ENG 203: Introduction to Literature
As you read, write, and think over the course of the semester, please keep the following objectives in mind:
Deeper appreciation of language and literature: Our primary objective is to expand our understanding of how words in print make meaning. You will become conversant with many linguistic and bibliographic terms (diction, dialect, quarto), formal features (character foil, motif), and genres (lyric poem, Gothic short story), always examining the ways that form shapes meaning.
Broader understanding of the humanities: To study literature is to study life. As we immerse ourselves in these works and the historical periods in which they were written, we will become more adept at analyzing human thought (perception, motivation, relation), philosophy (free will, determinism, good, evil), and social issues (racism, feminism, economics).
Expanded cultural literacy: Because of the allusive nature of all language, particularly literature, names constitute a crucial part of a person's vocabulary. As we study these novels and their context, you will expand your cultural vocabulary to include the names of many people and characters (Frederick Douglass, Iago), places (Jerusalem, Globe Theatre), events (scientific revolution, American Civil War), and movements (realism, Harlem Renaissance).
Reading: As we read this challenging literature, you not only will expand your vocabulary and your ability to extract meaning from sophisticaed syntax, but also will learn to infer information about audience and purpose, thus preparing yourself to interpret the complex, often veiled messages you encounter in law, business, and the media.
Research: You will learn to complement the knowledge you glean in class with knowledge you gather on your own through research. In addition to becoming familiar with standard literary reference materials (The Dictionary of Literary Biography, The MLA Bibliography), you will polish several general research skills (paraphrasing, quoting, documenting).
Communication: In a variety of assignments and other activities, you will begin to master various aspects of writing (argumentation, editing), speaking (intonation, eye contact), and graphic presentation (typography, design).
Technology: To complement these other skills, you will learn to make effective use of technology to find and share information. By the end of the course, you will be able to find material on the World Wide Web, communicate via a listserv and an online forum, and design a Web site.
ConferencesI am committed to helping each of you to achieve your potential as a reader, writer, and thinker. To this end, I will interact with you regularly through class or Internet discussions, as well as two conferences, one during each half of the semester. To make these conferences worthwhile, you should keep all of your course materials--including notes, photocopies, drafts, and final projects--in a three-ring notebook and bring this notebook to every class meeting and conference. You also should print a blank progress report and keep it at the front of this notebook. Throughout the semester, use this blank report to write comments and questions about your work. During each conference, I will look at the materials in your notebook, especially your progress report, and discuss your successes, as well as areas where you can improve. After each conference, I also will fill out a progress report for you and share it with you. You should place this report in your notebook, as well.
AttendanceThe following statement appears in the university's 1999-2001 Catalog: "For all general education classes, instructors will keep attendance records. If a student misses three consecutive class meetings, or misses more classes than the instructor deems advisable, the instructor will notify the Office of Freshman Seminar and Academic Advisement (administrator of the Early Alert program) for appropriate follow-up."
Be Your BestYou can expect me to be the best teacher I can be. I will work hard to make this course interesting and rewarding. I expect you to be your best, as well. Although this course is no more difficult than most college courses, it demands a lot of work, including reading and writing assignments, library research, and study. I expect you to make these commitments, to turn in neatly typed and carefully edited assignments on time, and--particularly because this is an online course--to check your e-mail and the online forum each weekeday for possible assignments and announcements. For tips on improving your study habits, see Be Your Best.
January 10: Computers,
February 21-25: Selected poems
April 3-7: "The Open Boat," "The Turn of the Screw"
Using a point system, I will assign grades as follows:
I hope that this portfolio's value to you will outlast
this semester and that you will continue to consult it and add to it as
you encounter language in the years to come. You may even want to show
it to friends, parents, prospective employers, and--someday--grandchildren
to demonstrate all that you have learned this semester about literature