English 3700: Studies in the Novel (Hybrid)
Macon, Arts and Sciences (COAS) 203
The MGA Catalog indicates that English 3700 is "a study of the origins and development of the novel as a distinct literary form, examining the aesthetic, philosophical, and social concerns that inform selected works from the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries." We will read works by English, European, and American authors, with emphasis on the 19th century, the period when the novel matured as a major literary genre. Naturally, the course also aims to expand and improve your abilities in reading and thinking critically and to develop your writing, research, and communication skills.
At least a "C" in English 3010.
Moll Flanders, by Daniel Defoe, Dover Thrift Edition, ISBN 978-0-486-29093-5
Hybrid Nature of the Course
This course is a "hybrid class," meaning that it does not meet in the physical classroom location every scheduled class day. The class meets face to face in Macon on Tuesdays and in Cochran on Thursdays. The other "half" of the class takes place online in the University's Brightspace (D2L) online Learning Management System, primarily through threaded discussions.
Attendance: Each class is important, so it is crucial that you be in class for face-to-face meetings on time every day. I record attendance, and absences do affect your grade. Students with more than two absences cannot pass the class, regardless of the reasons for any of the absences—I make no distinction between "excused" and "unexcused" absences. I understand that "stuff happens," and not every student will be able to attend every class meeting. I will try to work with you on any major work you happen to miss, especially when you let me know about the absence missing class: feel free to call me or email anytime you must miss class.
Late work: Late work is penalized one letter grade for each class day the assignment is late. Work turned in more than three class days late will receive no higher grade than F, and I accept no work more than two weeks late.
Bare minimum course requirements: Regardless of your overall grade average, to be eligible to pass the course you must turn in both formal papers, submit at least five critical responses, complete corrections assignments for both formal papers and your first two critical responses, and take both 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.
Note that the Department of English's more specific definition of plagiarism is operative in this class:
For more on plagiarism, follow the "On Plagiarism" link on my website.
Withdrawal Policies: Students are encouraged to read the withdrawal policy found at http://www.mga.edu/registrar/dropadd.aspx before dropping/withdrawing from the class. Students may withdraw from the course and earn a grade of “W” up to and including the midterm date (Wednesday, October 12, 2016 for full-session classes). After midterm, students who withdraw will receive a grade of “WF.” A WF is calculated in the GPA as an “F.” Instructors may assign “W” grades for students with excessive absences (beyond the number of absences permitted by the instructor’s stated attendance policy). Students may withdraw from a maximum of five courses throughout their enrollment at Middle Georgia State. Beyond the five-course limit, withdrawals result in “F” grades.
Class Behavior Expectations and Consequences for Violations: Middle Georgia State University students are responsible for reading, understanding, and abiding by the MGA Student Code of Conduct. Student Code of Conduct, Responsibilities, Procedures, and Rights are found at
MGA Policy on Disability Accommodations: Students seeking academic accommodations for a special need must contact the Middle Georgia State University Office of Disability Services in Macon at (478) 471-2985 or in Cochran at (478) 934-3023. See http://www.mga.edu/disability-services/
“Technical Policy” (re: plagiarism detection): a plagiarism prevention service is used in evaluation of written work submitted for this course. As directed by the instructor, students are expected to submit or have their assignments submitted through the service in order to meet requirements for this course. The papers may be retained by the service for the sole purpose of checking for plagiarized content in future student submissions.
End of Course Evaluations: Student evaluations of faculty are administered online at the end of each term/session for all courses with five or more students. Students will receive an email containing a link to a survey for each course in which they are enrolled. All responses are anonymous.
Cell phones/personal electronics: The use of cell phones, ipods, and other hand-held personal electronics devices is not permitted during face-to-face classtime. All such devices must be kept out of sight for the duration of class—off of desks and out of laps. I will count absent any student texting or viewing a personal electronic device, and if the problem persists I will ask students not abiding by this policy to leave the classroom. Students who wish to take notes on laptops may do so, but only if they sit in the back row.
Instruments of Evaluation
Class discussion: Most class periods will involve open discussion of the reading assignments with little lecture, so your participation in discussion is essential. I will call on reticent or "quiet" students. To participate, obviously you must be present in class; to score higher than B- in participation you will need perfect attendance and to contribute in discussion spontaneously and appropriately several times each class meeting, as well as being fully engaged in all other course activities.
Threaded discussions: This component of your grade is determined primarily by the frequency and quality of your contributions to the threaded discussions. I expect you to 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 just as students in traditional classrooms cannot just share their contributions and leave the classroom without hearing and benefitting 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 day 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 response writings: typed informal writings of at least 250 words responding to the readings before we discuss them in class. Note that each critical response assignment is valid for one class period only, and that critical responses are accepted only by the beginning of the period for which they are assigned. I will post critical response questions on the web and announce them in class the meeting before each reading assignment is due. Grades are recorded for only eight critical responses, meaning that you do not have to address each assigned topic, only a total of eight over the course of the semester.
Exams: Both 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 making connections in theme or technique between different novels. 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 the midterm, for instance, select 7 of 10 short answer questions and 1 of 3 essay options.
Papers: In two essays of 7-9 typed pages (2000 word minimum), you will explore in some depth a subject you choose from a list of paper topics I will post on the web at the appropriate time. For at least the second paper, you will incorporate substantial research into the essayi.e. you will be required to cite four or more secondary sources of quality scholarship or criticism in addition to the primary work(s) you discuss. You will submit a brief topic sentence outline well before each paper is due as indicated on our schedule of readings and assignments.
Research presentations: Each student will share with the class a quick oral summary and evaluation of some significant article-length critical commentary on at least one novel. These presentations will be brief, no longer than five minutes, and you will share in Brightspace (D2L) written versions of your presentations of 2-3 pages in length (500 word minimum, 700 word maximum).
Corrections: For the first two critical responses you submit and the formal papers, after your work is graded you will hand in corrected drafts with all changes highlighted. Since corrections require a freshly printed draft after the paper has been graded, you should save all your work on disk to avoid having to retype entire drafts. For specifics, see corrections instructions.
Conferences: I strongly recommend one-on-one conferences in my office 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 response to your work before you submit it for grading."Rewrites": You may rewrite and resubmit either or both graded formal papers 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 written in the margins of the original graded papers.
Most handouts and all out-of-class assignments will be posted on my website rather than being distributed as "hard copy" in classyou are responsible for printing and reading these web-page "handouts" before we discuss them in class. Most handouts are indicated as linked pages on the online schedule of readings and assignments. I may occasionally contact you through email also, and I encourage you to email me with questions on any course matters large or small.
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.
A note on note-taking: Although this course involves comparatively little lecture, it is essential that you take notes every class period. "A" students typically take extensive notes. Even in class periods where your classmates do more "discussing" than the professor, you should make note of any significant points made by anyone in the discussion. You would also do well to underline, highlight, or otherwise note all passages from the readings that we take special notice of in class, for I usually select short-answer quotations for exams from those we've read or examined in discussion.
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 absences, missed assignments, plagiarism, or late work. The key to succeeding in this class is taking responsibility for your own success, meaning that you attend to all assignments with your most careful and 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.