POLICIES FOR E335, VICTORIAN LITERATURE, CHAPMAN U SPRING 2008 (UPDATED 1/18/08)
Course Information. English 335. Tu/Th. 10:00-11:15. Location: Beckman 107. Instructor: Alfred J. Drake, Ph.D. Office hours: 9-10 Tu/Th. in Cyber Cafe. firstname.lastname@example.org. Chapman Catalog Description: "ENG 335: The Literature of Victorian England. Prerequisite, Written Inquiry. This course explores the tensions -- artistic, moral, and social -- of Victorian England from 1832-1900.... (Offered spring semester, alternate years.) 3 credits."
Course Objectives. A survey should help you build your knowledge of the periods, authors, and movements studied. My comments will provide historical and thematic background, and the course will center on discussion of assigned texts from the Victorian Period.
Major Study Units. The course will follow a roughly chronological order and will cover Victorian poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and drama.
Classroom Activities. Lecture, student presentations, and discussion when students pose questions or offer comments to me or to the entire class. I encourage such questions and comments -- thoughtful student participation improves any course, broadening its scope and introducing a variety of opinion that wouldn't be available otherwise. A key point: my lectures improve significantly when students take an active part in the class: I remember to mention things I might have forgotten to say, and sometimes make connections I hadn't thought of. My tasks are to lecture concisely, to listen well, to ask good questions, and to help you find out more about the texts we study. Your tasks are to listen, respond, and develop your own ideas, your own "voice," as a reader of literary works. In humanities study, insightful interpretation and an ability to make interesting connections between one author or concept and another are central goals.
Evaluation Methods. A term paper; a journal requirement; in-class presentations based in part on prior discussion by email with the instructor, an in-class final exam. YOU CANNOT PASS THIS CLASS WITHOUT SUBSTANTIALLY COMPLETING ALL FOUR REQUIREMENTS. I will use +/- grading.
Attendance. Students should attend regularly. Missing an inordinate number of meetings (i.e. more than 20%) may become a factor in the final grade. Students are responsible for keeping up with missed sessions by listening to the audio files that become available within a few days of each session.
Exam, Alternate Scheduling. If you run into a scheduling problem, taking the final a day or two before its set date might be possible at our mutual convenience. Please inquire about this well before you make such a request.
Paper Rough Drafts. One-paragraph descriptions of projected paper required. Full rough draft encouraged, but not required. Please read the term paper instructions carefully since they contain the prompt and advance draft comments. I reserve the right to require proof of the final paper's authenticity, such as notes or an early draft.
Paper Final Drafts. The default due date for final papers is the day of the final exam, although if possible (based on my schedule and when I must turn in grades) I will try to extend that deadline several days. Please send papers by email attachment; if you do so and do not receive confirmation within approximately three days, it is your responsibility to email me. IF YOU DON'T RECEIVE CONFIRMATION, I DID NOT RECEIVE YOUR WORK!
Presentations. Presentations are fairly informal, but students should approach them with a sense of intellectual responsibility. Presentations are as much for others as for oneself. I will judge presentations on the following grounds: did the student 1) Consult with me beforehand, as required, to discuss substantive ideas? 2) Seem to have put genuine effort into preparing? 3) Send me a written version by email afterwards so I can post it to the collective students' blog? I won't judge students on their "rhetorical" skills during the actual presentation: the grade for this component will be based on how seriously they approached the task beforehand, and whether they followed up afterwards with a written version as required.
Journals. I will not mark journal sets down unless they are late, incomplete, or so brief as to suggest evasion of intellectual labor. They should consist of honest responses to the assigned readings, not "yes-or-no" style answers or quotation without further comment.
Plagiarism. Cheating on papers and tests will result in an "F" for the course. In severe or repeated cases, plagiarism can lead to suspension or even expulsion. Many problems are caused not so much by dishonesty as by a lack of experience in consulting and incorporating sources, so please read the writing guides (see "Resources" in your course menu, and click on "Guides") on citing texts and "Plagiphrasing." Please note that plagiarism isn't simply a matter of wicked intentions -- grades can be badly affected by a simple failure to handle sources responsibly.
Source Work. It is acceptable to consult legitimate sources (scholarly articles and books) while developing your paper, and if you are a graduate student you should engage with some secondary material. But if you are an undergraduate, the most important thing is to study your chosen primary texts patiently. Relying heavily on commercial notes (even good ones) may hinder this process. Other people's ideas are valuable only if you manage to make them your own in an honest way; if you do little more than repeat them under the guise of informing your audience (i.e. if you give a "book report" rather than offering a genuine analysis based mostly on your own insights), you haven't accomplished much with regard to your own education. Check your school library's online portal for article databases. Project Muse and JSTOR are among the best for humanities work. They not only list scholarly essays but, most often, even allow you to download them as HTML or PDF files. Chapman's portal is Chapman Library, and CSU Fullerton's (unless you use "My Fullerton") is CSUF Library.