Summary: To improve the quality of our discussions of the various readings this semester, students must submit discussion questions and topics the evening before each reading is to be discussed. This document summarizes my policies for reading discussions.
Citation: This document is based on a document by Henry Walker,
which can be found at
Throughout this semester, I will assign readings from a variety of
texts. I will do my best to assign each reading at least two days
in advance, although I will usually assign them further in advance.
For almost every class, you will have a reading from Beautiful Code.
For many classes, you will also have a reading from one of our other texts,
Rather than repeating this same material in lecture, class time will often be devoted to clarifying topics covered in readings, bridging those topics, and expanding ideas introduced in the texts. Toward this end, students must read assigned materials before class and formulate discussion questions.
Appropriate types of questions include:
Thus, questions should seek to clarify points of confusion or to expand ideas just introduced briefly. For the most part, simple factual questions should be avoided (unless the facts are in dispute). I will assume that students have a clear understanding of topics not covered in questions. You should be prepared to contribute to class discussions about topics not covered in your questions.
You should submit at least one well-thought-out question for each type of reading (i.e., one for Beautiful Code and one for any other reading we have, if we have another reading). You may submit additional questions for support and for extra credit.
Please submit your questions via electronic mail before 9 p.m. on the evening before a discussion. For example, if a reading is due on Thursday, discussion, submit your questions before 9 p.m. on Wednesday evening. I will collate discussion questions into a document which I will then place online (anonymously).
I will grade these questions on a plus/check/minus/zero scale. Most questions will receive a check. Particularly interesting or valuable questions will receive a plus. Particularly poor, trivial, awkwardly phrased, or otherwise inadequate questions will receive a minus. Students who fail to submit their questions on time will receive a zero.
I usually create these pages
on the fly, which means that I rarely
proofread them and they may contain bad grammar and incorrect details.
It also means that I tend to update them regularly (see the history for
more details). Feel free to contact me with any suggestions for changes.
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