English 2543R
British Literature to 1700
Spring 2005
(Online course: see http://rsuonline.edu)

Dr. Chip Rogers
Phone: (918) 341-8908
Email: chip@fleetman.com
Web address: www.chipspage.com
Office: 206C Baird Hall
Office phone: (918) 343-7748
Office hours: MWF 10:00-11:00, 12:00-1:00;
   TuTh 11:00-1:00; and by appointment


The RSU Bulletin describes English 2543 as "A survey of British Literature from the origins of the language to 1700." This course presents a selective survey of the most eminent writers and works in British literature from its beginnings through the seventeenth century, with specific emphasis on Beowulf, Arthurian romances, and works by Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Donne, Milton, and Aphra Behn, among others. We will read extensively in a variety of genres—narrative and lyric poetry, drama, and fiction. My fundamental aim is to lead you through close exploration of selected masterpieces in British literature to improve your abilities in critical thinking, critical reading, and writing. Additionally, I intend to foster your understanding of literature as not merely "matter for scholastic study," or a hoop that you must negotiate along the way to a college diploma, but as truly significant beyond the classroom because literature speaks directly to and about us all in the most fundamental ways as human beings, offering intelligent and thinking people a valuable and inexhaustible life resource throughout their lives. 

Texts and Materials
The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Major Authors, 7th edition, Volume A.
The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer, Penguin Classics edition. Trans. by Nevill Coghill (recommended, not required).
"Handouts" from the instructor's web site.

Participation: Although this class is mostly independent study, due dates will apply and your participation in discussions is mandatory. Understand that your grade will be adversely affected by lack of participation in threaded discussions and all other course activities.

Late work: Late work will lose 2% per day. No late work will be accepted more than two weeks after the initial submission date. Examinations may not be taken late. Threaded discussions must be posted prior to the deadline to receive credit.

Extra credit: There will be no extra credit.

Bare minimum course requirements: Regardless of your overall grade average, to be eligible to pass the course you must turn in both formal papers and all three corrections assignments, submit at least five critical responses, and take the midterm and final exams.

Communications and Fine Arts policy on plagiarism: Plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty. Simply put, plagiarism is representing someone else's ideas or work as your own. To avoid plagiarism, when you use someone else's data, arguments, designs, words, ideas, projects, etc., you must make it clear that the work originated with someone else by citing the source. Please review the Student Code of Responsibilities and Conduct published by Rogers State University for a full discussion of the "Code of Academic Conduct" and plagiarism penalties. For a more precise definition of plagiarism, follow the "On Plagiarism" link at www.chipspage.com.

Regarding External Web Sites: The contents of external Web sites listed in the eCollege site for this course are not certified by Rogers State University and/or the instructor and the information may or may not be accurate. The sites may contain information, presentation, perceptions, and/or attitudes that are not the views of Rogers State University and/or the instructor. In addition, sites and information on sites are subject to change and/or deletion without warning. You should also know that neither Rogers State University nor the instructor of this course intends that you violate the copyright of the web page by downloading the page in its entirety or by using the information in any way that will infringe on the copyright of the person or entity which posted the page.

ADA Statement: Rogers State University is committed to providing students with disabilities equal access to educational programs and services. Before any educational accommodation can be provided, any student who has a disability that he or she believes will require some form of accommodation must do the following: 1) inform the professor of each class of such need; and 2) register for services to determine eligibility for assistance with the Office of Student Affairs, located in the Student Union.

Students needing more information about Student Disability Services should contact:

Jan Smith-Clayton
Director of Student Development
Office of Student Affairs
Rogers State University

Course Methodology

Threaded discussions: Threaded discussions: The participation component of your grade is determined by the frequency and quality of your contributions to the threaded discussions. I expect you to participate with thoughtful, meaningful contributions in the discussions for each unit. Threaded discussions must be posted prior to the deadline to receive credit.

Exams: We will have two major tests online. Tests will be timed and open book. Both the midterm and the final will consist of two parts: 1) "short answers," or brief paragraph-length commentary on the significance of specific passages, and 2) essays making connections in theme or technique between different works and writers. 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, for instance, select 5 of 7 short answer items and 1 of 3 essay options.

Papers: In two formal essays of 4-6 pages (1200 word minimum), you will explore in some depth a subject you choose from a list of paper topics. Papers must be typed, formatted, and have sources documented according to MLA guidelines. For one of the papers, you will be required to incorporate some minimal secondary research into the essay—i.e. you will be required to cite two or three secondary sources of quality scholarship or criticism in addition to the primary work(s) you discuss. You will be required to turn in a brief outline well before the paper is due.

Grammar and mechanics exams: brief tests on basic concepts in grammar, convention, diction, and mechanics following presentation of the "Simple Stuff," "Golden Rules," "Nuggets," "Word Problems," and "Quotes and Documentation" pages on my web site at www.chipspage.com. My "Simple Stuff" page presents basic conventions for the MLA method of formatting written work (margins, headers, etc.). The Golden Rules are important rules of grammar and style, and the Nuggets cover a variety of conventions and problems, particularly in the handling of quotations. A number of common problems in diction are described in the Word Problems. The Quotes and Documentation page presents basic conventions for citing and documenting sources according to MLA guidelines. Most of this material should have been covered in composition courses you have already completed, so I hope these items will be relatively painless review.

Critical responses: You will submit a minimum of eight informal essays as "critical responses" to the readings. I will post critical response topics and requirements in each unit after the first. Note that you are required to submit only eight of these responses. There will be at least fifteen critical response assignments assigned over the course of the semester, so you could do the first eight and have them out of the way; or you could do one response every other unit; or, if you think you "work better under pressure," you might do the last eight responses—I do not recommend this latter approach! These mini-essays will be graded almost exclusively on content, but they should reflect greater care in writing style and mechanics than with your threaded discussion contributions.

Corrections: For the first two critical responses you submit and also the first formal paper, after I grade them you will correct the noted errors in grammar and mechanics for a separate "corrections" grade. I will post detailed instructions before handing back the first critical responses and the first paper.

Final grade breakdown

 Class participation (threaded discussions)
 Simple stuff exercise
 Golden rules exam
 Nuggets exam
 Quotes and documentation exam
 Word problems quiz
 Critical responses
 Critical response corrections
 Paper 1 
 Paper 2 
 Paper corrections
 Midterm exam
 Final exam

The Bottom Line: I hope every member of this class gets an A, and I will do everything I can to make this happen. Don't get me wrong—the standards for "A" work are high, and I make no exceptions in course policies on participation, missed assignments, plagiarism, or late work. But I guarantee you have one of the most accessible instructors at Rogers 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 Claremore 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 or at home—I'm happy to return calls long distance anywhere in the continental U.S. Don't be bashful about seeking my one-on-one attention outside the "virtual classroom"!

Teaching history
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