Syllabus for LIT-202
LITERARY ROOTS OF WESTERN CULTURE
The literature of the Western Hemisphere has influenced and shaped its culture, from history and art to philosophy and religion. Literary Roots of Western Culture introduces and explores those literary works that have arguably had the greatest influence.
From the “In the beginning. . .” of the Bible's book of Genesis to Franz Kafka’s twentieth-century hallucinatory story of a dung beetle, Western literature has grappled with serious questions about our identity as human beings, about how we determine what is right and wrong, about how we can know or approach God, about how we can distinguish reality from illusion, about how we can know true beauty, as well as other questions we grapple with in our lives. This course explores the answers that the West's best writers and thinkers have provided, as well as the issues and questions they raise.
Names such as Homer, Sophocles, Shakespeare, and Tolstoy are familiar to most people, yet relatively few have experienced these works personally. Students will be introduced to a selection of the “great books” of Western literature and encouraged to enter into a dialogue with them through use of a personal journal.
The course spans thousands of years grouped into five broad periods:
After completing this course, you should be able to:
You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbooks are available from the College's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.
Note: Specific parts of the Norton Web site are assigned and additional Web sites are identified and assigned in the individual modules. The links provided have been reviewed and were working at the time of course release. The fluid nature of the Internet, however, means one or more of the sites may have moved, changed, or been discontinued. You are encouraged to search for additional background material—not just on the Internet, but also at your local library. The works assigned have been around for thousands of years and some very good material written about them is available in print only.
Additional Web sites or corrected URLs may be posted on the discussion board.
Writing Sources and Tutorial Options
Literary Roots of Western Culture is a writing intensive course that places great emphasis on helping you to further develop your writing skills. Listed below are helpful writing resources and tutoring options:
Literary Roots of Western Culture is a three-credit online course, consisting of ten (10) modules. Modules include learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.
For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete written assignments, and complete a final project. In addition, after each set of readings, you will write about what you read in a reflective journal and submit your efforts to your mentor. See below for more details.
In this course you will read works of literature as well as examine Web sites, videos, and other material that will deepen and challenge your understanding of the literary works. Your reading assignments will appear under the Study Materials heading within each module. Following that you will find an “Online Assignment.” Viewing and study of these online items is part of your assignment just as the readings are; in other words, they are not supplementary material (unless they are clearly labeled as such). You'll be expected to refer to them in your journal assignments and elsewhere in the course.
Consult the Course Calendar for assignment due dates.
Literary Roots of Western Culture has five (5) graded online discussions based on Internet assignments drawn from the textbook. There is also an ungraded but required Introductions Forum in Module 1.
Communication among fellow students and with the mentor is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online discussions involves two distinct assignments: an initial response to a posted question (discussion thread) and subsequent comments on classmates' responses. Meaningful participation is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as “I agree” and “ditto” are not considered value-adding participation. Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate, the reading, or your mentor, state and support your agreement or disagreement. You will be evaluated on the quality and quantity of your participation. Responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, professional, and respectful.
Throughout this course you will be asked to keep a reflective journal that records your reactions to the literature you have read. This journal, though shared with your mentor, will not be graded on content or for grammatical expression. You are submitting it to your mentor mainly so he or she knows that you are reading and responding to the literature as the course progresses. If you submit the journal regularly and it shows that you have been doing the reading, you will receive the full number of points toward your final grade.
Although you are not graded on your entries, you will be asked to make reference to your reflective journal in your final assessment paper. Be sure to keep your own copy of your journal as well as submitting regular installments to your mentor.
There is no prescribed length for your journal entries, but they should generally be about one page, double-spaced. They are not intended to be detailed analyses, just your honest reaction.
Literary Roots of Western Culture has five (5) written assignments. The written assignments are the primary means for you to express yourself verbally during the semester, controlling content and meaning.
Take the time to familiarize yourself with and read through the written assignments before you begin each lesson. Your answers to the assignment questions should be well developed and convey your understanding of the course materials. They should also adequately answer the question. If you need help in writing, take a look at The Writing Center: University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Also, formulate responses in your own words. Do not merely copy answers from your reading materials. When quoting or paraphrasing from the texts or other sources, be sure to properly cite the source of information. MLA style is generally used in the Humanities, so it is the preferred style in a literature course. If you are more familiar with APA style and would like to use it, please inform your mentor.
Prepare your written assignments using whatever word processing program you have on your computer. Include your name at the top of the paper, as well as the course name and code and the semester and year in which you are enrolled.
Before submitting your first assignment, check with your mentor to determine whether your word processing software is compatible with your mentor's software. If so, you can submit your work as you prepared it. If not, save your assignment as a rich-text (.rtf) file, using the Save As command of your software program. Rich text retains basic formatting and can be read by any other word processing program.
There is no midterm or final proctored examination in this course. An eight- to twelve-page paper, described below, acts as your final assessment and is worth 50 percent of your grade. You may begin work on this paper at any time during the course, but you must submit it by the last day of the semester.
All too often, the study of literature seems to students to be about definitions of terms and memorization of facts. This course has been designed to emphasize the pleasure of reading and of informed discussion and reflection. As a result, the course replaces a proctored examination with an ongoing (ungraded) journal and a final reflective paper that incorporates insights from that journal. This paper serves as the final assessment for this course.
Your final paper should be 8 to 12 pages in length. Possible topics are listed on the course site. You will review your reading, your written assignments, and your journal entries. Then you will organize your thoughts on one (1) of the listed topics, including appropriate quotations from your journal.
Your final assessment should be well developed and should convey your understanding of readings and concepts, as well as answer the question adequately. It should be organized, cogent, coherent, and unified; it should also be free of spelling and grammatical errors. If you need help in writing such a paper, take a look at The Writing Center: University of Wisconsin-Madison.
When quoting or paraphrasing from the text or other sources, be sure to cite the source of information properly according to MLA or APA guidelines.
Note: Your final assessment paper must include both quotations from your reflective journal and references to your own personal experience.
Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:
All activities, except the reflective journal entries, will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:
To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a nonarea of study course), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).
First Steps to Success
To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:
Consider the following study tips for success:
Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.
Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:
Please refer to the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the College Catalog and online at www.tesc.edu.
Using someone else’s work as your own is plagiarism. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)
Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.
Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.
Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.
For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.
Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism
When to Quote and When to Paraphrase
Writing Assistance at Smarthinking
Originality Report Checking at Turnitin
First-time incidents of academic dishonesty concerning plagiarism may reflect ignorance of appropriate citation requirements. Mentors will make a good faith effort to address all first-time offenses that occur in courses. In these cases, the mentor may impose sanctions that serve as a learning exercise for the offender. These may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool including a lower grade when appropriate. The mentor will notify the student by e-mail. Decisions about the sanctions applied for subsequent plagiarism offenses or other violations will be made by the appropriate dean’s office, with the advice of the mentor or staff person who reported the violation. The student will be notified via certified mail of the decision. Options for sanctions include:
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