Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)

22 January 2007

Papers (400 pts)

Formal papers that demonstrate your ability to incorporate comments from your peers and from the instructor in order to present a thorough revision. Please note that "revision" involves far more than correcting spelling and punctuation mistakes.

Paper 1: 150pts (Presubmission 15; Full Draft 20; Peer Review 15; Final Draft 100)
Paper 2: 250pts (Presubmission 20: Full Draft 50: Peer Review 30: Final Draft 150)

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Participation Porfolios (300 pts)

This component of your grade evaluates your level of engagement with the subject matter, including preparation, attentiveness, and active contributions to a positive learning environment, as well as other matters of academic integrity and respectful behavior, as described in the Seton Hill student handbook.

Portfolio 1 (80 pts)
Portfolio 2 (100 pts)
Portfolio 3 (120 pts)

The bulk of the participation grade will be attached to three portfolio assignments, which will ask you to collect and reflect on a selection of the work you have completed. (More details about the portfolio will be posted as the first due date approaches.)

If your final grade should end up on or near a borderline, I will look to your participation grade to determine whether to round up or down.

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Quizzes (200 points)

Scheduled Quizzes (100pts)

Pop Quizzes (100 pts)

On assigned texts and key course concepts such as grammar, MLA style, and vocabulary.

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Exercises (400 points)

Time-sensitive homework assignments, designed to prepare you for upcoming work. Often broken up into segments for peer review and revision. Most of these exercises will involve uploading your work to

For late submissions, see section 5.3 of the syllabus.

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6. Assignments

The whole course is based on 1200 points. I compute all grades according to the four point scale. Thus, for an assignment worth 20 points, if you get a 15, that is a 3.0.

  • Exercises (300 pts) -- Homework assignments, typically broken up into segments for peer review and reflection.
  • Quizzes (200 pts) -- Two scheduled quizzes (100 pts total), as well as informal pop quizzes (100 pts).
  • Participation (300 pts) -- Your active contributions to a positive learning environment, as presented through portfolios.
  • Papers (400 pts) -- Completed in several integrated stages.
There is no final exam, but the final draft of the term paper is due at the time scheduled for the final exam. (You may submit it earlier if you wish.)

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5.4 Texts

Please acquire your own individual copies of the assigned texts, and bring a copy to class on the day the discussion is scheduled.

Some assigned texts are available online. You may print these out, you may purchase your own book or check one out from the library, or you may bring an electronic version on a laptop or PDA.

If you wish, you may purchase copies of textbooks through an affiliates page that I have set up. (You don't have to buy them through this link -- you can use the campus bookstore or any other supplier.)


  • Shakespeare, King Lear 074348276X (You may use any edition. This one happens to have very useful annotations.)

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5.3 Submissions and Late Work

This course expects you to use the internet regularly -- mostly and Just as students in generations past learned to carry spare quills, a pen knife, an extra inkhorn, and spare lamp wicks, there are certain common-sense strategies that will make your use of the internet less risky. Print out a copy of the course syllabus, and print out online readings in advance, so that you can work on the readings if the internet happens to be down.

Most assignments will be submitted and returned via Unless the homework assignment specifically mentions a printout, you should assume that I don't want a hard copy.

Exercises are often multipart. Exercises typically involve an initial submission on, which I will return via You will then typically write a response paper, in which you respond to my comments and reflect on what you learned from reading them. (I'll supply more details when the time comes.) A revision assignment should be submitted in a folder, with printouts of the original submission (with my comments), your response paper, and the revision. (Revision assignments are incomplete unless all required parts are supplied; again, I will supply more details on this when the time comes.)

Note: If you ever feel you want more rapid or more detailed feedback on an assignment, make an appointment with me during my office hours, and I will go over the work with you in detail, regardless of whether it was late or on time. also checks submissions for plagiarism.

Getting Credit for Late Work

Deadlines for assignments are typically 15 minutes before class starts. (This is to discourage you from being late for class because you were working on your paper.) If your assignment is late by a few minutes, but you are still on time to class, your paper won't count as late. If you submit your assignment after I have already assigned a zero for your paper, you must e-mail me to ask me to evaluate it for you.

Please note that if I have already finished grading my stack of submissions, a late paper goes on the bottom of my to-do list. I may not be able to get it back to you in time for you to complete the next step of a multi-step assignment. If you are concerned about not getting a paper back soon enough, please arrange an appointment so that I can give you feedback in person.

I reserve the right to refuse to accept any assignment that is more than a week late, unless there are extenuating circumstances.

By default, late assignments automatically lose one letter grade if they are not submitted on time, and another letter grade for each additional day late (counting weekends as one day).

Students may not skip any stage of a multipart assignment. This may mean that you will have to complete a preliminary assignment for no credit before I will look at the next step in an assignment.

All Late Work

If you are asking that I waive the late penalty, e-mail me a copy of your completed Absence Form, with a subject line that follows this pattern: "Smith EL150 Ex 1-2 Absence Form".

Unless I grant you an extension in advance, all other assignments are penalized one letter grade for each day they are late (including Saturdays, but not counting Sundays or holidays when the university does not offer classes).

Special Cases

RRRR Items: These time-sensitive assignments (see the RRRR section of the FAQ page) earn no credit if they are late. (You should still complete any items you missed in order to get full credit for your class portfolio.)

Class Participation: The way to get credit for a missed in-class activity is to contribute substantially to the online discussion. Post thoughtful comments on the course website, your peers' websites, and/or your own. To make sure that I see and record credit for this alternative work, paste the URLs of your online contributions into a word processor file, and upload the file into the J-Web late paper box in order to make up a missed set of discussion prompts.

Make-up/Extra Credit Assignments: I do not have a policy of inventing make-up or extra-credit assignments to enable you to pull your grade up in the last few weeks of the term. At any time, however, you may demonstrate your willingness to work hard for your grade by doing more than the required amount of work on your weblog. (Call my attention to this extra work when you submit your weblog portfolio.)

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5.2 Participation

Students are expected to contribute actively to a positive classroom environment, both in person and online. Students who dislike public speaking may wish to invest more effort in their online writing, and vice-versa.

Common sense and common courtesy dictates that absences, late arrivals and early departures, use of telephones or headphones, lack of preparation, and inattentiveness will impact your participation grade.

Those who participate above and beyond the call of duty will receive a bonus.

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5.1 Attendance

Students are expected to attend every class. (See Seton Hill University Catalog, p. 28-29, "Class Attendance" and "Excused Absences".)

A student's final grade may be lowered by the proportion of unexcused absences. Thus, a student with a final grade of B (75%) with a record of 10% unexcused absences would get a C+ (90% of 75% = 67.5%). (If you have only a few absences and your class participation is good, I will probably not apply the penalty.)

I am happy to excuse students who have legitimate reasons, but students who miss a class period for any reason are still responsible for the material covered during the absence. An excused absence does not automatically grant an extension for any work collected or assigned that day.

Because a large percentage of your course grade depends on your familiarity with assigned readings, falling behind or procrastinating can lead to big trouble.

If you are absent from class without an excuse approved by the dean of students, on a day when a major assignment is due -- perhaps because you stayed up all night working on a paper and are too tired to attend class -- the assignment will be counted an extra day late. (You might as well go to bed without finishing the paper, come to class so you don't fall farther behind, and then turn in the paper the next morning.)

5.1.1. Emergency Absences
Those who miss class due to an unplanned emergency should submit an "Absence Form," with proper documentation, as soon as possible.

For each class that you miss, download the word processor version of my "Absence Form" (available at After you initiate this contact, we will start working out whether or what kind of assignments would be appropriate. (I ask that you resist the impulse to ask me to e-mail you a summary of what you missed. I welcome the chance to help you get caught up, but please consult the syllabus and a classmate's notes first, and then bring any specific questions to me.) For some classroom activities, such as listening to peer oral presentations, there may be no appropriate make-up assignment. (See 5.2 Participation.)

5.1.2. Scheduled Absences
Those who miss class due to a scheduled activity must plan to complete all make-up assignments before the missed class. This means that you must submit an acceptable "Absence Form" (see above) at least 3 class periods before the missed class.

If there is insufficient time for us to agree upon an acceptable suggestion for making up missed work, or if an approved make-up assignment is late or unsatisfactory, then I may record the absence as unexcused.

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5. Course Requirements

The class format will be discussion with some lecture and occasional workshops. Your job is not to write down and memorize everything I say in class (or what says online) and then pour it all out during the exam. Instead, you will be asked to present your own original thoughts, and back them up with specific evidence from the literary works and from scholarly studies of those works.

I will often send out bulk e-mails to the address on file for you in the J-Web system. If you check a different address more regularly, please use SHU's e-mail forwarding service so that you don't miss important updates.

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4. Course Objectives

At the end of this course, you should be able to

  1. Deeply and critically read complex literary and academic texts
  2. Write college-level essays on personal and professional topics, demonstrating a solid command of standard English grammar and usage
  3. Use textual evidence to support your own original claims about issues raised in the readings, without dismissing or oversimplifying views which differ from yours
  4. Demonstrate the ability to engage intellectually with peers in both formal and informal environments
  5. Write a college-level research paper that appropriately uses primary and secondary sources (including basic literary theory)

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3. Course Description

From the Catalog:

Introduction to reading, research, grammar, and writing in the study of literature. Emphasis on literary forms, research tools, and the vocabulary of literary study. Practice in writing the literary essay. English majors take this course during their freshman or sophomore year.

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2. Instructor

Dennis G. Jerz (
403 St. Joseph, Box 461
E-mail: My last name, at the domain. (Include "EL150" in the subject line and please indicate your name.)
Phone: 724-830-1909 (but you will usually get a faster response if you e-mail)

Office Hours: Spring, 2007 office hours are 1:30-2:30 Mon, 3:00 Tue, 3:00 Th, and by appointment. St. Joseph 403.

Occasionally I step out of my office briefly to run errands during my scheduled office hours. When I do, I usually leave a note on my door. If my light is still on, then I'm probably not far away.

Office Visits: I usually leave my door open. If you should happen to drop by when my door is closed, please come back later or send me an e-mail.

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1. Where and When

Mon, Wed, Fri 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM A308

See daily course outline.

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Preview Ex 1-1

We will spend some time in class looking at Exercise 1-1.

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How Does a Poem Mean?

In high school, you may have gotten credit for being able to paraphrase poems, in order to demonstrate that you understand the literal meaning of the content. But if the purpose of a poem is simply to communicate a message, why does the poet go to all the trouble to rhyme, to make classical allusions, to choose vivid images? Why didn't Emily Dickinson write,

Death really isn't all that scary. In fact, Death is like a classy gentleman who picks you up and takes you on the most important date of your life.

Continue reading...

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Course Overview

Welcome to EL 150, "Introduction to Literary Study."

The course website is located at I will update the online syllabus periodically, so the printout I gave you is only for your convenience today. The official version of the syllabus is the online version (though I will notify you in advance of any significant changes).

Topics for today:

The front page of the blog only shows the main class topic and the main readings scheduled for that day. To get a full list of the lesson plan for any day, click on the date on the calendar. (You might want to see what's due on Jan 24.)

Preview Ex 1-1
Preview Intro to Weblogs
In class: Informal written response.

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