The Museum Response Paper template can be used as an assignment once or twice during the semester as a way to a) have your students undertake a concise written exercise that b) asks them to look closely at one object (or two if you’d like them to compare and contrast) and c) also asks them to engage with the museum or gallery space to make them aware of the cultural context in which they encounter objects in institutions. This template can be “set up” in class using the museum visit videos and Museum Observation Prompts handout.
This Formal Analysis Assignment provides some great ideas on how to guide students through formal analysis reminding them that the exercise is about looking and analysis and not research and analysis. Students are reluctant to trust their own eyes and their own opinions. For formal analysis papers they often automatically go to an outside source in order to further bolster the assertions they make in their papers. Kimberly Overdevest at the Grand Rapids Community College in Grand Rapids, Michigan has had great success with these prompts.
To research or not to research? Asking your students to undertake a research paper as part of the art history survey can be a tricky beast as the range of student experience with elements such as library research and bibliographic citations can be large and crippling. For most mixed-ability or required-credit survey classes, focusing on short papers with limited research allows you and the students to focus on finessing writing skills first. Always consider reaching out to the Writing Center on your campus – a staff member can usually make an in-class visit to tell your students about the range of services on offer which should include workshops and one-to-one appointments.
Presentations – either singly or in groups – can be a good way to have your students think about a class theme from a new angle. See the handout “How to give a great oral presentation,” which also contains a sample grading rubric so students understand instructor expectations as they prepare.
Writing Guides and Exercises
The “How To Write A Thesis” template is a useful handout for a class exercise post-museum visit, once students have picked their object and can think about what a thesis is and how to construct their own. As part of this in-class exercise, it might be useful to look at examples of previous students’ thesis statements on the Writing Examples PPTwhich includes anonymous examples of past museum response paper excerpts so students understand what a thesis statement, formal analysis paragraph, museum environment analysis, and concluding paragraph might look like (you can, of course, point out the merits and/or pitfalls of each example per your own teaching preferences).
Paper Style Guide handouts
The Grading Rubric handouts can be given out in class and/or uploaded to your Bboard, and retooled to fit your objectives for the written assignment.
Grading student papers can be done the old fashioned way (your students hand you a paper copy) or through anti-plagiarism software such as SafeAssign (part of the Blackboard suite) or Turnitin.com (your school may have a license – find out who the Turnitin campus coordinator is for more details). There are ethical considerations to using anti-plagiarism software.
Formal Analysis Rubric Grid
Research Rubric Grid
SCORING RUBRIC FOR WRITTEN ESSAYS IN UPPER-LEVEL FL COURSES
CREATIVE ART PROJECT
|Excellent to very good: knowledgeable; substantive, thorough development of the art work, good imitation/appreciation of the original material; literary devices noted and displayed in new medium; reflection portion shows understanding of the original text as well as the creative process, relevant to the topic assigned. Adaptation is imaginative and powerful.|
|Good to average: some knowledge of the original text; adequate range of imitation/appreciation of author's style and contect; limited thematic development and use of examples; mostly relevant to the topic, but lacks resonance with original text; adaptation shows some originality; reflection section adequate, but may be too short.|
|Fair to poor: unsuccessful art work; limited knowledge of the original; minimal substance, analysis and synthesis; poor thematic development, interpretation of original material; adaptation shows little understanding of the original text; inadequate reflection.|
|Very poor: shows little or no knowledge of the original text; lacking analysis or synthesis of the material and lacking good examples; inadequate quantity; not relevant, or not enough to rate.|
ORGANIZATION AND FORMAT:
|Excellent to very good: clear statement of ideas reflected in art work; title that orients the reader to the original story; clear organization (beginning, middle, and end. foreground/background) and smooth transitions in both parts; reflection appropriately reflects work undertaken and the creative process; logical and cohesive sequencing both between and within paragraphs; quotations/footnotes properly cited; length, spacing, fonts, margins, numbered pages all carefully adhered to.|
|Good to average: main ideas clear but loosely organized or connected; title pertinent but not interesting; weak distinction between rewriting and reflection sections; sequencing logical but incomplete; bibliographical material and formatting adequate.|
|Fair to poor: ideas not well connected; title too general; poor organization and transitions; logical sequencing and development lacking; formatting inadequate.|
|Very poor: ideas not communicated; no title; organization, sequencing and transitions lacking, or not enough to rate, formatting lacking.|
GRAMMAR, VOCABULARY, AND FLUENCY:
|Excellent to very good: fluent expression; accurate use of relatively complex structures; very few grammatical errors. Complex range of vocabulary; accurate word/idiom choice; mastery of word forms and expressions; appropriate level of usage.|
|Good to average: adequate fluency; simple constructions used effectively; some problems in use of complex constructions; some grammar and spelling errors.|
|Fair to poor: low fluency; significant mistakes in the use of complex constructions; frequent grammar and spelling errors, lack of accuracy interferes with meaning.|
|Very poor: lacks fluency; no mastery of simple sentence construction; text dominated by errors; does not communicate meaning, or not enough to rate.|
|Excellent to very good: all supporting documents required are attached and appropriately labeled: 1) a typed first draft; 2) peer review and evidence that you have addressed these comments , 3) the checklist/reflective statement, and 4) final draft reflecting all previous work.|
|Good to average: checklist/reflective statement missing.|
|Fair to poor: Two of the supporting documents missing.|
|Very poor: Three of the supporting documents missing.|
Late submissions will be penalized by 10 points/day, if an extension is not suggested or approved ahead of time by professor.
REMINDER TO STUDENTS:
ALL WORK SUBMITTED MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY A SIGNED NC STATE ACADEMIC CODE OF STUDENT CONDUCT HONOR PLEDGE. ANY VIOLATION OF THE PLEDGE WILL RESULT IN A FAILING GRADE FOR THE PAPER.
Adapted from: Hedgcock and Lefkowitz,Collaborative Oral/Aural Revision in Foreign Language Writing Instruction,, Journal of Second Language Writing 1(3):255-76, 1992, cited in Scott, Rethinking Foreign LanguageWriting, 1995, p. 116.
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