Latin 203 Intermediate Latin - Fall 2013, Starks – Binghamton University SUNY

Course Requirements:

Required Texts:
J. Morwood. Latin Grammar. Oxford, 1999.

Ann Raia, Cecelia Luschnig, Judith Lynn Sebesta. The Worlds of Roman Women. Focus, 2005.

Also – You need a good Latin dictionary. I recommend the Oxford Latin Desk Dictionary (available in hardback and paperback at our bookstore) or for even better coverage of vocabulary, the Elementary Latin Dictionary by Charlton T. Lewis, also available from Oxford. An electronic version of LewisÕ elementary dictionary is available on the link for your daily assignments, but I recommend that you purchase a hardback (I recommend the Oxford Latin Desk Dictionary) since this site has a history of instability and may not be there when you need it most.

Class Participation: ATTENDANCE IS REQUIRED. Beginning the second week of class, you will receive a daily grade for participation in class that suggests your level of preparation on material covered (A, B, C, D or 0) and your involvement in class activities. Participation includes questions, exchange of ideas, and responses to directed or general questions from the instructor or others. An absence from class for ANY REASON must be counted as a 0 since you cannot participate if you are absent. Two (2) absences or your lowest participation grades will be dropped, no questions asked, at the end of the term allowing 1 week of class days for illness, family matters, etc. In general, I do not distinguish between excused and unexcused absences for purposes of daily participation grades, but PLEASE always contact me by email or phone before class if you MUST be absent on a given day. I want to know when and why you need to miss class, and make sure that you don't get behind.
    It is important to understand that participation can include informed questions, requests for further explanation, offering to answer specific questions, or any contributions that foster learning in the classroom environment.
    GROUP WORK PROVISO: I will utilize different groupings of students from time to time in class to facilitate peer learning and review. Be prepared any given day to form groups quickly and efficiently as instructed.
    I encourage those of you who benefit from group study to create a working study group for out-of-class work.
    HOMEWORK PROVISO - I generally check homework by asking questions of students in class or asking what questions you have. There is no way we will translate every word of every assignment in class.

    TEXT BOOK PROVISO – failure to bring the textbook to class when required by the syllabus will result in a grade of 0 for that day.



Quizzes: Six (6) quizzes will be given as listed on the syllabus. These will be administered at the end of the class session or as take homes and will cover material learned from the time of the previous quiz to the end of the session prior to the quiz or some agreed upon body of material. The lowest quiz grade will be dropped at the end of the term, so makeup quizzes will not be given. If a quiz is scheduled, you absolutely cannot make it to class that day for legitimate reasons, and you contact me appropriately before the class in question, I will consider whether you may take the quiz at another time. Again the basic rule is to keep the line of communication open.

ExamsYou will take two (2) major term exams as listed on the syllabus. These will test grammar recognition, translation from Latin to English, reading comprehension and content, and literary style, when appropriate. The first TAKE HOME exam will cover reviewed grammar from the Oxford Latin Grammar; the second test will be on reading materials we have agreed on as testing material and will be taken by arrangement with me on the day established on the syllabus. Absence from a test FOR ANY REASON is very serious and may result in a much more difficult makeup test AT THE INSTRUCTOR's DISCRETION (I always reserve the right to refuse to give a makeup exam). Brief unseen passages of Latin are likely to appear on the second and will appear on the final exam.

Final Exam: Of necessity, tests in language courses are always comprehensive (Grammar forms and vocabulary don't go away, they just may disappear for a while and return suddenly, even violently). The final will be even more so, in some ways. I will cover the material after the third exam in somewhat greater detail on the final, but there will also be material from throughout the term. An unseen passage of Latin will appear on the final exam.


ACADEMIC HONESTY AND WRITTEN WORK – I cannot stress enough (and you will see more mentioned about this below) that every piece of work you turn in for a grade must be yours and yours alone. Cheating, whether in class or out of class, is a punishable offense at Binghamton University, and will be addressed very seriously in accordance with university policy.

Grading: Your final grade will be determined roughly as follows:

Final Exam


Average of 2 Exam scores


Average of Quizzes


Class Performance & Homework


I must insist on a firm grade scale as follows: 93-100 A, 90-92 A-, 87-89 B+, 83-86 B, 80-82 B-, 77-79 C+, 73-76 C, 70-72 C-, 60-69 D, 0-59 F. I especially reserve the right to consider borderline grades as falling on either side of the divide that seems most appropriate given all grading circumstances (i.e., a 92.5 or even a 92.9 cannot automatically be assumed to round up, though I may determine that a student's overall performance may warrant such rounding). Consult me about your progress in seemingly nebulous areas such as class participation, etc. I am always available for questions about your grade, even though you may not see it posted in the Blackboard grading system.

Other Expectations:

You may need to spend 3-5 hours outside of class for every hour in class (6-10 hours per week), and you receive an hour of credit each week beyond the required class meetings. Foreign languages often require significant preparation time if you want to do well.

Suggestions for Success:
    1) ALL written work to be turned in for a grade must be pledged with an affirmation of your adherence to the Student Academic Honesty Code as described at this site.
    2) Make sure that you regularly consult your email and Blackboard, as these are the most efficient ways for me to disseminate information to everyone enrolled in this class.
    3) My only real pet peeves in classroom demeanor are cell phones and other devices used to access social networking sites (turn them off), chronic tardiness, sleeping in class, and not informing me and others affected if you have a schedule problem.
    4) I guess the next closest thing to a peeve is my frustration with being unable to read the minds of completely silent students.  Part of the joy of studying Latin at a more advanced level is sharing what you think about it - whether good or bad. There's always something that deserves discussion, and the whole class can benefit from your insights. And (this is the lesson I've had to learn over time), if you're a natural talker, know when to balance your contribution with that of those around you. Be sensitive to the silences that sometimes occur - someone may be thinking deeply. I have toyed with the idea of using other media to help out those who are more inclined to silence, but I continue to believe that oral human communication is a most valuable gift and tool for all aspects of modern life, just as it was for the even more orally oriented cultures of the ancient world.
    5) Keep on your syllabus. This class will allow little time for catching up if you fall behind. The syllabus daily assignments are a guide and a goal. If you find yourself unable to get through the assigned readings and exercises, let's discuss it as a group or individually - work with others, divide the load and then make sure you teach each other. I prefer to have a plan, and try to find the best way to get there. CHECK YOUR SYLLABUS FREQUENTLY FOR ANY CHANGES I MAY NEED TO MAKE ALONG THE WAY.
    6) Bring all the appropriate books and/or printouts of online texts each day they are required by the syllabus – NOTE THE TEXTBOOK PROVISO ABOVE which, if unheeded, will result in serious damage to your class participation grade. DO NOT bring your written translations into class with you and read from them (I had to be broken from this habit first term freshman year by being called down in class. It worked). Show that you understand what you read or that you have questions about what you read, and don't mark up your original texts too badly - keep it clean. Make vocabulary and grammar notes while you read, and you can bring that to class with you if necessary. Rereading through an assignment shortly after leaving class is the absolute best way to see if you really understood what was going on with the changes suggested there. Nothing is worse than recalling the incorrect interpretation that you worked so hard on before class better than the corrected interpretation or deeper interpretation that you take away after class simply because you spent so much more time on the former and not enough time on the latter.
____ * Binghamton U Classics Department Corollary to Starks Suggestion 6: You have probably figured out that someone else has already translated many passages you are translating for class. There are two useful and honorable ways to use someone elseÕs translation:
a) Read the entire work in English, including the parts we donÕt cover in class, to have a fuller understanding of the context for your passages.
b) After working on a translation on your own, with all the help that dictionaries, commentaries, grammars, and your own good sense can provide, if you get stuck on a sentence, you may refer to a translation to get a sense of what the sentence says and to get unstuck. Then you must put away the translation and translate the sentence yourself to guarantee that you understand the grammar and syntax, especially since most translations are not written to help you get through the assignment. Ideally, you will not use someone elseÕs translation at all. But I would much rather you do so very occasionally than have you get frustrated or spend a whole evening on one sentence.
7) Extra Credit - fuhgedaboutit!! (Someone burned me long ago abusing extra credit. I'm afraid there is no antidote for my allergic reaction to requests for extra credit). On the other hand, you get personal extra credit for every thing you learn above and beyond the call of absolute duty, so look at the bigger picture.
    8) Final Grades are an assessment of your whole performance. I like to create many components to a grade as an evaluation of a complete student. I tend not to curve (unless something is clearly wrong with the grading apparatus) in order to preserve my overall sense of student performance and aptitude for the assignment of the more important final grade. I do consider improvements in problem areas as part of what shows your increased aptitude.
    9) Enjoy learning Latin. Let's make our time in class productive, but also, as often as possible, interesting, enjoyable and thought- provoking. We will talk frequently about the way Romans thought and lived to try to understand what they are saying to us. We will not sit in a dull translation session 3 days per week. We will change exercises and engage in discussion of ideas often.
     Pursuant to this end, please feel free within reason to bring coffee or other legal stimulants for our meetings - we will agree to meet in locations other than the room when weather and lesson needs permit - Latin and Greek schools often met in a stoa/basilica or under a tree, in the open air - we should do no less, though the need for internet may bind us to the room rather frequently.
    10) One day there may be a suggestion 10, but right now, I don't have one and there were 9 Muses, so we will leave an ennead of sage Starks suggestions for student success - maybe suggestion 10 should be to practice saying that 10 times fast.