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ENGL 3290 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

ENGL 3290 - Introduction to Film

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This course provides a foundation for film study. It exposes a wide range of cinematic styles and approaches. It moves students from being a passive viewer to an active “reader” of film. Students will learn the elements of cinematic language, including narrative, mise-en-scene, cinematography, acting, editing and sound (and, yes, gaffer, best boy, and foley artist). This knowledge will be used to analyze the way filmmakers convey information, story, meaning, develop style, and elicit audience response within a single scene. This will be over the course of an entire feature film. The course explores a central critical approach to the study of cinema, and examines a wide range of film styles and movements, from classical Hollywood to contemporary world cinema.  As there is no central viewing area, students will have to find films on their own (video stores, public libraries, university media centers, various online rental or purchase sites) and view them independently. Suggested films range from classic examples of the technique or aesthetic under consideration to more modern variations or modifications. These are selected to aid those who may not have access to classic films. 

Course Outcomes:

The objectives are to educate students in the basic elements of filmmaking, specifically narrative patterns and expressive techniques, to learn basic film theories and major film movements, and practice critical evaluation of films by using certain approaches to film. 

Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

ENGL 1010 and ENGL 1020.

Course Topics:
Specific Course Requirements:

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:
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:

There are no exams.

Grading Procedures:

Although there are no exams for ENGL 3290, students will receive grades for both class participation and writing assignments. Students may earn up to 430 points for the semester.

Class participation--based on the completion and quality of weekly discussion posts--will account for 130 points of each student's final semester grade. Students may earn up to ten points for each weekly discussion post.

Three major writing assignments will account for the remainder of each student's final semester grade. Students may earn up to 100 points for each writing assignment. 

Grading Scale:
Below 60F


Assignments and Projects:

We have three major writing assignments for the semester. Each of the following papers should be a minimum of 1,250 words--MLA format.

Paper One: Choose a classic American film, a foreign film, or an American independent film and discuss its narrative structure with reference to the the Classical Hollywood Narrative. Feel free to expand upon one of your discussion posts for this paper.

Paper Two: Discuss at least one expressive technique--mise-en-scene, cinematography, sound, or editing--as it is employed in a single film of your choice. Feel free to expand upon one of your discussion posts on any one these topics.

Paper Three: Choose one of the following topics--realistic film, expressionistic film, film genres, or auteur theory. Feel free to expand upon one of your discussion posts on any one of these topics. 

Class Participation:

Each week, students will choose and watch a single film from the suggested films list and post a response to it on the discussion board. Guidelines for discussion are included in each module. All responses should be germane to the topic for the week. There will be a total of thirteen graded discussion for the semester. Each discussion post is worth ten points. 

Late Policy:

Turn in your work on time. If you must submit an assignment late, contact me the moment you foresee that you will miss the deadline. 

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 December 4, 2017