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ENGL 2055 (formerly ENGL 2530) Syllabus

Course Syllabus

ENGL 2055 (formerly ENGL 2530) - African American Literature

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This course is a survey of African-American literature from its beginnings through the present. Representatives of literary works are studied within their historical and cultural contexts.

Course Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of literature from a significant body of previously neglected American literary work.
  • Identify recurrent themes in African-American literature.
  • Identify significant African-American writers of novels and essays.
  • Discuss the special insight into America provided by African-American writers.
  • Discuss the depth and diversity of the African-American literary tradition. 
Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

ENGL 1020

Course Topics:
  • Early African American Literature
  • Slave Narratives
  • Harlem Renaissance
  • Modern African American Literature 
Specific Course Requirements:
  • During the course, students will need to do the following:
  • Use a personal computer.
  • Create and save documents.
  • Download and upload zipped files.
  • Save in MS Word (filename.doc or filename.docx)
  • Access the Internet. 

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:
  • You will need to purchase the following items in addition to the required textbook to complete this course:
  • USB/flash drive or online data storage that you will have direct access to throughout the semester. Amazon account for viewing movies and documentaries -- you will have to purchase instant rentals separately and will be instructed to do so within the course when needed.
    • Many Rivers to Cross: "The Age of Slavery" Season 1, episode 2 $1.99 instant rental
    • Many Rivers to Cross: "Into the Fire (1861-1896)" Season 1 episode 3 $ 1.99 instant rental
    • New York Noir: The History of Black New York $1.99 instant rental
    • For Colored Girls (2010) $ 2.99 instant rental.

Note: Prices shown above are from and are subject to change without notice. 

Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Testing Procedures:

Students will submit all exercises and take quizzes online through Desire2Learn (D2L). Proctoring is not required in this course. 

Grading Procedures:

The evaluation system is based on points. You may earn bonus or extra credit points along the way as opportunities are presented by the instructor, but the required elements are based on the following point system: 

Grading Scale:
Point RangeAssigned Grade
450-500 points (90-100%)A
401-449 points (89-89%)B
350-400 points (70-79%)C
301-349 points (60-69%)D
300 points and below (59% and below)F


Assignments and Projects:

A list of all graded assignments and projects is listed below. Refer to the course calendar for due dates. 

8 Discussions (5 points each)40
3 Quizzes (10 points each)30
1 Novel Quiz (20 points)20
1 Film Analysis (10 points)10
3 Module Writing Assignments (100 points each)300
1 Final Exam (100 points)100
Total Points500


Class Participation:

Class participation is mandatory for this course. Participation will be gauged from active participation in discussions as well as meeting assignment deadlines. 

Late Policy:

It is the student’s responsibility to submit assignments on the date indicated on the course calendar. Assignments may only be submitted late in the event of an emergency. Students are to contact the instructor prior to the due date of the assignment regarding any delays or a request for an extension (due to an emergency). If you do not contact the instructor prior to the due date you will not be eligible to submit an assignment late. You will only be granted a five-day extension with a penalty (deduction). Late assignments will receive a 20% point deduction from the awarded grade. Please understand that late assignments will not be accepted after five days pass the due date. For Example: If a module is due February 4, it will not be accepted after February 9. This is non- negotiable. Late assignment submissions will be closely monitored. Students who are habitually late with assignments (more than once) may not be able to submit the late assignments. Exception: You miss the deadline by a couple minutes (1-10 minutes) and the dropbox has closed. You must do the following:

  1. Email the instructor and explain what has happened (e.g. you submitted the wrong assignment to the dropbox and it is not 12:02 am and the dropbox has closed). In your email, you will ask if the instructor is willing to open the dropbox for you to submit your assignment late.
  2. If the instructor agrees, submit the module/assignment within 24 hours.
  3. Email the instructor once you have submitted your module/assignment to the dropbox.

Note: It is at the discretion of the instructor as to whether a student is allowed to submit an assignment late. The late policy is for emergencies only. The student must request that the Dropbox is reopened for any late assignment.

Quizzes will not be accepted after their due date. There will be no make-up for missed quizzes. 

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on July 12, 2021