• 4804/7804 Course Assignments and Grading

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    Both graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in this class are subject to plus/minus grading.
    Your grade will reflect these percentages:

    Style Quizzes – 10%
    There will be a quiz over the syllabus and five style/grammar quizzes during the semester, administered through the university’s Blackboard site. For the first four you will have 15 minutes to answer 10 questions. The last quiz will be 30 minutes long for 15 points. All the quizzes use the AP and Missourian stylebooks (open book.) If you have a problem accessing a style quiz or a computer issue, you must contact an instructor immediately or the quiz score will stand as given by Blackboard.

    Newsroom Shifts – 10%
    Newsroom shifts are graded based on the quality of your finished story files, self-evaluations in finished story files and feedback from newsroom editors. You are responsible for creating your folders and writing a summary of your newsroom shift in the classes folder. Be sure to include a link and/or copies of final articles/scripts/slideshows/mp3’s or movies in your folder as well. Folder structure:

    Classes>4804>Finished Stories

    Regardless of which two newsrooms a student chooses to work in, every student will attend two Missourian budget meetings during the course of the semester and will write a 250 word account of the meeting.  What were the key points discussed?  Where was the focus?  (A news story from the previous day or how to approach the current day’s news)  How might a multimedia student’s work fit in to the newsroom experience?  These reports should be filed to the classes server along with your other newsroom reports.

    Convergence Team Story Assignments – 65%
    Story grades are based on several factors, including but not limited to the following criteria:

      • Deadline performance
      • Professionalism (e.g. problem-solving, teamwork and attitude)
      • Journalism quality – Reporting, writing, storytelling, accuracy
      • Innovation
      • Technical quality – Audio quality, video quality, use of tripod, etc.
      • AP Style for written work and photo captions

    Students face grade penalties on individual team stories for inaccuracies, missed deadlines and/or having to be given a story idea by a faculty member those penalties will be levied as follows:

    • Story ideas (1 letter grade/10 points):  If a faculty member has to give your team a story idea because you haven’t developed a viable one yourselves, you are subject to a 10-point deduction on your team story grade.
    • Fact errors (2 letter grades/20 points): As journalists, we have nothing if we don’t have credibility.  Reporting fact is at the foundation of the contract we have with our readers, viewers and site visitors.  When we make fact errors, we chip away at that mutual trust.  Fact errors could result in a 20-point deduction on your team story grade.
    • Missed deadlines (2 letter grades/20 points): We live in a world of deadlines.  Our broadcasts go on the air at a set time. Our papers and magazines have press runs that must start at a certain time to ensure delivery. Our web audiences are always looking for the most up-to-date news and information. Deadlines in this class are not fluid, and missing them is not an option.  Failure to meet the 6 p.m. deadline on team stories will result in a 20-point deduction.

    You will complete two solo Camp Convergence piece worth five percent of your grade and five team stories worth 65 percent of your grade this semester. The Camp Convergence Stories are worth 5 percent of your grade.  Team Story 6 is where you’ll show mastery of the subject matter — it’s worth 15 percent of your grade.

    Peer Evaluations – 10%
    Much of the work in convergence journalism courses is team-based. One complaint about teams is that some people will take advantage of stronger teammates and allow themselves to “coast” without putting forth their own best effort. To create more effective teams you will grade and be graded by your classmates on each of your team stories. The evaluation form is posted on Blackboard (in Assignments)  that you’ll be expected to fill out and submit after each team story. Deadline for the evaluation is 8am Friday. Failure to complete the form will result in a 0 (zero) for you and full credit for your teammates.

    Class participation and Attendance – 10%
    Class participation and attendance are vital and can rarely be made up. Classes are designed to supplement your hands-on learning, introduce new ideas and bring up big picture topics that may or may not be relevant to your reporting during any one week. If you need help with operating cameras, software or advice on stories, faculty and staff are happy to provide additional instruction in the Futures Lab.

    We will take attendance at every class. You may miss five classes for any reason without penalty. We will not judge absences as excused or unexcused. Please check with a classmate to find out what happened in class when you were gone. If you still have questions about the material, check in with an instructor.

    After five absences, each additional absence will result in a lower letter grade for attendance. If you have a chronic issue or illness that causes you to miss class for more than a week, please see an instructor.


    There will not be a mid-term or final in this class.
    Undergrads are assigned grades on the plus/minus scale. Grad students are assigned plus/minus grades through C-. No D grade may be awarded a graduate student, and a grade of F means the work has not satisfied the minimum requirements of the course.

    Deadlines are listed in the syllabus, though they may be altered occasionally after consultation between convergence faculty and editors at the Missourian, KBIA and KOMU.

    If we discover after publication/broadcast that you were responsible for a significant fact error in a story, your grade for that story will be dropped by one letter. Plagiarizing any portion of a story will result in a failing grade for the course.

    Please feel free to meet with us at any time to discuss grades or any other issue. Part of professionalism is seeking advice when needed to handle special concerns or problems or to propose new ideas or innovations.
    Stories turned in after the 6pm deadline will be docked at least one letter grade. Failure to complete an assignment or your part of an assignment may lead to a failing grade in the course.

    Extra credit opportunities:
    Blogging: If you create a blog and add at least one post per week to the blog during the semester, you can increase your final grade by 5 points. (For example, a B plus, becomes an A minus.) Where you see assignments due each week, there is a reminder to blog. We will discuss options for your blog in class.  You will also be told how many posts are required during your team to earn the extra credit. It will vary from semester to semester depending on lecture schedules and the length of the term.

    Graduate Student Assignment

    Graduate students will complete an additional assignment that combines the creation of a portfolio site and offers high-level analysis of developments in the world of online journalism. Click here for the full details of the graduate assignment, due dates and instructions for submission.

    Completion of this assignment is required for graduate students to pass this course.

    Writing Intensive Requirements

    All MU undergraduate students are required to complete an upper-division writing intensive course in their major. Journalism 4804 satisfies that requirement for Convergence Journalism majors. All WI courses use writing as a tool for thinking and learning; all require revision as a way of improving critical thinking. Here’s how we’ll carry out those goals.

    • News feature reporting projects/team stories: On weeks when you are working on a team story, you will write scripts, text stories, photo captions, information graphics, etc.  These news stories will take on extensive revisions as you work with student project managers and faculty editors leading up to deadline.  Team stories will be followed by a one-page written evaluation of your teammates’ performance on your project.
    • Written bi-weekly newsrooms update: Each week you work in a newsroom, you will submit brief written report describing the story you covered, multimedia content you produced and any issues may have arisen on your shift. We may occasionally refer to these updates in class discussion.
    • In-class presentation:  There is one informal in-class presentation in which you and a partner(s) will demonstrate a new tech tool and evaluate it’s potential uses for journalists.
    • Blogging: We expect you to write/produce content regularly for your own blog.  If you already have one, just send the faculty the link.  If you need to create one, there are a variety of tools.  Blogger.com, Weebly.com and WordPress.com are good options.  You may also send me your Twitter address if you’d like me to follow your tweets. (Optional)

    Work for all students will be graded on the following plus/minus A-F scale. Your grade will be counted as the majority of the attendance portion of your grade in this class. You may not receive a passing grade for this class without completing this assignment.

    A+ 97-100
    A 94-96
    A- 90-93
    B+ 87-89
    B 84-86
    B- 80-83
    C+ 77-79
    C 74-76
    C- 70-73
    F 69 or lower

    ----------Posted on August 16, 2012 by in 4804, Assignments

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