Reverse detail from Kakelbont MS 1, a fifteenth-century French Psalter. This image is in the public domain. Daniel Paul O'Donnell

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English 1900g: Introduction to English Language and Literature (Spring 2017)

Posted: Dec 14, 2016 16:12;
Last Modified: Mar 15, 2017 14:03

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Note: This is a draft syllabus based on Fall 2014, which I am providing for planning purposes. The readings will be the same in Spring 2017. Assessment and precise scheduling are subject to change before the last day of add/drop.

About this course

English 1900 is the introductory course in our department. It is a prerequisite for all higher level courses.

The purpose of English 1900 is to introduce students to the study of literature and to provide opportunity to practice analytical reading, thinking, and writing about texts.

This section of English 1900 will focus particularly on discovery and communication: uncovering our (often unrealised) critical responses to texts and developing these into compelling and interesting arguments.

Contents

Times and location

MWF 15:00-15:50 Room B 650.

Office and Office Hours

Office hours: Mondays, 2pm-3pm; Tuesdays 1pm-2pm (and by appointment or drop in).

Note: I am usually in my office and you are welcome to drop by. If I am unavailable, if there is a yellow or a red hanger on the door handle, I am busy and would prefer if you came back later unless it is an emergency. Otherwise, feel free to knock.

My office is room B810B.

My email is daniel.odonnell@uleth.ca.

My telephone number is +1 403 329-2377.

Detailed description

English 1900 is the required introductory course in the department. The calendar description is as follows:

An introduction to the study of English language and literature, involving an exploration of various genres of literature and non-literary texts and requiring a series of critical assignments designed to encourage analytical reading, thinking and writing.

Within this broad rubric instructors are free to set their own themes and texts. In this section, our focus will be on discovery and communication: uncovering our (often unrealised) critical responses to texts and developing these into compelling and interesting conversations with others. These are essential skills in literary studies and the humanities more generally. Their acquisition is the principal goal of a humanities education.

We will be taking a constructivist approach to practising these skills. Students will be largely responsible for the direction of class content, within the framework sketched out in the class schedule below. The class will consist almost entirely of in-class discussion, with our topics for discussion being determined for the most part by student interests as reflected in weekly blogging assignments.

The section will also expose students to a variety of different communication contexts. In addition to their weekly blogs, students will also write two “unessays” (free-form writing in which the only requirement is that you develop and communicate your ideas in a compelling fashion), one formal essay (an essay in which you will be graded on both the quality of your ideas and ability to communicate and more formal aspects of style, citation format, and the like), blog responses, reviews, and a final exam.

Learning goals

By the end of the course students should have an understanding of the conventions, processes, and skills required for University-level literary research. This involves the ability to

Texts

Notes:

  1. All texts are required;
  2. To assist you in finding the specific copies we will be using, I have provided ISBN information for the books you are required to purchase. The format used in this list is not the same as that required for the works cited list for your formal essay.

Assessment

The evaluation scheme presented here should be considered tentative and open to change until the beginning of the last class before the Add/Drop deadline.

Assignment Value
Attendance 5%
Quizzes and participation 5%
Essay/unessay drafts 5%
Responses on student drafts 5%
Blogs 20%
Best essay/unessay 20%
Other two essays/unessays 15% (7.5% each)
Final exam 25%

Grade scale

In my classes, I use two grading scales: one for formative work, the other for summative.

Formative grade scale

Formative work is usually graded on a pass/fail (100/0) basis. I may also supply a letter grade to give you a finer sense of how you did, but this grade generally does not contribute to your grade. I reserve the right to award a bonus to work that significantly exceeds expectations.

Summative grade scale

  Excellent Good Satisfactory Poor Minimal pass Failing
Letter A+ A A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D F
Percent range 100-94 93-90 89-86 85-82 81-78 77-74 73-70 69-66 65-62 61-58 57-50 49-0
Conventional value 100 92 88 84 80 76 72 68 64 60 56 49-0
Grade point 4.0 3.7 3.3 3.0 2.7 2.3 2.0 1.7 1.3 1.0 0

I use this table in different ways depending on the nature of the work.

In marking work I try to keep the University’s official description of these grades in mind (a description can be found in the University Calendar, Part IV.3.a). If you get an A it means I think your work is excellent; a B means I think your work is good; a C means I think it is satisfactory; a D that I think it is barely acceptable (minimal pass); and an F that I think it is failing to meet University-level standards.

Submitting Work

Tests, Exams, and Quizzes

Tests and Exams will be written in the University’s Testing Centre on Moodle. Quizzes may be presented in class on Moodle.

Essays and Reports

Essays and reports will normally be collected using Turnitin. Information on our account (URL, ID number, and Password) will be made available in our class space on Moodle: http://moodle.uleth.ca/

Class schedule

Note: This is the schedule from Fall 2013. I will be making some changes before the first class to reflect the new reading list.

Week Date Topic Assignment
1 Mon. 9/1 Introduction  
Wed. 11/1 Sawai All students blog
Fri. 13/1 O’Connor All students blog
2 Mon. 16/1 O’Connor All students blog
Wed. 18/1 Blog audit Please read all blogs thus far before class
Fri. 20/1 Sir Gawain All students blog
3 Mon. 23/1   Students A-F Blog due by Sunday Midnight
Wed. 25/1   Students G-M Blog due by Tuesday Midnight
Fri. 27/1 Unessay Q&A Students N-Z Blog due by Thursday Midnight
4 Sunday 29/1 Unessay 1 draft due no later than midnight (hard deadline)
Mon. 30/1 Unessay Draft Discussion Come to class prepared to discuss your draft
Tuesday 31/1 Unessay 1 review/suggestions due no later than midnight (hard deadline)
Wed. 1/2 Unessay Review Come to class prepared to discuss the recommendations you made
Fri. 3/2 Unessay Response Come to class prepared to discuss the edits you intend to make
5 Sunday 5/2 Unessay 1 final draft due
Mon. 6/2 Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Students A-F Blog due by Sunday Midnight
Wed. 8/2   Students G-M Blog due by Tuesday Midnight
Fri. 10/2   Students N-Z Blog due by Thursday Midnight
6 Mon. 13/2 Woolf, To the Lighthouse Students G-M Blog due by Sunday Midnight
Wed. 15/2   Students N-Z Blog due by Tuesday Midnight
Fri. 17/2   Students A-F Blog due by Thursday Midnight
20/2-17/2 Reading Week No Classes
7 Sunday 26/2 Unessay 2 draft due no later than midnight (hard deadline)
Mon. 27/2 Unessay review Come to class prepared to discuss your unessay draft; Students G-M Blog due by Sunday Midnight
Wed. 1/3 Carson, The Beauty of the Husband Students N-Z Blog due by Tuesday Midnight
Fri. 3/3   Students A-F Blog due by Thursday Midnight
8 Sunday 5/3 Unessay 2 due
Mon. 6/3   Students N-Z Blog due by Sunday Midnight
Wed. 8/3   Students A-F Blog due by Tuesday Midnight
Fri. 10/3   Students G-M Blog due by Thursday Midnight
9 Monday 13/3 Heaney and Harrison (Moodle)
* Harrison On Not Being Milton
*Harrison Them and [uz]
*Heaney Digging
*Heaney Singing School: 1. Ministry of Fear (i.e. you only have to read the first section).
Students N-Z Blog due by Sunday Midnight
Wed. 15/3 Students A-F Blog due by Tuesday Midnight
Fri. 17/3
  • Harrison V
Students G-M Blog due by Thursday Midnight
10 Mon. 20/3 Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead Free choice of blog date
Wed. 22/3   Free choice of blog date
Fri. 24/11   Free choice of blog date
11 Sunday 26/1 Unessay 3 draft due no later than midnight (hard deadline)
Mon. 27/3 Unessay draft Come to class prepared to discuss your unessay
Tuesday 28/3 Unessay 3 review/suggestions due no later than midnight (hard deadline)
Wed. 29/3 Unessay review Come to class prepared to discuss the essay your responded to
Fri. 31/3 Formal essay Q&A  
12 Monday 4/4 Revision discussion Come to class prepared to discuss your plans for revision
Wed. 5/4 Revision/editing discussion  
Fri. 7/4 Conclusion/Catch-up  
Sun. 9/4 Final Paper Due.
  11/4-22/4 Final Exam Period
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