Course Syllabus

W   06:00 PM  -  08:30 PM 	Maura 237
See daily course outline.

Dennis G. Jerz (jerz.setonhill.edu)

Email | Facebook | Twitter | Weblog | 724.830.1909

Office: 403 St. Joseph, Box 461

Office Hours, Fall 2010

  • Mo 10-11 (St. Joe's 403)
  • Tu 3-4 (Admin 309)
  • We 4-5 (St. Joe's 403)
  • Th 3-4 (Admin 309)
  • and by appointment
From the Catalog:
Explores a diverse body of nineteenth-century literature, including fiction, poetry, narrative, and essays, written in different regions of the United States by men and women of various cultural groups. Works of the American literary renaissance are studied alongside writing from other traditions, such as Native American autobiography, African American narrative, and women's fiction. Prerequisite: LA101. Fall semester. Satisfies the U.S. Cultures requirement of the Liberal Arts Curriculum.

LizStatueIPADSM.jpgThe components of a Seton Hill University liberal arts education are carefully chosen in order to, in the words of Elizabeth Ann Seton, "fit you for that world in which you are destined to live."

According to a survey published in 2009 by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), here are the skills employers say they want in their new hires:

  1. Communication skills (verbal and written)
  2. Strong work ethic
  3. Teamwork skills (works well with others)
  4. Initiative
  5. Analytical skills
(See also this brief NACE video, Job Outlook 2010)

Every single course you take at Seton Hill is another opportunity for you to develop your mind by wrestling with the challenging, enduring, and wont-fit-on-a-bumper-sticker issues that make the world go round.

A survey course, EL266 has particular relevance as a liberal arts core requirement, education certification requirement, and/or elective. The Seton Hill University Learning Objectives (found on page 4 of the 2010-1012 course catalog) include several skills that this course is especially designed to help you develop:

  • Express arguments or main points clearly, in written and oral communication.
  • Assess privilege and oppression from the perspective of culture, race, class, and gender.
  • Find, evaluate, and apply information.
  • Use technological skills to access information, organize knowledge, and communicate.
  • Locate and analyze expressive media to gain information or comprehend the significance of an issue or event.

A literature survey course has an additional meaning for English majors and minors, because a 200-level survey course introduces important scholarly techniques (how to read and write about a literary text) and subject matter (the works themselves).

These goals of the English program all apply directly to EL 266:

  1. Examine a wide range of genres, styles and cultural literatures.
  2. Examine the traditional canon and innovative nontraditional writers and writing.
  3. Demonstrate analytical skills of reading literature.
  4. Demonstrate a high level of research and writing skills.
  5. Write and speak in a wide range of formats appropriate to major emphasis: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, critical essay, oral presentation.
  6. Speak and write about issues in the discipline and how they interact with the culture at large.
  7. Articulate the ongoing relation between personal habits of reading and writing and the evolving study of English.

Your Objectives for EL266

  1. Deeply and critically read literary texts
  2. Demonstrate familiarity with the social and political forces shaping American culture during the time period
  3. Use textual evidence to support your claims orally and in writing, without oversimplifying or ignoring views which differ from yours
  4. Organize and develop your initial reactions to assigned texts, through discussion, drafting, peer critiquing, and revision
  5. Write two college-level papers (one supported by primary sources, another supported by both primary sources and secondary academic research)
  6. Contribute actively to a positive learning environment
To help you reach those goals, you will need to:
  • read all assigned texts and reflect meaningfully on them (a process that includes re-reading parts of large texts or the whole of shorter texts) before class,
  • participate via class discussion, in-class activities, and homework

At the end of this course, you should be able to demonstrate

  1. Awareness of the literary techniques authors use in order to express and develop their ideas
  2. Awareness of the historical, cultural, and formal issues that influence your developing responses to texts on the syllabus
  3. Competence in interpretive, critical reading of literary texts (beyond summarizing the plot)
  4. Evidence of Intellectual engagement with your peers and the course content (in person and online)
  5. Ability to plan, research, draft, revise, and polish college-level essays
What does this all mean?

  • What are your goals for your SHU education?
  • How can EL266 help you to reach those goals?

The class format will be a seminar, with lots of discussion and some lecture.

Reading and Writing

In this class, we will not first read "the right answer" from a textbook (or hear it in lecture) and then write it down for points. Rather, we will read and write in order to discover and explore an interpretive problem, and we will read and write more in order to devise a solution.

Re-reading and Re-writing

Complex understanding develops over time. As with any complex skill, meaningful progress comes only with practice. 

Since LA101 is a prerequisite for this course, you will already know how to quote from text in order to support your own original interpretation of that text, and how important revision is for the development of intellectual complexity.

This class will build upon the skills you learned in LA101, as we practice critical close reading (not just skimming to absorb content, but paying close attention to the author's literary technique, reading deeply, explorationally and critically) and writing the academic essay (a multi-stage process which involves prewriting, drafting, peer review, revision, and polishing).

General Requirements
  • Keep up with the readings. Read the week's assignments before class. (The first day of classes is an exception of course.) Reflect on the readings before coming to class, and help sustain an active, positive learning environment.
  • Please keep copies of rough drafts of papers. (I may want to talk with you about your rough drafts before recording a grade.)
  • I will often send out class e-mails to the addresses on file in GriffinGate. (If you don't use your student email account, use SHU's email forwarding service so that you don't miss important updates.)
  • In-person attendance and face-to-face interaction are crucial components of the course. Online materials are required components of the class, but they are meant to amplify the in-class experience, not replace it.
Technology (and Patience)

This course expects you to use various learning tools. Just as students in generations past learned to carry an extra inkhorn and spare lamp wicks, there are certain common-sense strategies that will help you do the necessary work.

  • Patience, and a positive attitude, will help you make the most of your learning environment. Our technology won't work 100% of the time.
  • Download or print out a copy of the course syllabus and the online readings, so that can work on the readings even if the internet happens to be down. 
  • Get in the habit of emailing drafts to yourself, so that you can retrieve them from your archives if you lose your thumb drive. (Or consider a free service such as DropBox or Google Docs, that lets you store all your files online.)
  • Unless the homework assignment specifically mentions a printout, you should assume that I don't want a hard copy. (The exercises and papers will be submitted to Turnitin.com, and there will be regular activities on GriffinGate.)
  • We will use the library website and blogs.setonhill.edu.  We will spend some class time familiarizing ourselves with these and other tools, and I am always happy to meet with you during my office hours if you'd like additional help.

Students are expected to attend every class (according to the Seton Hill University Catalog).

What to Do When You Must Miss a Class

  • Consult this website to find out what is scheduled.
  • Consult a classmate and arrange to get notes, handouts, etc. (After you have spoken with a classmate, I will be happy to answer any specific questions, in person, by e-mail, or by phone, about what you missed.)
  • Download and email me a completed "Absence Form" (available at http://jerz.setonhill.edu/teaching/Absence.doc) as soon as is reasonably possible.
    • For instance, if your coach announces the team schedule, I think it's reasonable for you to let me know of any conflicts by the next day.
    • If you have a personal emergency, once the immediate crisis is over, I think it's reasonable for you to tell me by the next day.
    The point of the form is to document your good-faith effort to keep up with the material despite your absence. 
  • Meet the deadlines. Submit your work before you leave on a trip, or submit it while you're on the road. (There is a space to explain any extenuating circumstances on the "Absence Form," but my assumption is that a scheduled absence from class does not warrant any sort of extension.)Note: It may not be possible to make up some assignments or class activities.
5.1.1 Absence Penalties (for any reason -- excused or unexcused)
  • one absence: zero for in-class activities missed (unless your Absence Form proposes and you complete acceptable make-up assignments within one week)
  • two non-consecutive absences: zero for in-class activities, and final grade lowered by two-thirds of a letter grade (unless your Absence Form proposes and you complete acceptable make-up assignments within one week)
  • two consecutive absences, or a total of three absences during the semester: final grade reported as F
    • To clear that F and complete the class normally, you must submit a written request to remain in the class.
    • Include any evidence that will help me decide in your favor.
5.2.1 Additional Absence Policies
  • Late arrivals, early departures, and lack of participation may accrue as absences.
  • Please don't skip class after pulling an all-nighter to complete an assignment for this class. (If you do, I will count the assignment as one day late anyway, so you'd be better off coming to class and avoiding the absence penalty.)
  • If there is insufficient time for us to agree upon an acceptable alternative assignment, or if an approved alternative assignment is unsatisfactory, then I may report the missed work as a zero.

Students are expected to contribute actively to a positive learning environment, both in person and online.

Distracting or isolating behavior (such as late arrivals and early departures, listening to headphones or using electronic devices for purposes unrelated to the class), lack of preparation, and general incivility (such as doing homework for another class, falling asleep, eating more than a discreet snack) will affect your ability to contribute to our shared learning environment.

Students who aren't thrilled with speaking in public may wish to invest more effort in their online activities, and vice-versa.

If your final grade falls near a borderline, I will take your participation into account when I decide whether to round up or down.
Getting Credit for Late Work

By default, late assignments automatically lose one letter grade if they are not submitted on time, and another letter grade for each additional day late (counting weekends as one day). This means that no assignment will earn any credit if it is more than four days late, unless there are extenuating circumstances.

Deadlines for the submission of turnitin.com assignments are typically 15 minutes before class starts. I do this simply to discourage you from being late to class because you are still working on your homework. It also permits me to scan the assignments briefly before class begins. If your online submission is late by a few minutes, but you are still on time to class, your paper won't count as late.

Special Cases


In-class writing assignments and on-line GriffinGate exercises are highly time-sensitive, since they are designed to capture your thoughts and feelings at a particular moment in time, so I can assess your understanding. are not easily replaceable. My policy is to offer no make-up assignments for in-class or on-line activities. (In rare cases, I may accept a make-up task for half credit.)

Perspective on Missing Routine Assignments and Activities

Missing one or two (or five) of these routine assignments will have almost no (or very little) direct affect on your final grade. I'm far more concerned with the cumulative effect.

What happens if you fall out of the habit of preparing for and completing the routine work (reading assigned texts, writing informal reflections on them, and in-class analysis and interpretation tasks)?
  • They are all designed to work together, building on the skills you develop each week.
  • If you do miss the deadline for one of these routine assignments, I suggest you do the work anyway, so that you get the practice the assignment was supposed to provide. Overall, your average will recover quickly. 
  • Just be sure to do a little more participation (online or in person), so I'll have a good reason to bump your grade up if your final score falls near a borderline.

Make-up/Extra Credit Assignments

I do not have a policy of inventing make-up or extra-credit assignments to enable you to pull your grade up in the last few weeks of the term; however, at any time during the course, you may demonstrate your willingness to work hard for your grade by doing more than the required amount of work on your weblog. (You can call my attention to this extra work when you submit your online reflection portfolio.)

Print text required

I recognize that all students won't have iPads, and I recognize that some students will want to use their iPads all the time.

My solution is to require the whole class to read

  • one print book (Huckleberry Finn)
  • several short stories and poems as etexts (available on the iPad, most smartphones, or any computer)
All the rest of the texts will be available either in print or electronic form. (I haven't asked the bookstore to stock these books, but you can easily find any inexpensive used edition online, you can probably get most of them from your local library, and you may just want to print them out from the web.)

If you have an iPad, see this slideshow for screenshots showing how to find and download the correct iBooks titles.

266 Books.ppt

Required, Print
  • Clemens, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn 039598078X (purchase)
Required, Electronic (iPad or almost any word processor)
  • Irving, The Sketch-Book of Geoffrey Crayon (for iBooks; or in multiple formats from Project Gutenberg) (for "The Wife" and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow")
  • Hawthorne, Mosses from an Old Manse and Other Stories (iBooks or Project Gutenberg) (for "Young Goodman Brown")
  • Dickinson, Poems by Emily Dickinson, Three Series, Complete (iBooks or Project Gutenberg) (for various selections)
Required, Any Format
  • Foster, How to Read Literature Like a Professor 006000942X (purchase)
  • Your LA101 (STW) textbook (or any college handbook that covers MLA style)
  • Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter (iBooks or Project Gutenberg)
  • Melville, "Bartleby, The Scrivener" (iBooks or Project Gutenberg)
  • Harris, Nights With Uncle Remus (iBooks or Project Gutenberg) (for selections)
  • Bierce, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" (iBooks or Project Gutenberg)
  • Emerson, Nature (iBooks or Project Gutenberg) (for selections)
  • Gilman, "The Yellow Wallpaper" (iBooks or Project Gutenberg)
  • Poe, The Works of Edgar Allan Poe -- Volume 2 (iBooks or Project Gutenberg) (for "The Black Cat")
  • Aiken, Uncle Tom's Cabin (dramatization of the Harriet Beecher Stowe novel) (no iBooks version is available as of yet, but the University of Virginia hosts the full text)
Additional Texts, TBA
  • The syllabus will also include URLs that I post as assigned readings, and occasional in-class handouts. I will call each of these to your attention when the time comes.

Disability Statement
If you have a disability that may require consideration by the instructor, you should contact Terri Bassi, the Director of Disability Services at 724-838-4295 or bassi@setonhill.edu as soon as possible to develop a plan of accommodation. You should provide the instructor with a copy of your accommodation plan and schedule a meeting so that you can be supported in an informed manner. It is not necessary to disclose to your instructor the nature of your disability.

Archive Policy
In order to fulfill the requirements of the liberal arts curriculum, major assignments completed in this course must be saved by the student, so that they can successfully argue in the capstone liberal arts course, Senior Integrative Seminar, that they have met the University Learning Objectives.

Academic Integrity Policy

Seton Hill University expects that all its students will practice academic honesty and ethical conduct. The University regards plagiarism, cheating on examinations, falsification of papers, non-sanctioned collaboration, and misuse of library material, computer material, or any other material, published or unpublished, as violations of academic honesty. Violators of the code may expect disciplinary sanctions, which are discussed in the Seton Hill University Catalog, page 30, Code of Academic Conduct.

Any unreferenced use of the written or spoken material of another, or of previously submitted work of the student's own, constitutes plagiarism.
 
Paraphrasing the thoughts or written work of another without reference is also plagiarism. Helpful information is available at the following web site: Plagiarism: What It Is and How to Recognize and Avoid It. (http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/pamphlets/plagiarism.shtml).

Any plagiarism on a draft will result in a zero as the final grade on that assignment. Any plagiarism or cheating on an informal essay, paragraph, or grammar exercise will also result in a zero.


See also "Plagiarism (and Academic Integrity)."


Plagiarism is an academic or professional misrepresentation, in which a writer takes credit for someone else's ideas.

Avoid plagiarism by 
  • submitting your own original work
  • giving proper credit to other people whose words and/or ideas appear in your work
  • recognizing that direct quotation (with citation) and paraphrase (with citation) are both acceptable ways to use outside material.
Avoid the panic that makes cheating look so attractive by
  • starting early (plan 2-3 hours of homework for each hour of class)
  • keeping on track (with brainstorming, drafting, workshop, and revision assignments)
  • seeking out help (from the professor, Writing Center, tutors)

  • Participation Portfolios (300 pts) -- Online and in-class informal writing assignments based on the assigned readings.
  • Exercises (200 pts) -- Homework assignments, some of which are collaborative. (These prepare you for the major papers.)
  1. 30pts
  2. 30pts
  3. 30pts
  4. 35pts
  5. 35pts
  6. 40pts
  • Papers (300 pts) -- Two formal papers (3-4, and 6-8 pages in length).
  1. 100pts
  2. 200pts
  • Final Exam (200pts)

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