Many soap fans feel that there are not enough sites that facilitate serious discussions about soaps. I hope that, through our tackling of scholarship on soaps and linking those readings to a current soap opera text, our class blog can become a site of interest not just to those of us involved in the course but to other scholars, soap fans, and even those involved in the soap opera industry.
Students are expected to make 1 post each week and write at least 2 comments on others' posts each week. Graduate students are required to write 2 posts each week and at least 3 comments on others' posts each week.
These updates cannot all be done in one setting. This is not meant to be a burden but rather the most significant part of the class and is where I see the majority of the class' potential in lying.
Think of this as a conversation, and please use the blog as such. While our discussions may be somewhat insular in that it will be focused around the readings and viewings we are currently immersed in as a class, please keep in mind that a larger audience may be reading and that these posts will remain public after the duration of this course.
The blog remains open for OCW users to peruse and comment upon. Updated content may be forthcoming at the instructor's discretion.
Reading and viewing materials are all meant to provide potential sources and further avenues of research for the class. Students are expected to have picked a topic by Ses #11, and to schedule a meeting time with me during the next two weeks. A proposal for the paper is due by Ses #15. An outline or equivalent writing sample is due by Ses #20.
Students are expected to meet with me a second time before deadline. Students are more than welcome to turn in a version of the paper early for feedback and may do so throughout the term if so motivated. However, the final version of the term paper is due by Ses #26. The term paper shall be approximately 11-15 pages for undergraduates and 15-20 pages for graduate students. Meeting the deadlines of the term paper is reflected in the overall grade.
The term paper may be on any topic as long as it is approved through discussion with the instructor. The intent is for students to be able to bring their own expertise and interests into the course and apply them to this study of soaps. A wide variety of topics, analytical angles, and writing styles are acceptable if used effectively.
Some examples of student term papers are presented here. All are published courtesy the students named, and used with permission.
Ernest Alba. "The Effect of the YouTube Phenomenon on the Soap Opera Text." (PDF)
Katharine Chu. "Soap Operas and Teen Dramas." (PDF)
Jenn D'Ascoli. "Neighbours — Good Friends and Good Success." (PDF)
Nick Shearer. "As The World Turns in the Digital Age: A Study of Soaps and Streaming Media." (PDF)
While there is no required attendance, a fifth of your grade for the course will come from your active participation in class discussion of the viewings and readings. While the evening lab each week will always be taken up by viewing, there will almost always be class discussion in both the Monday and Wednesday class sessions. This will not be a lecture course, so it requires your active participation to be a success.
ATWT Discussion Board Participation
My thesis work discusses, in part, the interaction among the community that posts on the As the World Turns discussion board at Michael Gill's Media Domain. Since part of this class deals with the ways in which people build community around soap opera texts, I feel it is crucial not only for the class to have face-to-face discussion about soaps but also to participate in an online discussion forum. Students are required to post a minimum of 4 substantial comments in the discussion forum each week. Graduate students are required to post a minimum of 6 substantial comments weekly. As with the blog, these posts can't be made in succession. This requirement ends on Ses #20, as the weekly ATWT viewing requirements end at that point.