Syllabus for LIT-302

ADVANCED AMERICAN LITERATURE II


COURSE DESCRIPTION

This upper-level course is an in-depth study of American literature beginning with the regional realism of the late nineteenth century and ending with the literature of the sixties counterculture and the continuing search for identity in literature today. Well-known writers are included as well as significant writers who are less often studied. The course involves analysis of texts and synthesis of readings as well as a significant amount of writing. Students write a documented research paper as a capstone project.

Through the www.learner.org site, students have searchable access to an online archive of nearly 3,000 primary-source documents including visual art, newspaper articles, musical recordings, photos, and sound files. The syllabus directs students to use this site.

Note: This is an upper-level literature course. Incoming students are expected to be familiar with the vocabulary and conventions of literary analysis as well as the correct use of MLA style documentation. Before enrolling in an upper-level literature course, students are strongly encouraged to complete English Composition II and one other introductory literature course.

COURSE OBJECTIVES

After completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Interpret primary texts from American literature that have shaped or reflected American culture from 1865 to the present.
  2. Analyze characters, literary styles, and themes in the works covered.
  3. Synthesize your knowledge of and response to literature with understanding of historical events as well as personal insight.
  4. Compare and contrast significant texts and ideas.
  5. Explore the questions, issues, and controversies present in American literature since 1865, analyzing how they have evolved over time.
  6. Connect these significant works of literature of the past to the lives and identities of people today.
  7. Compose extended analyses of the works read.

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: 978-0-393-92741-2

ISBN-13: 978-0-393-92742-9

        

ISBN-13: 978-0-393-92743-6

ISBN-13: 978-0393979398

Video Programs

American Passages: A Literary Survey, 9 half-hour programs produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting in association with the American Studies Crossroads Project of the American Studies Association

The video programs are being offered via streaming video technology through this course site. Each activity will include the necessary links for accessing the video stream.

A Note about the Texts

The Norton Anthology of American Literature was revised in 2007, but the American Passages video series and accompanying study guide were not. Therefore, some of the works of literature mentioned in the videos and study guide are no longer included in the Norton Anthology. Where they are available in online format, students will be directed to them. In other cases you will read a different work of literature in place of the missing work. If you are particularly interested in a work of literature that is not in the current anthology, consult a library or bookstore to locate the work.

COURSE STRUCTURE

Advanced American Literature II is a three-credit online course, consisting of eight (8) modules. Modules include learning objectives, study materials, online discussions, reflective journals, and written activities. The course requires you to complete four written activities and to submit a final paper. You are also required to participate in ten graded online discussions and an ungraded "Introductions" forum. 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. Each week in the semester begins on Monday and ends on Sunday. 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 activities, complete a reflective journal, and complete a final paper. See below for more details.

Consult the course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Discussion Forums

In addition to an ungraded "Introductions" forum, Advanced American Literature II requires you to participate in ten graded class discussions.

Communication with the mentor and among fellow students is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online discussions involves two distinct activities: an initial response to a posted question (discussion thread) and subsequent comments on classmates' responses.

You will be evaluated both on the quality of your responses (i.e., your understanding of readings, and concepts as demonstrated by well-articulated, critical thinking) and quantity of your participation (i.e., the number of times you participate meaningfully in the assigned forums). Responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, professional, and respectful.

Meaningful participation in online discussions 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. (See Tone, Diction, and Style under WRITTEN ACTIVITIES for more information.)

Online Archive

In this course you have access to approximately 3,000 primary-source documents through the American Passages Online Archive. The site includes historical and cultural artifacts such as visual art, newspaper articles, musical recordings, diaries, and maps. In each module, this course site will suggest consulting the archive for specific items. However, the Study Guide is filled with additional references to the archive. Although viewing of material from the archive and its inclusion in activities is not required, students are encouraged to use the archive to enrich their learning experience.

Each module contains a set of references to the archive. You can click on the link in the table provided in order to access the archive document. As noted in the second point below, you may be taken to the legal policy page. Read the material on this screen, and if you agree click "Yes." Then you will be taken to the document.

To search the archive on your own, do the following:

  1. Go to Online Archive.
  2. The first few times that you access this site in any one sitting you will be directed first to the legal policy page. Read the material on this screen, and if you agree click "Yes." You may be directed straight to the search page later on.
  3. On the next screen, if you are searching by number, click "Serial Number," type in the number of the item you want, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and click "Search." The item will come up; if it is an image, you will have the opportunity to enlarge it by clicking beneath the image.
  4. You may also search using a phrase. Step 2 on the search page helps you narrow your search.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete four (4) written assignments. The written assignments are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules.

Take the time to familiarize yourself with the Activity Modules area of the course Web site, and read through the written activity questions before you begin the reading for that activity.

Your answers to the activity questions should be well developed and convey your understanding of the readings and concepts. They should also adequately answer the questions posed. 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 text or other sources, be sure to cite the source of information properly according to MLA or APA guidelines (see also Basic Documentation Rules). However, your mentor will guide you in accordance with the correct style of documentation.

Tone, Diction, and Style

Your written activities should be approached in a quite different way from your responses to the online discussion topics. Written activities should be formal academic papers. This means, among other things, that you should write in third person, avoid informal diction or spelling, avoid contractions, proofread carefully, and use MLA-style parenthetical documentation to identify your sources.

The online discussions, on the other hand, much like live classroom discussions, are meant to be a more informal give-and-take. You may use first person (stating, for example, "I liked," "What struck me," etc.). Your discussion board responses will be similar to a conversation and may include contractions and less formal diction. Remember however, that while you may be somewhat informal, you should still write in Standard English and proofread your post before hitting "Submit."

A Word on Plagiarism

The college's policy on plagiarism is included in the College Catalog and in the Online Student Handbook. See Academic Integrity for a detailed explanation of this policy.

This course includes some of the most widely read and assigned works of literature; therefore numerous essays and papers have been written about them and many are available on the Internet. The temptation to plagiarize can be very strong. Please read the policy and ask questions if you need clarification or guidance regarding possible plagiarism.

Final Project - Final Comprehensive Assessment

There is no midterm or final proctored examination in this course. An 18- to 20-page paper, described below, acts as your final assessment and is worth 50 percent of your grade. You will begin work on this paper early in the course, choosing a topic, submitting an outline, and submitting an abstract and list of major works cited. You must complete the writing of the paper and submit it to your mentor by the last day of the semester.

As stated, the paper is worth 50 percent of your grade. You will receive credit for submitting each of the intermediate steps (topic, outline, abstract and works cited); each is worth 2.5 percent of your total grade. Your grade on the paper, therefore, counts toward 42.5 percent of your final grade.

Your final paper should be 18 to 20 pages in length. You will find instructions in the Final Project area of the course site. You may want to look over them now, so that you can begin the course with a good idea of what your final assessment will require. You will choose any one author or work and show how the individual or the work relates to the totality of American literature.

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 guidelines (see also Basic Documentation Rules). Your mentor will be able to guide you in accordance with this style of documentation.

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 activity, 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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