Participation & Professionalism: The success of this class (and your success IN this class) depend on your active participation. You are expected to attend and actively participate in each class.  In addition, you will be asked to participate in an ongoing “virtual” class discussion online.


Participation includes reading assigned material prior to class, asking questions, taking notes, and contributing to discussions (in class and online).  Please arrive on time: two “lates” will count as an absence.  Leaving class during the break or during a screening will count as an absence.  Students who miss more than 3 classes will be strongly encouraged to withdraw.  Because the syllabus may be modified, you are responsible for contacting the instructor should you miss a class.

Turn off all cellular devices before class begins.  Texting in class will have a negative impact on your participation grade. Due to persistent misuse, laptop computers cannot be used in class without first obtaining permission from the instructor. Permission will be limited to those students with documented disabilities restricting their ability to take notes by hand.

In short: students who actively participate in class and are courteous and attentive during lectures and screenings will earn a high professionalism & participation grades. Students who repeatedly disrupt class by arriving late, talking, texting, and roaming in and out of the classroom during screenings will receive very poor professionalism & participation grades.

Screenings:  Attendance at screenings is mandatory.  Disruptive behavior during screenings (including entering and leaving the classroom mid-film, talking, text messaging, checking Facebook, phone calls) will not be tolerated.  Treat the films as seriously as you would the lectures: pay close attention and take careful notes. Those who interrupt film screenings will incur the wrath of their professor, and will be forever cursed by the muses of cinema!

Film Analysis Assignments: You will be asked to conduct two detailed studies of scenes from films we have screened in class, one before the midterm, and one before the final.  These analyses will require careful observation and note taking, and should be written with attention to grammar and style. You will be asked to construct a clear argument regarding the way in which visual and sonic elements in this scene contribute to the larger thematic or cultural project of the film. Your analyses will be posted on your blog, and you will be asked to comment on the projects posted by other students in your groups. Details for these assignments will be discussed in class and posted online.


Blog Discussion: Throughout the semester, you will be asked to post informal “journal” responses to the readings and screenings on your personal course blog. Rather than a formal paper, I am interested in your candid thoughts about the assigned material: what did you find engaging? What didn’t you understand? How do the author’s or director’s ideas expand your own understanding of the history of cinema?

Detailed parameters for the course blog will be discussed in class and covered in handouts. Because our class is so large, and in-class discussions can be challenging, the goal for the blog is to foster an active and open dialogue amongst all participants. Your grade for blog participation is based primarily on your enthusiasm and your active engagement with your peers (rather than on content and style). The class blog is your forum for exchanging thoughts and ideas.

Minimum blog participation: 4 substantial posts and 8 comments, to be divided between the first and second halves of the semester. Additional, exceptional participation can earn extra credit points toward your lowest exam or assignment grade. NOTE: these blog posts are IN ADDITION TO the Film Analysis Assignments that you will also publish on your blog sites.



Exams: Each exam will include fifty multiple-choice questions based on lectures, readings, and screenings. Study guides will be distributed. The exams are not cumulative (the midterm covers the first half of the course, the final covers the second half).

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is an EXTREMELY serious offense.  All work submitted must be the original work of the student whose name appears on it. ANY text or idea taken from an outside source—including websites—MUST be carefully cited. Plagiarism and other acts of dishonesty will result in an automatic grade of zero for the assignment and notification of the department.  Cases may incur further academic penalties, including a failing grade for the course and disciplinary action.

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