ENGL 1170-04

Dr. Anna Smol  | Office:  Seton 510  | Email: anna.smol@msvu.ca  | @AnnaMSmol

Fall 2020 (half unit of credit)
Tuesday and Thursday 3:00 – 4:15

Please note: the following description is for the Winter 2020 version of this course section. Some changes may be made before the Fall 2020 course begins.

Course description: What am I going to study?
Course aims
Office hours
Texts: What am I going to read?
Requirements: What will I be expected to do?
Policies: What do I need to know to be successful?
Experiential (Hands-On) Learning: How is this relevant to my future?

Course description: What am I going to study?

This introductory English course is subtitled “Reading Literary Forms” but that “reading” includes reading silently and reading aloud, talking about literature and writing about literature, all with the aim of gaining a better understanding – making it your own, in other words, through creative and analytical activities. In this course, you will be introduced to the terms and methods of literary analysis, and you will get plenty of writing practice as we look at how language is used in performance and on the page to create memorable literary experiences. The readings will include short stories, poems, a play, and a novel.

Course Aims

You can get a lot out of this course, as long as you engage wholeheartedly with the work every week and you complete the requirements satisfactorily. Here is an idea of what I really want you to gain from this course:

*enjoyment   *astonishment   *knowledge

*enchantment   *creativity    *skill

*imagination     *insight     *confidence

But the course aims can be expressed in other ways too:

  • You will gain knowledge of how language works to convey meaning, how to analyze various genres of literature, and how to use literary terminology to understand and express your views about what you read.
  • You will develop your creative and analytical skills in learning how to express your ideas effectively in writing and in oral small-group presentations.
  • You will gain experience in creating successful collaborative work.
  • You will learn research skills that you can build on in further coursework.
  • You may be exposed to new authors, new genres, new ways of thinking about and seeing the world.


Office hours

My office is in Seton 510. Once classes start, you can drop in to talk to me on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:30 to 2:00 or you can make an appointment with me for another time in the week.



This course uses Moodle, an online course management site, to supplement the information given in class. You will be expected to check the course Moodle site at least twice a week, preferably before each class. You will be asked occasionally to use the discussion forum and possibly other features on the Moodle site for this section of ENGL 1170. These features will be demonstrated in 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.


Texts: What am I going to read?

  •  Frankenstein. Mary Shelley. Longman Cultural Edition.
  • A Midsummer Night's Drea. Oxford Shakespeare  A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  William Shakespeare. Oxford World’s Classics.
  •   A Pocket Style Manual. 2016 MLA Update edition. D. Hacker & N. Sommers
  • We will also be reading a selection of poetry, available online, and some short stories, which will be available online or in photocopies.
  • In order to plan your workload efficiently, you will need a time management system.  This could take the form of a daily or weekly planner in print or in digital format, a wall calendar or one online – choose a system that you think will work well for you.


Requirements: What will I be expected to do?

  • Practice writing informed literary analyses and constructing coherent arguments

Writing exercises and class instruction will help prepare you to write the following required essays. You will be writing a short story analysis, an in-class essay, and a slightly longer research paper.

The essays are worth 50% of your final grade. Because each essay builds on the knowledge and skills of the previous ones, all essays must be written in order to pass the course.

Essays 1-2: Two essays on a short story: an essay of approximately 800 – 1000 words, and a revision /reflection on the same topic, each essay worth 10% of the final grade. Topics will be announced and discussed in class and essay guidelines posted on Moodle and handed out in class.

Essay 3: an in-class essay of approximately 800 words, worth 10% of the final grade. This essay will be
based on our work with the Shakespeare play.

Essay 4: 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 novel Frankenstein.

  • Engage with the course material on a daily basis

You need to be in class every day ready to work if you want to learn something and contribute to others’ learning. Attendance, of course, is part of your participation grade, but I will also take into account a number of other factors: the quality and consistency of your contributions to discussion; 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.

 Your participation grade is worth 20% of the final grade.

  • Demonstrate what you have learned and view the course readings in a new light by writing a final exam

The final exam is an opportunity to think about the course readings in new combinations and from a broader perspective. Usually the exam consists of passages selected from ones that we have discussed in class and that you will be 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.

The final exam is worth 30% of the final grade.


Policies: What do I need to know to be successful?

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.

Religious observance
Requests for accommodation of specific religious or spiritual observance must be presented in writing to me within the first two weeks of class.

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 academic accommodations, you must register with Accessibility Services 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 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.

I will let you know in advance whether an assignment should be submitted in hard copy or as an email attachment. If you are submitting an assignment by email, you should check your email regularly to make sure that I send you a confirmation of receipt of your essay – that way, you’ll know that it’s been submitted properly.

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 permission.

Class cancellations
If any class cancellations are necessary, an announcement will be posted on the course Moodle site and on the MSVU Course Cancellation webpage.



A syllabus will be handed out on the first day of classes and posted on the course Moodle site. Any revisions made to the print syllabus handed out in the first class will be posted on the Moodle site.

Experiential (Hands-On) Learning: How is this relevant to my future?

Experiential or hands-on learning is integrated into all ENGL/WRIT courses. All courses include the following activities that are directly relevant to the type of work undertaken by English graduates in their later careers:

  • critical analysis of text
  • developing and writing a concise, coherent, and persuasive argument
  • working collaboratively
  • providing constructive criticism to peers on their ideas and writing

Upper-level ENGL/WRIT courses also include the following additional hands-on learning activities:

  • organizing and orally presenting information to others
  • independent research

Particular courses include other forms of hands-on learning such as:

  • service learning opportunities
  • creative arts-based research projects
  • the development of a publication
  • presentations by professionals working in the field
  • field trips to publishing and printing houses or the theatre

Additional extra-curricular hands-on learning opportunities are also available to students in the English program. See our Experiential (Hands-On) Learning webpage for more ideas.


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