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Student Expectations


Where possible, Memoria College uses the Great Books of the Western World series published for many years by Britannica in order to keep the over all costs down for students and provide a common reference point for everyone. These texts are readily available on eBay and other secondhand online marketplaces. With a little patience they can also be acquired for pennies on the dollar on Facebook Marketplace, at thrift stores, or at yard sales. Free PDFs can also be found on the Internet Archive.

Readings should be completed before class so that the live conversation can be as informed as possible. Make sure to budget enough time in your week that you can give the readings the close attention that they deserve.  Depending on skill level, students can expect approximately four hours of primary-source reading per week. Take notes. Try writing a few thoughts down, including questions or confusions, before showing up to class.

Live Sessions

Attendance and participation are essential components of each course. Students are expected to attend every class session in their entirety.  If an absence become unavoidable students must make arrangements with the instructor watch the recording and cover the missed material. Students in core courses are allowed two excused absences (one for seminar courses for for-credit students).

Live classes involve an active conversation rather than the mere passive reception of a lecture. As such, students are expected to have their cameras on and their mics ready. Since it is sometimes a little tricky to insert oneself into a conversation, especially with the split second of latency in our virtual meetings, please feel free to use the “raise hand” function.

Students are expected to give their full attention to the live conversation. Please avoid environments and activities that distract oneself and others such as completing other tasks, finishing a meal, or driving.

While the instructor will lead the discussion, come prepared to class with material ready to go: written questions to ask, flagged passages that excite or confuse, or a link between readings.

Forum Discussion

In most of our courses, graded writing takes the form of discussion in weekly online forums. These assignments will help students to interact with the text and interact more extensively with other students about the work.

A total of five points are possible for involvement in each forum. Students can earn these points either with one very good longer post or with several shorter posts (earning points through a combination of shorter posts is preferred). For example, three posts earning two points, two points, and one point, would give full credit for the week. Students may post as many times as they wish. If by the end of the week they find that they have not yet earned the total of five points, they are welcome to make further posts to earn more points. Students should make their initial posts, however, before the next class.

Here are the point values that one can typically expect to receive on different kinds of posts:

0 (This is not a bad thing) A post that simply says “Thank you” or acknowledges another person’s post.
1 A single, solid point that moves the conversation forward.
2 A single point that is supported by substantial evidence from the text.
3 Multiple strong points are made in a coherent, short argument, staying rooted in the text.
4 Substantial development of a strong argument with significant support, almost a complete essay.
5 A complete, well-developed essay, with a clear thesis, coherent argument, and strong logical support.

While these discussion forums are a little different than traditional academic writing, students are still expected to write at a graduate level. Please edit posts carefully, take trouble over the structure of paragraphs, and work to construct coherent, intelligible arguments based in the text and supported by evidence.

Do Don’t
Rely on the text with explicit quotations or summaries of arguments while weaving this into your own voice. Merely copy and paste passages that everyone else has also read without comment.
Remain focused on the text and the topics of discussion in the live conversation. Tell long personal anecdotes or discuss unrelated current events.
Clearly state a definite, focused claim. Hopefully right in the very beginning of the post. Write from a stream of consciousness without a clear point.
Discuss objective facts. Discuss your subjective reactions.
In responding to another student, quote word-for-word a specific claim that was made and discuss its details, referring to the actual words. Make assumptions about what another student must have been thinking or his motivations for thinking it if the rationale or background was not explicitly stated.
Edit your posts for spelling, grammar, syntax, wording, and style. Type whatever is on the top of your head, then post it without reading it over.