to be handed in)
Using this syllabus and the rest of this
website, your textbook, your classmates, and your teacher, you should be
able to piece together answers to the following questions. (Copy this page
to your word processor and space as needed to jot down answers.) Some of
your answers will be subjective, but that's ok because you have to set your
own goals and design your own time schedule for getting the most education
you can out of this course. Effort, concentration, and careful pacing are
required; beyond those, relax and enjoy the ride.
(Scroll down to see sample answers at the bottom of this page; then scroll
back up to try answering the next question yourself before comparing answers
with the samples.)
- What do I have to do to get an A in this course?
- When should I start preparing my essays, shorter
writings, and midterm presentation?
- If all of the course work is not evenly
distributed, when are the uneven, dense times?
- How do I make up missed short writings, essays,
or the midterm presentation, if I miss one?
- How can I do well in this course even if I
haven't read much literature before nor had a course like this one?
- What's the last day to withdraw? Why might I
want to? What if I don't? How do I?
- What does "read" mean in the assignment
- How much does each of these affect my course
___ essays ___ shorter
writings ___ visiting online sites
presentation ___ reading ___ doing
- What do I do if I just can't figure out what to
write for an assignment?
is the writer who gets us to identify with a pregnant young woman in "Hills
Like White Elephants"? Hemingway's public image didn't always match his
Photo of Ernest Hemingway waving a bullfighter's cape while actress Ava
Gardner and world famous bullfighter Dominguin look on is linked to from one
of the six "Papa Pages":
to the page author, Marcel Mitran, the picture is from Ernest Hemingway's
The Dangerous Summer (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1960).
Specific attribution is at
photo may not be copied for profit.
of this page is: http://vccslitonline.vccs.edu/vcselfquiz.htm
1. To earn an A for the course, you need to keep a
90% average. That means you need to score 18 out of 20 on forum answers and
module question sets (if any are assigned) 45 out of 50 for a couple pages
of detailed writing for quizzes to end a module, and 90 on essays (3-5 pages
of well supported insights showing analytical [aka "critical"]) thinking and
your presentation. How? For postings, be detailed and original--read the
assigned work and the existing responses at the forum. For presentations,
be a helpful guide to the work; what you say matters more than the handout
and more than the selection you present. Be organized, detailed, and even
well rehearsed. For essays, be thoughtful, use plentiful support
(references to happenings and statements in the work), and explain how your
support enhances your thesis--in stylish, carefully edited prose.
FYI: Some students write their forum answers in Word to minimize online time
and then paste it into the comment box for a discussion forum; other
students get confused or run into some malfunction that prevents them from
answering or even getting to the forum, but their email works, so they email
me to retrieve the question and then email the answer, preferably pasted
into the email message rather than attached in a file. The helpful ones
copy any error message they encounter and include that in their email
2. The pace of the course is
pretty even, but some students start pondering the
presentation and looking at the
online samples early.
3. Print the
course calendar page now and return to it to
click on some of the links to assignments and to forums. Overview the
course during the first week to assess its pace and see where deadlines
sometimes bunch up. Having seen the essay topics, you may have some idea
how to handle them long before the due date. Notice where your options are
and select judiciously the works you choose to write about, selecting those
that interest you most.
4. Around midterm the largest
assignment is due (presentation with handout; some students do a PowerPoint,
and individuals have to include their own voice as they speak their analysis
of a work) . If your other essays are late, you may be scrambling to do
those and extra-credit work when you should be preparing your presentation,
which would magnify the "crunch."
5. "Make up" can mean do the
assigned written work and substitute extra-credit
writings for the missed presentation. If the reading baffles you so
that you can't figure out what to say in an essay, contact me for ideas or
do more extra-credit writing. Be advised: although the extra-credit tasks
can be more fun, they can also be more time-consuming than reading a story
or poem and writing a 50-point or 100-point essay.
6. Extra time on tasks will likely
be needed by students who didn't have literature courses in high school or
previously at college. That means reading the introductions in the
textbook and working through each of the
in the Literature Online webs. Extra time should also be spent discussing
the essay assignments with the instructor or
one of the staff at the learning assistance center, e.g. B-204 at the Parham
Road Campus (371-3600) or the same facility at the Downtown Campus.
7. The last date to withdraw from
a class without penalizing your grade point average (e.g. to avoid an F or D
that would be averaged with your other grades) is 60% of the way through the
course. The college calendar
for each semester lists the date by which all "Withdrawal from Course" forms
must be signed by students and turned in at the campus Admissions and
Records office. You can grant your course instructor permission by
telephone or email to fill out and submit such a form for you, if the
instructor is willing (as I am).
8. "Read" means re-read and study
and ponder enough to make a thoughtful and detailed written response. It
also means applying considerations from textbook or from Litonline
introductions about facets of each genre and questions in the text about the
work. For instance, you should be able to follow the plot (conflict) in a
story or play; but you should also (maybe in a second or later re-reading)
see props in a drama for their symbolic value, note how the setting
influences the characters and hints at the theme. For poetry and prose, you
should consider the implications of figurative language: When Willy Loman in
Death of a Salesman tells his boss that he can't "eat the orange and
throw away the peel," he is talking about how he feels the boss is treating
him--by taking him off commission and then firing him.
this semester's grade roster, the three essays count about 1/2 of the
total course grade (50%, actually, so each essay counts about 12.5%), the
presentation totals as much as one essay, and the shorter essays count about
25% altogether (so each one counts about 2.5% of the course grade). That's
about 100%. Extra-credit writings can supplement
or substitute for any of this work. A couple of students have ended the
course with totals above the maximum by doing extra writing--of high
quality. Many students have thrown away time doing glib work on the
seemingly "easier" extra-credit assignments and ended up slighting their
regular work, finishing with mediocre grades, even failing grades, if their
total output was a meager amount of unthoughtful and undetailed work.
10. Stuck? Contact me or the
campus Academic Support Center. Usually, we can kick around ideas and get
you started. Some students have read paragraphs or short rough drafts over
the phone so that I could suggest directions, help them see the thesis in
their writing so far, or tell what pitfalls I foresee. Of course, email is
an easy option for showing me what you've got so far, even if it's only
brainstorming about one or two works from which you will choose one to write
11. Other questions?