Thursday, January 18, 2007

JAPN 108 Readings in Modern Japanese (2007)

Course Goals
Readings in Modern Japanese is a course that aims to broaden the Japanese the student is expected to have acquired to this point, as well as bring up for discussion aspects of contemporary culture as seen through contemporary texts. It will go beyond the grammatical lessons and pattern practices of basic Japanese and expose the student to "authentic" Japanese.

Every student must be registered in JAPN 108. No auditor is allowed. Prerequisite for the course is JAPN 008 or equivalent.

The course will offer newspaper texts, essays, and literary works for reading and discussion concerning its socio-cultural insights and impact. The student will be required to be prepared to read and translate any portion of the text assigned by the instructor. The student must also be prepared for discussions concerning the text in class in Japanese. Discussion will be primarily in Japanese.

Required Work
Success in the course is contingent on the students' performance in all assignments, quizzes and exams. Assignments will also be posted on Black Board. You will be required to do the following:
  • Class participation and assignments: All students are expected to have read the material for class; level and accuracy of participation in any discussion will be noted and evaluated. Absences will be graded as non-participation, in-class assignments cannot be made-up. (10%)
  • Vocabulary Quizzes: All quizzes will be given on the first day of new material. This is to ensure that all students will be equipped to read and comprehend the text as we read it in class. All quizzes will be cumulative. (20%)
  • Essay (500 words) is a critical response to a specific question, which will be posted on Blackboard 48 hours before the due date. An essay should be viewed as a mini-paper consisting of an introduction, a body—grounds for and support of your position—and a conclusion. Reference to other sources to support your position affords a convincing argument. (30%)
  • In-class translation exams will consist of one class text and one sight passage. Class text translations must be polished; the sight passage will require a literal translation. (20%)
  • Final take-home exam will consist of two essays responding to questions, of which one is based on class text, another on new text. (20%)
  • Formatting should be consistent with college-level work. This means that you must type your assignment and format it with one-inch margins, 12 pt. font (preferably Times New Roman, Arial, or Courier), 1.5 to double spacing of lines, indentation of long quotations, italics or underline for book titles, quotation marks for article titles, etc. Follow the guidelines found in the MLA Handbook, The Chicago Book of Style, or any other recognized guidebook on academic style.
  • QUESTIONS: The instructor maintains an open door policy--if my door is open, you can come in. If you have further questions or concerns, feel free to contact the instructor during office hours, after class or make an appointment. All students are encouraged to come by and visit.

Grading Policies
Grading on participation and in-class assignment will be based on the student's effort and demonstrated knowledge of the reading material assigned that day.

Submissions Careful thought should be put into ALL submissions--Essays, and Final exam essays. Grades for all submissions will be based on the following critieria:

  • Introduction, including topic/theme/aspect to be discussed.
  • Body one, expansion of topic/theme/aspect; including reason for choice, argumentation/position, supporting documentation.
  • Body two, evidence to support position.
  • Conclusion, summary of paper.
Grammar and content
  • Clarity
  • Correct speling (oops, I mean, spelling).
  • No typos.
  • Appropriate diction, meaning understandable word choice and usage.
  • Adherence to English grammar, including subject-verb agreement, and the absence of run-on or incomplete sentences.
  • Originality
  • Insight

Generally speaking, high grades (As) will be given to those who fulfill all three of the above successfully; good grades (Bs) to those who fulfill two of the three, and average grades (Cs) to those who fulfill only one.

  • Clarity is of great import. If I have to read a paragraph (or the entire paper) twice to understand it, then your structure or grammar is not clear. Each word, sentence, paragraph and section must make sense with each other as the paper builds toward a conclusion.
  • Avoid the stream-of-consciousness approach to writing. Consider preparing a one-page outline. Being able to see the structure of your paper in one glance will give you an idea if your thoughts are logically connected.
  • Originality will influence your grade as well. Typically, students focus on the strict class lines, but since this is a topic discussed in class, it lacks originality. Previous students who have received high grades for this topic approached it from a different angle or took an original (some may say argumentative) position.
  • Some students have submitted structured papers with very original topics, but ill-advised diction or sloppy grammar have doomed them to a B.
  • Similarly, other students have had original topics and a flair for words, submitting papers that were actually enjoyable to read. However, if they failed to provide documentation or evidence to support their position, then their structure was weak (they submitted a personal essay instead of an academic paper) and did not receive a high grade.

If you have any questions, please fell free to come and see me. However, refrain from asking me to proofread any draft or idea (which some students, amazingly, have done).

  • Word count should be strictly observed, give or take 50 words—i.e. 450 to 550 words.
  • Do not attach a cover sheet.
  • Include the following: your name, the date, the word count. If you are using MS Word, click on Tools, then Word Count; it will automatically count all the words in your document. You do not need to provide your student number, name of course or instructor.
  • A brief title is appropriate for all submissions; copying and pasting the question/issue is not.
  • Type and format all submissions in a manner consistent with college-level work. You should:
    • Space lines approximately 1.5 spaces.
    • Set margins at one inch.
    • Use font size no smaller than 12 points; font face of Times New Roman, Arial or equivalent.
    • Indent long quotations.
    • Italicize or underline book titles, use quotation marks for article titles, format citations appropriately.
    • A bibliography is unnecessary in a short paper since citations should be complete. Citations for articles used in class are unnecessary, but an inline page referent for longer pieces is obligatory
  • For other formatting issues, follow the guidelines found in the MLA Handbook, The Chicago Book of Style, or any other recognized guidebook on academic style.
Final grades will be based on the total of all assignments, weighted accordingly as outlined above.

Tardiness is not tolerated. All late papers will be graded down one grade (A to B, B+ to C+) each week it is late, so do not be late. If you cannot make class due to an emergency, hand your paper in early or have a classmate hand it in for you. Ultimately, however, you are responsible for the submission of your own paper. In case of verifiable emergency—illness or accident—you will receive a one week grace period.

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