Note: This course is no longer being offered. This page is being left on the Web so that people interested in designing similar courses can use it for ideas.
Note: Because this is a discussion class in which exchanges between students are crucial, participants should expect to set aside adequate time to do the work consistently. The minimum expected for a 3-credit class at WSU is 9 hours per week, but some students may find they need longer. This is not a “flex-time” course which can be done on your own schedule.
This on-line class is a version of a course offered as part of a sequence of courses in the humanities in Europe which are taught in the Department of English at Washington State University, Pullman, Washington. Humanities 101 covers the ancient world, 302 the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and this course the period from roughly 1750 to 1914. The period since 1914 is covered by the last course in the sequence, Humanities 304.
All are designed to be international and interdisciplinary, focusing on literary works outside of the Anglo-American tradition, on philosophy, and on art, architecture, music and–in the case of 304–film. While it helps to have some general historical knowledge of Europe before 1750, none of the other Humanities courses is a prerequisite for this one.
303 is the only one of these courses to have a descriptive subtitle that does more than indicate a period to be discussed. Obviously a course such as this cannot possibly “cover” such rich and varied material; and it has been designed to concentrate on certain crucial themes. What holds the course together is its focus on revolutionary movements and ideas which have had a lasting impact on western civilization and on the world at large. Much that we think of as “modern” began in the 18th and 19th centuries.
“Reason” refers to the French Enlightenment, that movement to use rationalism as a weapon against the forces of repression embodied in the monarchy and the church. Voltaire was the most popular if not the most influential of all the Enlightenment writers, and his Philosophical Dictionary contains lucid and entertaining presentations of all his major ideas. The rationalist tradition also influences later writers studied in this course, including especially Nietzsche and Marx. The rationalists are often associated with classical era music and neoclassical painting, which we will also explore.
“Romanticism” is the label for a literary-philosophical-artistic-musical-political movement which is often seen primarily as a rebellion against the stifling intellectualism and rigid logic of the Enlightenment, but it is much richer than that. It had a rich, multifaceted effect on Europe, more so than any movement since Christianity first swept over the area in the Middle Ages. Unlike the Enlightenment, which was at first confined principally to a few elites, it changed the way ordinary people viewed themselves, their relationships with each other, and their relationship to the natural world. It still largely shapes the way we think and feel today. It was not a simple revolt against reason in favor of emotion–though this stereotype has some truth in it–instead it was a major shift in values. No other movement in the last three centuries has affected so many different aspects of life, spread so widely, nor lasted so long.
Goethe’s Faust is the perfect work for illustrating the multifaceted, often self-contradictory nature of this movement. Reason and passion struggle together, tragedy blends into comedy, and the bounds of literature itself are stretched as a new form struggles to be born.
Much of the most popular music in the traditional concert repertory is still that which was first written in the romantic style. In some way or other, all succeeding styles either build on or react against romanticism. Neo-romanticism is a powerful force in contemporary music, in composers as different as Witold Lutoslawski and Alan Hovhaness. We will also be looking at romantic painting.
Any of the works studied in this course could be described as “revolutionary,” but Zola’s Germinal and Marx’s Communist Manifesto are especially helpful in understanding the background to the great socialist revolutions which swept across much of the world in the first half of the 20th century. In contrast, Dostoyevsky’s Notes from Underground stands as a cry of anguish against socialism, against rationalism, against modernism generally. Dostoyevsky’s powerful case against the notions of progress and utopia still provides major weapons for conservatives and reactionaries today. Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring are examples of revolutionary music.
Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra in a sense sums up the entire course. Infused with both rationalism and romanticism, profoundly revolutionary and anti-political at the same time, leaving influences in philosophy, psychology, theater, fiction, art and music in a bewildering variety of directions, Nietzsche’s work continues to be a powerful influence on many thinkers today.
These are some of the movements and creative minds who have made the modern world what it is. They are not buried in history, but alive in the ways we think, feel, and perceive the world around us. By understanding them, we can better understand ourselves.
All of the study guides and other materials for this class are available in the online environment WebCT. Be careful to read ahead in the syllabus so you see what assignments are coming up. Don’t wait until the night before the due date. All assignments are due by 8:00 AM Pacific Time on the Monday the week after you are supposed to have done the work, but may be turned in any time previous to that. Students whose online work is consistently late will not pass the course because they are not allowing the other participants to interact with them in the discussions.
Note that in some assignments DDP students are required to write longer minimum contributions to the threaded discussions than Pullman students to substitute for the extra writing on paper that Pullman students do and the in-class discussions they participate in.
Please be aware that although WebCT is not open to the world at large, access is being provided to a few support personnel in the library, DDP and the Center for Teaching and Learning. This warning is required by privacy regulations.
Hardware and Software requirements:
- All students must use a browser which supports pop-up windows for the Bridge to work, and the pop-up feature must not be turned off.
- Internet Explorer for the Macintosh does not work properly with WebCT. Please use a copy of the current version of Netscape (6 or later) to do your work in WebCT.
- To play the music in this course you will need to use a computer with a sound card and good speakers (or headphones). A fast Internet connection will help, though lower-quality, lower-speed music samples are provided for those who must dial up.
- To the view the art for this course you will need a color monitor.
Important note: You will want to print this syllabus out for use away from your computer, but note that not everything you need to know is on this page. You must also follow the links which explain the details of individual assignments, while working at a computer. Note that the information on each week’s assignment is also reproduced in the “Information” document in each Bridge assignment page.
Papers are submitted via My DDP at https://distance.wsu.edu/courses/submit.asp. It is your responsibility to log in here and familiarize yourself with the procedure for submitting papers well before the first due date.
Each week’s assignments are due no later than 8:00 AM Pacific Time on Monday (except for the final assignment, which is due on Wednesday of week 16), but you are encouraged to work throughout the week and to post answers to study questions well before the deadline. This is not a class in which you can scramble together a whole week’s work in one long evening just before the due date. Remember that each of these weekly assignments is the equivalent of two daily assignments done by the students on the WSU campus for which they are expected to do a minimum of 9 hours of work. Because this is an online discussion course, it is important that you keep up with the syllabus so you can be exchanging thoughts with other students on the same materials at the same time. Students who fall substantially behind will fail the course. This is very different from the flex-classes you may have previously taken through Distance Degree Programs, where you are free to set your own schedule. Be clear before you begin that you have substantial time available each week to devote to the work in this course. Because DDP students are not present for the in-class discussions and don’t do the same daily writings, they are required to write longer on-line assignments.
All assigned papers (including the research paper‚ both first and revised drafts) must be completed to pass the course.
For this course, there is a cultural event assignment involving art, music, literature, or theater of Europe from the 18th or 19th centuries. Read about this assignment now.
When you have successfully completed this course, you should:
1. have a general grasp of major trends in Western European art history from the 17th century to World War I
2. be able to listen with increased understanding to classical music from the same eras
3. understand some of the basic over-arching themes in philosophy and literature of the 18th and 19th centuries.
4. be able to discuss fairly complex and sophisticated ideas such as are treated in the works assigned
|Due January 15
Week 11. Course Overview2. Read “The Enlightenment“, then go to WebCT threaded discussion for “The Enlightenment” and do the assignment.3. Set up your computer now to prepare to do the music assignments as explained below in the Week 3 assignments.Due January 22
1. Art Assignment #1 Watch the videotape: “The Art of the Western World, 5: Realms of Light-The Baroque” (Bernini, Cortona, Caravaggio, Borromini, Fischer von Erlach,Velázquez, Vermeer, Rubens, Rembrandt, etc.). Then go to the to the WebCT threaded discussion for this assignment and do the writing. Write 50 words minimum, and then respond to what someone else has written.
2. Voltaire Assignment #1. Do this assignment only after having read “The Enlightenment” in the “Materials” area. (Read the following articles from Voltaire: Philosophical Dictionary: Abbé, Ame, Amour-propre, Athée, athéisme, Beau, beauté, Bien (tout est), Bornes de l’esprit humaine, Catéchisme chinois, Certain, certitude, Chaîne des évenements, Credo and try to answer as many of the study questions in the Study Guide as you can as you go along. Go to WebCT threaded discussion for “Voltaire Assignments” and write 50 words minimum, and then respond to what someone else has written. Be sure to include an exploration of the “Problem of Evil” site and relate what is there to Voltaire’s writing.
3. Read the “Knowledge or Certainty” Study Guide, watch the videotape, and do the writing assignment in the “Knowledge or Certainty” Bridge threaded discussion. Write 50 words minimum, and then respond to what someone else has written.
4. Choose your research paper topic (read the instructions online and write your choice in WebCT in the threaded discussion titled “Research topic sign-up.”). If someone else has already taken your topic, please choose another. No two students may use the same topic.
Due January 29
1. Baroque Music Assignment. Be warned that if you are a Macintosh user, you cannot use Internet Explorer for this assignment. Netscape works fine. Some other browsers like Safari also work. Windows users can use any recent browser. First, if you have not already done so, configure your browser for WSU library access and create your library PIN. The Distance Degree Library Services Web Site can assist you with this. Then go to Griffin and click on “Course Name” and enter “hum 303”, or use the “Course Instructor” button and enter “brians.” The first entry is a set of videotapes for use on campus. Click on the second and then click on “Humanities 303 recordings” and use your PIN and password to access the music for the Introduction to Baroque Music and the assignment on Johann Sebastian Bach. Read the online material, listen to the music, and write your responses in WebCT under “Pachelbel, Vivaldi and Handel” and “Bach.” Write 50 words minimum on each of these two assignments, and then respond to what someone else has written. You need to have a recent version of RealPlayer installed to listen to these assignments.
2. Voltaire Assignment #2 (Voltaire: Philosophical Dictionary: have the following articles read: Égalité, Enthousiasme, États, gouvernements, Fanatisme, Foi, Guerre, Liberté de pensée, Préjugés, Secte, Théiste, Tolérance, Tyrannie), using the study guide and taking notes. Then go to WebCT threaded discussion for “Voltaire Assignments” and submit your writing. Write 50 words minimum, and then respond to what someone else has written.
3. Research paper proposal and annotated bibliography (Research paper proposal and annotated bibliography due: a paragraph outlining the topic and a list of sources to be used, with comments for each explaining why the sources will be useful to you. Be sure to include all three elements: the proposal itself, the list of sources, and the comments. Submit them to me through My DDP.
Due February 5
1. First paper due, on Voltaire’s Philosophical Dictionary, 600 words, worth 10 points. Design your own topic or choose one of the following, using details from Voltaire which demonstrate your understanding of his writings: freedom, free will and determinism, religion, tolerance, government, relativism. You may argue with him, but only if you present fully all relevant evidence on both sides. You must use material from two or more articles in the Philosophical Dictionary. If you have trouble choosing a topic or are uncertain whether your topic is acceptable, ask for help! Send your paper to me via “My DDP.”
2. Read the page about Romanticism and go to the Romanticism Bridge threaded discussion to write your comments.
3. Goethe Assignment #1: In the Bible, Job: Chapters 1 & 2; Goethe: Faust: Introduction, Prologue in Heaven. Use the Faust study guide. Then contribute to WebCT threaded discussion for “Goethe Assignment #1.” Write 50 words minimum, and then respond to what someone else has written.
Due February 12
1. View the videotape “The Art of the Western World, 6: An Age of Reason, An Age of Passion” (Antoine Watteau: Departure from Cythera, Robert Adams, François Boucher, Jean-Baptiste Greuze, Jean-Baptiste Chardin, Nicolas Poussin, Jacques Lemercier: Palais-Royal, Charles Perrault: Colonnade of the Louvre, Germain Soufflot: Panthéon, Giambattista Piranesi: drawings of Paestum, Jacques-Louis David: Death of Marat & The Sabine Women, Vignon: La Madeleine, Dominique Ingres: Odalisque, Jean-Antoine Gros, Francisco de Goya: The Horrors of War, Géricault, Eugène Delacroix: Liberty Leading the People, Théodore Géricault: The Raft of the Medusa) Do the writing part of this assignment in Bridge threaded discussion called “Art of the Western World, #6.” Write 50 words minimum, and then respond to what someone else has written.
2. Mozart & Beethoven Assignment: Listen to the Mozart and Beethoven pieces in the online audio reserves. Do the writing assignment in WebCT threaded discussion called “Mozart & Beethoven.” Write 50 words minimum, and then respond to what someone else has written.
3. Goethe Assignment #2: Faust: Night, Before the City Gate, both scenes titled “Study,” Witch’s Kitchen. Try to answer as many of the questions in the Faust study guide as you can. Then go to the Goethe Assignment #2 Bridge threaded discussion and write a minimum of 50 words about this assignment. Write 50 words minimum, and then respond to what someone else has written.
Due February 19
1. Do women artists assignment.
2. Goethe Assignment #3: Faust: Street, Evening, Promenade, The Neighbor’s House, Street, Garden, A Garden Bower, Wood and Cave, Gretchen’s Room, Martha’s Garden, At the Well, City Wall (study guide in the “Materials” area). Try to answer as many of the questions in the Faust study guide as you can. Then go to the Goethe Assignment #3 Bridge threaded discussion. Write 50 words minimum, and then respond to what someone else has written.
Due February 26
1. Goethe Assignment #4: (Goethe: Faust: Night: Street in Front of Gretchen’s Door, Cathedral, Walpurgis Night, Dismal Day, The Bible: 1 Kings 21; Goethe: Faust: Night: Open Field, Dungeon, Charming Landscape, Open Country. Try to answer as many of the questions in the Faust study guide as you can. Then go to the Goethe Assignment #4 Bridge threaded discussion and write a minimum of 50 words about this assignment. Then respond to what someone else has written.
2. Do the Romantic Music assignment in the online reserves. Do writing assigned in the “Romantic Music Assignment” threaded discussion.
Due March 5
1. Videotape: Verdi: La Traviata. Read the Study Guide for La Traviata and view the tape, taking notes as you watch. This production is best viewed on a large-screen television with good color and sound (preferably hooked to a stereo system, played back on a stereo VCR). Then go to WebCT threaded discussion for La Traviata and do the writing assignment, 100 words minimum. Then respond to what someone else has written.
2. Goethe Assignment #5: Goethe: Faust: Palace, Deep Night, Midnight, Large Outer Court of the Palace, Entombment, Mountain Gorges: Forest, Rock and Desert. Try to answer as many of the questions in the Faust study guide as you can. Then go to the Faust Assignment #5 Bridge threaded discussion and write a minimum of 50 words about this assignment, and then respond to what someone else has written.
3. Read “Realism and Naturalism.” Go to WebCT threaded discussion for this assignment. Write 50 words minimum, and then respond to what someone else has written.
Due March 12
1. Zola Assignment #1: Germinal: Parts 1-3. Try to answer as many of the questions in the Germinal study guide for these pages as you can. Then go to the Zola Assignment #1 Bridge threaded discussion and write a minimum of 50 words about this assignment and then respond to what someone else has written.
2. Paper on Goethe’s Faust, 1200 words. Design your own topic or choose one of the following, remembering that you will be expected to define your topic further, since most of these are very broad: Faust and Mephistopheles , Faust and Gretchen, Thought vs. Action, Religion, Humor, Music, Magic, Classical Mythology. Again, if you have trouble choosing or defining a topic, ask for help. See instructions under “Second paper assignment.”
Due March 19
1. Listen to the music by women composers in the online reserves, and do the assigned writing in WebCT under “Women Composers.” Write 50 words minimum, and then respond to what someone else has written.
2. Zola Assignment #2: Germinal: Parts 4-5. Try to answer as many of the questions in the Germinal study guide for these pages as you can. Then go to the Zola Assignment #2 Bridge threaded discussion and write a minimum of 50 words about this assignment, and then respond to what someone else has written.
Due March 26
1. Zola Assignment #3: Germinal: Parts 6-7. Using the study guide, read the assigned pages and take notes, trying to answer as many questions as you can. Then go to WebCT threaded discussion for this assignment and do the assigned writing there. Write 50 words minimum, and then respond to what someone else has written.
2. Read the Impressionist Art study guide. View the videotape: “The Art of the Western World, 7: A Fresh View-Impressionism and Post-Impressionism” (Courbet, Degas, Manet, Monet, Renoir, Whistler, Pissarro, Sargent, Cassatt, Gauguin, Seurat, Van Gogh, Signac, Bernard, Toulouse-Lautrec, Valadon, Cézanne) Go to WebCT threaded discussion for this assignment and write a minimum of 50 words about this assignment, and then respond to what someone else has written.
Due April 2
1. Read “19th-Century Russian Literature“. Go to WebCT threaded discussion for this assignment and do the assigned writing. Write 50 words minimum, and then respond to what someone else has written.
2. Dostoyevsky: Notes from Underground: Afterword, pp. 90-203. Using the study guide, try to answer as many of the questions as you can. Then go to WebCT threaded discussion for this assignment and do the assigned writing there. Write 50 words minimum, and then respond to what someone else has written.
Due April 9
1. French Impressionist Painting Assignment. Do the assignment and go to WebCT threaded discussion for this assignment and do the assigned writing there. Write 50 words minimum, and then respond to what someone else has written.
2. Listen to the Impressionist music in the online reserves and write about it in WebCT under “Impressionist Music.” Write 50 words minimum, and then respond to what someone else has written.
3. The Influence of Nietzsche. Read this page and then go to WebCT threaded discussion for this assignment and do the assigned writing there. Write 50 words minimum, and then respond to what someone else has written.
4. Nietzsche Assignment No. 1 (Nietzsche: Thus Spoke Zarathustra: Translator’s Preface, pp. 9-54, from the beginning through “On the Flies of the Marketplace”). Using the study guide, try to answer as many of the questions as you can. Then go to WebCT threaded discussion for this assignment and do the assigned writing there. Try to focus in on specific arguments rather than giving general reactions. Write 50 words minimum, and then respond to what someone else has written.
5. Research paper due, 1200 words minimum. Re-read “Helpful Hints for Writing Class Papers,” particularly checking to make sure you are following proper procedures for citing sources and quoting. Remember, you must cite sources for all facts and ideas, not just words quoted. Submit your paper via My DDP and post a copy in WebCT (click on the “create object” tool and use the “File” tool to post your paper).
6. Some time during the coming week, read at least one of the other research papers that has been posted as a document and make useful comments for improving it, avoiding generalizations, and giving specific suggestions wherever possible. Give this feedback in the “Research Papers” threaded discussion. Avoid giving feedback only on a paper that has already been discussed by someone else. You may make comments on as many papers as you wish, but at least one of them should be a paper that no one else has commented on yet.
Due April 16
1. Listen to the 20th century music in the online reserves and write about it in WebCT under “20th C. Music.” Write 50 words minimum, and then respond to what someone else has written.
2. Nietzsche Assignment No. 2 (Nietzsche: Thus Spoke Zarathustra: pp. 54-79, from “On Chastity through the end of the First Part). Using the study guide, try to answer as many of the questions as you can. Then go to WebCT threaded discussion for this assignment and do the assigned writing there. Write 50 words minimum, and then respond to what someone else has written.
Due April 23
1. Read “Introduction to 19th-Century Socialism”. Then go to WebCT threaded discussion for this assignment and do the assigned writing there. Write 50 words minimum, and then respond to what someone else has written.
2. Read Misconceptions, Confusions, and Conflicts Concerning Socialism, Communism, and Capitalism. Then go to WebCT threaded discussion for this assignment and do the assigned writing there. Write 50 words minimum, and then respond to what someone else has written.
3. Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels: The Communist Manifesto, Prologue, Sections 1, 2, & 4. Using the study guide for the Manifesto, try to answer as many of the questions as you can. Then go to WebCT threaded discussion for this assignment and do the assigned writing there. Write 50 words minimum, and then respond to what someone else has written.
Due WEDNESDAY May 2 Week 16
End of semester (note extended deadline)
1. Revised research paper due, if you are revising. Submit your paper using My DDP.
2. Third paper due, on Zola’s Germinal, Dostoyevsky’s Notes from Undergrouund, Nietzche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra, or Marx’s Communist Manifesto, 600 words minimum. If you wrote on one of these authors for your research paper, choose a different one to write on for this assignment.
3.Final date for cultural event report. Submit report via “My DDP.”
4. All revised papers due.
All assigned papers (including both versions of the research paper) must be completed to pass the course.
Feel free to call via the DDP toll-free number (800 222-4978) and leave messages when I am out; but e-mail may reach me more efficiently, though if it’s something we really need to discuss back and forth, you should try phoning first.
Direct phone: 509 335-5689, English Dept. phone: 509 335-2581, FAX: 509 335-2582, email: email@example.com
If I am not in, the phone may be answered by the automated voice mailbox service. Please leave a message including your name and phone number (speaking s-l-o-w-l-y, please).
Note: Students must use the assigned translations of the books studied in this course. Outdated public-domain translations available on the Web are not adequate substitutes.
If your financial aid is delayed, borrow money if you must to buy the textbooks. You cannot begin the course without the Voltaire in hand; and other books will be unavailable late in the semester. Buy them all as early as possible. Write me immediately if you have any problems securing the textbooks at firstname.lastname@example.org
Voltaire: Philosophical Dictionary, translated by Theodore Besterman
Goethe’s Faust, translated by Walter Kaufmann
Zola, Germinal, trans. Pearson (Penguin).
Dostoyevsky: Notes from Underground, translated by Andrew R. MacAndrew
Nietzsche: Thus Spoke Zarathustra, translated by Walter Kaufmann. (Note Penguin also publishes other translations that are not as good–be sure to get the Kaufmann. DO NOT USE the 1892 public-domain translation by Thomas Common.)
Marx & Engels: The Communist Manifesto (International Publishers) Note: Although this edition is very cheap and the study guide is easier to use with the assigned edition, you may substitute any other edition if you wish–there is only one standard translation of the Manifesto. Various online editions are available, including one at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/ch01.htm.
The Purdue OWL guide to MLA documentation style:
Instructions for doing the research paper assignment:
Study Guides for the above books and other resources for the study of works in this course:
Online streaming music: available through . Under “Course Reserves” click on “Course Name” and enter “hum 303.” You will get two hits. Choose the second one: “Humanities 303 Recordings.” Click on that link, then on the assignment you want to do, and log on using your name, WSU ID number prefixed by a zero, and your Griffin PIN. To listen to the music you will need 1) a sound card in your computer, 2) good external speakers or headphones, 3) an up-to-date copy of RealPlayer, with the appropriate plug-in installed in your Web browser. You can download the RealPlayer
Course Work and Grading
Voltaire paper: 10 points
Faust paper: 20 points
Third paper: 20 points
Research paper: 20 points
Cultural event report: 10 points
Bridge threaded discussion contributions: 20 points
Total: 100 points.
For each of the reading assignments, the study guide in the Bridge contains a series of study questions which I want you to think about. It is your assignment to answer as many of these questions as you can while you read, and to write the assigned amount on each week’s reading in the The Bridge. Cover more than a couple of questions, and make sure you can discuss all parts of that week’s assignment–not just the beginning. Show that you are thinking seriously about these questions. Typically you are asked to write something of your own, then respond to at least one other person. These Bridge assignments are graded pass/fail (I will let you know quickly if you have done an inadequate one). The idea is to promote class discussion online. This is where you will be interacting with the students on the WSU campus as well. When other members of the class ask questions, try to reply to them. You are welcome to keep up the discussions we start here as long as you want, but please remember to be polite. Not everyone has the same views and assumptions. You must miss or fail no more than five of these Bridge discussion assignments to pass the course.
Contributions to the online threaded discussions will be judged by the following criteria:
- They must be made in a timely fashion.
- They must demonstrate a careful and thoughtful reading of the assigned writings, including the study guides and supplementary critical and historical material.
- When discussing fiction or philosophy, they must attempt to answer at least some of the questions in the related study guide (but please don’t write answers to all the study questions; leave some room for other students to contribute). Feel free to develop the discussion in other directions as well, and to relate what we are reading to other relevant topics; but remember that the minimum assignment is to demonstrate that you have read and understood both the assigned selections and the study guide.
- When discussing music and art, they should not dwell on what you like or dislike; instead they should express what you have learned by reading, viewing, and listening, and raise questions about the material that can promote further discusssion. Try if you can to relate this material to other material you have studied or experienced. Be sure to identify specific works you are talking about, avoiding vague generalizations.
- For each assignment each student is also expected to respond to one or more of the points raised by another student, saying more than “I agree” or “I disagree.” Offer examples, additional arguments, counter-arguments, comparisons, related ideas, do comparisons.
- Posts should act as the opening comments in an ongoing discussion, not seeking to close off debate with the last word, but inviting responses. It is perfectly legitimate to ask questions or ask for clarification of points you don’t understand.
- Contributions should whenever possible bring in useful comparative material from other readings, films, discussions with other people, etc.
Responses to other students’ posts in the online threaded discussions will be judged by the following criteria:
- Students are expected to take part continuously in discussion by making responses over the course of a week, not logging in just once a week to do everything at once. The due dates are final deadlines, but students are encouraged whenever possible to do their work earlier so that others have plenty of time to respond.
- You must go beyond merely agreeing or disagreeing to make substantial points.
- You must express yourself in civil language, avoiding insults and dismissiveness.
- Your posts should contribute to ongoing discussion, helping to develop ideas and themes raised in the original posts. Whenever possible try to tie together different viewpoints or make comparisons.
- Reponses should not be made constantly to the same individual or small group. Try to spread responses around. If challenging or difficult posts have been made, try to respond to them rather than choosing easier ones.
For this course you will be required to write three brief papers. Note the length specified by your course syllabus, which does not include notes or list of sources. Minimum paper lengths are so extremely short in this class that anyone desiring a high grade would be advised to write a somewhat longer one. Any paper shorter than the minimum assigned will receive a 0 for an incomplete assignment. Except for meeting the very low minimum number of words, don’t concentrate on length, but try to make your papers as detailed, well-organized, and interesting as possible. All papers must be typed on a computer and submitted electronically. The regular papers are not necessarily research papers, and it is possible to receive maximum points on a paper without doing research for it, although papers incorporating good library work will normally receive higher grades. Suggested topics are listed on your syllabus. You should choose a topic you are particularly interested in, not try to guess what I want you to write. When I can learn something new from a paper, I am pleased. If you have difficulty thinking of a topic, first read Chapter 1 of Sylvan Barnet’s Short Guide to Writing About Literature, and if you still have problems, see or call me. I am also happy to look over rough drafts and answer questions about proposed topics. In addition, one paper per semester will be a required library research paper incorporating information gathered from scholarly books and articles (not just Web pages and reference books like dictionaries and encyclopedias). Papers must be received by 8:00 AM Pacific Time on the due date. Papers may always be submitted before the due date if you wish. There is no midterm or final examination in this class.
The following elements are taken into consideration when I grade your papers:
- All assigned papers must be turned in to pass the course.
- You must convince me that you have read and understood the book or story.
- You must have something interesting to say about it.
- Originality counts–easy, common topics tend to earn lower grades than difficult ones done well.
- Significant writing (spelling, punctuation, usage) errors will be marked on each paper before it is returned to you. If there are more than a few you must identify the errors and correct them and turn the paper back in before a grade will be recorded for you.
- I look for unified essays on a well-defined topic with a clear title and coherent structure.
- I expect you to support your arguments with references to the text, often including quotations appropriately introduced and analyzed (but quote only to make points about the material quoted, not simply for its own sake).
- You must do more than merely summarize the plot of the works you have read. See Sylvan Barnet’s Short Guide to Writing About Literature, and my “Helpful Hints” online for more information (consulting this document is mandatory, not optional, and papers will be judged according to how well they follow the guidelines in it).
Grading standards for specific letter grades:
The number of points for each paper is indicated on the syllabus with the paper assignment. For a 10-point paper:
|9.5 or above=A
||anything below 6.5=F
Double these numbers to get the appropriate scale for a 20-point assignment.
A Topics are challenging, often original; papers are well organized, filled with detail, and demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the topic. Examples are chosen from several portions of the work. Opinion papers are carefully argued, with detailed attention being paid to opposing arguments and evidence. Papers receiving an “A” are usually somewhat longer than the minimum assigned, typically a page or so longer, though this all depends on the compactness of your writing style–a paper which is long and diffuse does not result in a higher grade and a very compact, exceptionally well-written paper will occasionally receive an “A.” The writing should be exceptionally clear and generally free of mechanical errors. An “A” is given for exceptional, outstanding work.
B Topics are acceptable, papers well organized, containing some supporting detail, and demonstrate an above-average knowledge of the topic. Examples are chosen from several portions of the work. Papers are at least the minimum length assigned. Opinion papers are carefully argued, with some attention being paid to opposing argument and evidence. Writing is above average, containing only occasional mechanical errors. A “B” is given for above-average work.
C Topics are acceptable, but simple. Paper are poorly organized, containing inadequate detail, demonstrating only partial knowledge of the topic (focusing only on one short passage from a work or some minor aspect of it). Papers are at least the minimum length assigned. Opinion papers contain unsupported assertions and ignore opposing arguments and evidence. Writing is average or below, and mechanical errors are numerous. Paper does not appear to have been proofread carefully. A “C” is given for average work.
D Inappropriately chosen topic does not demonstrate more than a minimal comprehension of the topic. Papers are at least the minimum length assigned. Opinion papers contain unsupported assertions and ignore opposing arguments and evidence. Writing is poor, filled with mechanical errors. Paper does not appear to have been proofread. A “D” is given for barely acceptable work.
F Paper is shorter than the minimum length required. Topic is unacceptable because it does not cover more than an incidental (or unassigned) portion of the work or does not reveal a satisfactory level of knowledge . Generalizations are unsupported with evidence and opinion papers contain unsupported assertions and ignore opposing arguments and evidence. Writing is not of acceptable college-level quality. Paper does not appear to have been proofread. An “F” is given for unsatisfactory work.
Research papers will be judged according to the following criteria besides those applied to the short papers:
- Coherent, well-defined topic–should be about a narrow aspect of the work under discussion and should not read like a broad encyclopedia article giving an overview.
- Thorough research, carefully incorporating sources the professor has approved or suggested you use. Papers neglecting to use sources agreed upon between the professor and the student will be severely graded down unless a justification is provided explaining why the source turned out not to be useful.
- Papers must use articles and books from the library. Papers using only Web sites are not acceptable.
- Papers must follow MLA citation format.
- Papers will be judged on clarity, unity, logic, and readability.
- Papers must demonstrate comprehension of the material being studied and ability to discuss it intelligently.
For more details on how to write the research paper for this class, see the page entitled “Research Paper Assignment” in The Bridge (this is not optional: you must read and use this page).
Tips for Collaboration and Netiquette
You are expected to read and make notes on the assigned material, meet deadlines, actively participate in the Bridge discussion activities, and collaborate with fellow class members to achieve the course objectives. Appropriate professional behavior demonstrating respect for classmates and instructors is expected.
Late Policy and Paper Revisions
Since your interaction with your classmates is crucial to this class, any initial posts in any discussion made after the due date for an activity will not be counted for grading purposes. You may always submit work before the deadline if you wish; in fact, you are encouraged to do so, and to later continue a discussion you have begun on time. The deadline is simply the final date by which you must have the week’s work done.
In rare cases involving true emergencies I will give permission to make up work in a threaded discussion, but in that case your contribution to the discussion must consist of answers to all of the study questions in the associated study guide to make up for having failed to contribute to the ongoing discussion. Generally, if you miss a discussion deadline, you just lose the credit associated with that assignment.
You may not make up a paper which you have failed to hand in on time. However, if you do hand in a paper and are dissatisfied with your grade, after consulting with me, you may revise your paper and have your grade raised if it is significantly improved. It is normal to revise the research paper at least once (first drafts very frequently get a “C” or lower. Revisions will be handled on an individual basis, and limits will be set as to the number of revisions allowed and the time allowed to hand them in. Simply substituting phrases that I have suggested to improve your writing does not result in an improved grade. You have to make the sort of substantial changes I suggest in the note I make on your paper.
Papers submitted on time may be later revised for a possible higher grade, but not submitting a paper at all will result in an immediate F in the course.
- Incompletes will be granted rarely; only in the case of unexpected dire emergencies. The demands of other work or studies will not be accepted as excuses for requesting an incomplete. Students should confirm that they have plenty of free time during the period covered by the course to work intensively on it.
- Students who have substantially finished the course but still have a small amount of work undone when a genuine emergency arises may request an incomplete in writing from the professor.
- The request must be made via regular post (snail mail), must be signed and dated by the student, and must explain the reasons behind the request for the incomplete. Timelines for completion will be negotiated.
- Requests for Incompletes will be considered only from those students who are achieving a passing grade in the course and who have a small amount of work left to complete.
You are expected to uphold the WSU standard of conduct relating to academic integrity. You assume full responsibility for the content and integrity of the academic work you submit. The guiding principle of academic integrity shall be that your submitted work, examinations, reports, and projects must be your own work.
Plagiarism is: 1) submitting someone else’s work as your own, 2) copying something from another source without putting it in quotation marks or citing a source (note: you must do both), 3) using an idea from a source without citing the source, even when you do not use the exact words of the source. Any time you use a book, article, or reference tool to get information or ideas which you use in a paper, you must cite it by providing a note stating where you got the information or idea, using MLA parenthetical annotation. No footnotes are used in papers for this class. You do not need to cite material from classroom lectures or discussions. If you are not certain whether you need to cite a source, check with me in advance. See “Helpful Hints” and Barnet (pp. 73-86) for details on how to cite sources. Anyone caught plagiarizing will receive an “F” for the entire course (not just the paper concerned) and be reported to Student Affairs. If you feel you have been unjustly accused of plagiarism, you may appeal to me; and if dissatisfied, to the departmental chair.
Students with Disabilities: I am committed to providing assistance to help you be successful in this course. Reasonable accommodations are available for students with a documented disability. Please visit the Disability Resource Center (DRC) during the first two weeks of every semester to seek information or to qualify for accommodations. All accommodations MUST be approved through the DRC (Admin Annex Bldg, Rooms 205). Call 509 335 3417 to make an appointment with a disability counselor.
All students enrolled in Washington State University distance courses can use the WSU Libraries online databases and receive reference and research assistance from the Distance Degree Library Services (DDLS). You can also borrow books and other circulating material and receive photocopies of journal articles.
Visit the DDLS Web page for library support information, including specific information and resources for select courses (see the list of courses using the drop down menu on the left hand side of the page under “Find Your Course”).
To complete work for this course, you may want to access WSU Library databases.
Go to the DDLS Web site early in the course to configure your browser and establish your PIN. You can use the step-by-step “EZ-Guide” to help you with this process.
The On-line Writing Lab
The OWL is WSU’s On-line Writing Lab. It is an asynchronous service that connects you with a trained WSU Writing tutor who will provide you narrative feedback that will help you to improve your writing. The OWL tutors are trained to respond to the conceptual and structural issues of your writing before they comment on issues of convention and correctness. Expect that the tutor’s comments will primarily be about the focus of your essay, the supporting details you have provided and the organization of those details. Tutors will comment on issues of proofreading, convention and correctness if there are obvious patterns of error, but they will not correct your essay for you. To share a piece of writing on the OWL, go to http://owl.wsu.edu, click on the instruction to Introduce Yourself (login).
I will be returning papers and sending out occasional class announcements via e-mail using the WSU system. However, this means that you must have a valid e-mail address that you actually use in the WSU directory, though much important official mail, like library fine notices, is sent out using this system. To make sure you are listed in the directory go to http://www.wsu.edu/ and click “Find People” and search for your name (last name first, no comma).
Then click on “ADDRESS & E-MAIL” on the left-hand side of the page and click on either “Change address or phone” or “Forward my email.” If you want a free WSU e-mail account, click on “Create an e-mail account.”
If you have not received any e-mail from me by the end of the first week of class, that means you are not using e-mail properly for this course and should get in touch with me immediately at email@example.com
Papers will not be graded or returned via DDP. You must use these e-mail procedures to complete the course satisfactorily.