ENGLISH 101W AT SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY: INTRODUCTION TO FICTION.
Hey Stephen,I was wondering if we need to memorize all the argumentum's stuff you gave us and do we also have to know Pinkies Creed. I was also wondering if you can give us a breakdown of the exam. I am studying for it but I have a blank mind because I really don't know how to prepare. I have done the study tables.Thanks alot!!
Hi Dr.Ogden,I borrowed all my books from the library for this course. For some of the books they are different page numbers. Will you be giving us page numbers on the exam? I might have a bit of a difficulty if that is the case.
Dear Anonymous(1):Those questions were all covered directly in lecture ;--)Dear Anonymous(2):Yes, any page numbers will be from the primary texts from the course outline. That's part of the structure of open book exams ;-)
If we read Harris & Chesterton the way you lectured from them, you said we'll be well prepared for the final exam: is that right?
Dear Anonymous:That's right!Best,
Is it possible for you to add the chapter when you use a direct page reference since some of the borrowed library books are not in sync with the ones you quoted from?
I think I might have missed that lecture where you addressed those questions, would you mind answering them again? And is it necessary for us to read Harris and Chesterton, or will we do fine as long as we have read and understood the course books? And also what is the format of the exam? Is it all essays? Or is there short answer as well?
Dear Anonymous:Not necessary, no. Harris & Chesterton are listed on the course outline as recommended texts: that is, they are available as helpful resources for students. Their contrasting approaches, as presented in lecture, can be studied to help more prosaically understand the poistions represented in the course fiction.Best,
With all of this talk of people being excessively worried about this exam, who is heading straight to Highland Pub after the exam tomorrow? All of this hype is even wearing off on me!
its certainly tempting :)
That exam was completely unreasonable and unfair. The essay questions could all be bloody thesis questions. I really do hope you saw the person that left the examination room in tears, and that all of those marking this exam take this into account in grading this joke of an exam.
Dear Adam:I do appreciate your candour. At an unofficial look, it seems that the success rate on the exam is within the historical range. On the two essay questions section, the mandatory topic was very straightforward, and the five alternative choices for the second topic needed to take into account that the class requested that all the lecture notes be posted online and the Final Exam be open book.(Full diclosure: I once left a Final Exam in tears as an undergraduate ;--)
I understand that, and had no qualms with the mandatory essay question, but don't you think that the non-mandatory essay questions were a little complex for a three-hour exam? Not to mention, we were required to write four one-page answers on a passage's significance, as well as furiously flip through our novels to locate random points of irony to quote. I appreciate the fact that, yes, all lecture notes were posted online and the fact that this was an open book examination. However, this was not an open note examination, so I (as well as many others) find that line of defense insufficient.I only hope that the rest of those that felt the same way about this exam bring this to your attention, as I assure you I am not alone.
Fuller Disclosure (in response to an e-mail): it was a Biology 101 Final, and, no, I hadn't studied properly ;--)
Dear Adam:I absolutely believe that it was felt to be a challenging examination by classfellows. But as they say in IT, "that's not a bug, its a feature."Here's my response to your questions. [1.] On the passage significance: the criteria was no more than one page double spaced. On an Examination Booklet, that only a single small-to-medium-sized paragraph![2.] Flip through the novels for irony? Well, not random, by definition. And not only were all the four types of Irony exxplained in lecture and posted online, AND Irony was a major part of lecture and tutoiral discussion, specific passages from the lecture for three of the of the types were given in lecture![3.] On the non-madatory questions, three hundred words (!) is hardly "thesis-level questions" ;--) And, to use one as an example, number six asked for discussion of symbolism: two of the three symbols were detailed specifically in lecture.Again, I appreciate your candour & love the idea of blogging discussions between prof & student: I wish I had had that in my day. Or, now I think about it, perhaps I don't ;--)
My 2¢:My initial response to the exam went a bit like this: "Oh shit. I'm fucking fucked. Fucked with a capital Eff Minus. Shit shit shit."However, I felt okay about the end product.Some of the essay questions were fairly similar to the mid term prompts. And by that I mean only the books and a few other words had changed. I found those a little difficult to break down as well, but the point is the callibre of question shouldn't come as a surprise.The irony bit threw me for a loop but if you've read the books it wasn't too hard to recall some examples. And if you made notes within the book it shouldn't have been too hard to find the area where the quotation was.But Stephen, you totally fibbed. No vocab my ass. Call it "key concepts" if you want, it's still vocab!
Dear Rachel:Thanks for that - thoughtful comments deserve instructorial response, so here's my two cents on the Final in return.This will, I hope, give assistance to people in understanding and preparing for future English Finals at university.My overarching sense is of misunderstamding about a University-level Final Exam, and more specifically one set in an environment of (a.) open book, and (b.) lecture notes posted on-line.Next, the entire Final, as promised, was set at the broadest level of the lecture material: to wit, the twin main lecture themes of dialectic and polemic. Moreover, the one specific section, Section Three, was set at the next highest level of generality: to wit, irony.In the same vein of fairness, there is the following:[a.] choices were provided for the two memory-specific sections.[b.] The three non-essay sections were all answerable from material given directly in lecture! In the passage identification section, for example, four of the passages were taken straight from lecture, where not only the page number but also the significance were given in detail.[c.] For the essays, the mandatory essay was extremely straightforward and was set entirely on the twin main lecture themes. Then the essays questiosn themselves, were either taken directly from lecture (e.g. the specific symbolism in #6), or, were in the format detailed in lecture: i.e. able to broken down exactly as described. take #3 for instance. Epater les bourgeois was defined in lecture & online. The two novels given were both lectured strongly along the idea of criticism of the middle class. And Plato's Allegory of the Cave was defined, again in lecture and online, as an explanation of one concept: Appearance versus Reality. So, breaking the essay question down, as detailed at least twice in lecture, #3 was a gimmie: the two novels criticise the middle-class as lacking reality, or substance, and being all about appearance. In Brighton Rock, we learned in lecture that Rose says explicitly of Ida (who was explained as being Greene's personification of the middle class -- "the great middle law-abiding class") that she "is just nothing.[d.] I didn't say there would be no vocabulary: I promised that I would not ask you to define words: and, indeed, I outright gave the definitions![d.] The irony identification, again, had two of the four given as specific passages from the novels during lecture. And since Irony was a major course theme, and was given in definition online, it is expected that the student in reviewing for the Final would be sure both to know the definition and (this being an English Lit. course) to identify the types of Irony in the course texts.
When can we know our final exam mark and final grade? Thanks.
Dear Dr.Ogden,Thank you for giving a semester of interesting lectures. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. However, I have a few complaints:1. You did not spend enough amount of time on each of the novels. For example, half of all the lectures were covering the first two novels (The Amber Spyglass and Brighton Rock), and we did not spend a lot of time on the last three novels. I think it would be more beneficial and clear if you could try to spend equal amount of time analyzing each novel.2. You said you will try to argue from the author's point of view for each of the course novels. I can sense you being polemically anti-God while analyzing The Amber Spyglass and ironically anti-God while analyzing The Book Against God, and agnostic while analyzing Life After God. I can understand Brighton Rock's position when you analyzed this novel as well. However, when you were lecturing on Christ the Lord, I do not think you did an equally well job. It may be the length of the lectures were much shorter, but even through the lectures I sense some sarcasm about Anne Rice's defense to Christianity. Anne Rice may not be the best writer and her arguments may be absurd (and I do agree that some of her arguments are ridiculous), but I do feel it would be more beneficial in understanding the novel if you can analyze the material more from Anne Rice's position.Thank you again for a great semester.
Dear Anonymous :Course grades will be on-line shortly. For your Final Exam, stop by your TA's office hours in the Fall term. Best,
Dear Anonymous :Thank-you for the compliment: I would compliment your contribution in return, except I do not know who you are ;--)I respect your feelings regarding the relative number of lectures on the books. In response, I can explain that the first half of the course was more heavily devoted providing background concepts; and by the second half we could talk more uninteruptedly on the novels themselves.I will re-evaluate my presentation of Anne Rice to more clearly express her artistic achievments.Best,
Post a Comment