Schedule Adjustment – not my fault this time

Hope everyone weathered the storm safely!

Obviously, a revised course schedule is now in place. I decided that we really needed the review day before this next test, so I used the review days for tests 4 and 5, and pushed everything back two days. This means that I’ll be lecturing Friday, then you’ll have a review session Monday before the test on Wednesday. This also means that the 3rd test, originally scheduled for the day before Spring Break, is now the Wednesday after break. Homework and Essay assignments have been adjusted accordingly. Also note that the Essay assignments are now available, so you can begin thinking about this as you work through the books.

Also note, if you are working from an older printed copy, that I’ve trimmed the list of terms for the 2nd test, to make things a little bit more focused.

Schedule Adjustment Again

My apologies again for my absence. I have revised the schedule (again), this time using the catch-up day for the next test. I’ll do my best to get through the material efficiently this week, so that we have some time to talk about the test beforehand.

The good news, I suppose, is that you’ve got an extra weekend to work on the Document Homework.

I will have the tests to give back Wednesday, and I will post comments about the grades and suggestions for improving next time.

Homecoming Convocation and Schedule Change, Homework

As you can see from the course schedule page, I have adjusted next week to allow students to participate in the Homecoming Convocation, Wednesday noon. To keep things even, I am also cancelling the 2pm section, and encouraging those students to attend the Convocation, if their noon classes allow.

I have had to shift the schedule a bit to accomodate: most importantly, rather than do a lecture on the Roman Religion questions, I’m going to rely more heavily on the Frontline From Jesus To Christ series that I had assigned. You will now be required to not only watch it, but to write a short (1 page) summary and reaction paper for each of the 3 assigned hours (parts 1, 2 and 3), due by email no later than Friday the 14th.

Syllabus Addenda, Study Terms, etc.

There have been a few minor changes to the syllabus since I printed and copied it last week: If you’re relying on the printed copy, note the following changes

  • A slight shift in the end of semester schedule, because of a day I will be absent for travel: this affects very little except for the number of catch-up days I have available. If I run out, I will provide a video lecture for any further missed lecture days.
  • Addition of the following language to the Technology section: “The use of recording equipment, audio, photographic or video, or speech-to-text transcription software is not permitted. Alternative arrangements may be made for students with documented disabilities. Students violating this restriction will be asked to leave and may face grade penalties and disciplinary action.”

Note: I need at least one volunteer who will be taking good notes on my lectures to share them with me for a student who needs notetaking assistance. Preferably someone who types their notes and can provide the text quickly. Contact me after class or by email as soon as possible. This is not a paid position, but we do need someone responsible, reliable.

And for those of you who want to get a jump on studying for the first test (which is September 28th, over a month away, but it’s a lot of history!), here is the list of study terms:

Chapter 1

Neolithic Revolution

Chapter 2

Epic of Gilgamesh
Hammurabi’s Code
Instructions of Ptah-Hotep

Chapter 3

Harappa & Mohenjo Daro
Mandate of Heaven

Chapter 4

The Great Learning
Han dynasty
Qin dynasty

Chapter 5

Alexander the Great
Peloponnesian War
Royal Road
Thucydides, Funeral Oration of Pericles
Thucydides, Melian Dialogue

Test 4 Grades

On the test, as usual, I gave plus and minus grades (A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, etc) which translate into a 100 point scale in my gradebook (100, 96, 92, 88, 85, 82, etc., down to 58, 55, 50 for F-level). The high score in the class was 56 out of a possible 58, not counting extra credit: I used 55 as the top, for simplicity, and a slightly extended scale for grades. The median score was B-, meaning that about as many people got above a B- or above as a B- or below; the average score was right between B- and C+. The extra credit was worth up to 5 points: Being Africa, fewer people attempted the extra credit, and the scores were, on the whole, not as helpful. Next time, I guess. Here’s how the grade scale worked out:

Grade minimum points distribution
A+ 55
A 51 20%
A- 47.5
B+ 45
B 42.5 30%
B- 40
C+ 37.5
C 35 20%
C- 32.5
D+ 30
D 27.5 25%
D- 25
F Below 25 5%

Not only did the average and median scores go up on this test, but most of you either equalled or exceeded your average score, which means that your overall grade either held steady or went up, in all but a few cases. Good work!

Unrelated Note: I’m already running a little behind on lectures for this section. I’ll be trying to catch up, but just in case, I’ve pushed the last document assignment due date back to Friday the 29th. This ensures that we’ve covered the relevant history before you have to turn it in.

My mistake….

Question 31 on the test was wrong:

31.  Nicolaus Copernicus

a. solved the problem of longitude
b. established a secret society of atheists
c. believed Jesus Christ to be of African ancestry
d. believed in a geocentric solar system

Unfortunately, none of these answers are correct. Answer (d) should say “believed in a heliocentric solar system” and none of the other answers are even close (though I can understand associating an astronomer and mathematician with the Longitude problem, especially if you actually realized that (d) was wrong). Most of you – almost 2/3rds – picked (d) anyway; only two people picked (d) and corrected the error. Most of the rest of you picked (a), though about 1 in 7 picked (b) or (c).

So, what does a teacher do when the question is wrong? First, apologize. My mistake, sorry. I guess there’s one advantage to using a test bank that I hadn’t considered (but I’m not going to stop making up questions myself because that way you’re actually tested on the material I taught). Then, adjust the test.

In this case, I’m inclined to just discount the question entirely, make it a 49-question test. Those two people who actually got the question right will get a point added to their extra credit. People who answered (d) will get 2/3rds of a point extra credit; people who answered (a) will get 1/3rd of a point extra credit. (I’m giving 1/3rd of a point for each country correct on the extra credit map, up to 15 countries. There are 30-odd countries in North, South and Central America plus Carribean.)

The rest of the grading will happen over the weekend.Tune in Monday for results!

Note: As before, I don’t like having you hand in a document assignment when I haven’t given you the previous one back, so I’m pushing the “French Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen” assignment back to Wednesday the 9th.

Note Schedule Shift

To make up for the days I’ve lost discussion WWI and the 1920s, I’ve rearranged the schedule for the remainder of the semester. Nothing’s been eliminated (except a day of discussion on the 1980s), but everything’s been pushed back a few days. Fortunately, I had a little leeway built in.

p.s. There were some complaints on the midterm feedback forms about not being able to download the powerpoints. It’s true, I don’t allow it. But the complete transcript of the slides is right under the slideshow (seriously, scroll down).

Missing Lectures: Tegrity Capture

As you know, I’m not going to be in class Friday October 8 or Monday October 11. However, that’s no reason to lose ground! I’ve recorded lectures for both days through Tegrity, and you can find the recordings either in the Tegrity box in Angel or directly linked from here:

The Napoleon lecture is about 10 minutes short; the 19th century lecture is about 10 minutes long: together, they’re just right, almost exactly 100 minutes. Feel free to watch them at your leisure anytime before next Wednesday. I will make the powerpoints available as well, through the course page.