In reading samples of literature from the Middle Ages to the present, we will discuss how literature was produced and disseminated at different times, how the English language has changed, and how we use the concept of literary periods. Representations of love and war and of men and women at different points in time will be discussed in different types of literature. We will also focus on how texts from the past – in this case, medieval stories – become part of contemporary culture. A major section of the course will examine literary responses to World War One in poetry and fiction.
Essays: 50% of the total grade
Writing exercises and class instruction will help prepare you to write the following required essays. You will be writing a short poem analysis, an in-class essay, and a slightly longer research paper.
1) an essay of approximately 800 – 1000 words and a revision of part of that essay, the total worth 20% of the final grade, based on the first module of the course. Topics will be announced and discussed in class and essay guidelines posted on Moodle and handed out in class.
2) an in-class essay of approximately 800 words, worth 10% of the essay grade. This essay will be based on the second module of the course (“The Love of War and the War of Love”).
3) a research paper of approximately 1500 words worth 20% of the final grade. This assignment will be divided into an article review worth 5%, and the final essay worth 15%. The essay topic will be based on the third module of the course (“Literary Responses to an Historical Event: World War One”).
Due dates will be announced in class, on the syllabus, and on the course Moodle calendar. Instruction on essay writing will be given in class.
All essays must be written in order to get a mark for the essay component of your grade. Please read the following sections on deadlines and on essay submissions and feedback for further important policies dealing with essays.
Participation: 20% of the total grade
This grade evaluates your engagement with the course material on a day-to-day basis. Your participation grade will take into account the quality and consistency of your contributions to discussion and the quality and completion of exercises done in class and assigned on Moodle; the quality of your contributions to group work; and the demonstration of professional and courteous behaviour throughout the course.
Final exam: 30% of the total grade
The final exam is an opportunity to think about the course readings in new combinations and from a broader perspective. Normally, the exam consists of passages selected from ones that we have discussed in class and that you are asked to identify, analyze, and compare. Obviously, the best preparation for the exam is attending every class, bringing the text with you, keeping up with the assigned readings, and taking notes on the class discussions, including marking which passages we analyze together in class, along with actively addressing comments made on your essays and exercises.
- An electronic or hard copy time management system, such as a weekly agenda
- Beowulf. Broadview Press, 2nd edition. Translator R. Liuzza
- The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. J.R.R. Tolkien. HarperCollins
- The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry. Penguin
- A good writing handbook, such as the one used in WRIT 1120. If you prefer an online handbook, I will make some recommendations in class.
- Other texts will be available online or in photocopies handed out in class.
Course policies and practices
Correct use of language is one of the criteria included in the evaluation of all written assignments. In order to demonstrate appropriate professional behaviour, you are also expected to make an effort to use language correctly in all non-graded written materials that you submit, including emails to me and discussion posts to the class.
Plagiarism and cheating
As members of a global scholarly community, we are all expected to abide by certain standards of academic integrity; therefore, university regulations on plagiarism and cheating and other academic offenses will be strictly enforced. These regulations including applicable procedures and penalties are detailed in the University Calendar, are posted on department notice boards, and on the msvu.ca webpage. You are held responsible for informing yourself about the definition and the penalties outlined in the Calendar. In addition, I will explain to you in class what constitutes plagiarism and cheating, but if you have any doubts at all, you are required to consult with me before handing in any assignment or excuse. Also, please note the definitions of “Misrepresentation” in the Calendar, including: “Misrepresenting or involving others in misrepresenting one’s personal circumstances in order to obtain special consideration in one’s academic work.”
A full load of five university courses per term is equivalent to a full-time job. You should be aware that for every hour spent in class an average of two hours of preparation will be required outside of class on a sustained basis. “Normal Course Load” in the University Calendar contains a more complete explanation: “Students should be aware that a considerable amount (an estimated average is two hours of preparation for each hour of class time) of outside preparation is required throughout each term on a sustained basis. Those students who combine family and workplace responsibilities with university study may find it necessary to adjust their course load or to modify non-study commitments to manage effectively.”
Students with disabilities
If you have a disability and require accommodations, you must register with Disability Services <msvu.ca/disabilityservices> as early as possible in order to receive accommodations.
Learning can certainly occur outside the classroom, but it is also prompted by what goes on inside the classroom. To gain fully from this course as we build knowledge and skills, you have to be part of it and engaged in the process. Everyone’s full participation contributes to a vibrant experience for all in the class; if you are not fully committed to the course you are draining some of the energy of the group. To make this the best experience for all concerned, you are expected to attend classes regularly, which is why the University Calendar states: “Regular attendance is expected of students at all classes…. It is the prerogative of the instructor to determine when a student’s scholastic standing in any course is being affected adversely by absence. The instructor then, in consultation with the appropriate Dean, will determine whether or not the student should be dismissed from the course. It is the student’s responsibility to notify the instructor of any justifiable reason that causes an absence from class.“ Of course, things happen that might prevent you from coming to class; if so, you are expected to conduct yourself in a professional manner and to notify me if you cannot attend. That way, I can advise you on the best way for you to keep up with what is going on, and I can better track who is still working on the course materials.
Deadlines and submission of assignments
Effective time management is one of the keys to success in university (and in other walks of life). To help you develop this skill, I ask that you work with a time management system of your own selection, such as a weekly agenda in either electronic or hard copy format. I also usually divide assignments into smaller chunks to help you make steady progress towards a goal. As a further incentive, I deduct points for late essays – my deductions are not overly punitive, and I exempt people from late penalties if they have a valid excuse for being late which they have discussed with me beforehand if at all possible. After all, things happen in life that we sometimes can’t control. But if you are requesting special consideration due to conflicts with deadlines or exams, make sure that you do so in advance of the deadline.
However, if you are late with an assignment and you don’t have a strong reason that was discussed with me beforehand, your essay will have one grade level deducted for every 24-hour period beyond the deadline. In other words, if an assignment is due on November 15 at 10:30 a.m. and it is handed in on November 15 at 5 p.m., the essay will have one grade level deducted from its mark. For example, an A- would turn into a B+, a B+ would turn into a B, and so on. Weekends will count the same as weekdays.
All essays must be submitted by email as Word attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org with a subject heading of, for example, “ENGL 1171 Essay 1.” After submission, you should check your email regularly to make sure that I’ve sent you a confirmation of receipt of your essay – that way, you’ll know that it’s been submitted properly and officially.
You will be expected to keep all of your graded essays, as you may have to work with the returned papers at some points.
In return for you meeting the assignment deadlines, I will undertake to return all graded assignments within two weeks of receiving them. Any failure on my part to meet this marking deadline will result in the postponement of the next assignment deadline.
Essay feedback and consultations
I work hard to write detailed feedback on essays. If you want to benefit from this feedback, however, you obviously have to read my comments and try to learn from them. If you do not pick up an essay before the next one is due, you are in effect telling me that you do not care to work with my feedback. In that case, I will save some time by not writing detailed comments on your essay (unless your previous essay has been picked up at least 24 hours before the next essay’s deadline). Because each essay builds on skills and knowledge gained in the previous essay, all essays must be written and accepted for marking in order to pass the course. Skipping an essay is not an option in this course.
I will be pleased to discuss with you any concerns or ideas about the course work and to go over rough drafts of assignments or to review graded work, either during my posted office hours on a drop-in basis or at other specific times by previous appointment. I will also answer questions by email, but I cannot guarantee immediate and 24-hour service – you should note that it may take up to two days to receive an answer by email (although I usually am able to respond faster than that).
Cell phones, laptops, and other technologies
This course requires the mindful use of technologies. The basic principle we follow is that the technology that we use has to help us in our work and not distract us. For that reason, all phones and other devices must be adjusted so that they will not make any noise during class time. No recording equipment is allowed in class unless you have received my prior permission. On some days, you will be asked to put away all your electronic devices and use technologies such as pen and paper only. On other days, we might make use of a few smart phones or laptops. Please note, though, that you are not required to have a phone or laptop to do the in-class work.
This course uses Moodle, an online course management site, to supplement the information given in class. You will be asked occasionally to use features on the Moodle site such as the discussion forum. You will be expected to check the course Moodle site at least twice a week, preferably some time before each class. A link to Moodle can be found at the top of every MSVU webpage or on your MyMount page. Instructions on how to log on are provided on the welcome page of the Moodle site. You will be able to see the course site on the first day of classes if you are registered for this course.
If I have to cancel a class, I announce that first on the course Moodle site. Class cancellations are also announced on the Mount`s class cancellation page, and often notices are posted outside the classroom door. If class is cancelled for whatever reason, including general university closure due to weather, always log in to the Moodle site later in the day of the cancellation for further instructions on what to do in lieu of an on-campus class. I usually ask you to complete some work at home to make up the class time.
A syllabus will be posted on the course Moodle site and will be updated there regularly.