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Method of Evaluating Students

I try to engage each of you in an ongoing discussion of your learning. If you aren’t getting enough feedback from me, ask for more. As you’ll see, I’m big on formative feedback and Socratic questioning.

With your cooperation, this course can become a virtuous cycle of everyone doing the best they can instead of the too-often vicious cycle of how little you can get away with and still pass the course.

As with most humanities courses, the learning extends far beyond the classroom and involves changes that can’t be adequately measured at the end of a three-month course, for example, “communicate with reflection, sensitivity, and intelligence”. So your course grade will be based on things I can measure. Your interactions with foreigners about the arts of your country and theirs is the heart of the course. Everyone’s experience will be different, and I’m not there, in any case. So how can I measure learning? Answer: I have no problem making this a quantitative measure. If you put in the time with the foreigner, I trust human nature to take care of the rest.

I expect you to participate in our physical classrooms and our online classroom. At a minimum, you should:

  • spend many hours talking to foreigners
  • come to class
  • follow all the links on the course content pages
  • complete all the assignments on time; take all the tests

Course Grade

assignment – details on left sidebar total pts
4 sets of conversation logs (paper) 30
4 reflective pieces (email) 20
final presentation (in class) 5
essay – proposal 5, draft 10, revised draft 10 – (email) 25
4 tests (in class) 20
timely completion of work


  • 0 absences, add 2 points to final grade
  • 1 absence, add 1 point to final grade
  • 2 or 3 absences, no change
  • 4 or more absences for any reason, including athletics (see below), subtract 2 points from final grade for each absence

Clarification for athletes. This policy does not mean that you get to miss for athletics and on top of that four more. I will count all your absences, including those involving games and travel. So use your four for athletics, don’t miss anything else, and you’ll be ok.

timely completion

  • 1 or 2 late, no change
  • 3 or more late, subtract one point from final grade for each late assignment and one more for each late week

In summary, if you come to all the classes, do all the assignments on time, and score over 90 on the tests, you should get an A-. If you do some of them very well, perhaps an A. To the extent that you miss class or miss deadlines or partially complete assignments or score low on the tests, you will get a B or lower. The bare minimum to pass is doing all the assignments, including the sessions with your conversation partners, and attending most of the classes.