Sample Assignments

The following are the assignments I have used in class to generate much of the content in this book. The first is for annotations/footnotes, the second for test bank questions (students wrote all of the questions on our tests) and the third for the chapter introductions.

Reading and Annotating Texts: Assignment

A key part of our course is reading and annotation in preparation for our lectures and writing assignments. You will complete readings before we cover the material in class; this way, you can guide our discussion by offering comments, questions, areas of confusion and additional resources for class review.

  • What is it? “Annotation” is the process of analyzing and understanding a written work. Annotations are not just a summary of what is going on, but also an examination of the speaker, history, language, evidence, symbolism, imagery, tone (feeling), and anything else that catches your eye.
  • What are the requirements? In order for a text to be considered fully “annotated”, you must include: 250 words of annotation (the box to the left defines what counts as an “annotation”).  DO NOT simply cut/paste content from the internet; if you take info from other sources, put information into your own words and cite it (with hyperlink) for it to count as an annotation.
  • Looking for student samples? Once you install the chrome extension, you will see LOTS of examples from former students on the “Public” page.
  • How will I be graded? Here is a rubric. If you have any other concerns or questions, let’s talk about them 🙂


Submitting Annotations

Annotations will be completed using (a system for annotating the web) on our Open Companion for British Literature I: 

  1. Sign up for an account (here is a screencast tutorial if you need).
  2. You can choose any username you want; just make sure to record it on this spreadsheet so I can identify you. This will ensure that you receive credit/grade for your contributions.
  3. Add the Chrome Extension (for information on how to do this, look here).
  4. Locate the assigned reading in our Companion (here is a 1-minute video).
  5. Join our course group (link is on Blackboard) or you can annotate publically. I will be able to find all work you do through your username.
  6. Go forth and annotate 🙂


How to Annotate

Consider all the “types” of annotation you can create:

  1. Respond to questions: I am also annotating our texts and will often ask questions to get the ball rolling; feel free to respond to my prompts (or reply to other students whose insights you find intriguing). My username on is “msallegra”.
  2. Glossary: Look up and identify/define difficult words and allusions/symbols for the entire class (or the entire world!)
  3. Questioning: Flag a passage, word or concept for discussion; this gives me a “heat map” of what we need to cover in class.
  4. Close Reading: Look up and identify broader historical, social or biographical contexts for formalist elements (setting, imagery, repetition, word choice, metaphor, etc.)
  5. Opinion: What strikes you as particularly beautiful? Strange? Hillarious? What confuses you? What biases do you detect? Feel free to share opinions on the text.
  6. Multimedia: Find images, videos, .gifs that help us better understand the text.
  7. Research: Find and share additional texts, links, and information that relates to what we are reading.


Test Bank Questions: The Art of the Question

In preparation for our final, we will focus on creating a test bank for this and future semesters. In the process, you will need to write 20 questions for submission (10 multiple choice/10 short answer). You will sign up for a text/reading to cover on our assignment sign up sheet —this reading cannot be the same reading you have selected for any other Writing Projects.  Additionally, you must write original questions (do not copy from sources online). Questions may end up on our final or as supplementary materials on the Companion.

Submission Guidelines:

Format: You must write 10 short answer/essay questions (those that allow for a multitude of responses) and 10 multiple choice (each question will have four possible answers; one of which will be correct).

Due Date: See Syllabus/course calendar for exact date.

Useful Resources:

For help on writing questions, see:

Writing Multiple Choice Questions

Designing Effective Discussion Questions

Writing Project 1: Introducing Great Works

A key part of any anthology are the introduction to the works themselves – important information on the author, literary context, historical context and brief summary of the reading. You may be writing the entire introduction (for some shorter, more obscure works) or a piece of a longer one (for more well-known authors). Try to select a text/portion that appeals to you – perhaps you prefer an essayist to a poet or middle ages to seventeenth century; please do a bit of research to select a piece you are genuinely curious about (for options, see our Assignment Spreadsheet). For this project you will:

  1. Complete an introduction of 700-1,000 words.
  2. Provide a list of at least 3 helpful resources (for further reading/research by students)
  3. Provide an accompanying visual image (that is labeled for “reuse” in Google images or Flickr).
  4. Provide at least 5 discussion questions about the text (not your introduction) to help students with comprehension.
  5. Submit the content as your “rough draft” (see the deadline on our spreadsheet) a week before class discussion so that I can post the introduction you have written (see specific deadlines on our assignment spreadsheet).
  6. Come to class prepared to be our “discussion lead” – you will guide the conversation on the text – see the next page for details.
  7. Based on our class discussions, and feedback from me, you will submit a final draft for grading (see deadline on our spreadsheet).


Submission Guidelines:

Where to submit: Please submit this as a Googledoc for my review (be sure to share with “can edit” selected for feedback):

Formatting: Please format this paper in accordance with MLA guidelines.

Sources: You are expected to do research for this assignment. Please thoroughly cite all sources you use in MLA and make sure to draw on at least three different sources.

Length: This paper should be at least 700 words but not more than 1,000.

Due Date: See assignment spreadsheet for dates.

For examples of how to do this, look at Robin deRosa’s student introductions for the Open Anthology of Earlier American Literature. 


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

An Open Companion to Early British Literature Copyright © 2019 by Allegra Villarreal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book