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Effective: Late Fall 8-Week, 2017/2018

ENGL 431: Senior Seminar

Course Description

Culminating course for graduation as an English major.

Prerequisite: ENGL 425

Proctored Exams: None



Syllabus Contents

Textbooks

Required

  • Modern Language Association. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 8th ed. New York: MLA, 2016.
    • ISBN-978-1-60329-262-7
  • Nicholls, David G. Introduction to Scholarship in Modern Languages and Literatures. 3rd ed. New York: MLA, 2007.
    • ISBN-978-0-87352-598-5

MBS Information

Textbooks for the course may be ordered from MBS Direct. You can order

For additional information about the bookstore, visit http://www.mbsbooks.com.


Course Overview

This is a culminating course for graduation with a degree in English.  The course is designed to help you understand what it means to “do” English, in an academic and professional sense, by means of requiring you to write a research paper that is comparable to early graduate work or a conference paper.  You will design, execute, and present the results of a research project to me and to your peers.  The resulting essay will be the application of a theoretical approach to one or more primary texts to produce an argument.  This project will build on the proposal developed in ENGL 425.  The final form of the essay represents a significant revision and development of previous work.



Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.


Course Learning Outcomes

  1. Write a substantial argumentative essay in the discipline of literary study as the Senior Seminar culminating project.
  2. Revise writing done for the Senior Seminar culminating project over the course of the semester
  3. Analyze one or more primary texts in the Senior Seminar culminating project.
  4. Incorporate secondary, peer-reviewed research into the Senior Seminar culminating project.
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of how to analyze literary works in multiple genres.
  6. Demonstrate knowledge of literary history and the cultural contexts of literature.

Grading

Grading Scale
Grade Points Percent
A 900-1000 90-100%
B 800-899 80-89%
C 700-799 70-79%
D 600-699 60-69%
F 0-599 0-59%
Grade Weights
Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions 240 24%
Prospectus 40 4%
Drafts 1-3 (3) 120 12%
Final Research Essay wiht Works Cited 500 50%
Final Annotated Bibliography 100 10%
Total 1000 100%


Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1
Assignment Points Due
Introduction -- Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 1: Writer's Workshop 40
Discussion 2: Language, Culture, and Society 20
Week 2
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3: Progress Report and Sources Assessment 1 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 4: Poetics 20
Prospectus 40 Sunday
Week 3
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5: Problems, Potholes, and Perplexities 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 6: MLA Format and Documentation 10
Discussion 7: Historical Scholarship 20
Week 4
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 8: Progress Report and Sources Assessment 2 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 9: Cultural Means of Examining Texts 20
7-Page Draft with Working Bibliography 40 Sunday
Week 5
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 10: What's your theory? 10 Wednesday/Sunday
10-Page Draft with Working Bibliography 40 Sunday
Week 6
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 11: Writer's Workshop 40 Wednesday/Sunday
15-Page Draft with Working Bibliography 40 Sunday
Week 7
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 12: The Scholar in Society 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 13: Revision 10
Final Draft of Annotated Bibliography 100 Sunday
Week 8
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 14: Editing: The Final Challenge 10 Wednesday/Saturday
Final Draft of Essay with Final List of Works Cited 500 Wednesday
Total Points 1000

Assignment Overview

Discussions

Each week original post is due Wednesday, two responses due 11:59 p.m. CT, Sunday (except in Week 8, Discussion 15, all posts are due 11:59 p.m. CT, Wednesday). The length of post is dependent upon the task. Respond to at least two other posts (except in Week 6 where you need to respond to just one other post).

Discussion assignments come in three types. The first type is dedicated to the practical support of the writing of the scholarly research essay. These discussions will provide touchstones in the progress on the project. Each one addresses one or more aspects of the process by which the work is advanced and completion attained.  Some are practical exercises and feedback opportunities; some are designed to address theoretical or conceptual issues.  They provide each student and the instructor a means of gauging progress as well as a platform for sharing ideas among the whole class and permitting the group to engage in troubleshooting.

The second type will provide a forum for engaging with major theoretical and critical concerns of the discipline. These discussions will be generated by your reading in Nicholls and provide a place for engaging with the facets of the discipline and wrestling with the theoretical and critical concerns that go along with them as they apply to this project.

The third type is a writer's workshop for you to provide peer review on each other's work. Specific prompts will be given to share feedback in the Writer’s workshops in Weeks 1 and 6.

All discussion assignments are considered formal. They should be written as if you are communicating with an academic colleague or a scholar. The formal rules of proper English and grammar apply for these submissions, and points will be deducted for incomplete or inadequate responses, misspellings, incomplete sentences, poor sentence structure, etc. Posts must be original and intelligible. You must communicate effectively.

You must meet the weekly requirements for full credit on discussion assignments. 


Essay

Over the course of the session, you will develop a portfolio of work building toward the culminating senior seminar paper, the Scholarly Research Essay. The essay is the realization of the application of a theoretical approach to one or more primary texts to produce an argument, an argument drawn from viewing one or more primary texts in the context of two traditional historical periods or one period and one theoretical school/body of work. This project will build on the proposal developed in ENGL 425.

Along with the Scholarly Research Essay, you will also develop both a finalized Works Cited (part of Dropbox 6) and Annotated Bibliography (Dropbox 5). While the completion of a Works Cited without annotation serves an important purpose, the specialized Annotated Bibliography serves an important dual purpose. Developing, revising and polishing it in working drafts alongside the paper over the course of the session provides experience in managing, evaluating, and incorporating scholarly sources into a large project. It also allows you to develop introductory and fundamental experience creating a source for other scholars to benefit from. Most scholarly journals publish articles that match this work in form, coverage, and intent. Some scholarly books are nothing but collections of bibliographies of this kind.  A scholar in the field should know how to create as well as employ this kind of research tool and you should give it as much focus as the paper itself. An example entry is provided in the content area to serve as a guide.

Naturally, all work completed toward the assignment of the paper and bibliography should be written as if you are communicating with an academic colleague or a scholar. The formal rules of proper English and grammar apply for these submissions, and points will be deducted for misspellings, incomplete sentences, poor sentence structure, etc.  Both must be original and intelligible.  You must communicate effectively.  

Portfolio Assignments

5-page Prospectus with Preliminary Bibliography:  The first step is to revise and add to the proposal you developed for ENGL 425.  In this draft, begin to map out the approach you will take and the major topics you will address in the literature review. This submission (Dropbox 1) will be due at 11:59 p.m. CT Sunday in Week 2.

7-page Draft with Current Bibliography:  A 7-page Discovery Draft.  This draft should enable you to discover the validity of the working Thesis and evaluate the need for changes in it.  The accompanying Bibliography needs to list at least seven sources and provide full annotations (summary, perspective, utility) for them. This submission (Dropbox 2) will be due at 11:59 p.m. CT Sunday in Week 4.

10-page Draft with Current Bibliography:  A 10-page Working Draft. This draft should reflect the maturing of the working Thesis and the support for it.  The accompanying Bibliography needs to list at least ten sources and provide full annotations (summary, perspective, utility) for them. This submission (Dropbox 3) will be due at 11:59 p.m. CT Sunday in Week 5.  

15-page Draft with Current Bibliography:  A 15-page Working Draft. This draft should reflect essentially the full maturation of the Thesis and all support for it.  By this time, the argument should be fully developed and demonstrated.  The accompanying Bibliography needs to list at least fifteen sources and provide full annotations (summary, perspective, utility) for each. This submission (Dropbox 4) will be due at 11:59 p.m. CT Sunday in Week 6.

Scholarly Research Essay

Final Research Essay with publication-ready list of Works Cited: This submission (Dropbox 6) will be due at 11:59 p.m. CT Wednesday in Week 8 and must include the revised, completed, polished essay with completed (not annotated) Works Cited.

It should be at least 16 pages (about 4000 words) in length (not including the final Works Cited), and be written as if you are communicating with an academic colleague or a scholar. You must communicate effectively. The formal rules of proper English and grammar apply, and points will be deducted for incomplete or inadequate responses, misspellings, incomplete sentences, poor sentence structure, etc. Your Works Cited must follow MLA style. You will find more assignment details and expectations, along with a grading rubric in the Content area.

Complete Annotated Bibliography: This submission (Dropbox 5) will be due at 11:59 p.m. CT Saturday in Week 7 and must include the finalized Annotated Bibliography of the 15 or more sources used in completion of the project with complete annotations (summary, perspective, utility) for all.

Follow the MLA style of documentation.



Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

Week 1: Introduction to the Academic Enterprise: Launching the Research
Readings

MLA Handbook: While you have purchased an MLA Handbook, there are no assigned readings in it:  it is a reference book to help you work through the details of format and documentation.

Nicholls: Nicholls provides a useful overview of scholarship in language and literature studies in our discipline today.  This overview will provide an opportunity to investigate and examine many facets of “English.”  Begin this week with “Language, Culture, and Society,” pp. 3 – 19.

The central readings for this course are the canonical primary work(s) you have chosen to study and write about and the scholarly secondary works that support the endeavor.

Introduction

Introduce yourself in this Introduction topic, giving us enough information about you that you become a real person to us.  Tell us about what kinds of literature you have read and what kind(s) you like to read. Tell us why you prefer that/those kind(s). We need to be able to connect with one another, and this assignment is one way we can. 

Discussion 1: Writer's Workshop
Attach the proposal you completed for ENGL 425 with an explanation of how you came to choose the topic and what changes you might make to it, if any. You should be dusting that work off and reviewing where you have already been. Propose issues that you plan to research in developing your paper. Comment on others’ choices and pose questions that might help them revise the proposal
Discussion 2: Language, Culture, and Society
Literature can be thought of as a critical function of language, but we owe some thought to just what language is and how it intersects with culture. The act of language is anything but straightforward. Consider what Sommer writes, and explain how some aspect applies to your project.
Week 2: Explorations: Focusing the Research
Readings
Nicholls:  “Poetics,” pp. 126 – 142
Discussion 3: Progress Report and Sources Assessment 1
Provide a report on the progress of your essay. How firm is your thesis? With what themes, subjects, periods, and theories will you be working? What do you think you will find?
Discussion 4: Poetics
The best reading of texts is achieved, in part, through understanding the writing of texts. Examine the understanding that Bernstein shares about the forming of texts. What conceptualization of the process of bringing meaning into being will assist you in your understanding of your primary text(s)? Select one and demonstrate its helpfulness.
Prospectus
Submit a 5-page planning draft of your essay, building on your proposal and including issues for your research.  The accompanying preliminary bibliography needs to consist of a list of at least five sources.
Week 3: Explorations: Deepening the Research
Readings
Nicholls: “Historical Scholarship,” pp. 171 – 193.
Discussion 5: Problems, Potholes, and Perplexities
Where are you currently struggling with your topic/draft?  What questions go begging answers?  What were you expecting to happen that has not?  What has happened that you didn’t expect?
Discussion 6: MLA Format and Documentation
While it is far too early to be worrying over the details of formatting, now is the time to make sure you are keeping your notes and bibliographic information in order.  As your planning and prewriting commence, what methods does MLA Format provide for easing your tasks?
Discussion 7: Historical Scholarship
Gallagher looks at tried and true methods of approaching texts.  Which method(s) will aid you in your project?  Why? 
Week 4: The Discovery Draft
Readings

Nicholls: Read the essay (ONE) most applicable to your project:  

  • “Comparative Literature,”
  • “Cultural Studies,”
  • “Feminisms, Genders, Sexualities,” 
  • “Race and Ethnicity,”
  • “Migrations, Diasporas, and Borders,”
  • “Translation Studies”
Discussion 8: Progress Report and Sources Assessment 2
We are at midterm and due for some reflection.  The drafting process is underway, and you should have most of the supporting works in hand and be far along in the process of digesting them.  How is your thesis holding up?  Are your scholarly sources providing what you need?  Are they living up to their “scholarly” reputation?  You should have assessments of at least seven of them by now.
Discussion 9: Cultural Means of Examining Texts
Delve into one of the essays you’ve read in Nicholls this week or last week to extrapolate cultural means of examining texts. Is one of these means particularly applicable to your primary text(s)?  Identify something you can use in your project and describe its value.
7-Page Draft with Working Bibliography
Submit a 7-page draft.  This draft should enable you to discover the validity of the working thesis and evaluate the need for changes in it. The accompanying working bibliography needs to list at least seven sources and provide full annotations (summary, perspective, utility) for them. This draft will no doubt be somewhat rough in its presentation.
Week 5: Evaluations: Finishing out the Research
Readings
By this point, the focus of the reading shifts:  you begin to read your essay as a text, evaluating it to see what it still needs and how it can be made more effective at its tasks.  You’ll still need to read more sources, of course, as you work to make the necessary revisions, additions, and deletions.
Discussion 10: What's your theory?
Your thesis should be solid, refined, and sharply focused.  What is it?  How has it matured?  Has it surprised you?
10-Page Draft with Working Bibliography
Submit a 10-page working draft. This draft should reflect the maturing of the working thesis and the support for it.  The accompanying working bibliography needs to list at least ten sources and provide full annotations (summary, perspective, utility) for them.  This draft will probably still be pretty rough in its presentation.
Week 6: Evaluations: Deepening the Discussion
Readings
Reading your own work and the work of a peer now assumes the task of assuring that it compares favorably with early graduate work or a conference paper. Working with peers on their papers and your own is a valuable part of the scholarly experience.
Discussion 11: Writer's Workshop
This is your opportunity to obtain peer feedback on your draft. By now, your essay should be the minimum of 15 pages in length and nearly complete. Attach it to your discussion post. If there are specific aspects that you’d like to receive comments on, note that in your post. Because of the length of the papers, you are only required to comment on one other classmate’s essay. These will be assigned by your instructor and indicated in the discussion topic in the course. Tips on providing and receiving peer review comments are located in the Week 6 Content area. Submit your draft to the Workshop by Wednesday and respond to your peer by Sunday. 
15-Page Draft with Working Bibliography
Submit a 15-page final draft.  This draft should reflect essentially the full maturation of the thesis and all support for it.  By this time, the argument should be fully developed and demonstrated.  The accompanying complete bibliography needs to list at least fifteen sources and provide full annotations (summary, perspective, utility) for them. At this point, your essay should only require minor polishing before completion.
Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.
Week 7: The Essay Approaches a Fixed Form
Readings
Nicholls:  312 – 330
Discussion 12: The Scholar in Society

How does your view of your place as a scholar in our society inform your project?

Discussion 13: Revision
Does your essay compare well to the scholarly sources you have or currently are reading? Does it reflect a similar sense of inquiry, level of effective argument, and depth of investigation? What needs to be modified/augmented to achieve those goals?
Final Draft of Annotated Bibliography
Submit the revised, completed, polished Annotated Bibliography. Your Final Draft submission should include all 15 or more sources used in the completion of the project with complete annotations (summary perspective, utility) for all of them.
Week 8: Final Editing and Submission
Readings
There are no outside readings this week, as your focus should be on reading and revising your own text.
Discussion 14: Editing: The Final Challenge
What work do you need to do to polish this paper up and ready it for final submission?
Final Draft of Essay with Final List of Works Cited
Submit the Final revised, completed, polished essay with works cited list. Your final submission should be written as if you are communicating with an academic colleague or a scholar.  The formal rules of proper English and grammar apply for these submissions, and points will be deducted for misspellings, incomplete sentences, poor sentence structure, etc.  Both must be original and intelligible.  You must communicate effectively.  The final paper should also include your final list of Works Cited, following MLA style.


Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.

Plagiarism

Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

All required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.

Non-Discrimination

There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at sar@ccis.edu.

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted. Late papers will be penalized 5% per day and may be refused entirely if more than one week overdue. This penalty may be waived for extraordinary circumstances. Student must provide reasonable explanation for the delay. No late assignments will be accepted after Week

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.


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