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

tags:


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)

tags:


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: