flag of New Mexico

Midterm 2 assignment 2018

1. Revise & extend Essay 1, adding Mexican Americans
2. Web highlights 3. Start Research Report

Official date: Monday, 2 April 2018 
Email deadline:
Thursday, 5 April 11:59pm


(This webpage is the assignment for our course's second midterm, to be updated and refined up to 26 March, when paper copies will be distributed.)

Format: Email. Open-book, open-notebook. No class meeting on 2 April but classroom available for students; instructor keeps office hours 4-7.


Email exams due to whitec@uhcl.edu by 11:59pm Thursday, 5 April. "Submission window" is 27 March-5 April.


If your exam will be late, no automatic discredit if you communicate.

Email your pre-midterm submission to whiteC@uhcl.edu. (Most common mistake: students send to “white” rather than “whiteC)

Attach appropriate file(s) to an email for whiteC@uhcl.edu. (Microsoft Word or Rich Text Format works,)

and / or

Copy and paste contents of your essays into an email message to whiteC@uhcl.edu


Acknowledgement of receipt: Instructor usually replies that he's received your submission within a few hours (unless you send it at an odd time). If you don't see an email confirmation within 24 hours, check if you emailed the right address: WhiteC@uhcl.edu.


Email problems? A problem or two with email (or computers generally) is normal in a class this size. Don't panic—communicate & we'll work things out.

Spacing: Single-spacing preferred. No need to double-space, but OK if you do. All submissions are converted to single-space for reading onscreen.  

Return of grades.: App. 1-2 weeks after submission.

Three parts to Midterm2:

Part 1. Revise & extend midterm1 Essay 1 on minorities ( immigrants & dominant culture) to include Mexican Americans. (At least 12 paragraphs total.)


Part 2. Web Highlights reviewing at least three Model Assignments from previous semesters (incl. at least one previous final exam essay involving Mexican America) (5+ paragraphs)

Part 3. Start Research Report: 5 substantial paragraphs with 2+ sources toward your Research Report (to be completed on Final Exam)

Special requirement: Essays, Web Highlights, and Research Reports must have titles.

Sections’ contents may overlap or repeat materials, but be efficient; cross-reference to economize.

Advice: Work on #2 Web Highlights first in order to acquaint yourself with standards and materials.

If your exam will be late, communicate! (professional courtesy). Penalties for lateness aren't as severe as penalties for making the instructor wonder if he missed your email or what's happened to you.

Confer with instructor any time regarding either part of your midterm: Office: Bayou 2529-7; Phone: 281 283 3380; Email: whitec@uhcl.edu


Grading Standards: See bottom of this webpage. Students are required to refer to Course Objectives, term-webpages, literary devices or purposes, and historical backgrounds (American Indians as Minority ± Immigrant; Mexican-Americans immigrants, minorities, or both?).


Part 1. Revise & extend midterm1 Essay 1 on minorities ( immigrants & dominant culture) to include Mexican Americans. (At least 12 paragraphs total.)


Revise your Essay 1 draft from Midterm1 according to instructor feedback, continue developing the minority definition (especially in comparison with immigrant or dominant-culture identity), and revise introduction and add paragraphs to include Mexican American Literature.


Use terms and themes from Course Objectives, definitions from term-webpages, historical backgrounds (Mexican-Americans immigrants, minorities, or both?), and literary devices or purposes to introduce and develop examples from readings and presentations of Mexican American Literature as minority, immigrant, and / or dominant-culture.


You must revise and improve the paragraphs you wrote for Midterm1 Essay 1. You are expected to make efforts not to repeat errors identified in instructor feedback.


Refer to Course Objectives, esp. Primary objectives 1-2 and Detailed Objective 3c. Mexican American narrative: a border people? La Frontera? "Americano Dream?" / “Ambivalent Minority?”


Review historical origins (American Indians as Minority ± Immigrant; Mexican-Americans immigrants, minorities, or both?) that define American Indians and Mexican Americans as minority groups, while also acknowledging how Mexican Americans may also be identified as an immigrant culture.


Describe and analyze examples of both minority and immigrant identity in our Mexican American texts.


What have you learned about Mexican Americans (as well as American Indians) as minority ( immigrant) cultures and their literary traditions as a result of reading our texts and learning some Mexican American cultural history?


Required textual references: Extensive references to The Distance Between Us: A Memoir; references to at least one of following: Story of the Virgin of Guadalupe; Juan Nepomuceno Seguin, Personal Memoirs; Gloria Anzaldua on Borderlands / La Frontera;


Welcome to refer to poems from class: Pat Mora, "Fences"; Pat Mora, "Señora X No More"; Jimmy Santiago Baca, "Green Chile"


Don't ignore deep-historical backgrounds of ethnic group's origins and development: Mexican-Americans immigrants, minorities, or both?; New World Immigrants; American Indians as Minority ± Immigrant




Part 2. Web Highlights reviewing at least three Model Assignments from previous semesters (5+ paragraphs)

“Review”: describe what interested you, where, why you chose it, what you learned. You may criticize what you found, but not required.

What did you learn from reviewing model assignments that you didn't learn from in-class instruction (or extended or confirmed it in some way)? Compare and contrast the three assignments you review, and summarize what you learned from them relative to each other. 

Write Part 2 as an essay with introduction and conclusion, e.g.
Paragraph 1: Introduction with description of assignment and overview of learning
Paragraphs 2-4: paragraphs on selections, inter-related in terms of what you learned from one selection compared to or building on what you learned in another.
Paragraph 5: Summary of learning; what you learned from Model Assignments that affirmed, varied, or expanded what you learned in class.

Requirements & guidelines: Web Highlights essay must have a title.

  Review at least 1 final exam essay involving Mexican America (Model Assignments, esp. 2008).


Review at least 1 Research Report Start from American Immigrant Literature 2016 or 2013.


  Your third item may be any other item from American Minority Model Assignments.


To identify passages, copy and paste brief selections into your web review or refer to them using names, locations, paraphrases, summaries, and brief quotes. (Both options in models.) Either way, highlight and discuss language used in the passages as part of your commentary. Critique what you learn.


Note on organization and grading: Some students fulfill assignment by going through 3 assignments individually, one at a time until finished, with few or no connections between the separate models.


Better submissions unify the three reviews into a whole, purposeful essay in which the learning experience of one review connects to the learning experience of another, and your entire learning experience is previewed and summarized in the essay's introduction and conclusion.


Successful submissions sometimes start by identifying a subject of special interest, then choosing Model Assignments that meet this interest.


For Model Assignments of the Web Highlights assignment, see LITR 4338 2018 midterm1 Web Highlight samples.




Part 3. Start Research Report: At least 5 substantial paragraphs with 2+ outside sources (& possible class-text sources) toward your Research Report (to be completed on Final Exam)


Assignment: Introduce your topic, describe your research from at least two outside sources (+ possible examples & references to class-texts).


What have you learned so far as it relates to your topic as it applies to American Minority Literature, with possible previews of materials to be added or researched for Final Research Report on Final Exam (8-10 paragraphs).


Your research report is not a typical literary essay in which you analyze the language, form, or meaning of individual texts. Instead, your topic must concern a factual figure, phenomenon, or movement in literary or cultural history about which you will learn.


Put another way, your report will find research about a literary or cultural topic and summarize what you learned about your subject of interest. 


Content: emphasis is on information, not opinion and analysis, though some summary and evaluation is welcome and expected. It's a report foremost. (In other words, you're not "interpreting" a text but rather reporting facts and information about your selected topic.)

What did you want to learn? Why?

What did you find out or learn? How?

What would you like to learn next? (that follows from what you have learned so far)

How does this knowledge apply to our course or your possible development of its topics?


Description of default or likely organization: The path of least resistance is to describe and unify your report as a "quest" or "journey of learning."

Introduction: Why are you interested in your topic, and what do you wish to learn? What relevance does it have to our course and / or your career? What question are you trying to answer?

Body paragraphs: How did you start your research, and what did you find?

Conclusion: What will you learn or develop for your Complete Research Report


Works Cited / Bibliography: Include a list of your major research sources.

MLA style is preferred, but other standard forms are acceptable. Don't spend too much time fussing over forms when you should be feeling impassioned over your subject.

Here's my test for a listing: Would I be able to track it down using the information provided?

You may use previous research projects for 1 or 2 of your sources, or use those reports themselves as sources.


Possible sources for research:

interview with an expert, including former teachers (phone interviews are fine) or faculty here at UHCL

reference works in library or on web—the more specialized the better (e. g., use "handbooks to literature" for definitions rather than "Webster's dictionary") 

no need for primary research or reading. For instance, if you wanted to do your report on an immigrant writer, you don't need to read more of her or his books. You only need to read about her or him and about her or his books.

welcome to use previous research report submissions on similar topics from our Model Assignments as research sources.



Evaluation standards: Readability, competence levels, content coverage and development, and thematic unity.


Readability & surface competence: Your reader must be able to process what you're explaining. Given the pressures of a timed writing exercise, some rough edges are acceptable, but chronic errors or elementary style can hurt.


Content coverage & development: Comprehension of subject, attention to assignment requirements, demonstration of learning, use of course resources including instructional webpages + interest & significance: Reproduce course materials accurately but refresh with your own insights, examples, and experiences.


Thematic Unity and Organization: Unify materials along a line of thought that a reader can follow from start to finish. Consult sites on Unity / Continuity / Transition & Transitions.