I've now written e-mail notes to every author of a paper that I have in my possession: if you've not heard from me, let me know and we'll figure out which end the problem is on. The papers were on balance not bad for first efforts. The average grade was B (extreme range from D to A). How to make them better? I'll say again what I said on the syllabus and said to numerous of you: what I look for is *your* mind at work, not just digesting and regurgitating, but seeking, probing, asking good questions, thinking hard about how to get the answer, and expressing the results clearly and interestingly. Digesting what the book you were reading says and then spitting it back up again is something cows and sheep do. A useful sort of skill at times in life, but not what you pay the real $$ to come to Penn for.
Your comments on the forms yesterday were very helpful. Two adjustments to program as a result. One, sometime this week, I will have up on the server a set of brief outlines of all the lectures so far, and I will continue to provide those. These will not be substitutes for being there, but it will help you check your sense of what I'm getting at with *my* sense of what I'm getting at. Comments welcome.
Second, if there was a theme on the reports it was that the reading assignments were heavy. Now I have to be careful how I take this. After all, no professor ever distributed these forms and got back a chorus of remarks to the effect of, "Well, *gee*, I haven't got a *thing* to read, and *you're* certainly not helping with all these powderpuff assignments!" Yep, trust me, incredible as it may seem, it never happens. There *is* a logic to the readings, that I want to emphasize:
But ok, there's a lot of stuff, so here's the adjustments:
FOR TOMORROW: On the WWW already on the wola page is an excerpt from Pliny and Trajan's letters -- one of the papers dealt with these short (2 printed pages) texts. I'll have paper (ecocriminal) copies to hand out tomorrow and will talk about it in detail, but if you have a look tonight it will make more sense.
EXAMS AND PAPER:
8 November: contents of Collins 1-245
6 December: second paper, same length. If *possible* the distinction of one paper about an ancient source, one based on a modern should be observed, but that's not the most important thing. Particularly if I've quarreled with your topic or approach this time, CONSULT ME. Remember as well -- a *privileged* form of paper topic, the kind I can't quarrel with, is to take somebody *else's* first paper as your point of departure. Pick up the topic, read that paper analytically, do additional reading, and carry the discussion forwards. Requires intelligence, insight, and some tact as well (since people will read what you say about them).
21 December, 8:30 a.m.: 2 hour exam on everything in the course, emphasizing the non-Collins readings. Looking for retention of information and ability to analyze. Essay questions, there will be choices.