How Much Work is a 3 Unit Course?
According to the UC Davis General Catalog (see this link), units of credit are assigned to courses based on 1 unit of credit for three hours of work by the student per week. Usually this means one hour of lecture or discussion led by the instructor and two hours of outside preparation by the student. In the case of SAS004, the course is 3 units.
- Unit 1: Each week we screen a movie that is 1.5-3 hours long plus a movie log assignment, so we treat that pairing as fully consuming 1 unit.
- Unit 2: Each week there is a 50-minute discussion section and associated with that is a reading or set of readings as well as preparation time for one oral presentation to your discussion section. The length of the readings is designed to consume up to 2 hours of your time outside of class in preparation for the discussion section.
- Unit 3: Each week there is a 50-minute interactive lecture. Associated with this are two writing assignments and a final exam. There are 10 interactive lectures, so that means you have 20 hours designated to complete these three assignments. Depending on your productivity and efficiency, it might take you more or less time than this to complete the work.
The course begins at the first meeting after instruction begins to start an academic quarter. Sometimes the course begins on Wednesdays evenings and sometimes on Monday afternoons, depending on when the academic calendar says instruction begins, so take note of the calendar.
If the course starts on a Wednesday evening, then we use that meeting to introduce the course, cover course logistics, and show a presentation by a popular culture expert. Then, in the first Monday discussion section, we review the course logistics again and get going with a discussion about the first reading, so be sure to read that for the first Monday discussion in this scenario.
When the course begins on a Monday afternoon, go to that and we will primarily cover course logistics. Then, on the first Wednesday evening class, there will be an introduction by the professor and a presentation by a popular culture expert. Immediate after those, we will screen the first movie, Chinatown.
In general, students work on their Movie Log assignment during the movie and in the following week. Students should read the next reading before their next discussion section, per the reading assignment guidance on the course website and in the Canvas Assignments information. At the next discussion section, 3-4 students will give presentations about the screened movie and there will be discussion about the movie and reading. Movie logs are due for online submission through Canvas by 5:00 pm on the next Wednesday class. Finally, the professor wraps up the topic by giving a presentation about the previous week's topic. Some students find lectures boring, but the student consensus of the pilot course in 2005 was that students wanted to hear the professor's scholarship and perspective as one aspect of the course. Then it is on the next screening and the cycle repeats itself.
I give my presentations in-person using MS Powerpoint with a lot of color imagery and I do not have a high speed color copier to make >200 sets of slides for every student, so I will not be passing out lecture notes on paper. Instead, I post PDF files with the slides (2 per page) on Canvas in the Files section. Then you can choose to view them on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone in class OR you can print them and bring the paper version to class to take notes on. The material on the slides is covered on the final exam, so you do want to have the ability to take notes during class to supplement your understanding of the slides as you see fit.
In addition to the live presentations, I have pre-recorded all the lectures and posted them to this course website as well as to UC Davis Video website. If you use the latter, simply go to that link and search for "SAS004" to find the videos. You'll have to be careful to watch the correct video for the week by matching the title of the video to the syllabus. I cannot exactly match the words between what I say in class and what I said on a video, but the content is pretty similar. The videos are available for you as a bonus to help you study the content more and in case you miss class. You can choose to only use the videos and skip the lectures; it's all up to you as it is your education. One way or another, you should learn the content of the lectures, because that is the primary basis of the final exam.
This courses uses the UC Davis Canvas tool to provide you with many features, including announcements, assignment submission, and free files, including the movie logs. Please try to keep space available in your email inbox to make sure you do not miss any important course announcements. Check the Canvas page weekly as well.
There is no textbook for this course, but there are a variety of readings drawn from different sources. A complete list of the readings with guidance on how to obtain each reading and when to read them can be found on the SAS004 readings page.
Did you Miss a Movie Screening?
I have placed movie DVDs on Reserve in Shields Library. DVDs are available for use in the library for a few hours- enough to be able to watch them through. Please handle the DVDs gently. I try to provide multiple copies of each DVD, but over time it is getting harder to find DVDs to purchase.
Most people have subscriptions to movie streamlining services, such as Netflix and/or Amazon Prime. Movies come and go from those, but several of the movies are often available through an online streaming service. Netflix also has its DVD by mail service and that likely has all the movies.