ENGL 4680 Syllabus
ENGL 4680 - Continental Literature
3 Credit Hours
Our primary focus in this course will be on literature not as a knowledge base, but as a skill. In particular, we will be examining texts from the perspective of semiotics which is a discipline that is concerned not with "what some thing means", but why things mean and how things mean. As we will be dealing with literatures from multiple language and literary traditions, our focus will be on the common human element as opposed to cultural ideas. The one common element which humanity possesses as a species is its body; thus, we will look at the way in which our sense of body effects our sense of meaning.
WARNING: When we encounter contemporary literatures, as we will in this course, we will encounter themes which require a level of maturity given the nature of the themes. Some may find these works to be offensive. As this is a university level course we cannot avoid themes and ideas which we find offensive--a university is supposed to be a microcosm of the universe which itself contains ideas we may find offensive. To be educated, one must encounter many ideas. I do not offer this sentiment as apology, but as warning to prepare yourself. Please be tactful in any and all discussions.
Upon completion of this course, all students should be able to demonstrate the following:
1--A knowledge of European Literature from its earliest times
2--An understanding of the basic principles of literature
3--An understanding of their world as understood through earlier literatures
4--The ability to create well-written critical essays
This is an advanced-level English course. Freshman and sophomore English courses should be completed prior to enrollment. Those unsure about taking this course should consult with their advisor.
We will cover six works during this course. For each work, we will begin with a specific theoretical or critical perspective which will be one unit, and then we will apply that to the work itself; thus, there will be two units per literary work for a total of 12 units.
Success in this course depends on your primarily on your abilities to read, think, and write. To succeed in this course, you need to be able to use at least one compatible software which can convey that. Thus, you should be able to use a web browser and a word processing software which can save in html. For the latter, I recommend Microsoft Word (97 or higher)--I can read most forms except Lotus and MS Works (please avoid these), and I will go out of my way to work with you; however, the easier you make it for me, the faster I can respond to your work. As most browsers allow you to edit (IE uses Front Page Express) and most Word Processors allow you to save in html, an html editor such as Microsoft Frontpage, Corel Trellix, or Macromedia Dreamweaver will make some course work easier to complete.
Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements
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."
While no materials are required for purchase, you may want to rent the film versions of some of these works on VHS or DVD over the course of the semester.
Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.
Minimum software requirements can be found here.
Common applications you might need:
Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)
The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook
- 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.
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
As this is an online course, traditional testing and quizzing is irrelevant; however, there is a reading sheet for each work. As you complete reading each work, you fill out a reading sheet on it. (As the reading sheet is completed through the WebCT quiz tool it will be referred to as a quiz in the instructions when you first go to take it.) A reading sheet contains 10 questions which ask you to demonstrate that you read the work carefully--each question is worth 1 point. You can fill out the reading sheet as many times as it requires for you to pass it; however, you must wait one full day between attempts. Please note, the Reading Sheets are open book, open note, open anything....
There are two effects to these quizzes: first, the points are entered into your overall grade total. Second, and more importantly, you must pass this quiz in order for WebCT to release the lesson for that work to you. That lesson will not only contain the information which I will provide for you, it will also contain the assignment for that lesson. Thus, YOU MUST READ THE ASSIGNED WORK IN ORDER TO PASS THIS COURSE.
Letter grades for this course will be assigned based on the following scale.
To determine the final grade, I will use distributions and draw lines by decades. Allow me to explain. The five highest point totals will automatically receive an "A." All students within the same decade as the lowest "A," will also receive an "A." Thus, if the lowest of the five original A's has a point total of 397, then anyone whose point total is 390 or higher will receive an "A." I then do the same with B's. The five highest people who did not receive an A then receive a "B." If the lowest of those 5 original B's is 324, then anyone with a point total of 320 or higher receives a B. I continue this same process until all grades are distributed. In the event that the course size is outside of the norm, the instructor has the right to alter the distribution--notification of such will be posted here on this syllabus as well as announced by an email to the class as a whole should such a change be necessary. Additionally, the instructor has the right to alter the distribution during the calculation of the final grade ONLY if it RAISES student grades.
Discussion: (20 points each x 12=) 240 points
Major Essay: 200 points.
Final Exam: 100 points.
Participation: 75 points
As this is an online course, traditional testing and quizzing is irrelevant; however, there is a reading sheet for each work. As you complete reading each work, you fill out a reading sheet on it. (As the reading sheet is completed through the quiz tool it will be referred to as a quiz in the instructions when you first go to take it.) A reading sheet contains 10 questions which ask you to demonstrate that you read the work carefully--each question is worth 1 point. You can fill out the reading sheet as many times as it requires for you to pass it; however, you must wait one full day between attempts. Please note, the Reading Sheets are open book, open note, open anything....
There are two effects to these quizzes: first, the points are entered into your overall grade total. Second, and more importantly, you must pass this quiz in order to release the lesson for that work to you. That lesson will not only contain the information which I will provide for you, it will also contain the assignment for that lesson. Thus, YOU MUST READ THE ASSIGNED WORK IN ORDER TO PASS THIS COURSE.
As this is an English course, the majority of your assignments will be written. There are two primary factors in determining your grade these are: discussion posts and the major essay.
Discussion Posts: at the end of each unit (the last page of each content module) will have a specified discussion topic, and there will be a specified topic in the course discussions for that unit. For each unit you should make one full length post (grade value is up to ten points) and two response posts (wo5th 5 points each; maximum 10). A response post is substantive it never simply agrees or disagrees or says good job. A response post either disagrees by offering alternative premises or reasoning or agrees and offers additional support by providing additional premises or reasoning.
Major Essay: The major essay should be a well-written, singularly focused critical essay on a work which fits our course parameters but which was not on the required reading list for the class. Additionally, the topics for these essays should be approved by your instructor prior to the sixth week of class. Essays which are not on approved topics will not be accepted and will receive 0 points. This essay will add up to 200 points to your grade total.
Final Examination: This will be a single essay, you are free to use any and all resources (except another person).
Let me begin with an explanation, or apology, if you will, for my profession. Over the past eight hundred years (give or take a decade or two), higher education has been derailed from its original course. When Peter Abelard first founded the University of Paris, he defined the university as an alternative system of learning which differed from the Church. Over time, the university has become more and more of a "church." Abelard believed that while the church was based on lecture (the homily), the university should be based on disputation. (If you've already read my teaching philosophy, you know that I agree fully. Web-based education forces us back to these roots.) The material I present to you on these pages is not the course itself, it is the beginning of the course. The true course is the way in which you interact with the material in the other formats in this course. Thus, I expect you to use the discussion mode to share your ideas and reactions to these pages. Use the chat to communicate with one another. Use the mail feature to communicate with one another. The chat also allows you another option. These are part of the tools available on this course.
The two most important rules for this course are to remain engaged and to always communicate. In a university level course, you have three sources of learning: yourself (in your engagement with the materials), your instructor (whom you count on to provide guidance), and your peers with whom you compare ideas. If you're not engaged fully, you're depriving yourself as well as the rest of the class. Part of successful engagement is in being able to listen as well as speak. Good listening depends on respect and consideration. You will not agree with everything which your classmates say any more than you will agree with everything that I say or write over the course of this semester--that's where the learning comes in. If we only went to a class to study what we already think, know and believe, we'd learn nothing. For this to succeed, we must all participate and feel free to participate. Thus, do not flame, bully, belittle, name-call, etc. If we make any one in the course feel uncomfortable about participating we deprive ourselves. Likewise, you must be forthcoming and always share your own ideas. Respect has nothing to do with the content of our ideas or our reactions to others, but has everything to do with how we phrase that and recognize the humanity of others with whom we are communicating. Finally, do not hesitate to communicate with me. I am here to help you learn; if there is something that I can do to help you learn more let me know. If there is some difficulty in you way, contact me. There is nothing we can't work through as long as we're working together, and that requires us to communicate with one another.
While you are free to work on this course at any time and from any location, I do expect you to make reasonable progress over time. As we do not have any form of synchronous meeting time, I expect a certain level of commitment between you and the course on a weekly basis. I am defining a week from Sunday midnight to Sunday midnight. You must log-in once per week or it is counted as an absence. Likewise, various lessons will be released over time. I will check each Sunday or Monday, any point at which you are two weeks behind in reading the lessons, etc., it will be counted as an absence. Two absences will lower your final grade by a letter grade. Five absences will result in failure of the course. In the event that there is a reasonable explanation given to me in a timely manner, I reserve the right to excuse an absence and not count it in the above total. By reasonable explanation, I mean either reasons pertaining directly to your ability to perform in this course (accident, or injury which prevents you from using the computer, etc.) or academic reasons pertaining to this course (i.e., you had to much work to do in other classes does not constitute a reasonable excuse). By timely manner, I mean that you contact me as soon as you are able. I do not excuse absences during the last two weeks of the semester.
Course Ground Rules
The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:
RULES OF THE TENNESSEE BOARD OF REGENTS STATE UNIVERSITY AND COMMUNITY COLLEGE SYSTEM OF TENNESSEE SYSTEMWIDE STUDENT RULES CHAPTER 0240-02-03 STUDENT CONDUCT AND DISCIPLINARY SANCTIONS
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.
- 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.
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.