English 3601a: Chaucer (Fall 2013)

This is a preliminary syllabus. It is subject to change before the last day of the Add/Drop period.

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.

Times and location

  • Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:05-4:20pm
  • Location: W561.

Office and Office Hours (Subject to change)

My office is room B810B. My telephone numbers, a map, and other contact information are available on my Contact page.

Mon 13:30-14:30
Tues [By appointment 1900f Appointment
Wed 11:00-12:00
Thur 12:05-13:30
Fri 14:30-15:30

Detailed description

English 3601 introduces students to the works of Geoffrey Chaucer, the best known English poet of the high middle ages.

The Calendar describes the course in this way:

The writings of Geoffrey Chaucer, including selected minor works and major works such as The Canterbury Tales and Troilus and Criseyde.

As this suggests, our main goal will be to become familiar with this canonical English poet. This will involve learning about his language and time and of course reading his works.

Reading Middle English requires some effort on the part of students, though our textbooks are well glossed. In addition, Chaucer’s period was quite different from our own in many ways. An important part of our work this semester, therefore, will involve probing our own understanding of this author and his work. What do we need to know in order to understand Chaucer?

Answering this will require us to engage in active reading. As the semester progresses, students will be expected to keep a weekly research journal in which they report on the questions they developed and what they did to go about answering them.

Learning goals

The principal goals of this course are to learn to read and respond to Chaucer in the original Middle English with confidence. By the end of the course, students will be expected to demonstrate:

  • A fluency in reading Chaucer’s Middle English
  • A detailed knowledge of Chaucer’s major works and selected minor works
  • A familiarity with the history and culture of Chaucer’s society and a knowledge of the outlines of Chaucer’s career and importance to contemporary and subsequent literary history
  • An ability to formulate and answer appropriate research questions in Chaucer studies.

Texts

Required

  • Chaucer, Geoffrey, Canterbury Tales. Ed. Robert Boenig and Andrew Taylor. Peterborough: Broadview.
  • —. Dream Visions and Other Poems. Ed. Kathryn L. Lynch. Norton Critical Edition. New York: Norton, 2006.
  • —. Troilus and Criseyde. Ed. Stephen A. Barney. Norton Critical Edition. New York: Norton, 2006.

Optional

Assessment (Subject to change)

There are two kinds of assessment in the class, Formative and Summative.

Formative Assessment is intended to assist students gauge how well they are learning the material of the course. This material is graded on a 100%/0% basis: if your work shows you have made a good faith effort to do the assignment, you will get 100%; if it doesn’t or you don’t hand it in, you will get 0%. For some formative assignments I will also assign a letter grade. This is intended to give you a more fine-grained sense of your performance but only your best two formative letter grades will count against your final grade.

Summative Assessment is intended to let others know how well you learned the material of the course (i.e. the people who to whom you give your transcripts). This material is graded on basis of a standard letter grade.

Formative assessment

1) Attendance 10%
2) Seminar Leadership 20%
3) Letter of Intent 5%
4) Prospectus 20% + Letter Grade
5) Poster 10% + Letter Grade
6) Poster Presentation (“Slam”) 5%
7) What I did/did not know about Chaucer, his age, contemporaries, or culture 10% + Letter Grade
8) Middle English Pronunciation 10% + Letter Grade
9) Translation and content review 10% + Letter Grade

Summative Assessment

Assignment Value
A) Average of Formative Exercises 20%
B) Average of Best Two Formative Letter Grades 10%
C) Blogs 20%
D) Research Project/Essay 30%
E) Final Exam 20%

Grade scale

  Excellent Good Satisfactory Poor Minimal pass Failing
Letter A+ A A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D F
Percent range 100-94 93-90 89-86 85-82 81-78 77-74 73-70 69-66 65-62 61-58 57-50 49-0
Conventional value 100 92 88 84 80 76 72 68 64 60 56 49-0
Grade point 4.0 3.7 3.3 3.0 2.7 2.3 2.0 1.7 1.3 1.0 0

I use this table in different ways depending on the nature of the work.

  • For tests of specific skills or knowledge (such as identification questions in literature classes, or fact-oriented tests in grammar and language classes), I usually assign a numeric score, which is easily converted to a percentage.
  • For essays, presentations, and other qualitatively evaluated work, I usually grade by letter. This is then converted to a percentage using the third row (“Conventional value”). Thus a letter grade of “A,” for example, will be converted to 92% for purposes of calculation. A letter grade of “D+” will be converted to 60%. A grade of “F” is assigned an arbitrary percentage based on my sense of your performance. Usually this is a common fraction (e.g. 40%, 33.4%, 25%, 10%).

In marking work I try to keep the University’s official description of these grades in mind (a description can be found in the University Calendar, Part IV.3.a). If you get an A it means that I think that your work is excellent; a B means that I think that your work is good; a C means that I think that it is satisfactory; a D that I think that it is barely acceptable (minimal pass); and an F that I think that it is failing to meet University-level standards.

Submitting Work

Tests, Exams, and Quizzes

Tests and Exams will be written in the University’s Testing Centre on Moodle. Quizzes may be presented in class on Moodle.

Essays and Reports

Essays and reports will normally be collected using Turnitin. Information on our account (URL, ID number, and Password) will be made available in our class space on Moodle: http://moodle.uleth.ca/

Class schedule (Subject to change)

Week Date Topic Reading Assignment
1 Tue. 3/9 No class
Thur. 5/9 Welcome Syllabus, assessment, and language Scott Kleinman, Introduction to Middle English.
2 Tue. 10/9 Introduction and Short Poems
Close group reading
  • “Words of Chaucer to his Scribe Adam” (ed. Lynch)
Blog: All students (Due midnight before class)
Last day to add/drop
Thur. 12/9 Close group reading
  • “Lack of Steadfastness” (ed. Lynch)
Blog: All students (Due midnight before class)
3 Sun. 15/9 “What I didn’t know…” due Midnight on Turnitin.
Tue. 17/9 Close group reading
  • “To Rosemounde” (ed. Lynch)
Blog: All students (Due midnight before class)
Thur. 19/9 Seminar 1
  • Parliament of Fowls (ed. Lynch)
Blog: Last names A-L (Due midnight before class)
4 Sun. 22/9-Sun. 30/9 Language and comprehension review (testing centre)
Tue. 24/9 Discussion
  • Parliament of Fowls (ed. Lynch)
Blog: Last names M-Z (Due midnight before class)
Thur. 26/9 Introduction to Troilus and Criseyde Read the Introduction in Barney Blog: Last names M-Z (Due midnight before class)
5 Tue. 1/10 Seminar 2
  • Troilus and Criseyde
Blog: Last names A-L (Due midnight before class)
Thur. 3/10 Discussion
  • Troilus and Criseyde
Blog: Last names M-Z (Due midnight before class)
6 Tue. 8/10 Seminar 3
  • Troilus and Criseyde
Blog: Last names M-Z (Due midnight before class)
Thur. 10/10 Discussion
  • Troilus and Criseyde
Blog: Last names A-L (Due midnight before class)
7 Tue. 15/10 Seminar 4
  • Troilus and Criseyde
Blog: Last names M-Z (Due midnight before class)
Thur. 17/10 Discussion
  • Troilus and Criseyde
Blog: Last names A-L (Due midnight before class)
8 Tue. 22/10 No class (Instructor absence) (Subject to change)
Thur. 24/10 No class (Instructor absence) (Subject to change)
9 Sun. 27/10 Letter of intent due (Turnitin)
Tue. 29/10      
Thur. 31/10 Introduction to the Canterbury Tales
  • Boenig and Taylor, Introduction
Blog: Last names A-L (Due midnight before class)
10 Tue. 5/11 (test). Seminar 5
  • General Prologue
Blog: Last names M-Z (Due midnight before class)
Thur. 7/11 Discussion
  • General Prologue
Blog: Last names M-Z (Due midnight before class)
11 Tue. 12/11 (test). Seminar 6
  • Miller’s Prologue and Tale
  • Reeve’s Prologue and Tale
Blog: Last names A-L (Due midnight before class)
Thur. 14/11 Discussion
  • Miller’s Prologue and Tale
  • Reeve’s Prologue and Tale
Blog: Last names A-L (Due midnight before class)
12 Sun. 17/11 Prospectus Due (Midnight on Turnitin)
Tue. 19/11 Seminar 7
  • Knight’s Tale
  • Cook’s Prologue and Tale
Blog: Last names M-Z (Due midnight before class)
Thur. 21/11 Discussion
  • Knight’s Tale
  • Cook’s Prologue and Tale
Blog: Last names M-Z (Due midnight before class)
13 Tue. 26/11 Seminar 8
  • Prioress’s Prologue and Tale
Blog: Last names A-L (Due midnight before class)
Thur. 28/11 Discussion
  • Prioress’s Prologue and Tale
Blog: Last names A-L (Due midnight before class)
14 Tue. 3/12 Seminar 9
  • Parson’s Prologue and Tale
  • Chaucer’s Retraction
Blog: All students (Due midnight before class)
Thur. 5/12 Poster Slam
15 Sun. 8/12 Research Project Due on Turnitin
Exam Period Final Exam

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English 1900f: Introduction to English Language and Literature (Fall 2013)

This is a preliminary syllabus. It is subject to change before the last day of the Add/Drop period.

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.

Times and location

  • Time: Tues/Thurs, 16:30-17:45
  • Location: W561

Office and Office Hours (Subject to change)

My office is room B810B. My telephone numbers, a map, and other contact information are available on my Contact page.

Mon 13:30-14:30
Tues [By appointment 1900f Appointment
Wed 11:00-12:00
Thur 12:05-13:30
Fri 14:30-15:30

Detailed description

English 1900 is the required introductory course in the department. The calendar description is as follows:

An introduction to the study of English language and literature, involving an exploration of various genres of literature and non-literary texts and requiring a series of critical assignments designed to encourage analytical reading, thinking and writing.

Within this broad rubric instructors are free to set their own themes and texts. In this section, our focus will be on discovery and communication: uncovering our (often unrealised) critical responses to texts and developing these into compelling and interesting conversations with others. These are essential skills in literary studies and the humanities more generally. Their acquisition is the principal goal of a humanities education.

We will be taking a constructivist approach to practising these skills. Students will be largely responsible for the direction of class content, within the framework sketched out in the class schedule below. The class will consist almost entirely of in-class discussion, with our topics for discussion being determined for the most part by student interests as reflected in weekly blogging assignments.

The section will also expose students to a variety of different communication contexts. In addition to their weekly blogs, students will also write two “unessays” (free-form writing in which the only requirement is that you develop and communicate your ideas in a compelling fashion), one formal essay (an essay in which you will be graded on both the quality of your ideas and ability to communicate and more formal aspects of style, citation format, and the like), blog responses, reviews, and a final exam.

Learning goals

By the end of the course students should have an understanding of the conventions, processes, and skills required for University-level literary research. This involves the ability to

  • recognise and develop appropriate and original literary topics and arguments
  • identify and marshal appropriate supporting evidence from primary and secondary sources
  • accommodate, modify, or refute arguments and evidence of others in students’ own work
  • present research and arguments in a variety of standard formats including essays and class discussion
  • help themselves and others improve their work through the revision process.

Texts

  • Auburn, David. Proof. Dramatist’s Play Service (January 2002) 978-0822217824
  • Carson, Anne. The Beauty of the Husband. Vintage. 978-0375707575
  • Homer. The Odyssey. Lattimore transl. ISBN 0374525749
  • Sawai, Gloria. “The Day I Sat with Jesus on the Sundeck and a Wind Came Up and Blew My Kimono Open and He Saw My Breasts.” 277-296. A Song for Nettie Johnson. Regina: Coteau (handout).
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (O’Donoghue transl.). ISBN 0140424539
  • Thompson, Hunter S. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. ISBN 0679785892
  • Woolf, Virginia. To the Lighthouse. ISBN 0156907399

Notes:

  1. all texts are required;
  2. to assist you in finding the specific copies we will be using, I have provided ISBN information for the books you are required to purchase. The format used in this list is not the same as that required for the works cited list for your formal essay.

Assessment (Subject to change)

The evaluation scheme presented here should be considered tentative and open to change until the beginning of the last class before the Add/Drop deadline.

Assignment Value
Attendance 5%
Quizzes and participation 5%
Essay/unessay drafts 5%
Responses on student drafts 5%
Blogs 15%
Best essay/unessay 20%
Other two essays/unessays 20% (10% each)
Final exam 25%

Grade scale

In my classes, I use two grading scales: one for formative work, the other for summative.

Formative grade scale

Formative work is usually graded on a pass/fail (100/0) basis. I may also supply a letter grade to give you a finer sense of how you did, but this grade generally does not contribute to your grade. I reserve the right to award a bonus to work that significantly exceeds expectations.

Summative grade scale

  Excellent Good Satisfactory Poor Minimal pass Failing
Letter A+ A A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D F
Percent range 100-94 93-90 89-86 85-82 81-78 77-74 73-70 69-66 65-62 61-58 57-50 49-0
Conventional value 100 92 88 84 80 76 72 68 64 60 56 49-0
Grade point 4.0 3.7 3.3 3.0 2.7 2.3 2.0 1.7 1.3 1.0 0

I use this table in different ways depending on the nature of the work.

  • For tests of specific skills or knowledge (such as identification questions in literature classes, or fact-oriented tests in grammar and language classes), I usually assign a numeric score, which is easily converted to a percentage.
  • For essays, presentations, and other qualitatively evaluated work, I usually grade by letter. This is then converted to a percentage using the third row (“Conventional value”). Thus a letter grade of “A,” for example, will be converted to 92% for purposes of calculation. A letter grade of “D+” will be converted to 60%. A grade of “F” is assigned an arbitrary percentage based on my sense of your performance. Usually this is a common fraction (e.g. 40%, 33.4%, 25%, 10%).

In marking work I try to keep the University’s official description of these grades in mind (a description can be found in the University Calendar, Part IV.3.a). If you get an A it means I think your work is excellent; a B means I think your work is good; a C means I think it is satisfactory; a D that I think it is barely acceptable (minimal pass); and an F that I think it is failing to meet University-level standards.

Submitting Work

Tests, Exams, and Quizzes

Tests and Exams will be written in the University’s Testing Centre on Moodle. Quizzes may be presented in class on Moodle.

Essays and Reports

Essays and reports will normally be collected using Turnitin. Information on our account (URL, ID number, and Password) will be made available in our class space on Moodle: http://moodle.uleth.ca/

Class schedule (Subject to change)

Week Date Topic Assignment
1 Tue. 3/9 No class
Thur. 5/9 Introduction and syllabus
Blogs and unessays
 
2 Tue. 10/9 Sign in to Moodle, update your profile page, and try a test blog
Create an account using your uleth email address at http://www.turnitin.com/
Sawai, “The day I sat with Jesus…” Blog: All students (due midnight before class)
Last day to add/drop
Thur. 12/9 O’Connor, “A good man is hard to find” Blog: All students (due midnight before class)
3 Tue. 17/9 Blog audit Read all class blogs before class, commenting where appropriate
Thur. 19/9 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Blog: Last names A-K (due midnight before class)
4 Tue. 24/9 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Blog: Last names L-Z (due midnight before class)
Thur. 26/9 Blog Audit and Unessay Q&A Read all class blogs before class, commenting where appropriate
5 Sunday 29/9 Unessay 1 draft due (midnight)
Tue. 1/10 Unessay Audit Read assigned essays before class
Wed. 2/10 Unessay responses due (before midnight)
Thur. 3/10 Unessay revision discussion  
6 Sunday 6/10 Unessay 1 due (before midnight)
Tue. 8/10 Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Blog: Last names L-Z (due midnight before class)
Thur. 10/10 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Blog: Last Names A-K (due midnight before class)
7 Tue. 15/10 Woolf, To the Lighthouse Blog: Last Names A-K (due midnight before class)
Thur.17/10 To the Lighthouse Blog: Last Names L-Z (due midnight before class)
8 Tue. 22/10 To the Lighthouse Blog: Last Names L-Z (due midnight before class)
Thur. 24/10 Instructor absence
9 Sunday 27/10 Unessay 2 due (before midnight)
Tue. 29/10 Carson, The Beauty of the Husband Blog: Last Names A-K (due midnight before class)
Thur. 31/10 Carson, The Beauty of the Husband Blog: Last Names L-Z (due midnight before class)
10 Tue. 5/11 Homer, The Odyssey. Introduction and Books 1-8 Blog: Last Names L-Z (due midnight before class)
Thur. 7/11 Homer, The Odyssey. Books 9-16. Blog: Last Names A-K (due midnight before class)
11 Tue. 12/11 Homer, The Odyssey. Books 17-end. Blog: Last Names A-K (due midnight before class)
Thur. 14/11 Unessay review/essay discussion  
12 Tue. 19/11 Auburn, Proof Blog: Last Names L-Z (due midnight before class)
Thur. 21/11 Proof Blog: Last Names A-K (due midnight before class)
13 Sunday 24/11 Formal essay draft due (midnight)
Tue. 26/11 Formal essay style and citation Q&A session Read assigned essays before class
Wed. 27/11 Responses due (before midnight)
Thur. 28/11 Formal essay discussion  
14 Tue. 3/12 Editing discussion Blog: All students (due midnight before class)
Thur. 5/12 Conclusion and catchup
Sunday 8/12 Formal essay due (midnight)
Exam Exam Period Final Exam (Moodle)

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The true north strong and hegemonic: Or, why do Canadians seem to run DH

In the Koln dialogues on the Digital Humanities, Domenico Fiormonte posted a provocative discussion of the Anglo-American character of much of the Digital Humanities scholarly infrastructure.

The bit that caused the most immediate stir—photos showed up on Twitter even while Domenico was speaking in Koln—was his chart of people holding multiple board and editorial positions in DH organisations:

Read the rest of this entry »

English 3401a: Medieval Literature (Spring 2013)

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 concentrates on literature by authors other than Chaucer.

Contents

Times and location

  • Time: MWF, 11:00-11:50
  • Location: D633

Office and Office Hours

TBA

About this course

In many ways the Middle English period marks the beginning of English literature as we know it. There was literature written in English before this period: the literature of Anglo-Saxon England, which you can begin studying in English 3450 Old English. But the Norman invasion of 1066 which brought the Anglo-Saxon period to a close also brought about a significant cultural break: while there is some cultural continuity, literature of the post Norman period was often far more continental in outlook and influence—especially in the cultural centre.

The result is that Middle English literature looks much more like Modern English literature than does the English literature of the pre-conquest period. This is the time in which rhyme becomes a significant feature of our poetry, and in which foot-based metrical systems (such as the famous “Iambic Pentameter” used by Shakespeare) are introduced. We also start seeing the introduction of or increased interest in forms of literature that will remain important into our own day: drama, autobiography, lyric poetry, polemic, and very complex narratives. While some of these forms are found in English before the Conquest, all receive far more attention in the post Conquest period.

Middle English literature is written in a form of the English language that most students find more difficult to read than Modern English—though in contrast to Old English, you probably won’t need to approach it as a foreign language. Much is also available in translation. In this course, we will be mixing readings in translation with readings in Middle English, and an important goal of the course will be to improve your ability to read Middle English.

Because these readings can be difficult, however, you should not take this course if you are not able to make a commitment to devote the necessary time it will take to prepare for class. While we will discuss the literature in much the same way we do more modern works, it will take you much longer to read material written in Middle English. If you are prepared to work hard and devote an appropriate amount of time and energy to your preparation, you will likely enjoy this class very much. If you are not, you should try to find something easier to take.

Learning goals

By the end of the course students should have a strong sense of the range of non-Chaucerian Middle English literature and a reasonable fluency in reading Middle English.

Texts

Required

  • Everyman, and medieval miracle plays. 1993. ed. A. C Cawley. New ed ed. Everyman’s Library. London, Rutland, Vermont: J.M. Dent. C. Tuttle.
  • Middle English lyrics authoritative texts, critical and historical backgrounds, perspectives on six poems. 1974. ed. Maxwell Luria and Richard Lester Hoffman. 1st ed. ed. A Norton Critical Edition. New York: Norton.
  • The poems of the Pearl manuscript Pearl, Cleanness, Patience, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. 1978. ed. Malcolm Andrew and Ronald Waldron. York Medieval Texts ; 2d Ser. London: Arnold.
  • Burrow, J. A. 1982. Medieval writers and their work Middle English literature and its background 1100-1500. Oxford Oxfordshire, New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Julian of Norwich. 1998. Revelations of divine love (short text and long text). ed. Elizabeth Spearing and A. C Spearing. Penguin Classics. London, New York: Penguin Books.
  • The Paston Family. 1983. Paston letters: The Paston letters. ed. Norman Davis. The World’s Classics: Oxford Paperbacks. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Kleinman, Scott. [ND]. Introduction to Middle English [Northridge, CA: Scott Kleinman].
  • Chaucer, Book of the Duchess

Assessment

TBA

Policies

The following policies will be followed in all my classes unless otherwise announced. You are expected to be familiar with the policies reproduced here and in the more general section on my website. These additional web pages are to be considered part of this syllabus for the purposes of this course. Failure to conform to any of these policies may result in your grade being lowered.

Grade scale

The University of Lethbridge keeps track of student performance using a letter and grade point system (See section 4 of the University Calendar). Instructors assign students a letter grade at the end of each course (the University does not issue or record mid-term grades). These letter grades are converted to a numerical value (a Grade Point) for assessing overall academic performance (a Grade Point Average or GPA). The University does not record percentage-type grades and does not have a fixed scale for conversion from percentage scores to letter grades and grade points. Each instructor is responsible for determining their own methodology for determining students’ final letter grade.

In my classes, I use the following letter-grade to percentage correspondences:

  Excellent Good Satisfactory Poor Minimal pass Failing
Letter A+ A A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D F
Percent range 100-94 93-90 89-86 85-82 81-78 77-74 73-70 69-66 65-62 61-58 57-50 49-0
Conventional value 100 92 88 84 80 76 72 68 64 60 56 49-0
Grade point 4.0 3.7 3.3 3.0 2.7 2.3 2.0 1.7 1.3 1.0 0

How your grade is determined depends on the type of work being assessed. Tests of specific skills or knowledge (such as identification questions in literature classes, or fact-oriented tests in my grammar and language classes) are usually assigned a numeric score which is easily converted to a percentage. Essays, presentations, and other performance-oriented tests are usually graded by letter. I convert letter grades to percentages by taking the median value in each grade-range, and rounding up to the nearest whole percent. The only exceptions are A+ (which is converted to 100%), and F (which is converted to an arbitrary percentage between 0% and 49% based on my estimation of the work’s quality). These scores can be found in the conventional value row of the above table.

In marking work I try to keep the University’s official description of these grades in mind (a description can be found in the University Calendar, Part IV.3.a). If you get an A it means your work is excellent; a B means your work is good; a C means it is satisfactory; a D that it is barely acceptable (minimal pass); and an F that it is failing to meet University-level standards.

I have prepared rubrics for most types of qualitative assignments (assignments that do not expect the student simply to provide a correct factual answer). These can be found in my Academic Policies section: http://people.uleth.ca/~daniel.odonnell/Academic-Policies/

Submitting Work

Tests, Exams, and Quizzes

Tests and Exams will be written in the University’s Testing Centre on Moodle. Quizzes may be presented on Moodle.

Essays and Reports

Essays and reports will normally be collected using Turnitin. Information on our account (URL, ID number, and Password) will be made available in our class space on Moodle: http://learning.uleth.ca/

Plagiarism

This course uses plagiarism detection software. Any plagiarism will be treated very seriously: you can expect to receive a grade of 0 on the assignment as well as other penalties depending on the seriousness of the offence. In most cases, the penalty for plagiarism is an F on the course.

Class schedule

TBA

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English 3450a: Old English (Spring 2013)

English 3450 introduces students to Old English, the principal ancestor of our present day English, and the language of daily life in early medieval (Anglo-Saxon) England (from approximately the mid 400s to the mid 1100s).

Contents

Times and location

Mon/Wed/Fri, 13:00-13:50, B543

Office and Office Hours

My office is room B810B. My telephone numbers, a map, office hours, and other contact information is available on my Contact page.

About this course

English 3450 introduces students to Old English, the principal ancestor of our present day English, and the language of daily life in early medieval (Anglo-Saxon) England (from approximately the mid 400s to the mid 1100s).

The Calendar describes the course in this way:

The study of Old English language and literature. Instruction in basic Old English grammar and syntax, translation practice, and an introduction to the language’s literary and historical context.

As this suggests, our main goal will be to learn the Language. The English we speak today is derived largely from that spoken in the Anglo-Saxon period. Indeed, although the English language has borrowed a huge number of words from other languages, our core vocabulary, as much as 80% of the words we use in daily conversation, have their origins in Old English. The Anglo-Saxons often had different words for things we have since borrowed words to discuss—and of course we have developed many words for things the Anglo-Saxons had no knowledge of or reason to discuss! But they might well recognise many of the words we use to tie our sentences together and discuss every day activities.

The real difference will be in the grammar. Old English grammar is quite different from Modern English grammar, and, as a result, must be learned by most students as if it were a foreign language (students who know modern germanic languages such as High or Low German,Dutch, or the Nordic languages may find useful congruences to Old English).

In the course of the year, we will study and practice Old English grammar, phonology (the study of the sounds of a language), and script (how it is written). To provide us with a basis for comparison, we will also devote some attention to practicing and improving our knowledge of Modern English grammar and phonology. Our principal method of study, however, will be practical: most class and study time will be devoted to translation work from Old to Modern English.

Although it will not be the main focus of the course, students will complement their study of the Old English language with some study of its speakers and the culture in which it was used. We will discuss the range of Anglo-Saxon literature, learn about Anglo-Saxon culture and history, investigate the place of the Anglo-Saxons among their European contemporaries, and read some Anglo-Saxon literature in translation along side our readings in the original language.

Learning goals

By the end of the course students should have a basic reading knowledge of Old English and a sense of the period in which it was used. This involves being able to

  • translate prepared texts comfortably without aids and selected sight passages with help of a glossary
  • read Old English texts aloud with an appropriate pronunciation
  • transcribe short passages from facsimiles of Old English manuscripts
  • speak and write knowledgeably on major aspects of Anglo-Saxon history, literature, and culture.

Texts

Required

Assessment

This course uses two types of evaluation, formative (intended primarily to assist the student measure their progress and identify areas of improvement) and summative (intended primarily to assess a student’s success in accomplishing the course’s main learning goals.

Formative Assessment

Formative assignments are divided into two categories: exercises and reviews. Although grades will be assigned to most of these assignments, your final formative grade will consist of an equally weighted average of your best performance in each categories.

I will mark formative assignments handed in on the specific due date and will not mark work handed in late without a prior request for an extension or evidence of an emergency. While it is strongly recommended that students complete these projects on time, there is no specific penalty for failing to do so in any one instance. Students who do not receive a grade for at least one assignment in a formative category, however, will receive a grade of 0 for the entire category.

I reserve the right to add additional formative assignments to these categories throughout the semester in response to class interests and needs.

Category Assignment
Exercises What I did/did not know about Anglo-Saxon England
(Due 27 January)
Old English Pronunciation
(To be assessed orally in late-February).
Prospectus Poster and Presentation
Reviews Basic Paradigms and Translation
(Moodle: early February)
Advanced Paradigms and Translation
(Moodle: mid March)

Summative Assessment

Summative Assignments are used to determine how well students have accomplished the course’s learning goals. In addition to an average of students’ best score in each formative category, these will include a final exam, a research project, a translation project, and an attendance mark.

Assignment Value
Attendance and translations [*] 10%
Average of best score from each formative category 20%
Research Prospectus 10 %
Seminar Leadership 10%
Independent Research Project. Due: End of Semester 25%
Final Exam (Moodle) Exam Period 25%

* Note: Students will be graded on their presence and preparedness each class. All students will be allowed up to 4 unexcused absences or days in which they cannot translate in class. After these 4 are used up ever absence or lack of preparedness will result in a 2% penalty. Unexcused absences beyond this will result in the docking of a letter grade for each additional absence/lack of preparedness. Excused absences (i.e. absences due to illness, medical appointments, emergencies or accidents, etc.) will not count against these totals.

The summative evaluation scheme presented here should be considered tentative and open to change until the beginning of the last class before the Add/Drop deadline. After this date, the version found on-line will be definitive.

Policies

The following policies will be followed in all my classes unless otherwise announced. You are expected to be familiar with the policies reproduced here and in the more general section on my website. These additional web pages are to be considered part of this syllabus for the purposes of this course. Failure to conform to any of these policies may result in your grade being lowered.

Grade scale

The University of Lethbridge keeps track of student performance using a letter and grade point system (See section 4 of the University Calendar). Instructors assign students a letter grade at the end of each course (the University does not issue or record mid-term grades). These letter grades are converted to a numerical value (a Grade Point) for assessing overall academic performance (a Grade Point Average or GPA). The University does not record percentage-type grades and does not have a fixed scale for conversion from percentage scores to letter grades and grade points. Each instructor is responsible for determining their own methodology for determining students’ final letter grade.

In my classes, I use the following letter-grade to percentage correspondences:

  Excellent Good Satisfactory Poor Minimal pass Failing
Letter A+ A A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D F
Percent range 100-94 93-90 89-86 85-82 81-78 77-74 73-70 69-66 65-62 61-58 57-50 49-0
Conventional value 100 92 88 84 80 76 72 68 64 60 56 49-0
Grade point 4.0 3.7 3.3 3.0 2.7 2.3 2.0 1.7 1.3 1.0 0

How your grade is determined depends on the type of work being assessed. Tests of specific skills or knowledge (such as identification questions in literature classes, or fact-oriented tests in my grammar and language classes) are usually assigned a numeric score which is easily converted to a percentage. Essays, presentations, and other performance-oriented tests are usually graded by letter. I convert letter grades to percentages by taking the median value in each grade-range, and rounding up to the nearest whole percent. The only exceptions are A+ (which is converted to 100%), and F (which is converted to an arbitrary percentage between 0% and 49% based on my estimation of the work’s quality). These scores can be found in the conventional value row of the above table.

In marking work I try to keep the University’s official description of these grades in mind (a description can be found in the University Calendar, Part IV.3.a). If you get an A it means your work is excellent; a B means your work is good; a C means it is satisfactory; a D that it is barely acceptable (minimal pass); and an F that it is failing to meet University-level standards.

I have prepared rubrics for most types of qualitative assignments (assignments that do not expect the student simply to provide a correct factual answer). These can be found in my Academic Policies section: http://people.uleth.ca/~daniel.odonnell/Academic-Policies/

Submitting Work

Tests, Exams, and Quizzes

Tests and Exams will be written in the University’s testing labs on Moodle. Quizzes may be presented on Moodle.

Essays and Reports

Essays and reports will normally be collected using Turnitin. Information on our account (URL, ID number, and Password) will be made available in our class space on Moodle: http://learning.uleth.ca/

Plagiarism

This course uses plagiarism detection software. Any plagiarism will be treated very seriously: you can expect to receive a grade of 0 on the assignment as well as other penalties depending on the seriousness of the offence.

Class schedule

OE Schedule
The following schedule is intended to help you plan your work for this course. The schedule is tentative and subject to change.

Week Date Topic Classwork Background Reading
1 Mon. 7/1 No class
Wed. 9/1 Welcome Syllabus and assessment  
Fri. 11/1 Spelling and Pronunciation
  • 1.a Practice Sentences
2 Sun 13/1 Please complete your profile on Moodle (with picture and statement of interests) by midnight tonight.
Mon. 14/1  
  • 1.b Practice Sentences
  • § 6-9: Stress, Vowels, Diphthongs, Consonants
Wed. 16/1 Lecture: Inflected vs word order languages.
Fri. 18/1 Grammar Whole Class Tutorial: Old and Modern English Grammar
3 Mon. 21/1  
  • 1.c Practice Sentences
 
Wed. 23/1 Whole Class Tutorial: Grammar Practice I
Fri. 25/1 Whole Class Tutorial: Grammar Practice II
4 Sun. 27/1 What I did not know about Anglo-Saxon England Due by 23:59)
Mon. 28/1 Nouns: The Major Declensions
1) Strong Nouns
  • 3. Ælfric’s Colloquy.
    • Performance (1-21): Group A
    • Translation (1-11): Group F
    • Translation (11-21): Group E
  • Cheatsheet: Nouns Row;
  • § 33: Masculine Strong Nouns; § 34 Strong Neuter Nouns; § 37 Strong Feminine Nouns
Wed. 30/1 Learning in Anglo-Saxon England   Read “Introduction,” from “The Life of King Alfred,” “Preface to Gregory,” and “Colloquy” in the section Example and Exhortation in The Anglo-Saxon World
Fri. 1/2 2) Weak Nouns
  • 3. Ælfric’s Colloquy.
    • Performance (22-45): Group C
    • Translation (22-40): Group D
 
5 Mon. 4/2  
  • 3. Ælfric’s Colloquy.
    • Performance (45-91): Group E
    • Translation (41-70): Group C
  • Cheatsheet: Nouns Row;
  • § 25: Weak Nouns
Wed. 6/2 Sermons   Read “Sermon of the Wolf to the English” in The Anglo-Saxon World
Fri. 8/2  
  • 3. Ælfric’s Colloquy.
    • Performance (92-130): Group F
    • Translation (71-107): Group B
 
6 Basic Paradigms and Translation Review (Moodle) 12/10-18/10
Mon. 11/2 Whole Class Tutorial: Translation Techniques. Tips and Tricks.
Wed. 13/2      
Fri. 15/2  
  • Translation (150-178): Individual Students
 
Mon. 18/2-Friday 22/2: Reading Week (No classes)
7 Mon. 25/2 Verbs: The Major Declensions
1) Weak Verbs
  • 3. Ælfric’s Colloquy.
    • 3. Ælfric’s Colloquy.
      • Performance (131-167): Group D
      • Translation (108-149): Group A
  • Cheatsheet: Verbs Row;
  • §§ 87-88, 114: Introduction to OE Verbs; §§ 124-125: Weak verb lufian
Wed. 27/2      
Fri. 1/3 2) Strong Verbs
  • 3. Ælfric’s Colloquy.
    • Performance (168-205): Group B
    • Translation (179-215): Individual Students
  • Cheatsheet: Verbs Row;
  • §§ 110-113: Strong Verb singan
8 Mon. 4/3 3) Irregular verbs
  • 4. Ælfric’s Life of Edward, 126 (beginning)-149 (translation)
  • Cheatsheet: Verbs Row;
  • §§ 126, 127, A.3b: habban, bēon, wēorðian
Wed. 6/3 History   Read “The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle” in The Anglo-Saxon World
Fri. 8/3  
  • 4. Ælfric’s Life of Edward, 150-180
 
9 Mon. 11/3 Adjectives: Declension and Syntax
  • 4. Ælfric’s Life of Edward, 180-212
  • Cheatsheet: Adjectives column;
  • §§ 66-67 Strong adjectives (learn gōd not til)
Wed. 13/3  
  • 4. Ælfric’s Life of Edward, 212-250
 
Fri. 15/3  
  • 4. Ælfric’s Life of Edward, 250-292
 
10 Advanced Paradigms and Translation Review 17/3-24/3
Mon. 18/3  
  • 4. Ælfric’s Life of Edward, 292-331 (end)
 
Wed. 20/3      
Fri. 22/3 Statuatory Holiday
11 Mon. 25/3  
  • 9. Bede’s Account of the Poet Cædmon, 1-35
 
Wed. 27/3 Introduction to Anglo-Saxon Metre
  • 9. Bede’s Account of the Poet Cædmon, 35-44 (Cædmon’s Hymn)
Fri. 28/3  
  • 9. Bede’s Account of the Poet Cædmon, 45-86
 
12 Mon. 1/4  
  • 9. Bede’s Account of the Poet Cædmon, 87-126 (end)
 
Wed. 3/4 Paleography Tutorial: Whole Class
Fri. 5/4  
  • 14. The Dream of the Rood, 1-20a
 
13 Mon. 8/4  
  • 14. The Dream of the Rood, 40-60a
 
Wed. 10/4  
  • 14. The Dream of the Rood, 60b-80a
 
Fri. 12/4  
  • 14. The Dream of the Rood, 80b-101a
 
14 Mon. 15/4  
  • 14. The Dream of the Rood, 101b-121
 
Wed. 17/4  
  • 14. The Dream of the Rood, 122-156 (end)
 
Fri. 19/4 Conclusion
Independent Research Project Due.

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English 1900j: Introduction to English Language and Literature (Fall 2012)

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: uncovering our (often unrealised) critical responses to texts and developing these into compelling and interesting arguments.

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