Thursday, January 31, 2013

Crowdsource a Problem

We're a week into classes, and just past the add without special permission date.  But our chair was working with a student, and that student needs to get into my class.  So the chair asked me.  And I said yes.  (It's not worth debating my yes, but let's imagine I have good reason both for the student and the chair.)

Here's the problem.  The students on that very day are to turn in a short paper worth 10% of the total grade, and based on a group and classroom experience, reading, and discussion.  (In short, they did a performance project in groups where they all worked with the same short scene and performed it, read about early modern theater in McDonald's Companion, talked about it as a class, and then wrote a short paper about their experiences.)

So now I'm trying to think of something to have this student do that will provide a reasonably parallel experience so that zie doesn't totally lose that 10% of the grade (making it impossible to get an A in the course, and fairly difficult to get a B.

I grade quite leniently on the response paper because I'm more interested in them thinking about their response than in saying something brilliant.  I'm pretty happy if they demonstrate that they've learned.

For those more assessment oriented, I'd say the goals for this assignment include:

Working well in a group to solve complex problems
Getting to know some other folks in class
Grappling with a short scene
Performing in front of the class
Watching other performances and thinking about them
Thinking about space and performance
Thinking about their theater experience and the early modern theater we read about
Beginning to see Shakespeare as a performance text
Writing about their experience, focusing on one or two things

I think the assignment does a lot of "work" in the course, and I'm not sure how to give an individual student a parallel experience.

Ideas, please?


  1. Wow---that sounds hard to replicate when you break it out like that. I think I might start by talking to the student about what this assignment does and asking for input, because possibly s/he might have recently done some activity in another class or even outside of school that might meet some of these goals and could be written about. My other thought would be to grade this student over 90% of the available points. But I'm lazy.

  2. Could you substitute a soliloquy performance? That would take care of everything but the group work and getting to know other people in class.

  3. I, too, am lazy and so would just not count this 10% toward his grade. Soliloquy is probably the next best choice.

  4. I really like the idea of a soliloquy, perhaps only performed for me (since I don't want to spend more classtime on this).

    Thanks, all!

  5. I would go with a soliloquy or with just grading the student over 90% of the points (so that they are held harmless for missing it). I usually figure I am working to help someone catch up so I don't want to work hard on the grading math!