Assignments & Grading

While all assignments will be graded on a point scale (ie. 15/20) and the running tally of the semester grade on ANGEL will be displayed as percent, final grades will be given on a 4.0 scale. The final grade will be calculated using the following scale:

  • 90 – 100 = 4.0
  • 85 – 89.99 = 3.5
  • 80 – 84.99 = 3.0
  • 75 – 79.99 = 2.5
  • 70 – 74.99 – 2.0
  • 65 – 69.99 = 1.5
  • 60 – 64.99 = 1.0
  • <60 = 0

Your final grade will be based on the following criteria:

Midterm Exam (20%) – multiple choice and short answer questions covering material up until the midterm.

Final Exam (30%) – The final exam is take home.  The exam is intended to give you an opportunity to digest the things we’ve talked about, do some synthesis, and be a little more thoughtful about what you write than you might normally be able to do in a traditional exam. The questions and more detailed instructions will be provided at the end of the semester.

Blog Post/Responses (15%) – throughout the semester, students will be required to post a sereis of entries to the course blog. The subject of each weekly Blog Post should be a thoughtful commentary on an issue, article (online or physical), or lecture topic of the student’s choosing (relating to archaeology – broadly defined). In some cases, your professor will challenge you with specific questions or issues that you will need to address in your Blog Post. Each Blog Post must be at least 300 words in length (though students are welcome to write more than that if they want).   In addition to the posts, students are expected to respond to at least one post made by their fellow students.  The responses must be at least 200 words.  Posts are (usually) due by 5pm on each Tuesday, and the responses are due by 5pm on each Friday (though, check the weekly schedule to be sure). Students must complete both that week’s entry and response in order to get credit for the assignment.  If students meet all of the requirements for the assignment (due date, length requirement, entry + response), they will receive full credit.  If students don’t meet all of the requirements, they will not receive credit at all.  No partial credit is given for partially complete Blog Posts/Responses.

Engaged Archaeology Project (15%) – Most archaeologists realize that they have to do more to engage with and educate the public about the past. What “engaged” archaeology means, however, is often a source of discussion (and debate).  This project broadly embraces the idea of “engaged” archaeology.  Students are challenged to create/build/write something that is designed to engage the public or address the issue of “engaged” archaeology.  As such, what students end up creating is very open.  Students could write a paper, create a video, build a website, create a social media campaign, record a podcast, create a game, etc.

Some suggestions to guide your thinking about this project:

  • You may write a paper, which should be about 10-12 pages in length (if you decide to write a paper, it will be posted online – which we can talk about).
  • You could create a website or blog accompanied by a short written explanation of what you’ve done and why.
  • You could interview other students concerning what they know about archaeology then analyze the results and compare to what people think they are accomplishing in engaged archaeology.
  • You could write a paper on an aspect of archaeology that you think should be highlighted in an engaged archaeology.
  • You can discuss (on paper or elsewhere) what kinds of things are of critical importance to archaeologists today, along with their ethical implications.

You must submit a short (informal) proposal (outlining what you are going to do and why) of no less than 500 words (which is a little longer than usual) by March 13th (see Schedule).  All proposals are posted to the class blog, and will count for that week’s Blog Entry/Response.  Students are required to respond to at least one of their classmate’s proposals with suggestions, constructive criticism, thoughts, etc (with the usual 200 words).  Be productive in your responses – this is peer review and is intended to provide meaningful feedback.

Wikipedia Project (10%) – In this project, students will edit a wikipedia page on a topic relating to archaeology (of their choosing).  Students will be asked to write a blog post of at least 500 words discussing the edits they made (rationale, content, etc.) as well as a reflection to what happened to their edits after they were made.  The discussion/reflection will take the place of a regular blog post (though, will, as discussed, be longer than usual).  We will spend significant time during class talking about this assignment.

Detailed Guidelines:

  • Students are free to choose any page or topic that they would like.  However, the topic or page you choose should be one that is logically weak or poorly written, or that is otherwise incomplete.  As such, students might want to choose from the list of Archaeology stubs on Wikipedia.
  • Using a pseudonym (which means you need to create an account), log into Wikipedia and make a substantial improvement to the article. Email Ethan with your pseudonym, the page/article you edited, a brief description of the changes you made.
  • Wait at least a week before returning to the edited your article to see what changes/reversions/edits were made.
  • In your blog post, reflect on how much of their contribution survived the interval; why did those parts survive? Why did some parts get reverted or deleted? How does the Wikipedian community deal with citations and points of view? The blog post should also (briefly) discuss the changes/edits you originally made to the article. Is editing Wikipedia really that important?  Who cares?
  • This assignment is not about whether your changes survive.  I’m not at all concerned if your changes get reverted back 5 minutes after you make them.  Instead, the assignment is about the quality & quantity of edits that you made and your reflection upon those edits (and any subsequent changes that were made to what you did)

Wikipedia Editing Resources

Discussion/Participation/Class Citizenship (10%) – Discussion/interaction/participation plays an important role in this class.  Students are expected to be informed participants in all aspects of the class, contributing to the overall health of the teaching/learning experience (yes, that includes attendance).

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