Course Modality

Rather than meeting twice a week, this course is taught in a hybrid model using synchronous and asynchronous material.

Our class will be using a combination of a unique website and Zoom and for our work together. Additional tech will be introduced if needed.

Synchronous means that we will meet via a Zoom platform on Tuesday mornings from 9:30-10:45 am. We will use this time for discussion, extra lectures, and exercises that will help with presentation skills.

Asynchronous material includes not only the kind of work that you would traditionally do outside of the classroom setting but also work that covers activities that you might expect to happen in the classroom.  Some of these assignments will require you to collaborate with your classmates. How you choose to do this (synchronous or not) will be up to you.

Students in past online sections have found it helpful to create a text, email group, Slack, WhatsApp, or the like, outside of the classroom parameters for further discussion and support.

Required Texts


All materials for this course will be available through the classroom website or in electronic form from the Brooklyn College Library. Any materials you need for individual or group projects will be up to you to procure (though I will help.)

A few books and recommended books are available in the bookstore for optional purchase, mainly if you prefer a physical book.

Class Website

Our class will make use of this unique class website on the CUNY Academic Commons.

All of our class readings and assignments are on our website.  

You will be creating posts with your presentations and commenting on these presentations and readings, as well as other short assignments. 

The website is set up to have you work through materials in a particular order.

Some portions of the website may be password protected. You will receive this password on the first day of class and it is available on Blackboard.

Zoom Sessions

We will be using Zoom for synchronous sessions on Tuesday mornings.  

  • While you are not required to turn on your camera (though it is helpful for discussion!), please add a photo to your profile so that we can associate names with faces.  
  • We remain in a situation that is not ideal so do not worry about whatever background is behind you for zoom or your video presentations.
  • Please keep yourself on mute when not speaking.  Please do speak up when I ask questions or you are in breakout discussions. 
  • Make use of the ‘raise hand’ function and ‘reactions’
  • Please also make use of the chat, particularly if you have questions as we discuss.
  • I will poll the room frequently – Answer! These are anonymous.  If you have something to add, do so in the chat, but that is not anonymous.
  • I do not mind if you bring food or coffee/tea.  (I will almost always have tea!)
  • I will be using Zoom’s “Waiting Room” function to let everyone into the room at the start of class.  I will also use it for my office hours.    
Contacting Me

I encourage you to contact me as needed (sbiggiecuny@gmail.com).  I check my email twice a daI encourage you to contact me as needed (sbiggiecuny@gmail.com).  I check my email twice a day except on Friday-Saturday.  If your message requires a response and you have not received one in 48 hours, please resend. Before sending any message, please check that the answer is not already available somewhere on the course website.

Assignment Overview

Video Performance Posts:  Performances are the basis of this course.  These are where you will put into action the presentation skills that this course is meant to focus on.  Your videos do not have to be elaborate.  They can be recorded by someone else or by you on your phone, tablet, or laptop.  You are responsible for watching your classmates’ videos and asking questions or providing feedback to the classmates you are assigned for each video.  Feel free to watch more!!!  Listening and watching others and reading my feedback and that of your peers is one of the primary places that you will pick up on presentation skills.  More information is below. 

 [If technology is a concern, please let me know ASAP so that we can work out an option with the college.]     

Short assignments, questions, and comments: These ‘questions’ are short answers (Imagine a sizable paragraph) in response to a prompt or task that I will pose. While these posts are informal writing, they are shared with your classmates in a public online space. You should feel free to respond to other classmates and to come back to view other answers to the assignment.  Other assignments may ask you to find material to add or comment on a joint class document.  Directions will be included with these assignments. 

    Written Assignments: There are 2-3 formal writing assignments (an annotated bibliography and two short papers or one longer paper)  that ask you to think critically and deeply.  This means that these assingments should receive more attention, structure, and thought than the short responses other written responses ask for.  Please be sure to edit your work.  You will be partnered for each assignment for peer editing, and a draft is due one week before the final due date so that you and your partner can work together.  Full directions will be included on the classroom site for all assignments.  


Presentation Videos
  • You will be asked to do several different kinds of performances throughout the semester.  The goal of the performance assignments is to work on performance and presentation skills and introduce the class to a range of different materials. As such, your performances will almost always include introductory context where you offer us an oral analysis of the material you are presenting.   Please pay close attention to the directions for each assignment.
  • You may be asked to submit your performance choices ahead of time.   This will help me guide you and warn you if something may not work for the assignment parameters.  
  • Everyone starts from a different level of comfort in creating these performances. Please be respectful to one another.
  • THESE VIDEOS DO NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT.  The focus is on developing your skill as a storyteller and reader, not on additional effects or video production.   Don’t feel like you have to do multiple takes or edit.  Do try things out, experiment, be creative and rehearse ahead of time.  Don’t be afraid not to have something work out just right.  The performances are meant to be learning experiences.
  • I will give feedback on your performances, as will some of your peers. DO READ my feedback to each others’ videos even if you have not watched the whole video.  I will frequently be giving feedback that will apply beyond one individual’s performance. 
  • DO give constructive criticism or ask questions about each other’s presentations.  Do you tend to do something that they are doing? How do you overcome it? Do you have a question for the presenter (or me)about how to do something that you see and like? What might help the presenter go further the next time?  Do you have a question or comment about the material that they are presenting?   Try to be specific and limit criticism to one point or idea, but ask as many questions and give as many compliments as you wish.
Grading and Attendance

In this course, we will be using a form of what has become known as “ungrading.”

Extensive research has shown that grading is often prohibitive of deeper learning and reinforces existing biases and injustices. Materials on this will be on our course site and discussed in further detail – to start, you may wish to read: https://tinyurl.com/7h2j2udy. Grades encourage distance from the learning process, inhibit creativity, and reify structural hierarchies of race, gender, and class. In choosing to give consistent qualitative feedback and not assign letter grades, I hope to encourage you to engage with this course more deeply and without consideration of a final point outcome. 

Brooklyn College does require a final grade for the course, which you will determine and then explain to me why you deserve. You are in control of your final grade. You know when you are doing the bare minimum or giving it your all and fully engaged. Several times during the semester, I will ask you to reflect on your progress.

Instead of a final exam, you will write a detailed self-reflection, and you and I will meet to discuss the justification for the grade you will give yourself. 

In nearly all past cases, students and I have immediately agreed with the grade they gave themselves. In the rare event that we disagree, we will discuss why that is and possible options to bring your grade in line with your thinking or come to a mutually agreeable grade. 

Below, I have provided a breakdown of the different course components and what they would be worth in a traditional grading rubric, but I also encourage you to think holistically.

Asynchronous Content40%“Questions” and other short assignments  3. Course Content reading/viewing  4. Feedback and responses to peers
Oral Presentations40%5 total
Formal Written Assignments20%Includes an  Annotated Bibliography and two short papers or one long paper. 
Zoom synchronous participation10%


Attendance at Zoom sessions is a factor that I will have to consider in our final grade conversation.  The general policy is: After 2 absences, the course grade is lowered by one full letter grade for each additional absence. For example, as of the 3rd absence, A becomes B; as of the 4th absence, B becomes C, etc.  

Policies on bereavement and religious observance can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin and on the Brooklyn College Website, and those absences that apply do not affect the above policy. 

Should conditions relating to the pandemic or other long-term health matters arise, please speak to me.

Academic Integrity

Official BC policy: The faculty and administration of Brooklyn College support an environment free from cheating and plagiarism. Each student is responsible for being aware of what constitutes cheating and plagiarism and for avoiding both. The complete text of the CUNY Academic Integrity Policy and the Brooklyn College procedure for policy implementation can be found at www.brooklyn.cuny.edu/bc/policies. If a faculty member suspects a violation of academic integrity and, upon investigation, confirms that violation, or if the student admits the violation, the faculty member MUST report the violation. Students should be aware that faculty may use plagiarism detection software.

My Addendum: Plagiarism is the representation of work that is not your own as yours via lack of citation, improper citation, direct copying, etc.  I expect you to properly cite material for this course in a style of your choice.  

Disability Services

The Center for Student Disability Services (CSDS) is currently working remotely. In order to receive disability-related academic accommodations, students must first be registered with CSDS. Students who have a documented disability or suspect they may have a disability are invited to schedule an interview by calling (718) 951-5538 or emailing testingcsds@brooklyn.cuny.edu. If you have already registered with CSDS, email Josephine.Patterson@brooklyn.cuny.edu or testingcsds@brooklyn.cuny.edu to ensure the accommodation email is sent to your professor.

I do my best to make my materials as accessible as possible.  If you have a specific need that is not being met, please let me know.  Accessible accommodation is also something that we should include in our work together.  We will discuss what this looks like in class.