October 18, 2023

From Gerald R. Lucas

Week 2 Feedback on Orwell & Essay 1

Packback’s real-time feedback helps you target and achieve the curiosity score you want.

Some strong posts on Orwell. Well done. We had a few post nothing this week, which scores you a zero. One of these will not hurt you too much, but you want to make sure you’re meeting your deadlines. Pay attention to the schedule and due dates. Remember Tuesdays as they are your due day this semester. You must keep up with these Packback posts.

If you scored lower than 70, you did not post your minimum of three times (1 question and 2 responses). If you scored a 70, you passed for doing the minimum, but your posts need more work. Pay attention to the “curiosity score”; this is often a strong indicator of the quality of your post. More often than not, I use these numbers in my evaluation. This feature is the primary reason for using Packback: aim for the grade you want in your posts. Pay attention to the real-time feedback (see the image) Packback gives as you write. If your grade is lower than you’d like, let Packback help you.

Finally, I want to encourage you to be creative in your posts. Yes, sticking with convention readings may be safer, but try something unusual or weird. Discuss aspects of the texts that no one else is—even if you’re wrong, original and creative interpretations at least get everyone else to think more critically about the texts. If you're having difficulty trying to come up with something to write, try a reader-response. Here, you find something about the text that relates to your life and experience. Not only is this approach a bit more accessible, it allows you to write about your favorite subject: yourself.


As for your essays: each of you will receive individual feedback on Packback (not D2L) on your first essay—hopefully by the weekend. I will grade these in the order received.

I had six class members not turn in an essay. Please reach out to me if you are one of these. You cannot pass the course unless you submit all essays, so it’s imperative we take care of this as soon as possible.

Some general comments:

  1. Use a strong title. Some of you didn’t use a title at all.
  2. Do not try to indent. Just hit return twice between paragraphs. Nor do you need to put your name, date, etc. at the top.
  3. Have a thesis. While many of you imply a thesis statement, most did not use an explicit one. A lack of focus results from having no apparent thesis statement, and this lack might have been the biggest challenge of this first essay.
  4. Use “you” strategically. Never use “you” to mean anyone in general. I’ll post more on this soon.

The subject of this first essay seems easy enough. However, if you approach it in a general way, your essay will likely not have much to say. If you focused, say, on a particular subject, socialization, taking responsibility, or something similar, then you have the workings of a strong essay. Does this make sense? Always try to focus your topic was much as you can.

You may notice that your points on Deep Dives may not match your final grade on D2L. Often the points do not add up to what I think the essay earns when taken as a whole. This practice is always for your benefit. Final grades will never be less than the points on the rubric.