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14 January 2011 @ 02:54 pm
LibGuide for Science Fiction Course  
Those who have been interested in the Science Fiction course I discussed earlier can now see the Syllabus, paper assignments, author links and other related stuff on the LibGuide for the course:  http://jwu-ri.libguides.com/lit4010_schneyer

Enjoy!
 
 
Current Location: Under all that snow
Current Mood: bouncybouncy
Current Music: "Science Fiction Double Feature"
 
 
 
madderbradmadderbrad on January 26th, 2011 01:16 pm (UTC)
Crikey Ken, I had no idea so much effort went into preparing a course! Well, I guess if I'd sat down and thought about it I might have worked out about a third of what I've seen in your on-line material. There's a lot that goes into it, even the mechanics of grading the papers ... 'scoring rubrics'!?!! When I was a university tutor it was a case of just lean back in the chair and pick a number (kind of).

I think I've read a whole four of the stories in your syllabus (although I recall Towser and Fowler from your sample paper; "they would turn me back into a dog"). And I thought I was a science fiction fan. I think my serious reading stopped when I discovered television. :-(

'Daily preparation quizzes', three comparison papers, three exams (in two parts), class participation scoring, adjusted weighting ... can I have fries with that? It seems very complex (see 'lean back in the char', above). How long did it take you to prepare all of this? And do you have assistants at the lectures? One presumably with a scoreboard just keeping a tally of the participation rates?

What would an honours student have to do? I'm familiar with setups where the honours subjects are entirely separate with more advanced material wholesale.

I've had a fun hour reading through your stuff (and marvelling at the number of books you must have perused, since I assume you've read everything on both class and reserve lists). Way clever of you to work your hobby - two hobbies, SF and your writing - into your work.

So, okay, how can someone in Australia enrol to do your course by correspondence? :-)
Ken: Hmmmmmken_schneyer on January 26th, 2011 04:47 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Brad! I'm grateful for the attention.

Scoring rubrics are relatively new in university life (last decade or two). They make scoring easier, and they force you (the instructor) to think out what you really want to see in the student paper. I'm still learning how to write them.

The anthology as a whole contains 52 stories, and I could choose only 30 of them, which means that you could be an extremely well-read SF reader and still not have read any of these. Pretty much everyone anthologizes that particular Ellison story and that particular Bester story, but you could throw a pile of Bradbury and Sturgeon stories into the air, and any of them would be good for a course like this. (One of the reasons I like this anthology is that it includes some important current authors -- Egan, Varley, Chiang, Kelly, and that its selection of a story from someone like Heinlein is thoughtful rather than typical.)

I have no assistants, but most of the grading goes by pretty quickly. I tally class participation myself on a grid using a dot-system I've employed for 20 years; it's become reflexive and easy.

Our Honors system is unusual, because we don't have the staff to teach full-fledged Honors courses for every subject. (We do do it for the intro subjects.) In this case I'll probably ask the Honors students to write an extra paper, either a research paper or possibly a paper based on a film.

About Australian enrollment: One or two of my LJ and FB friends (notably julia_reynolds have suggested running an informal course online during the summer, maybe on a dedicated LJ or Yahoo group. I'd be willing to facilitate ("teach?") such a class, but I don't think I want to grade papers over the summer. Does this appeal to you?

madderbradmadderbrad on February 3rd, 2011 02:46 am (UTC)
Scoring rubrics are relatively new in university life (last decade or two).

"last decade or two", heh. I was once told - by a visiting Canadian professor - that Australia was about five years behind the times. So that can be added/subtracted to the gap from my own uni days.

About Australian enrollment: One or two of my LJ and FB friends (notably [info]julia_reynolds have suggested running an informal course online during the summer, maybe on a dedicated LJ or Yahoo group. I'd be willing to facilitate ("teach?") such a class, but I don't think I want to grade papers over the summer. Does this appeal to you?

Yeah!

I was joking with my remark, I didn't think for a second that you'd have anything set up, but if you are doing something like that, then sure, please count me in! Thanks. Hopefully real life will let me properly commit to it. I *do* love science fiction, but when reading some of your posts - and most certainly while delving through your course list - I realise that I really haven't read much at all in that area. And nothing much at all in the past decade. All of those HP fanfics haven't left time for much else. :-(

I'd be nervous if I was the sole student - I'm not sure if real life will oblige in giving me the time to devote to the course (I'll try hard), and when I asked I was joking - but if you end up running it then I'd love the opportunity, I think I'd get a lot out of it. Thank you again.

I tried to find your original blog post where you first talked about this course ... I was thinking anew of how 'cool' it is for a law professor to indulge/prove his 'hobby' to this degree, it must be very satisfying/rewarding. This subject is in a whole different department, isn't it? But I couldn't find it under your LJ tags. Can you refer me to it?

And best wishes for a happy birthday Ken!