Monday, November 3

*** Desire2Learn is WORKING again! *** The problem earlier today with Desire2Learn has been fixed; check for the latest news. I have recorded all the email Declarations that people sent to me this morning; you might want to double-check the Gradebook to make sure I recorded the correct Week 10 assignments for you. Thanks for your patience during this outage, and please do remember to save the class websites as bookmarks, so you are not dependent on Desire2Learn in the event of an outage. Here are the addresses: World Lit website, MythFolklore website, and Indian Epics website. (Updated at 5PM on Monday.)

Grading and points. Quite a few people have been asking me about the points and grading, so let me refer you again to this Grading Information page. In short, you need 410 to get an A, 360 points to get a B, and 320 points to get a C. When you get the number of points you need, you are done! It is fine with me if you decide to stop doing work for the class whenever you have the grade you want to receive (many of you are taking this class for Gen. Ed. requirements, which means you just need a C to get graduation credit). My only request is that you please let me know when you are done so I can adjust the comment assignments accordingly!

Mix and match points. Now that there are just five weeks of the semester left, you might want to plan to do some "mix and match" in terms of just which assignments you want to complete this semester to get the points you need for the grade you want to get. So, based on the assignments you enjoy most/least in the class, you can certainly skip some assignments, provided that you end up with the points you need at the end. My only recommendation is that you do this cautiously. You don't want to skip so many assignments that you end up not getting the points you need for your desired grade.

Thanksgiving. I have also received several questions about Thanksgiving in this class now that it is November. You will get a full week off for Thanksgiving break in this class. So, Week 13 will start on Tuesday, November 18, with the usual Tuesday-Thursday assignments due that week. Then, you have a week off. There are no assignments between Friday November 21 until Friday November 28 (Thanksgiving Day is November 27). You will have the usual Week 13 weekend assignments due November 29-30, with the usual grace period until noon on Monday, December 1. Then Week 14 will start up on Tuesday, December 2. I am guessing that many of you will probably already be done with the class by the time Thanksgiving break arrives!

Storybook stack. As always on Monday, I will have a huge bunch of assignments in the Storybook stack that were turned in over the weekend or on Monday morning. You can check the contents of the stack to make sure I received your assignment. As usual, I will be reading and reply to the assignments in the order they were turned in, starting with the ones that were turned in last week on Thursday and Friday, while I was out of town.

November 3: Dog in space. The dog Laika ("Barker") became the first animal in outer space on this day in 1957. Laika traveled aboard the Soviet spaceship Sputnik 2. You can read more about this cosmonaut dog in the Wikipedia article. While the Soviets launched dogs into space, the United States space program launched chimps instead (Ham the chimp, the first hominid in space, flew a Project Mercury flight in 1961). Laika proved that it was possible for an animal to sustain a weightless state in outer space, although she did not return to earth (she died during the mission from heat stroke when a heating unit in the space capsule malfunctioned). A monument was unveiled this year in honor of Laika; click on the image to view a Russian news video about the dedication of the monument: