You will write (and post in your online portfolio) annotations of the course readings each week. The purpose of writing these annotations is to promote your deeper attention and comprehension of the texts, to support richer class discussions, and to assess your mastery of the ideas in the readings. You will also begin to develop the important scholarly habit of writing regularly and thoughtfully.

Each annotation should consist of two parts. First, there should be a short summary of the piece. Although it is quite easy to cut-and-paste a summary or abstract of the reading, it is essential that you write in your own words. This is not a matter of academic honesty or plagiarism. Instead, I believe that writing a summary in your own words is the best way to help you comprehend and remember what the article was about. Second, you should describe how you reacted to the ideas of the piece. What questions arose, what connections did you see to other things you have read, what connections did you see to things you have seen or experienced?

A good annotation can be as short as a half-page if it is extremely well written. Yours will probably run a bit longer. They can be as long as you wish. Remember, these annotations are for your use during this semester and beyond. I will periodically review and comment on your annotations; given the size of the class, however, I will not be able to read everyone’s annotations each week.

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