History of Latin America - Grading & Assignments


A Note on Plagiarism

I take plagiarism very seriously. Your job in both Discussions and the paper assignments is not to amass and re-organize a body of information and analysis written by others.Your job is to effectively communicate your own thoughts about what you've read.

All work in this class is expected to be your own. Do not cut and paste from the web; borrow from (or just plain borrow) another student's paper; treat any assignment in this course as a group project; or buy a paper or essay. Any cheating or plagiarism will be reported to the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of your major, will be put in your permanent university file, and may result in failure of the course. You are expected to know the standards set forth in the MU code of academic honesty, as well as the dos and don'ts of plagiarism according to these handy guides from Purdue and Duke. 

BE ESPECIALLY WARY OF THE TENDENCY TO CUT AND PASTE MATERIAL FROM THE WEB!! The same rules of plagiarism and referencing apply to electronic sources. When in doubt, speak with the TA or me about the appropriate ways to evaluate, use, and cite online sources. You might also consult the Chicago Manual of Style online.

Discussions provide a forum for discussing weekly readings. They are a major portion of your grade, so take them seriously!

Courtesy and respect is expected at all times, live and online. Anyone violating these basic rules of civility will be SEVERELY PENALIZED, most likely with a zero for that Discussion.

In-class discussions or Discussion Section meetings may include a written portion to be turned in at the end of class, for which I will prepare you well in advance.

Each online Discussion Board opens Saturday morning at the beginning of the week and formally closes on Friday at midnight. I will never, under any circumstances, extend this deadline . You will be graded individually, according to the following criteria: 

      -- The timeliness and regularity of your contribution . Initial posts must be up by Tuesday at midnight – failure to do so will automatically result in a grade no higher than 86 (see grading scale below). Expect to check the board briefly every 1-2 days to respond to your fellow group members' ideas. This should not take more than half an hour per session (and sometimes less), but does require you to remember to get online at regular intervals, ie., every 1-2 days beginning Tuesday at the latest. 

      -- The quality of your discussion . This means thoughtfulness, raising new issues, and going beyond the questions asked in the prompt. 

      -- The extent to which you respond to your classmates' ideas , directly or indirectly by continuing the trains of thought introduced by others, over the course of the week. 

Different groups develop different habits and personalities, but late or minimal posting by a majority of the group rarely produces a good discussion. The best discussants start early, come back regularly, and post at least 6-7 times per discussion board. Aim for quality rather than quantity of posts – there is no point in simply replying “I completely agree” or “That was a good comment,” and you will earn no credit for such postings. 

Discussion Boards are graded according to a check system, where a check plus = 96, a check = 86, and a check minus = 76. In exceptional cases (i.e., where you turn in a few sentences just for the sake of handing something in), I reserve the right to give a grade lower than 76. Plagiarized submissions will receive a 0.  

Those who receive maximum grades on all eleven Discussion Boards will receive 1 point of extra credit added to their final course grade. That is, if you make a 96 on all eleven discussion boards and your overall final course grade is 87, I will raise it to an 88.

Quizzes are designed to reinforce your memory of important historical facts and themes. They will be multiple choice.

Midterm and Final Papers - These formal papers are separate components of an ongoing, semester-long project. You will select a current events topic in Latin America to research (due Sept. 16). The Mid-Term Paper (due Oct. 26) will explain your topic and why you chose it, and compare and contrast your sources. Your research mostly completed, you will spend the second half of the course developing connections between your current event and historical themes we have discussed in class. The Final Paper (due Dec. 9) should represent the culmination of your thinking about your chosen current event in a deeper, historically-minded way. You will receive more information about these assignments in class.

To discourage paper sharing and other forms of cheating, the Midterm and Final Papers must be submitted through Turnitin in order to be graded. Papers not submitted to Turnitin will receive a 0. The Class ID is 3760942, and the password is Fairuse (case-sensitive). It is your responsibility to sign up for Turnitin using this information . See the TA or myself if you have any problems.

A Note on Class Attendance and Participation

Attendance in lecture is taken, and active participation (for instance, responding to questions by the professor) noted. At the end of the semester I compile these attendance and participation figures while calculating final grades, and use them as ‘extra credit' to bump up borderline cases (for instance, between an AB and an A, a C and a BC, or even an F and a D). In accordance with Marquette policy, I may withdraw anyone who misses more than three weeks worth of lecture and/or discussion section with a grade of WA.

General Policies

The class grading scale is: A = 93 and above, AB = 88-92, B = 83-87, BC = 78-82, C = 73-77, CD = 68-72, D = 60-67

Late papers will be docked a ½ letter grade (for instance, from an A to an AB) for each 24-hour period after the due date that they are late.

Computer problems will not be accepted as an excuse for late or poorly executed work. Please keep backups of your written work at all times.

If you have special needs, athletics conflicts, etc ., you must submit them to me in writing WITHIN THE FIRST THREE WEEKS OF CLASS. Issues that arise during the semester must be addressed with me as soon as humanly possible.

I do not allow use of electronic devices for notetaking or any other purpose in lecture, unless you request special permission through the Office of Student Disability Services.

In general, if you have any concerns or questions about your performance in the class, I strongly encourage you to speak with me or the TA about them, the sooner the better.