Grading & Requirements

[Header image is Doraemon a robot cat from the future with a magic pouch from which he can get anything.]

This Unusual Semester
From the most positive perspective I can muster, this will be an unusual semester. It is also likely to be really difficult and challenging. We will share some challenges, for instance the work of learning online, figuring out zoom, managing our emotional responses to the news cycle. But in other ways, each of us has vastly different responsibilities, privileges, resources, and opportunities. We are all in it together but that togetherness cannot erase structural inequalities. And in many ways, the pandemic has made those structural inequalities even more visible.

My primary goal this semester is to help make our class a space of joy and creativity. I know that all students are working hard and dealing with challenges that are invisible to me. I will try to be clear, communicative, and flexible. At the same time, I ask students to be patient with me, as I figure out the best ways to use new technology and respond to your messages. Please do you best to communicate with Areli Ariana and me. Although I will always do my best to respond to emergencies quickly, the volume of email I get means that it will usually take me two work days to respond to any message (i.e. not including the weekend, when I try to stay away from email). Please give both Areli Ariana and myself two work days to respond.

You are always welcome to reach out to me or the GSI with questions or concerns. Please also consider exploring this website, consulting the lectures or your lecture notes, and asking colleagues in the class (especially those in your small group), all of which are great sources of information.

Weekly Schedule
This course includes two weekly lectures, which I will record "live" from 2:30-3:50pm on Mondays and Wednesday. If you want to join the lecture live - to ask questions, make comments, or share your ideas - you are most welcome but live (synchronous) participation is not required. You can also watch the recorded lectures later on your own time (asynchronously). I designed the course this way, with both of these options, in response to student requests for more synchronous activities. I don't want to make the whole course synchronous because we have students living in very different time zones and, although I try to make my lectures entertaining, I truly do not think they are worth waking up in the middle of the night.

For 15 minutes before lecture, from 2:15 to 2:30 on Mondays and Wednesday, I will open our zoom meeting for what I call "show and tell." Any student who wants to tune in 15 minute early will be invited to show or tell us all about anything they want. I thought of this originally because I thought it would be fun to meet student's pets! But you don't have to share your pet if you don't want to – you can tell us about a TV show you would like to recommend, or introduce us to a family member, or anything you want. This 15 minute period before lecture starts is designed to give us a space to do the kind of chatting that is possible in a face-to-face classroom with the possible added bonus of adorable pets. It is not required and totally optional. The "show and tell" will never be recorded.

Undergraduate students in this class are also responsible for joining their assigned discussion section, either at 10am or 12 noon on Fridays. These will be synchronously each week and will be fully interactive.

Requests to Students
To make our online learning more accessible and possible for everyone in the class, we ask you to consider these requests:
- Please use earphones in any synchronous meeting – in discussion sections or if you join the live lectures. Listening without earphones will create an echo for everyone.
- Please use the chat function to signal when you have a question or want to share a comment. You don't have to type out your whole idea, but please type "question" or "comment," so the instructor knows to call on you.
- We will not require any student to have their video camera on. But if you decide not to turn on your camera, we'll need to figure out other ways to include you in the lecture or discussion. Please reach out to the teaching team to discuss what would be possible for you.
- We will record all lectures and post those recordings to the Canvas page, i.e. in a protected space where only enrolled students can see them (and no one will be able to download them). If you ask a question or make a comment in lecture, it will be included in the recording.
- We will also record all discussion sections so that we might share the audio recording only with students who have to miss class.

We understand that students might be learning and working in difficult situations, for instance rooms with other people or spaces in which the student might not feel comfortable saying their ideas out loud. If you have an idea or question that you do not want to say out loud because it doesn't feel safe to you, please feel free to share that entirely in the chat.

Illness and Other Absences
If you are unable to complete course work at any point in the semester, please email me or the GSI as soon as possible. We don't need to know your private business or the details of what's going on. We will talk with you (by email, phone, or zoom) and set up revised plans for submitting your work and keeping up with the class.

As a group, we will read one book together. It is a book I wrote and is available entirely free through open access. I chose it because it offers a general overview of many topics we'll discuss but also because I wanted to find free options for students. Of all semesters, it feels important to keep extra costs down at this moment.

Allison Alexy. 2020. Intimate Disconnections: Divorce and the Romance of Independence in Contemporary Japan. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. [click the title to download a copy]

Graduate students in this course will read additional books together, or large portions of books, all of which are available through the UM library. Any student who is interested is welcome to explore the titles. Each of these books is available through our library as a free e-version. Please click the titles, log in, and you will be taken to the version of the book available to us. If you prefer to read on paper, of course you are welcome to buy copies instead.

Grading and Requirements for Undergraduate Students (201)
**Lecture Guides: 20% of final grade
**Discussion Questions: 20% of final grade
Section Participation: 20% of final grade
Wiki Project - Process Assignments: 20% of final grade
Wiki Project - Final Version: 20% of final grade
** Assignments marked with stars will be graded credit / no credit. This means they cannot be turned in late without an excused absence. Please see more details below.

Grading and Requirements for Graduate Students (590)
** Lecture Guides: 25% of final grade
** Discussion Questions: 25% of final grade
Critical Précis: 25% of final grade
Final Paper / Project: 25% of final grade
** Assignments marked with stars will be graded credit / no credit. This means they cannot be turned in late without an excused absence. Please see more details below.

Because of the context we are working in now, this is going to be a semester with extra challenges and difficulties for everyone. For that reason, I have worked to make grades generally and graded assignments as low-key as possible. For instance, I have created many assignments as "credit / no credit." Please note that I don't want any student to be stressed about grades and welcome you to talk with me or the GSI if you find yourself feeling that way.

Class Participation
This is a lecture course but it fundamentally involves lots of discussion. I welcome student questions and comments in each lecture and will create many opportunities for these. In discussion section, your ideas will be front and center. Please come prepared to share your thoughts, questions, confusions, and excitement. I am well aware that there are different ways to participate in a discussion, and if you feel reluctant to jump into the conversation, please talk with me in office hours so we can come up with some strategies for you. In general, excellent participation in lecture and discussion includes: coming prepared to discuss the readings and films assigned (i.e. do the homework), listening well to other students’ thoughts, responding to them, sharing your ideas, being willing to change your mind, and reflect on any changes you might experience. Please ask questions and share your ideas – and be aware that we will regularly ask this of you in class.

Participation Grades
Because some of your final grade for this course comes from your participation in discussion, I want to explain how that is graded and what you can do to improve your grade. Please notice that, in our discussions, quantity and quality are not the same thing. A high participation grade isn’t only about contributing a lot. Listening to other students, doing your best to build into the conversation as opposed to subtracting from it, and being willing to describe how your thoughts might be changing are all necessary to get the highest scores. Moreover, listening thoughtfully and respectfully are big components as well. Interrupting other people or talking over them will reduce your participation grade. We will be posting weekly grades in Canvas so you can follow your grade. Of course, I am also always happy to talk with you if you would like to gather strategies for improving your grade.

Office Hours and Consultations
We are always happy to talk with you, via email or in a video chat. Please sign up for office hours, and bring your ideas, musings, and / or rough drafts. I believe writing and learning are long-term processes and I will reward students who take this seriously. I am happy to talk through your ideas. You can sign up for office hours with me through google calendar. If you’d like to set up an appointment with Areli Ariana, please sign up via their google calendar.

Academic Honesty
My policies conform to the University of Michigan’s policies. Let me know if you have any questions.

Late Work
I understand that we are all under new pressures, but this course will still have deadlines. I have built this website to give you all information about assignments and work, so you can plan ahead and work ahead if that seems best for you. Please explore it and think about what might be difficult or tricky for you; I am happy to talk anything over if you would like.

I will accept work turned in past its deadline but the grade will be reduced three points for each day late. In the case of credit / no credit assignments, the assignment cannot be turned in late. The time recorded by Canvas is the official time I use. If something is due at 5pm and it comes in at 5:01pm, it will be late. If you have trouble meeting deadlines, I strongly recommend you convince yourself that work is due earlier than it really is. I'm happy to brainstorm with you about strategies for handling deadlines.

Course Recordings and Slides
All class meetings are recorded. Those recordings are available through Canvas. This means that only people enrolled in the course can see the recordings.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
I share the University of Michigan’s commitment to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Please talk with me if you have a disability and would be aided by any accommodation. Request for accommodations by persons with disabilities may be made by contacting the Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) Office located at G664 Haven Hall. The SSD phone number is 734-763-3000. Once your eligibility for an accommodation has been determined you will be issued a verified individual services accommodation (VISA) form. Please present this form to me at the beginning of the term, or as soon as you get it. Everything is confidential.

Discomfort, Safety, and Learning
Learning can be a simultaneously wonderful and difficult process. I’m sure you have already encountered both – figuring out something that is undeniably cool or struggling with a task that makes no sense and never seems to end. I imagine you will have more of both experiences in college as well, but as we start thinking together, I want to call attention to a parallel paradox we will likely encounter as a group: the balance between productive discomfort and safety. Good learning can include some degree of discomfort but should never be or feel unsafe. If it’s not already clear to you, I think it’s very likely that learning about new materials – perhaps things that you never even realized you didn’t know – can easily make people uncomfortable. Having your world view, your sense of yourself in the world, shifted even a little bit can be a deeply emotional experience. My goal is never to shock you or make you feel uncomfortable, but I can imagine that might happen throughout the semester because it seems to be fundamental within the process of learning. To make such productive discomfort possible, I will work hard to make our course as safe a space as possible, and I ask you to do the same. I invite you to be kind, empathic, and honest, while sharing your perspectives, gut reactions, and analysis, and particularly any moments when you realize you have changed your mind. As you are working hard to engage new practices and beliefs, I will work hard to enable you to feel safe in the process of learning. If at any point, you feel that our classroom is lacking safety – if it does not feel like a safe space – please let me know immediately. I also ask you pay attention to your own moments of discomfort, to see how your thinking might be changing.

Other Problems and Dangers
With other members of our diverse community, I am working to make this university a safe space for all people. To those ends, please know that if you face violence, threats, bullying or other difficult situations, there are people trained to help you:

A food bank for the 30% of students and staff who experience food insecurity. The food bank is at 420 S. State Street.

Confidential support and academic advocacy can be found with the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC) on their 24-hour crisis line, 734-936-3333. Alleged violations can be non-confidentially reported to the Office for Institutional Equity (OIE) at Reports to law enforcement can be made to University of Michigan Police Department at 734-763-3434.

The Student Life office offers a portal to many services and types of support. Check out this long list of possibilities and feel free to contact them also if you, or someone you know, can’t figure out who to talk to.

If you are needing help and puzzled about where to go or who to talk with, feel free to reach out to me.