First things first: taking out The Music of Chance helps lighten the load a bit and I admit I'm glad that you decided to do it.
GO (I like this):
I like the syllabus structure for this course. Its different than anything I have had before. I like the idea of the blog, because it is a good way to put time and effort into the course, but on our own time and schedule. It makes it more flexible, while still requiring us to keep up with the work and readings. I also like the amount of extra credit we can get out of the blog, because it gives us a chance to exempt the final and I hate finals. I may be singing a different tune when that research paper comes around, but for right now I am enjoying the course structure. The quantity of work is good, mostly because you can choose how much of it you want to do, and I feel like the quality is the same way. If you want to write a one point blog, you just spend less time on it. But if you want full credit for a blog, you need to take your time and cover all the bases. That's how I like it. I can go at my own pace. My favorite readings so far have pretty much all been short stories I think. I liked "River of Names" because it was just so jaw-dropping. "Emergency" was enjoyable, and I liked Alice Walker's "The Flowers" and Tennessee William's "The Catastrophe of Success", but my favorite was probably "In Dreams Begin Responsibilities". Glengarry Glen Ross isn't bad either. Oh, and I forgot to mention that I am also very appreciative that there are no tests. I like the group discussions too. They help get me into the right frame of mind. They make the wheels start to turn. I would normally enjoy the open forum based discussion, but it is admittedly awkward in our class for some reason. I for one don't feel particularly comfortable speaking in this class, and I'm not usually like that. I guess it would be better if more people talked, but its hard to get that to happen if people feel uncomfortable. I'm not really sure why its awkward, but it is.
YIELD (things we should do more often):
The first thing I think we should do more of is movies in class. I've enjoyed it the few times you've done it because I never get to watch movies in my classes, so its an enjoyable and somewhat rare experience for me. I also like reading something and picturing it in my head, and then comparing what I saw in my head to the movie version the next day. A lot of times a movie version will allow me to look at something differently than I did, or call something else to my attention that I wouldn't necessarily have seen before. I also like the short stories that we read. I think they are a lot easier to handle. A lot of times I cannot commit to reading/blogging in the middle of the week because I have so much work to do for my major. I end up having to catch up later either before I blog the second time, or on the weekend. Sometimes I have to resort to skipping a section and reading it after blogging on the third section, so I have to spend a good bit of time figuring out what is going on. It ends up being choppy and I think it ruins my experience for the books. The short stories are so good though because they can be concluded in a single reading. They also hold my attention much more easily. So I am a fan of the short stories.
STOP (please, no more!):
I could go my entire life without having to read another book like Lolita. There is a lot to the book, no doubt, but it is not the easiest read. And the content within it is just disturbing and disgusting. I don't enjoy reading a story chronicling several years out of the life of a kidnapping, murdering, repulsive, child rapist. Call me crazy but it is not the kind of story content I enjoy. I didn't like reading it, I didn't really want to know what was going to happen next, and I had to force myself to pick it up and read it in small doses. It just wasn't an enjoyable experience, and that disappoints me because I generally like to read. I'm also not a fan of poetry, though I can understand not eliminating them altogether because some poems are good. I just haven't liked any of the ones we've read. But the reason I don't like them is because I usually have a hard time reading between the lines. Poems are probably some of the last pieces of reading to take literally and a lot of times I can't seem to get much out of them but that. I mentioned it a little earlier too, but I don't like research papers, and it is my understanding that we have to do one later. I'm sure nobody really likes research papers, but again I can understand making us do one.