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

Forward to Navigation

English 1900j: Introduction to English Language and Literature (Fall 2012)

Posted: Aug 30, 2012 18:08;
Last Modified: Jan 03, 2013 12:01


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.


Times and location

Office and Office Hours

Mon 13:30-14:30
Tues By appointment
Wed 11:00-12:00
Thur 12:05-13:30
Fri 14:30-15:30

If you would like to set up a time outside these hours, please contact my assistant Leanne Little

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



  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.


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 10%
Best essay/unessay 25%
Other two essays/unessays 20% (10% each)
Final exam 25%


The following policies will be followed in all my classes unless otherwise announced. You are expected to be familiar with the policies reproduced here and in the more general section on my website. These additional web pages are to be considered part of this syllabus for the purposes of this course. Failure to conform to any of these policies may result in your grade being lowered.

Grade scale

The University of Lethbridge keeps track of student performance using a letter and grade point system (See section 4 of the University Calendar). Instructors assign students a letter grade at the end of each course (the University does not issue or record mid-term grades). These letter grades are converted to a numerical value (a Grade Point) for assessing overall academic performance (a Grade Point Average or GPA). The University does not record percentage-type grades and does not have a fixed scale for conversion from percentage scores to letter grades and grade points. Each instructor is responsible for determining their own methodology for determining students’ final letter grade.

In my classes, I use the following letter-grade to percentage correspondences:

  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

How your grade is determined depends on the type of work being assessed. Tests of specific skills or knowledge (such as identification questions in literature classes, or fact-oriented tests in my grammar and language classes) are usually assigned a numeric score which is easily converted to a percentage. Essays, presentations, and other performance-oriented tests are usually graded by letter. I convert letter grades to percentages by taking the median value in each grade-range, and rounding up to the nearest whole percent. The only exceptions are A+ (which is converted to 100%), and F (which is converted to an arbitrary percentage between 0% and 49% based on my estimation of the work’s quality). These scores can be found in the conventional value row of the above table.

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 your work is excellent; a B means your work is good; a C means it is satisfactory; a D that it is barely acceptable (minimal pass); and an F that it is failing to meet University-level standards.

I have prepared rubrics for most types of qualitative assignments (assignments that do not expect the student simply to provide a correct factual answer). These can be found in my Academic Policies section:

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:


This course uses plagiarism detection software. Any plagiarism will be treated very seriously: you can expect to receive a grade of 0 on the assignment as well as other penalties depending on the seriousness of the offence. In most cases, the penalty for plagiarism is an F on the course.

Class schedule

Week Date Topic Assignment
1 Tue. 4/9 No class
Thur. 6/9 Introduction and syllabus
Blogs and unessays
2 Tue. 11/9 Sign in to Moodle, update your profile page, and try a test blog
Create an account using your uleth email address at
Sawai, “The day I sat with Jesus…” Blog: All students (due midnight before class)
Last day to add/drop
Thur. 13/9 O’Connor, “A good man is hard to find” Blog: All students (due midnight before class)
3 Tue. 18/9 Blog audit Read all class blogs before class, commenting where appropriate
Thur. 20/9 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Blog: Groups D, E, F (due midnight before class)
4 Tue. 25/9 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Blog: Groups A, B, C (due midnight before class)
Thur. 27/9 Blog Audit and Unessay Q&A Read all class blogs before class, commenting where appropriate
5 Sunday 30/9 Unessay 1 draft due (midnight)
Tue. 2/10 Unessay Audit Read assigned essays before class
Wed. 3/10 Unessay responses due (before midnight)
Thur. 4/10 Unessay revision discussion  
6 Sunday 7/10 Unessay 1 due (before midnight)
Tue. 9/10 Homer, The Odyssey. Introduction Blog: Groups A, B, C (due midnight before class)
Thur. 11/10 Homer, The Odyssey. Books 1-8. Blog: Groups D, E, F (due midnight before class)
7 Tue. 16/10 Homer, The Odyssey. Books 9-16. Blog: All Groups (bonus)
Thur. 8/10 Homer, The Odyssey. Books 17-end. Blog: All Groups (bonus)
8 Tue. 23/10 Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Blog: Groups D, E, F (due midnight before class)
Thur. 25/10 Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Blog: Groups A, B, C (due midnight before class)
9 Sunday 28/10 Unessay 2 due (before midnight)
Tue. 30/10 Woolf, To the Lighthouse (stopped early due to too few readers) Blog: Groups A, B, C (due midnight before class)
Thur. 1/11 Woolf, To the Lighthouse Blog: Groups D, E, F (due midnight before class)
10 Tue. 6/11 To the Lighthouse Blog: Groups D, E, F (due midnight before class)
Thur. 8/11 Book of Job Blog: Groups A, B, C (due midnight before class)
11 Tue. 13/11 Job Blog: Groups A, B, C (due midnight before class)
Thur. 15/11 Unessay review/essay discussion Blog: Groups D, E, F (due midnight before class)
12 Sun. 18/11-Sun25/11 Citation exercise
Tue. 20/11 Citing, quoting, and paraphrasing
Thur. 22/11 Catchup
13 Sunday 25/11 Formal essay draft due (midnight)
Tue. 27/11 Formal essay style and citation Q&A session Read assigned essays before class
Wed. 28/11 Responses due (before midnight)
Thur. 29/11 Formal essay discussion  
14 Tue. 4/12 Editing discussion  
Thur. 6/12 Conclusion and catchup
Sunday 9/12 Formal essay due (midnight)
Exam Mon. 10/12-Tue. 18/12 Final Exam (Moodle)




Textile help

Back to content

Search my site


Current teaching

Recent changes to this site


anglo-saxon studies, caedmon, citation, citation practice, citations, composition, computers, digital humanities, digital pedagogy, exercises, grammar, history, moodle, old english, pedagogy, research, student employees, students, study tips, teaching, tips, tutorials, unessay, universities, university of lethbridge

See all...

Follow me on Twitter

At the dpod blog