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THEA 1030 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

THEA 1030 - Introduction to Theater

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This course provides an introduction and overview of theater as an art form. Emphasis is on understanding the nature of drama and its place in culture, the history and theory of theater and the production process. 

Course Outcomes:
  1. To aid you in becoming more informed, critical, and frequent audience member and possible future theatre practitioner.
  2. To develop an understanding of theatre as a collaborative art form .
  3. To encourage you to think creatively when solving problems.
  4. To provide a critical framework with which you evaluate the artistic quality of a script of performance.
  5. To analyze significant primary texts and works of art: ancient, pre-modern, and modern, as forms of cultural and creative expression.
  6. To explore global/cultural diversity.
  7. To explain the ways in which humanistic and /or artistic expression throughout the ages expresses the culture and values of its time and place.
  8. To frame a comparative context through which you can critically assess the ideas, forces, and values that have created the modern world.
  9. To recognize the ways in which both change and continuity have affected human history
Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

Acceptable placement scores or completion of Learning Support competencies.

Course Topics:

Audience and Critic, Playwrights; Greek and Roman, Medieval, and Renaissance Theatre; Realism, Modern Theatre, Musical theatre, Eastern Theatre, Contemporary Trends, Actor/Director/Producer.

Specific Course Requirements:

A description of any special course requirements, such as knowledge of specific software, and why it is necessary for successful completion of the course.

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:

A list of other published material the student is required to purchase for the course including lab manuals, lab kits, etc.

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:

Your will have 4 exams that will be given on-line, your final exam is not cumulative. You do not need to obtain a proctor for you exams. The tests will be a combination of multiple-choice and true/ false questions. Each test is worth 100 points each.

Exam 1 - 100 points

Exam 2 - 100 points

Exam 3- 100 points

Exam - 100 Points

Grading Procedures:

Your grade for the course will be a approximately 40% tests and 60% projects. You are to participate in the on-line group discussions every week. Failure to do so will result in the loss of one point of your final grade for any week that you do not take part.

Grading Scale:

A = points
B= points
C= points
D= points
F= points

Assignments and Projects:

I. Introductory Essay: 30 points. What makes theatre an art?

The text of this essay is to be at least 300 words. Consider what you think of as "art" and then try to explain what makes theatre an art. If you do not know what you think or have never considered this before, a good starting place is to consider why you think movies are an art. Think about what qualities you look for in viewing a movie and apply those qualities to theatre where applicable. What do you respond to when seeing a live play? This essay on theatre is an introductory survey for me. There are no right or wrong answers, but please think about the question seriously. I would like an idea of what you think at the beginning of the course, prior to any instruction.

II. Review of a live play: 120 points.

Attend a live play at a college, community, or professional theatre. Write a 500-word essay/review in which you comment on the quality of the production. In the review, identify the play by title, name the author and director. Also identify the major actors by name and the name of the characters they portray. Offer criticism on the acting, directing, set design, and special effects. What elements in the play moved you and why. You will, of course, talk about the action of the play, but DO NOT PRESENT A SUMMARY OF THE PLAY. You must send me a copy of the ticket and the program, if the ticket does not have the date on it include the date in your review. I must receive the review no later than five days after you have seen the play.

III. Play Critiques found in textbook: 150 points

  • Critique of the play Medea by Euripides
  • Critique of the play Twelfth Night by Shakespeare
  • Critique of Ghost by Ibsen

IV. Discussions Questions: 130 total points. In each module a student has the chance to earn 10 points.

Excellent (10 points)

  • The participant consistently posted insightful comments and questions that prompted on-topic discussion.
  • The participant consistently helped clarify or synthesize other group members' ideas.
  • If disagreeing with other group members' ideas, the participant stated his or her disagreement or objections clearly, yet politely.

Good (8 points)
The participant was notably lacking in one or two of the items listed above

  • The participant consistently had to be prompted or coaxed to participate.
  • The participant usually, but not always, expressed herself or himself clearly.

Decent (6 points)
Same as good level participation, except that:

  • The participant was consistently lacking in two or more of the items listed for A-level participation.

Needs Improvement (4 points)

  • The participant was extremely reluctant to participate, even when prompted.
  • The participant rarely expressed himself or herself clearly.
  • The participant frequently attempted (success is irrelevant) to draw the discussion off-topic.

Have work to do (2 points)

The participant was rude or abusive to other course participants.

  • The participant consistently failed or refused to participate at all, even when specifically prompted or questioned.

Each week you must answer two questions posed by the instructor and write two responses to a classmate. You MUST have a total of four postings per week.

V. Final Project: 130 points

Projects must be written, but can also be videotaped, 5 to 10 minutes (video tapes or DVD recordings will not be returned). The quality of your video or DVD will affect your grade. You are required to tell me which option you have chosen by the date specified in the course calendar. Should you fail to choose by this date, you will not be allowed to do a final project.

Choose one of the following options:

  1. Write a short (ten page) play with a beginning, middle, and end. Include a two-three page description of how you developed your idea. Refer to Chapter 3 for helpful tips. I will be looking for those elements in your play, as well as if it could actually be staged. You may choose to submit a 3-5 minute video or DVD cutting from your play with actors of your choice (this would be in addition to the written play). Memorization is not required; however, the quality of your video submission will affect your grade. Submitted recordings will not be returned.
  2. Design costumes for a published, contemporary play. Write a five-six page description of your concept of the play and how you worked your ideas out for the design. Include costume designs as an attachment and send fabric samples for each costume.
  3. Work with a local theatre company in planning a public relations campaign for an upcoming play. Write ad copy, a press release for radio and newspaper, and draft a poster. Write a short analysis (four-six pages) of your campaign including: your theme, what audience you are targeting and why, and what is the most important information that you need to present. Make sure your releases, etc. are in proper form.
  4. Work 30 hours on the crew for a local theatre production and write a three-page paper about your experience.
  5. Compare the stage version and the movie version of three plays. How are they different and how are they the same? Which one is the better production? How would you have done it differently? Which ones works better as a movie and which ones work better as a play and why? Your paper must be at least 1300 words in MLA style.
  6. An independent project will be considered by the instructor.

VI. Extra Credit: Up to 60 points

Write another live play review.

Class Participation:

You are expected to keep up with the work and to participate in the weekly group discussions. You MUST have a minimum of two postings per week.

Late Policy:

It is important to keep up with the class schedule. Each lesson has several parts to it and takes time to do. A class calendar with due dates of all projects is posted on the course homepage. All assignments should be done in a timely way and submitted by dropbox.

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 May 1, 2017