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Week 2: From the Monastery to the High-Tech Laboratory

If you’re reading this post, it means you have successfully survived the first week of the semester and the first week of English 411. Congratulations! Given the weather we’ve had, making it to Friday alive is no small feat. I’m writing with just a few updates and announcements for Week 2.

I have updated the course calendar to include all of your presentation days. I did my best to accommodate your preferences, but some books were in greater demand than others. I think I was able to give all of you one of your top three choices. Please check the calendar to see when you’re presenting; if there’s a serious problem with your scheduled date, let me know and we’ll figure out a way to reschedule your presentation. I’d like to talk with each of you about a week before your presentation, just to make sure we’re on the same page regarding topics, formats, etc… As your presentation date draws near, please come see me during office hours or email me to schedule a time to review what you have planned. (Tyler and Stephen, you’re presenting next week, so the conversation we had on Thursday will have to do.)

Our class discussion on Thursday was a nice start to what I hope will be an ongoing energetic conversation about the texts we’re reading. We may not start out every class session with a formal list of topics and page numbers you want to discuss, but try to keep that model in mind as you make note of things you want to talk about in class. I have just one suggestion that might make our class discussions even more successful: try to cite the text when you’re making a specific point about the authors’ arguments. Our discussions don’t need to be overly formal, but I think our in-class dialogue will be more productive if we can see and read the passage you’re referring to.

Last but not least, let me mention how impressed I am by your Delicious posts this week. You have been posting interesting, relevant links, and most of you are doing a great job providing insightful commentary or asking though-provoking questions. Keep up the excellent work on this front!

If you have any questions about these items, or about anything else related to English 411, please feel free to email me this weekend. Otherwise, I’ll see you on Tuesday, ready to pick up where we left off.

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