Arts and Sciences (COAS) 203
As indicated in the MGA Catalog, English 2111 is "a survey of important works of world literature from the beginning through the seventeenth century." We will read extensively and explore a variety of genres, with concentrated attention on such canonical giants as Homer, Sophocles, Dante, Shakespeare, Cervantes, and Milton. Our primary aim is discovering continuing relevance for contemporary American readers in these venerable "classics." Ultimately, through close exploration of selected major works in world literature we will improve your abilities in critical thinking, analytical reading, and effective writing. Additionally, I hope to foster your understanding of literature as not merely matter for scholastic study, a hoop to negotiate along the way to a diploma, but as truly meaningful beyond the classroom because literature speaks to and about us all in the most fundamental ways as human beings, offering intelligent and thinking people an inexhaustible life resource throughout their lives.
The Norton Anthology of World Literature. Third edition (2012), Package 1: Volumes A, B, and C. ISBN 978-0-393-93365-9.
Textbooks: The textbook ordered for this class, in the correct edition, is mandatory. Most works we study were written in a language other than English, and the class should all use the same translations. In addition to the literary texts themselves, you are responsible for reading background and overview assignments in the Norton textbook ordered for the class. Do not attempt to read the works assigned in free online form: get the proper textbook immediately, if you don't have it already.
Participation: Although this online class is in some respects independent study, due dates apply and your participation in discussions is mandatory. Your grade will be adversely affected by anything less than diligent, conscientious participation in threaded discussions and all other course activities.
Late work: Threaded discussions, critical responses, and exams are not accepted late. All other late work will lose 5% per calendar day. I accept no work more than two weeks late. To reiterate particularly, threaded discussions must be posted prior to the deadline to receive credit.
Bare minimum course requirements: Regardless of your overall grade average, to be eligible to pass the course you must turn in the formal paper and all corrections assignments, submit multiple critical responses, and take the midterm and final exams.Plagiarism: Except for assignments expressly calling for collaborative effort, all written work must be your own. Any unacknowledged borrowing from the writings of others will be considered plagiarism, a serious breach of academic integrity. I will submit cases of plagiarism or other academic dishonesty for review by the Student Conduct Officer. The penalty for plagiarism in this class is an "F" for the entire course, not just the assignment in question. For more on plagiarism, follow the "On Plagiarism" link on my website.
Instruments of evaluation
Threaded discussions: The participation component of your grade is determined primarily by the frequency and quality of your contributions to the threaded discussions. You should participate with thoughtful, meaningful contributions in the discussions each unit. Threaded discussions must be posted prior to the deadline to receive credit. You should post discussion contributions early and late in each unit, and it is essential that you read the vast majority of posts by your classmates (and me) each unit. Threaded discussions approximate class discussion in a face-to-face class, and much as students in traditional classrooms cannot just share their contributions and leave the classroom without hearing and benefiting from what others say in discussion, you should not just contribute your posts to discussions without attending to what everyone else has to say. Students who post only on the last evening of any unit will receive no higher grade for that unit's discussion than a B; students who fail to read at least 75% of classmates' postings each unit will receive no higher grade than C.
Critical responses: You will submit a minimum of five informal writings as "critical responses" to the readings. I will post critical response topics and requirements for each unit as we proceed. Note that you are required to submit only five of these responses. There will be at least fifteen critical response assignments posted over the course of the semester, so you could do the first five and have them out of the way; or you could do one response every third unit; or, if you think you "work better under pressure," you might do the last five responsesI do not recommend this last approach! These informal writings will be graded with an emphasis on content, but they should reflect greater care in writing style and mechanics than with your threaded discussion contributions. You may do up to two extra critical responses to replace the lowest two grades among the first five responses you submit.
The Writing Matters test covers a variety of rules, conventions, and matters of mechanics outlined in several web pages from my site: the Golden Rules are important rules of grammar and style; the Nuggets cover a variety of conventions and problems, especially in the handling of quotations; a number of common problems in spelling and diction are described in Word Problems; the Quotations page presents basic conventions in MLA-style citation and documentation of sources.
Terminology test: a test assessing your mastery of literary terminology which we will cover early in the semester.
Exams: The midterm and final exams will consist of two parts: 1) "short answers," or brief paragraph-length commentary on the significance of specific passages from our readings, and 2) essays on central themes of the works we cover. There will be one essay on the midterm and two on the final. You will have some choice in the short answer and essay portions of each exam: you might on one exam, for instance, select 6 of 8 short answer questions and 1 of 3 essay options.
The paper: In a carefully constructed and thoroughly developed essay of 5-7 typed pages (1500 word minimum), you will explore in some depth a subject you choose from a list of paper topics I will provide. You will turn in a topic sentence outline (a paper proposal) before the paper is due as indicated on the schedule of readings and assignments. The paper must be submitted in digital form uploaded to the Brightspace (D2L) online learning management system.
Corrections: For the first two critical responses you submit and the formal paper, after your work is graded you will hand in corrected drafts with all changes highlighted. For specifics, see corrections instructions.
Conferences: Conferences are not mandatory, particularly in an online course, but I strongly recommend them if you struggle with any aspect of the readings and at any stage of the paper-writing processexploring topics, drafting, revising, or editing. My typical aim in paper conferences is to head off potential problems in your essays and to offer helpful, critical feedback on your work before you submit it for grading. Meeting face to face in my office is the first and best option, but for those not within easy driving distance of the Macon campus, we can do conferences via telephone."Rewrites": Time permitting, you may rewrite and resubmit (only) the formal paper for re-grading. Rewrite grades replace original grades completely. Note that rewriting involves far more substantial revision than correcting grammatical errors: rewrites should also address larger problems in focus, structure, content, and style. The starting point for revision is my typed comments on your graded papers; rewrites should also address comments and questions noted in the margins of the original graded papers.
Final grade breakdown
Keeping up with grades: You should check your grades periodically in Brightspace (D2L). Let me know if you have concerns about your class average or grades on specific assignments before you consider withdrawing from the course.
The Bottom Line: I hope every member of this class gets an A, and I will do all I can to make this happen. Don't get me wrongthe standards for "A" work are high, and I make no exceptions in course policies on participation, missed assignments, plagiarism, or late work. The number-one key to succeeding in this class is that you take responsibility for your own success, meaning that you attend to all assignments with careful, earnest diligence, that you respond positively to any setbacks and heed my feedback on all assignments, and that you seek my help as much and as often as you need it. I guarantee you have one of the most accessible professors at Middle Georgia State: ask for help outside of class, and I'll do my level best to deliver.
I know this
is a "distance course," but if you are in the Macon area
I'd enjoy meeting you in person and I strongly encourage you to see me
in the office for help with any course matters large or small. I also
encourage students near and far to telephone me in the office. Don't
be bashful about seeking my one-on-one attention outside the "virtual