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Old Course Grades

The course grading system for GEN 230 emphasizes process, not product. It is designed to reward behavior that is professional and responsible in order to better prepare you for participation in group creative processes whether at work or in the community. It discourages behavior that is random, late, and hasty, that is, amateurish. A careful, thoughtful process is more likely to produce an attractive, engaging video.

I have not assigned point totals to the assignments because they are sequential and contingent — you must do them in order and you must do them all. If a student complains about a grade, I always send him/her right back here to this page, which I try to follow as closely as possible. You can always view your progress and help me keep it accurate and up-to-date.

What does it take to get an A in this course?

If you are sufficiently engaged, you come to almost every class, you do everything on this assignment list on or before its due date, you pass through all four gateways, and you follow the process exactly, you will get an A or A- for the course.

An A- will have a helpfully tagged and described video on YouTube that is the result of a unified process: concept, script, treatment, shot list, video production with attention to light and sound, and a final video with opening titles, closing credits and a listenable audio mix as a soundtrack. Also, you did at least some acting or crew work for other students’ projects.

An A will do all that with flair and enthusiasm.

If you have a concept, script, treatment, and shot list for one video and then switch at the end to another video for which you did not go through the process (or went through it “in your head” quickly on the fly), you will not be able to get more than a B.

How come I got a B in this course?

If you are sufficiently engaged, come to most of the classes, and don’t do one or more assignments or don’t do them in a timely manner, or, worst of all, you are late for a gateway, you will get a B or lower. B- for un-produced documents and undocumented final video or a unified production missing one or more documents. B+ for acting or crew work, perhaps even a lot of it, for other students’ projects.

If you aren’t sufficiently engaged, even if you do end up with a video, you won’t get an A or probably even a B. Remember, this course is about the process, not the product.

How to get a C in this course.

If you aren’t going through the process in a timely, engaged manner, you are heading for a C or lower. That is, not only are your deliverables late but, worst of all, you are late for a gateway. You will probably have received at least one official Academic Warning.

C- for missing two or more documents or if you don’t get to gateway 4 (producer’s cut). C+ for doing at least some acting and crew work. If you see yourself headed in this direction, which almost always means you’re missing a lot of classes, too, then the two of us should discuss your situation to see how we can optimize your learning.

How to get a D in this course.

If you end up with a final video (producer’s cut) but have few documents finished when due or documents that don’t relate to your final video, or conversely, you did everything except the final video (producer’s cut) on YouTube, you will get a D. D+ for being engaged in the process and for acting and crew work, perhaps even a lot of it, for other students’ projects.

How to get an F in this course.

If you don’t do the process, you will not pass the course.

Please note that the quality of your video, director’s cut or producer’s cut, has no bearing on your course grade. This course is about the process, not the product.

Gateways

In other courses, the most important thing to do is get a high score on the tests. The equivalent in this course is passing through the gateways on or ahead of schedule. The worst thing you can do, like flunking a test, is to miss those gateways.

There are four gateways in this course, one in mid-February to look at your script and shot list, another in late March to look at the raw tape that you made, a third one in mid-April to view your completed video, the director’s cut, and a final gateway in early May to view the candidates for the Genny awards. In your mind, aim for that third gateway in mid-April to “finish” your video. You’re the director, and that’s what you’re going to post to YouTube for the world to see.

If you do not pass a gateway, that is, if you do not have a script and shot list to show me in February and taped scenes in March and a completed video on YouTube by mid-April, I will send an official Academic Warning report to your advisor because I will be having serious doubts about whether you will be able to successfully complete the course at an A or B level. Depending on how far behind you are, I may recommend that you drop the course at that point.

Attendance

Showtime, the two Showtimes, first for the director’s cut in mid-April, and the second for the producer’s cut and Genny Awards in early May, is mandatory attendance. If you miss one or more of those, your course grade will suffer by at least one step (letters including pluses and minuses).

In addition:

0 absences, add 2 points to final grade

1 absence only, for any reason, add 1 point to final grade

2 or 3 absences only, for any reason, no change

4 or more absences for any reason, subtract points from final grade for each absence

Participation

During production, you can help each other by being actors and crew for someone else’s video. To reward such behavior, which is crucial to the quality of the process, I do two things. One is the Genny Awards, for which there will be winners in acting and production categories like lighting, sound, costumes, and set. I may at my discretion award extra credit for extraordinary participation in acting and crew work in other students’ videos. What that comes down to is this — if you do more crew work than anyone else, I’m very likely to raise your final grade a notch or two should it need it.

For example, if you miss that first gateway by a couple of weeks, or if you don’t show up for an acting assignment, you can make up for it by being very helpful on the sets of other students’ projects.

On the other hand, if you say you’ll show up for class to act or crew for someone, and then you don’t, you can really mess up someone else’s process. To discourage such behavior, I am very unlikely to raise your final grade a notch or two should it need it if you have been unreliable.

Timely completion

I will reduce your course grade one step (ex: B to B- or A- to B+) for each late assignment and one more for each late week. If you hand it in two weeks late, that’s three steps, one for the late assignment and another for each week.

Late work, that is, unprofessional behavior, is the most common cause of low course grades in GEN 230. If you have a job that involves collaborative media production with deadlines, missing them can get you fired.