Monday, August 8, 2011

Syllabusizing, Stage One

School starts in one week. Time to get cracking on the ol' syllabus. Here's what I've got so far.

Requirements: Over the course of the semester, you will be required to:
*Listen and take notes during lectures
*Participate in group discussions
*Demonstrate an understanding of material covered by taking quizzes and tests
*Write multiple analyses of shorter comics works
*Read multiple graphic novels, such as Persepolis
*Write a literary analysis of a major graphic novel
*Research a significant American comic book writer, comic book artist, or cartoonist, evaluate his/her strengths and weaknesses, and present your findings to the class

Structure: This course is divided into four units:
What is Comics? (weeks 1 – 3)
*Comics vocabulary
*Understanding Comics chapters 1-4
*The early history of American comics (newspaper comic strips, early comic books)
*Analyzing short comics

Reading Pictures (weeks 4 – 6)
*Understanding Comics chapters 5-9
*The continuing history of American comics (comic books to graphic novels)
*Comparing and contrasting different art styles
*Analyzing & evaluating longer comics

Mastering Graphic Novels (weeks 7 – 15)
*Read significant graphic novels, discuss, analyze
*Write a literary analysis of a major graphic novel
*Begin research project on a significant American comic book writer, artist, or cartoonist

Evaluating Graphic Narratives (weeks 16 – 18)
*Finish research project
*Use findings from research project to give a presentation to the class
*Semester exam

So, what did I miss?


  1. My comments aren't worth much, but since you've asked and not gotten any, here are a couple thoughts.

    1.Geez, I'm glad I can just require my students to buy whatever books I want them too. Sheesh.

    2. re: the research project on researching any graphic novelist/cartoonist, a couple thoughts:
    (1) does your library carry resources they'd need to do this assignment? Do high school libraries have graphic novels? I doubt there are many in my university's library. (2) when I've given assignments like this in the past, I seem to have invited essays that were pastiched from wikipedia and lame web sites. If it were me, I might make the final research project related to one of the major graphic novels the students were already reading. This has the advantage of making it a little easier for you to spot anything fishy going on in their essays and if you have the students present their projects to each other, everyone already has a frame of reference for understanding. Maybe the research projects could somehow deepen the context for understanding a particular work?

    3.Have you thought of using any film or thinking about adaptations from comics? I know there's a film for Persepolis...

    4. another random project idea-- have students create (in groups maybe?) their own graphic novelettes?

    Good luck! Still wish I could take this course.
    Kim :)

  2. Thanks for the thoughtful comments, KP!

    1. I know, right?

    2. I'm going to be drawing heavily on the public library. They've been very helpful in the past. Students will be doing research on the internet, and that does inevitably lead some students to plagiarize from Wikipedia, but at least it's easy to catch them. The final research project isn't set in stone, though, so I'll give that some more thought.

    3. Yes. I already own the DVD for Persepolis, so that one's a definite. I know I saw a cheap copy of American Splendor a few months ago, if I can only remember where . . .

    4. That would be fun. I just want to make sure I don't muscle in on the Art teacher's territory, since she's going to be doing some kind of comics drawing unit.

    Thanks again for commenting!