Midterm Review

The results of my grading indicate that the midterm was challenging for many of you. I believe that most of you do understand the concepts and terminology but had various kinds of trouble applying those concepts to actual images. This is not surprising because formal analysis requires you to pay more attention to your experience than is standard in academic courses. I deliberately weighted the points on formal analysis because we have been focusing on that part of visual analysis for most of the semester to date.

The following are some more specific observations about where some of you experienced difficulties in applying knowledge to experience:

For many of you the weakest part of your formal analysis was the observation section of the worksheet (column 1). The worksheet was intended to help you avoid the "fill in the blank" default approach that the checklist produced. However some of you did revert to that default and it seriously weakened your anaysis. Observations statements should refer to specific parts of the image and be used as evidence supporting your idenification of the formal elements.

The details provided by obervations statements are very important to linking those observations to the comments/interpretations in column 2. Some of you did not make this important connection and that weakened the second part of the formal analysis--the one that had the most weight. In the case of the word/image relationships, those who used McCloud's categories generally did a better job that those who just tried to explain it without that terminology. Several of you also missed significant changes in that central relationship over the course of the page.

The plot synopsis was designed to help you re-focus on the details of the plot that would help you think about how to answer the essay portion of the midterm. I saw a clear connection between vague plot summaries and lack of telling details in the essay. Simply listing where each historical style occured in the story was not enough. You had to tell me what it was doing there. Even one solid connection was enough to pass on that part of the midterm. In a couple of cases I really had to hunt for it though.

In Conclusion:
I want to assure you that we will continue to work on this for the rest of the semester and the midterm only provides a way of evaluating where each of you need to improve. You can still get a very good grade in this class if you work hard on the research paper and the final exam--neither of these will present the same kind ofchallenge that the midterm did. I will be setting up some special office hours if you want to come and talk to me about your individual grades.

I can arrange to hold office hours:
Friday, 4/9 from 2-4PM
Monday, 4/12 from 2-5PM

Please make an appointment if you want to see me during one of these times.
I will not be in my office if I don't have an appointment to see someone. If neither of these days/times is convenient, I can also make appointment at some other times depending on my schedule.