Assignments & assessment

How to succeed in this seminar:
Bookmark this online syllabus and check it regularly, as there is no paper version.

Attend each class on time, bring relevant readings and notes, and participate regularly in discussions, both inside and outside of the seminar. Contribute to everyone’s learning, not just your own. At the end of the semester, your peers—not the instructor—will evaluate your overall contribution to our seminar.

Take the initiative by asking questions. If you don’t understand or feel confused, odds are that other students are wondering about the same issue. Go ahead and ask.

Make time to talk with your instructor outside of class. Email is a good way to ask me a quick question, but face-to-face meetings are best for discussing you and your academic progress. Schedule an appointment on my calendar. Don’t forget to mark it on your own calendar.

Everyone—including your instructor—learns to improve our writing by sharing drafts, receiving reader feedback, and revising our prose. Make the most of peer review opportunities with the TA and meetings with your instructor.

If you’re confused or concerned about a grade on an assignment, schedule an appointment to talk with me about it. If you wish to dispute a grade, put your argument and evidence in writing.

Make wise use of your required laptop in seminar. If you allow yourself to get distracted by non-relevant websites, you may also distract your classmates and reduce their learning.

If an illness or emergency interferes with attending class, immediately email me and make arrangements to catch up on missing work. If you cannot physically attend class, one alternative is to arrange for a classmate to bring an extra laptop and set up a video conference via Google Hangout, though it’s a weak substitute for learning in the room with us.

How your work will be evaluated, with individual scores in your Moodle grade book:

Exercises build your skills for the research projects, and are worth 5 points each, for a total of 40 points.
Project 1 qualitative study of school choice program communication
A) school choice event field notes
B) compiled field note analysis
Project 2 quantitative study of public school choice data
C) school choice data analysis
D) school choice data visualization
Project 3 quantitative & spatial study of housing mobility data
E) mobility data analysis
Project 4 interview study of choices with digital tools and guidance
F) web app redesign
G) interview transcript
H) interview thematic analysis

Online annotations or short response essays of assigned syllabus readings, for selected students to dig deeper, raise insightful questions, and serve as discussion starters in class. Due at 10pm on the night before seminar. Three assignments worth 5 each, for a total of 15 points. See syllabus schedule.

Peer evaluation of each student’s contribution to overall learning in the seminar. Worth 10 points.

Final web essay: Working in pairs or solo, students will propose and write a web essay that expands on one of the projects above, or another topic that is highly relevant to the seminar and approved by the instructor. Maximum length: 2,500 words, plus digital elements.
- Proposed web essay (comments only, worth 5 points)
- Draft web essay (scored by guest evaluators, worth 10 points)
- Revised web essay (scored by instructor, worth 20 points)

TOTAL = 100 possible points. In this course, unsatisfactory work (below 70%) earns a D or F, adequate work (70-79%) is in the C range, good work (80-89%) is in the B range, and outstanding work (90 to 100%) is in the A range. Each range is divided into equal thirds for letter grades with minus (-), regular, and plus (+). Students may access their individual scores on the password-protected Moodle site.

Late penalty: Overdue exercises and writing assignments will receive a 20 percent reduction for every 12-hour period, with exceptions granted only for verified illness or family emergencies.

Honesty: Students are expected to engage in academic honesty in all forms of work for this course. Discussion inside and outside of class, as well as peer review of draft essays, is highly encouraged, but all assignments are expected to be completed independently, except for those clearly labeled as work for partners or groups. If these guidelines are unclear, it is your responsibility to ask for clarification.

Accommodations: Please notify the instructor during the first week of the course if you require any special accommodations (such as religious observances, learning disabilities, etc.).

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