English 1900g: Introduction to English Language and Literature (Spring 2017)

Note: This is a draft syllabus based on Fall 2014, which I am providing for planning purposes. The readings will be the same in Spring 2017. Assessment and precise scheduling are subject to change before the last day of add/drop.

About this course

English 1900 is the introductory course in our department. It is a prerequisite for all higher level courses.

The purpose of English 1900 is to introduce students to the study of literature and to provide opportunity to practice analytical reading, thinking, and writing about texts.

This section of English 1900 will focus particularly on discovery and communication: uncovering our (often unrealised) critical responses to texts and developing these into compelling and interesting arguments. Read the rest of this entry »


English 3450a: Old English (Spring 2017)

Note: This is draft syllabus based on the Fall 2015 offering. It is subject to revision before the last day of the add/drop period. The reading order and pace is subject to change throughout the semester.


English 3401a: Medieval Literature (Fall 2016)

This is a preliminary syllabus based on Spring 2015. While it provides an indication of how the course will be assessed and the scheduling of readings, details of both will change before the beginning of class. The required reading list is accurate and complete for Fall 2016, however.

English 3401 introduces students to the study of Middle English literature (i.e. literature from roughly the twelfth through the end of the fifteenth centuries). The course is a companion to English 3601 Chaucer, and so this course concentrates on literature by authors other than Chaucer.


Advanced Old English (Spring 2016)

About this course

Advanced Old English is a reading course in Old English focussing on Beowulf. A necessary prerequisite is previous experience reading Old English, the language of Anglo-Saxon England (c. 450-1200 CE). At the U of L, this experience is acquired through English 3450.

Important note: This course is being offered in the form of Independent Studies. The Dean’s office has agreed to waive restrictions on Independent Studies that affect degree requirements for students taking this course. These include the maximum number of Independent Studies you can count towards your degree and restrictions on the use of Independent Studies courses to satisfy distribution requirements at fourth year for English majors. Please see me if you want to take this course but cannot because of some restriction on Independent Studies in your programme.

Read the rest of this entry »

English 3601a: Chaucer (Spring 2016)

About this course

English 3601 introduces students to the works of Geoffrey Chaucer, the best known English poet of the high middle ages. This course is a companion to English 3401, Medieval Literature, and English 3450, Old English.

This section takes a constructionist and collaborative approach to student learning. Students will be expected to take responsibility for the direction of their learning under the mentorship of the instructor.


English 3450a: Old English (Fall 2015)

Note: This is a draft syllabus and is subject to revision before the last day of the add/drop period.


English 4400n/5500n: Digital Humanities (Fall 2015)

About the course

English 4400n: Digital Humanities is a senior seminar on the digital revolution and the effect it is having on the way we communicate, research, and teach. Most of the course will be concerned with the mechanisms and effects of what we might describe as the second Internet revolution—the growth of cloud-based, often socially-network-oriented, services, applications, and repositories that are radically changing economic, social, and research culture and practices.

By the end of the course, students should have

  • A grounded historical knowledge of the history of personal and networked computing as it applies to the humanities.
  • Hands on experience with basic technological practices in the field
  • Extensive experience reviewing existing Digital Humanities projects
  • An understanding of what the Digital Humanities is and where it may and may not be helpful in the pursuit of their other research interests.
  • Read the rest of this entry »

About posters

I increasingly use posters in my classes as a way of encouraging collaboration and the development of a research community.

Although posters have long been used in the Natural Sciences, some Social Sciences, and the Digital Humanities, they are only beginning to appear in more traditional humanities disciplines.

This post provides some resources for discovering how to design posters and explains my general policies.

How to make posters

Although students make posters throughout Grade School, Middle School, and High School, research posters of the kind used at University are slightly different in format and design. Read the rest of this entry »


About blogs

In many of my courses you will be expected to maintain a blog. Postings will be required from you most weeks. And every so often you may be asked to review and/or comment on your blog postings and those of your class mates.

The following are some general notes on how I use blogs in my classes and what you will be expected to do. These notes are to be read on conjunction with the class syllabus, which may include additional instructions, rules, expectations, or limitations.


English 3901a: History of English (Spring 2015)

This is the syllabus for English 3901: History of the English Language.


Grading methods

I use several different types of grading in my courses. This post explains what they are and how they work.

A+ through F (Grade Point)

This is the traditional grading system used at North American Universities. I use this system primarily for grading summative exercises (i.e. Read the rest of this entry »


English 3401a: Medieval Literature (Spring 2015)

English 3401 introduces students to the study of Middle English literature (i.e. literature from roughly the twelfth through the end of the fifteenth centuries). The course is a companion to English 3601 Chaucer, and so this course concentrates on literature by authors other than Chaucer.

Read the rest of this entry »


Current academic policies

The following are my current academic policies. This site also contains older versions of these and other academic policies. Only the policies listed on this page are current, however.

This page and the pages it links to are considered a part of your syllabus. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!

Current Policies


Late policy

Assignments are due at the date and time specified on the syllabus or discussed in class (Not attending class is not an excuse for failing to keep up to date on due dates). Unless I specifically note otherwise, however, you can almost always take a few extra hours without asking permission.

If you need a long extension than this, you should ask. As long as I haven’t started marking the exercise, I am usually fine with granting extensions. I am less able to accommodate extensions after I have begun marking the assignment.

If you are sick, have a family emergency, or face some other crisis, I am almost always willing to grant an extension. While I prefer to know in advance, I can accept retroactive requests when the nature of the emergency requires it. I do not normally need a doctor’s note or other evidence, though I reserve the right to ask. Read the rest of this entry »


Essay style: Some basics

The following are some core standards for formatting University-level essays and similar types of work in my classes. Not all apply to all types of work (for example, blogs, unessays, or in-class writing assignments). Feel free to ask if you think your work requires something different.

Most of these requirements will be shared by other instructors, especially in English; if you are not told otherwise by an instructor, you probably won’t get in trouble following these guidelines. Whenever I am aware that there are differences of opinion among instructors (or that different types of assignments might require very different formatting, I have indicated this).


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