Paper (4-to-5 typed/wordprocessed, double-spaced critical/analytical paper on a focused topic drawn from course presentations & readings in the first half of the term). Revision Option for papers turned in on time; Late papers accepted with a one grade penalty.

letter graded

Critical Review (of 3-to-5 outside sources on a topic of personal interest relevant to the course, including preliminary topic description & source list, small group oral report, and 4 extra copies or electronic version for webpublishing on WS 102 website). In-Class Oral Report cannot be made up or given late; Written Critical Review will be accepted late with a one grade penalty but no later than the Final Exam meeting.
self- grading
Final Course Reflections & Self-Evaluation (may be prepared in advance or written during scheduled Final Exam meeting): Final will not be accepted later than the scheduled Final Exam date.

See also Statement on Plagiarism in WS 102 Syllabus

Midterm Discussion Paper
Directions, Topics, & Evaluation Criteria
And see StudentWriting

[Running Page Header]
Studentlastname 1

[Standard MLA-style Heading:]
Janet Student [your name]
WS 102, Prof. Agatucci [identify course & instructor]
Midterm Discussion Paper [identify assignment]
16 February 1999 [give date due]

Midterm Discussion Paper: Directions, Topics, and Evaluation Criteria
[Center the Title of your Midterm Discussion Paper]

1. Suggested Length: 4-5 typed/wordprocessed and double-spaced pages; or 6-8 legibly handwritten, single-spaced pages. Please type or write on only one side of a standard-sized (8 " X 11") white paper. Leave one inch margins at the top, bottom and sides of each page. Use the heading above placed in the upper left-hand corner of the first page of your discussion paper. Type or write your last name and the page number in the upper right-hand corner of the second and each subsequent page of your discussion paper.

2. Grading: Midterm Discussion Paper is worth 30% of your course grade. Review Late policy and Revision Option described in the WS 102 syllabus.

3. Topics: Choose one of the following topics as the subject of your Discussion Paper:

TOPIC #1: After five weeks in WS 102, how would you now define Studies in Women and Gender in the Humanities? Write your Midterm Discussion Paper in response to this question.

a. Limit yourself to two to four defining features of such studies, grounded in your experience of Weeks #1-5 course presentations, reading materials, and learning activities--approached as practical demonstrations of the kinds of knowledge, goals, and perspectives that such studies offer regarding women, gender, and humankind.

b. Be sure to define any special terminology (e.g., "gender" or "feminist") that you introduce in your discussion paper. When you quote or paraphrase from WS 102 readings, be sure to identify the source and page number in parenthesis after the citation, like this: (Packet 93). If you intend to cite other outside sources, you will have to give fuller information to avoid plagiarism: see Cora for advice.)

c. Explain and illustrate each your defining points with well-selected specific examples drawn from WS 102 course resources, dialogues, and learning experiences thus far. A minimum requirement is that your paper integrate discussion and/or examples from at least two of the following:

d. In concluding your discussion paper, speculate on the value and/or limitations of studies in women and gender, as you currently understand it, and explain your evaluation.

TOPIC #2: You are invited to propose in advance an alternative topic of special interest to you for the Midterm Discussion Paper. However, your topic proposal should be relevant to the women’s and gender studies in the humanities and allow you to meet the minimum requirement for discussion of course resources described under part c above.

Alternative Topic proposals should be written out and discussed with Cora no later than Tuesday, Feb. 9, 1999.

4. Evaluation Criteria: The grade and points your Discussion Paper earns will primarily be determined by the following evaluation criteria:

(1) good faith effort to follow directions and to address all parts of the selected topic;

(2) evidence of thoughtful response to and serious engagement with the question addressed in the discussion paper, using this assignment to stimulate a meaningful learning experience;

(3) evidence of thorough acquaintance with, understanding of, and ability to apply course concepts and ideas, drawn from class presentations, readings, and/or discussion, as relevant to the topic;

(4) ability to offer insightful analysis, comparisons and/or synthesis of selected course materials in addressing the topic;

(5) ability to support, explain, clarify and illustrate your opinions clearly and convincingly with clear explanation, sound reasoning, and relevant, well-selected specific examples/evidence; and

(6) ability to express your ideas clearly, coherently, and effectively so that a diverse WS 102 readership, coming from many different perspectives and levels of awareness, could follow and understand your points. (Note that errors in grammar, usage, punctuation, and mechanics will not normally damage your grade unless they interfere with the clarity and sense of your communication.)

Critical Review: Four Parts

[Running Page Header]
Yourlastname 1

Erin R. Yourlastname
WS 102, Prof. Agatucci
Critical Review
11 March 1999

Critical Review: Your Chosen Topic

The Critical Review is worth 30% of your course grade, as stated in the WS 102 Syllabus. Please review the Late Policy stated in the WS 102 Syllabus for this assignment. There are four parts to this assignment, worth a total of 100 points possible. NOTE WELL: The oral report cannot given late or made up. The formal written Critical Review will be accepted late with a one grade penalty, but no later than our scheduled final exam meeting. Note also that there will be no revision option with this four-part assignment. Please ask questions and seek help when and if you need it.

DEADLINES: (see also WS 102 Revised Course Plan)
Tues., 2/23: Part I: Topic Description and Source List (5 points)
Thurs., 3/4: Part II: In-Class Oral Reports, with written Outline for Cora (15 points)
Thurs., 3/11: Part III: Critical Review (75 points)
and Part IV: "Share the Riches" (5 points) - either 4 additional hardcopies of the final draft of the Critical Review to exchange with other WS 102 students, or an electronic version for webposting to the WS 102 website)

Topic: You will find 3-5 good sources to review on an research topic or question of personal interest to you, and relevant to the content and learning goals of WS 102. It may be helpful to review course syllabus and course plan, WS 102 website, your course notes and Dialogues, and/or the Midterm Discussion Paper to identify possible topics and research questions for this research assignment.

Selection of Outside Sources for the Critical Review:

The Four Required Parts of the Critical Review


This is an informal part of the Critical Review assignment, to be evaluated on the basis of demonstrating that you are making satisfactory progress toward completing the Critical Review: i.e., your topic has been selected, you have begun research and have located at least 3 good sources, and you are trying to follow MLA style for documenting your source citations. For this assignment,

  1. briefly state your selected topic, leading research question(s), problem, or issue
  2. then list each of your outside sources to be reviewed in the Critical Review, trying to follow exactly "Works Cited" format and listing your sources in alphabetical order as prescribed by MLA (Modern Language Association) style.

Cora will offer MLA format corrections and suggestions at this preliminary stage and return the preliminary list to you to help you format correctly your sources in the formal written Critical Review.

Part II: ORAL REPORT (15 points)

You will be asked to make a 5-to-7 minute oral presentation to a small group of other WS 102 students in class on the date scheduled in the Revised Course Plan.

Your Oral Report should be a 5-to-7 minute presentation on your Critical Review research which you make to a small group of WS 102 students. Come to class on the day scheduled prepared to:

  1. briefly introduce your research topic and state how it is offers a relevant and valuable extension of regular WS 102 course content and resources; and
  2. selectively present one or two of most significant/interesting finding(s) that you have gained from your research. You may choose to focus on the contribution of the most valuable source that you consulted. See the description of the Conclusion (below) for the formal written Critical Review for more ideas.

Audience Response (for PC’s): Afterward your report, there should be class time for questions and comments on your report. Then group members will be asked to complete an Audience Response form (which Cora will provide) to comment on how well prepared your presentation seemed to be given the time limit, and what your group members learned from your report to extend beyond available WS 102 course content and learning resources. Audience comments and your written outline will assist Cora in evaluating your oral presentation.

Required Preparation:

  1. Prepare a written outline, draft, or note cards of your oral presentation to be submitted to Cora at the end of class on the day scheduled for oral reports, and
  2. Prepare by timing your presentation in advance to ensure you have narrowed the focus of your oral report well enough to accomplish your goals within 5-to-7 minutes. The time limit must be strictly adhered to allot some time for follow-up audience comments and questions, and to ensure everyone gets her/his fair share of class time. (Tip: Focus your oral report and select only your best research findings. Don’t expect to cover all that you have learned, nor to rush through your presentational material so quickly that others cannot follow it clearly.)


Heading, Running Page Headers, & Length: Use the standard MLA heading modeled on the first page of this direction handout—no Title Page is needed, nor is it recommended. Each subsequent page of your Critical Review should be properly labeled with the standard MLA Running Page Header—your last name and the page number in the upper righthand corner—as modeled in this direction handout. The Final draft of the formal written Critical Review must be typed or wordprocessed and double spaced on standard-sized white paper, with 1" margins on all sides, etc. As for length, your Critical Review should be as long as it needs to be to get the job done well, following directions in this handout and discussed in class. I anticipate that a good complete Critical Review can be accomplished in 4 typed, double-spaced pages.

Introduce the topic or research question(s) that you are using the Critical Review to research. Clearly present the leading research question(s), problem, and/or issue that you set out to answer, resolve, explore through this research project. Explain why you have chosen this topic or question, and why/how you became interested in investigating it further through this research assignment. Explain how the topic is relevant to WS 102 and how it offers a valuable extension beyond regular course content and materials—for you as well as for others.

Critical Review of Sources
This section of your Critical Review will present a review of three-to-five good sources that you have located and consulted on your selected topic. Sources should be reviewed in the form of an annotated bibliography, cited in correct MLA style and listed alphabetically, and each source citation should be "annotated" with (a) a concise descriptive summary of the contents, giving readers a clear idea of what the source has to offer, and emphasizing what the source has to contribute on your topic; and (b) a brief critique or evaluation of the source’s major strength(s), as well as any weakness(es). Two samples are given below of the content summary and evaluation of sources, using annotated bibliography format.

Two samples are given here of the content summary and evaluation of sources, using annotated bibliography format:

Schmidt, J. Howard, and John S. Hashimoto. "Polls and Public Opinion." New York Times 22 Mar. 1994,

late ed.: B2. Schmidt and Hashimoto tested the hypothesis that poll results on socio-political issues shape public opinion.

This study is particularly relevant to one of my leading research questions: just how much power does the U.S. media have to

influence public opinion on political issues? Schmidt and Hashimoto conducted surveys and interviews of one hundred college

students, half male, half female, and the study revealed that subjects were most likely to be influenced by opinion polls if they

did not know much about the issues and/or they had no strong pre-existing personal views on the issues. Given the small

sampling limited to college students, this study is hardly conclusive, nor representative of the American public at large. Yet

Schmidt and Hashimoto’s study suggests that some segments of the population may be immune to media influence,

particularly if they have taken the time to study the issues and form their own conclusions.

Thompson, Stith. The Folktale. New York: Dryden, 1986. Thompson, folklorist and linguist, offers a useful

survey of forty-six popular folktales used in Euro-American literary works. He traces the histories of predominantly European

folktales from their oral cultural roots to their literary transformations, and examines their literary functions with some

illuminating results. I found interesting cross-cultural correlations to the ways African oral folktales are used in modern African

literature and fiction: for example, multiple and changing versions of an oral tale give Western fiction writers freedom to select

and adapt a folktale to make it serve new literary uses and messages. Still, it is clear that oral arts traditions do not carry the

same social and spiritual weight in European works as they do in African arts and literatures. Thompson’s sometimes dense

and jargon-ridden prose style may frustrate non-specialist audiences, but the persistent reader interested in the oral roots of

world literatures will find many rewards in this knowledgeable, well-researched, and thoroughly indexed reference book.

Explain, in summary, what you have gained from your research, and what others might gain from following your lead. Emphasize the most valuable finding(s) that you have learned from your outside sources, and how your research on the chosen topic or question has contributed to a better understanding of WS 102 course content, issues, texts, methods, and/or goals. You may also wish to identify further questions or topics raised by your research that you would like (someday) to investigate further.

Part IV: SHARING THE RICHES!! (5 points)

You will be asked to make your formal written Critical Review available to other interested students in one of these two forms. Either . . .

1. you can duplicate four (4) additional hardcopies of your formal written Critical Review (besides the one you’ve prepared for Cora) to distribute to other WS 102 students in class on the date the Critical Review is due. NO Late hardcopies can be accepted, since the Critical Review is due on the last class meeting of the term.
. . .
2. you may present an electronic version of your Critical Review (in addition to the hardcopy submitted to Cora for grading) for posting to Cora’s WS 102 website. Cora will discuss this option further in class. You may elect to have your Critical Review posted anonymously (unsigned without your name published) if you prefer.


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