Syllabus for LIT-202

LITERARY ROOTS OF WESTERN CULTURE


COURSE DESCRIPTION

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 has five modules:

  1. Ancient Literature, which covers literature of the ancient Biblical, Greek, and Roman worlds.
  2. The Middle Ages and the Renaissance, dealing with literature from about the year 500 through the mid-1600s, including Dante, Shakespeare, and Milton.
  3. The Enlightenment and Romanticism, covering literature from two very different literary periods spanning the mid-1600s through the late 1800s.
  4. Realism and Naturalism, which deals with two major literary movements in the nineteenth century, here represented by the French writer Gustave Flaubert and Russian writers Fyodor Dostoevsky and Leo Tolstoy.
  5. The Twentieth Century, which deals with modernism as it has been expressed since the 1920s.

COURSE OBJECTIVES

After completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Describe primary literary texts that have shaped Western culture.
  2. Demonstrate your appreciation and understanding of these works with reference to the works themselves as well as the reflective journal you have kept during the course.
  3. Synthesize your knowledge of and response to literature to demonstrate insight and interpretation.
  4. Explain some of the questions, issues, answers and controversies found in the "great works" of Western Literature.
  5. Show the relevance of particular texts to the lives and identities of people in today's world.
  6. Demonstrate your mastery of the reading by composing a formal essay of 8 to 12 pages that answers a comprehensive question in an organized, coherent, and unified way, free of spelling and grammatical errors that would detract from a reader's understanding.

COURSE MATERIALS

You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the College's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Textbook

ISBN-13: 978-0-393-92572-2

        

ISBN-13: 978-0-393-92572-2

        

        

ISBN-13: 978-0-19-953636-8

Online Sources

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.

COURSE STRUCTURE

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.

Consult the course Calendar for assignment due dates.

ASSESSMENT METHODS

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.

Discussion Forums

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 discussion in Module 1 titled "Introductions." All class discussions take place on the class Discussion Board.

 

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.

Reflective Journal Entries

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 sending 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.

Written Assignments

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 the Assignment Modules area of the course Web site, and read through the written assignment questions 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. (See also Basic Documentation Rules).

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.

Final Paper - Final Comprehensive Assessment

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.

 

Introduction

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.

 

Instructions

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, 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 (see also Basic Documentation Rules).

Note: Your final assessment paper must include both quotations from your reflective journal and references to your own personal experience.

A rubric to be used in grading your final paper can be found in the Evaluation Rubric folder on the Topic List page.

GRADING AND EVALUATION

Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All activities 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:

A

=

93–100

C+

=

78–79

A–

=

90–92

C

=

73–77

B+

=

88–89

C–

=

70–72

B

=

83–87

D

=

60–69

B–

=

80–82

F

=

Below 60

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.).

STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS

First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

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.

Academic Dishonesty

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 takes the following forms:

Academic dishonesty will result in disciplinary action and possible dismissal from the College. Students who submit papers that are found to be plagiarized will receive an F on the plagiarized assignment, may receive a grade of F for the course, and may face dismissal from the College.

A student who is charged with academic dishonesty will be given oral or written notice of the charge. If a mentor or College official believes the infraction is serious enough to warrant referral of the case to the academic dean, or if the mentor awards a final grade of F in the course because of the infraction, the student and the mentor will be afforded formal due process.

If a student is found cheating or using unauthorized materials on an examination, he or she will automatically receive a grade of F on that examination. Students who believe they have been falsely accused of academic dishonesty should seek redress through informal discussions with the mentor, through the office of the dean, or through an executive officer of Thomas Edison State College.

Plagiarism

Using someone else's work as your own is plagiarism. Although it may seem like simple dishonesty, plagiarism is against the law. 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, 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.

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