British Literature Course Objectives

Course Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course, students should be able to do the following:
  • Understand the historical context surrounding literary works including the political, social, religious, and artistic milieu in which early British authors wrote (Anglo-Saxons to the Neo-Classicists).
  • Paraphrase and understand unfamiliar and difficult language.
  • Identify elements of poetry such as basic rhythms, meters, and rhyme schemes; uses of metaphor; the conventions of the sonnet and other poetic forms.
  • Identify the elements of prose genres (fiction, drama, satire): plot, setting, character, theme, irony, and argument.
  • Make inferences about literature that rest on textual evidence and logic in classroom conversations.
  • Articulate a critical position or interpretation; gather and use textual or critical evidence to support a particular interpretation.
  • Appreciate the artistry of key early British writers
  • Understand the influences of a variety of cultures on the development of early British literature.

Pass the Class!

The primary goal of this class is to get you to pass the class by writing essays with a fairly high degree of proficiency. You cannot pass the course with a transferable grade (2.0 or better) without submitting all of the four revisable essays and undertaking the mandatory revisions (explained in the syllabus). Missing any one essay, or not submitting even one required revision, which includes the impromptu essays, means you will fail the course with a 0.0. Because the class consists of a portfolio evaluation, this is part of your grade. If you do not pass the final portfolio evaluation, you will receive a '0.0' for that part of your grade and no greater than a 1.9 for the class. If you do pass the portfolio evaluation, your highest grade will be matched and included as your portfolio grade.

How to Pass the Class

  • Understand that "pass" means earn at least a 0.7 though my hope is that everyone earns a much higher grade than that.
  • Attend class each day and take notes.
  • Submit all work--summaries, drafts for review, drafts for grading and revised drafts--in class on the day they are due, no excuses.
  • If you don't understand or are confused, ask questions.
  • Visit me in my office to go over your drafts; visit the peer tutors for help.
  • Understand that this is a difficult class and be willing to do what it takes to get it done.

How to fail this class

  • Understand that "fail" means a 0.0.
  • Don't attend daily
  • When you are here, don't take notes, because it's boring (which it often will be).
  • Don't submit summaries, drafts for review, drafts for grading or revised drafts when due. If any ONE essay draft or required revision is missing from the four main assignments, you'll receive a 0.0 for the class.
  • Don't ask questions when things don't make sense.
  • Don't ask for help from me or peer tutors, no matter how much you need it.
  • Give up because it's hard (it is!).
I guarantee that there will be times when you are confused by this class. Such confusion is an integral part of learning. I suspect I am going to have you write about things in ways you have never had to before, and because of this, you won't instinctively know what to do, you will be confused, maybe feel lost. This is to be expected. Overcoming this is how you learn.

Help you Write Effective Essays

A goal of this class is to help you not only pass so you can move on to English 201, but to help you develop skills and strategies so you can write effective essays for other classes. This will happen best if you come to class each day and do as is expected of you.

Build Literacies

A third goal of this course, wrapped up in the course content and its delivery, is increased traditional, cultural, social and technological literacies at both functional and higher levels. Functional literacy in a traditional sense means you can read and write well enough to function effectively in society. In a technological sense it means you are master of the machine rather than the other way around. We'll work toward an critical literacy in a traditional and technological sense. This will give you a greater sense of how rhetoric and technology function to shape society and culture and how you can use them to shape your own place in the world.

Understand the Importance of Being Here

For summer students, it's more about meeting deadlines than being anywhere. Consider the following material in this spirit: Some students fail to make this connection, but our course’s success depends on the quality of class discussion and participation, so please come to class having read and thought about the assignment. If you miss a class, you must get any information you missed from a classmate or from the blog. All students have one week's worth of class that can be missed without penalty, and all absences--excused or unexcused--are equal. Students missing less than one-half a week's worth of class will have a .3 bonus added to their final grades (assuming that all work and revisions have been turned in, each individual essay has earned at least a 2.0, the final grade at that point is at least 2.0 and the essays have passed the portfolio evaluation process). Students missing more than a week's worth of classes will have a .1 deducted from the final grade for each absence after that. Once more than two weeks of class has been missed, you may fail the course with an earned F. If you find this to be objectionable, you have two choices: make it to class as expected or find another section. I won't be flexible about this. Online students will earn this bonus by submitting all work on time, including all assigned blogs, responses to blogs, drafts, responses to drafts and revisions.

Work Effectively with Others

For each assignment in this class you will be working with other writers and myself. When doing so, you are to offer constructive feedback to help group members improve the paper they have written. My goal is to help you not only learn to recognize good writing and offer help and suggestions on how to improve your classmates' essays, but to enable you to learn something about the people in your groups. This creates a community of writers in our classroom where you can learn that written communication is to be read, not just stuffed away in a drawer or to be given to an instructor to be marked up with red ink (Normally I use blue or black on paper). This is also done so you can learn that each member of this class can offer you something to enrich your life and your scholarly pursuits. The rule for responding to the work of others is to do so with honesty (as opposed to being "brutally frank"), respect and courtesy. We are here to help each other improve as writers, not to laugh at or judge each other. I understand that the responses from other students are not always the best, but part of the reason we do this is so you are able to give better feedback once you are through with this and other writing classes.