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Online classes

Effective: Late Fall 8-Week, 2018/2019

ENGL 210: Introduction To Fiction

Course Description

A comprehensive introduction to the elements of fictional works of varying lengths.

Prerequisite: ENGL 112

Proctored Exams: None



Syllabus Contents

Textbooks

Required

  • Clayton, John J. The Heath Introduction to Fiction. 6th ed. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 2000.
    • ISBN-978-0-395-95825-4
  • Howe, Irving, Ed. Classics of Modern Fiction: Twelve Short Novels. 5th ed. Boston: Thompson, 1993.
    • ISBN-978-0-15-500171-8
  • Le Guin, Ursula. The Left Hand of Darkness. New York: Ace, 1969.
    • ISBN-978-0-441-47812-5

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

Humans tell stories; narration is apparently hard-wired into us. Children begin to tell stories almost as soon as they master words, and, as every parent knows, not all of their stories remain faithful to the actual events of the world around them. While it is said that “Truth is stranger than Fiction,” our imaginations allow us to take what we know is true about the world around us and reshape it to fit our purposes and desires. Among the earliest surviving writings, we find fiction; on every newsstand and in every bookstore today, we find lavish quantities of fiction fresh off the presses: short fiction, longer fiction, novels. In this class, we’re going to examine various forms in which we find fiction and the elements we find within the fiction with the purpose of learning to read it carefully and critically so that we may derive the greatest enjoyment and benefits from doing so.


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 Objectives

  • To gain growing mastery of the elements of fiction
  • To practice basic textual analysis and evaluation of fiction in a variety of ways
  • To demonstrate knowledge of fiction in a variety of genres, ranging from short narrative forms through the novel

Measurable Learning Outcomes

  • Identify and distinguish between the elements of plot and structure, character, setting, point of view, language and style, and theme.
  • Evaluate the elements in fiction as they appear in repeatedly in different fictional genres.
  • Demonstrate textual analysis of fiction through discussion and written work.
  • Demonstrate command of basic appropriate literary terms and elements.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the histories of the short story and the novel.

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 (16) 250 25%
Quiz on the Elements (1) 50 5%
Critical Essays (5) 500 50%
Final Exam (1) 100 10%
Midterm Exam (1) 100 10%
Total 1000 100%


Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 1 10 Sunday
Discussion 2 20
Quiz on the Elements 50
Week 2
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3 10 Sunday
Discussion 4 20
Critical Essay 1 100
Week 3
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5 10 Sunday
Discussion 6 20
Critical Essay 2 100
Week 4
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 10 Sunday
Discussion 8 20
Midterm Exam 100
Week 5
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 9 10 Sunday
Discussion 10 20
Critical Essay 3 100
Week 6
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 11 10 Sunday
Discussion 12 20
Critical Essay 4 100
Week 7
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 13 10 Sunday
Discussion 14 20
Critical Essay 5 100
Week 8
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 15 20 Saturday
Discussion 16 20
Final Exam 100
Total Points 1000

Assignment Overview

Discussions

Two per week (10 or 20 points each). They come in two flavors, one type being worth twice the points of the other. The ten-point discussions will address the extent of your knowledge about your readings; the twenty-point discussions will address your understanding of the readings (and will therefore be both longer and more involved). You will need to reply to at least two posts submitted by your classmates.

All Discussion assignments are as formal as the essays. They should be written as if you are communicating with a client 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. Additionally, the criteria for your discussion postings are that your messages must be original and intelligible. You must communicate effectively. You must meet the weekly requirements for full credit on Discussion assignments.


Quiz on the Elements

This quiz will cover the first fifty pages in Clayton and assess your understanding of the elements and forms of fiction.

Critical Essays

Five over the course of the session (100 points each, total 500 points). Literary Criticism is analysis and synthesis. In these essays, you will analyze selections from the readings and synthesize the knowledge to create understanding. Critical analysis is in part a function of the personality, character, and knowledge of the critic; the essays will therefore need to reflect those qualities in a conscious way.

Naturally, they should be written as if you are communicating with a client 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. Additionally, the criteria for your discussion postings are that your messages must be original and intelligible. You must communicate effectively.


Midterm Exam

This exam will consist of five short essays that employ focus on individual elements to enhance understanding of selections from the short fiction readings. It will be written in a two-hour time frame and therefore be evaluated with due concern for the cleanliness of its presentation.

Final Exam

This exam will consist of five short essays that focus on individual elements to enhance understanding of selections from the novellas and the novel. It will be written in a two-hour time frame and therefore be evaluated with due concern for the cleanliness of its presentation.


Course Outline

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

Week 1: Introduction to the Concepts of Reading Fiction
Readings

Read pages 1 – 49, “Introduction on Fiction,” “How to Read and Write about Fiction,” and “Terms Used in Thinking about Fiction” as well as “Hansel and Gretel” and its Study Guide (p 58) from The Heath Introduction to Fiction   (from now on “Clayton”).  

At this National Geographic archive http://www.nationalgeographic.com/grimm/archive.html read “Cinderella” and at least two other fairy tales.

At this collection http://aesopfables.com/ select six fables to read.

Discussion 1
Introduce yourself in this Introduction, giving us enough information about you that you become a real person to us.   Tell us about what kinds of fiction 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.  (10 points)
Discussion 2
Based on your reading of Clayton and of the tales and fables, identify the differences that separate the three forms (fable, parable, allegory). Use numerous specific examples drawn from the tales and stories and specific information drawn from Clayton to support your statements.(Be sure to tell us what examples and what information came from where!See the Lecture “On Citation of Sources” in the Content Area of the class).(20 points)
Quiz on the Elements

The quiz will cover the first fifty pages in Clayton and assess your understanding of the elements and forms of fiction.

Week 2: Short Stories: A Basic Look at the Elements
Readings

Read “The Minister’s Black Veil” (65), “The Fall of the House of Usher” (87), “The Purloined letter” (101), “Bartleby the Scrivener” (137), “The Secret Sharer” (286) “Araby” (339), “Clay” (344), “A Hunger Artist” (350), “The Rocking Horse Winner” (376), “That Evening Sun” (390), “A Rose for Emily” (403), and “Hills Like White Elephants” (412) along with all of their Study Guides in Clayton. 

Discussion 3
Select one short story from the nineteenth century section and one from the modern canon section.Perform ONE of the following activities upon both:  (10 points)
  1. Outline the major events of their plots, identify the most important, and defend your choice OR
  2. Describe and identify their primary settings (setting includes period) and identify the effect the setting has on the outcome of the story OR
  3. List and briefly characterize their characters and show why they are necessary for this story
Discussion 4
Choose one of the stories from either section and answer, in a paragraph each, the questions listed in the Study Guide for that story. (20 points)
Critical Essay 1

In order to submit your essays, you must first take the Plagiarism tutorial Quiz.

Choose one of the stories from either section, and show how the author uses the plot, the setting, the characterization, and the point of view to engage readers in the theme(s) of the story BEING SURE TO IDENTIFY IT/THEM. How do the elements work together to help the author create a reaction?

This essay will require analysis. Don’t bother retelling the story: your readers have read it. Instead, take the story apart to see how the pieces interact. Show us cause-and-effect relationships, the causes being the elements, the effects being the readers’ reactions, and the relationships being the means by which the reactions were evoked. Identify the general effect in a Thesis Statement (or Statement of the Controlling Idea).

You will need to make use of frequent references to the story (and perhaps information in other parts of Clayton) in order to support your Controlling Idea. These references will need to be cited and documented. (See the Lecture “On Citation of Sources” in the Content Area of the class). But the references themselves will not be sufficient: you have to draw the connections for us.

Place the essay into the appropriate Dropbox.

Week 3: Short Stories: A More Advanced Look at the Elements
Readings

Read “The Use of Force” (424), “I Want to Know Why” (428), “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall” (448), “The Magic Barrel” (538), “Idiots First” (551), “The Lottery” (591), “Sonny’s Blues” (627), “A Good Man is Hard to Find” (651), “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” (664), “Lost in the Funhouse” (670), “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” (757), “The Lesson” (779), “The Man I Killed” (795), “The Lives of the Dead” (799), and “Lust” (835) along with all of their Study Guides in Clayton. 

Discussion 5
Select two short stories from the Modern and Contemporary Fiction.Perform ONE of the following activities upon both: (10 points)
  1. Identify and classify the major conflicts of their plots, identify the climax, and demonstrate which of the conflicts are resolved in the it OR
  2. List, classify, and briefly characterize their characters and show why they are necessary for this story
Discussion 6
Choose one of the stories from this section and answer, in a paragraph each, the questions listed in the Study Guide for that story. (20 points)
Critical Essay 2

Choose two stories from this section, and Compare OR Contrast (One OR the Other, NOT both) how the author uses the plot, the setting, the characterization, OR the point of view (only ONE) to engage readers in the theme(s) of the story BEING SURE TO IDENTIFY IT/THEM.  How do the elements work together to help the authors create reactions?  Are the authors working through similar or different means to the same ends or are they pursuing different outcomes?

 This essay will require analysis.  Don’t bother retelling the stories:  your readers have read them.  Instead, take the stories apart to see how the pieces interact.  Show us cause-and-effect relationships, the causes being the elements, the effects being the readers’ reactions, and the relationships being the means by which the reactions were evoked.  Identify the general effect in a Thesis Statement (or Statement of the Controlling Idea). 

You will need to make use of frequent references to the stories (and perhaps information in other parts of Clayton) in order to support your Controlling Idea.  These references will need to be cited and documented.  (See the Lecture “On Citation of Sources” in the Content Area of the class).  But the references themselves will not be sufficient:  you have to draw the connections for us.

Place the essay into the appropriate Dropbox.

Week 4: Short Stories: Some More Sophisticated Examples
Readings

Read “The Modern Tradition and Anton Chekhov,” pages 237 - 280, in Clayton.  These stories will require more critical reading than many of the previous ones.

Discussion 7
We are at Mid-term and due for some self-reflection.You have read a wide variety of short fiction so far.Identify both the story you like best and the one you like least.Identify your favorite element(s) in the former and the ones you like least in the latter.What about those elements attracts or repels you? (10 points)
Discussion 8
Choose one of the stories from this section and answer, in a paragraph each, the questions listed in the Study Guide for that story. (20 points)
Midterm Exam

This exam is found in the Quiz Section of the class will consist of five short essays which employ focus on individual elements to enhance understanding of selections from the short fiction readings.  It will be written in a two-hour time frame and therefore be evaluated with due concern for the cleanliness of its presentation.

Week 5: Novellas: A Basic Look at the Elements
Readings

Read “The Blue Hotel” (197), “The Secret Sharer” (241), “My Mortal Enemy” (403), “The Displaced Person” (497), and “A Solo Song for Doc” (611), along with all of their Introductions in Classics of Modern Fiction (from now on “Howe”).

Discussion 9
Select one of these novellas. Perform ONE of the following activities upon it: (10 points)
  1. Outline the major events of their plots, identify the most important, and defend your choice OR
  2. Describe and identify their primary settings (setting includes period) and identify the effect the setting has on the outcome of the story OR
  3. List and briefly characterize their characters and show why they are necessary for this story
Discussion 10
Choose one of the novellas and evaluate the assessments made by Howe in the novella’s Introduction. (20 points)
Critical Essay 3

Choose one of these novellas, and show how the author uses the plot, the setting, the characterization, and the point of view to engage readers in the theme(s) of the story BEING SURE TO IDENTIFY IT/THEM.  How do the elements work together to help the author create a reaction?  Because of greater length, depth, and complexity of novellas, this essay will require both more development and greater selectivity than the similar Critical Essay #1.

This essay will require analysis.  Don’t bother retelling the story:  your readers have read it.  Instead, take the story apart to see how the pieces interact.  Show us cause-and-effect relationships, the causes being the elements, the effects being the readers’ reactions, and the relationships being the means by which the reactions were evoked.  Identify the general effect in a Thesis Statement (or Statement of the Controlling Idea). 

You will need to make use of frequent references to the story (and perhaps other information) in order to support your Controlling Idea.  These references will need to be cited and documented.  (See the Lecture “On Citation of Sources” in the Content Area of the class).  But the references themselves will not be sufficient:  you have to draw the connections for us.

Place the essay into the appropriate Dropbox.

Week 6: Novellas: A More Advanced Look at More Sophisticated Examples
Readings

Read “Notes from the Underground” (13), “The Death of Ivan Ilych” (129), and “The Metamorphosis” (293) along with all of their Introductions in Howe.  WARNING:  These readings constitute the culmination of our examination of short fiction, and they will take special care to read critically.  Don’t give up on them! 

Discussion 11
Select one of these novellas.Perform ONE of the following activities upon them: (10 points)
  1. Identify and classify the major conflicts of their plots, identify the climax, and demonstrate which of the conflicts are resolved in it OR
  2. List, classify, and briefly characterize their characters and show why they are necessary for this story
Discussion 12
Choose one of the novellas and evaluate the assessments made by Howe in the novella’s Introduction. (20 points)
Critical Essay 4

One of the Themes evident in these three novellas is that of Destiny:  each person in the worlds these authors have created faces his or her destiny in ways peculiar to the individual.

In 1899, Stephen Crane (whose “Blue Hotel” we read last week) published a poem titled

“A Man Said to the Universe”

A man said to the universe:

“Sir, I exist!”

“However,” replied the universe,

“The fact has not created in me

A sense of obligation.”

Crane, Stephen.  “A Man Said to the Universe,”  The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature:    Reading Thinking, Writing.”  8th ed.  Boston:  Bedford, 2009.  711.  Print.

Choose one of these novellas, and look at the elements.  Select a character, and identify the character’s destiny.  Does the universe created by the author feel any sense of obligation to that character?  Does the character accept the destiny or fight it?  Use everything you know about the way the elements work to support your Controlling Idea.

This essay will require analysis.  Don’t bother retelling the story:  your readers have read it.  Instead, take the story apart to see how the pieces interact.  Show us cause-and-effect relationships, the causes being the elements, the effects being the readers’ reactions, and the relationships being the means by which the reactions were evoked.  Identify the general effect in a Thesis Statement (or Statement of the Controlling Idea). 

You will need to make use of frequent references to the story (and perhaps other information) in order to support your Controlling Idea.  These references will need to be cited and documented.  (See the Lecture “On Citation of Sources” in the Content Area of the class).  But the references themselves will not be sufficient:  you have to draw the connections for us.

Place the essay into the appropriate Dropbox.

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 Novel
Readings

Read The Left Hand of Darkness including Le Guin’s Introduction.  You will find this set of maps useful in the process:  http://www.ursulakleguin.com/Maps/Map-Gethen.html

Discussion 13
Perform ONE of the following activities upon the novel: (10 points)
  1. Outline the major events of the two primary plot threads, identify the most important, and defend your choice OR
  2. Describe and identify the primary settings and identify the effect the setting has on the outcome of the story OR
  3. List and briefly characterize the most important characters and show why they are necessary for this story (5 or 6)
Discussion 14
In addition to the two primary plot threads following Genly Ai and Therem Harth rem ir Estraven, Le Guin includes five Gethenian tales, short stories within the novel (Chapters 2, 4, 9, 12, and 17).Yet, in the second paragraph of Chapter 1, Genly Ai tells us that “it is all one story.” Evaluate his assertion and support or reject it. (20 points)
Critical Essay 5

In her Introduction, Le Guin tells us that, in her novel, she is describing us: 

Yes, indeed the people in it are androgynous, but that doesn’t mean that I’m predicting that in a millennium or so we will all be androgynous, or announcing that I think that we damned well ought to be androgynous.  I’m merely observing, in the peculiar, devious, and thought-experimental manner proper to science fiction, that if you look at us at certain odd times of day in certain weathers, we already are. . . .  I am describing certain aspects of psychological reality in the novelist’s way, which is by inventing elaborately circumstantial lies.

Examine the lies she tells to determine what metaphorical times of days and which metaphorical weathers she is talking about.  That is:  In what ways and in what situations is she claiming humans are androgynous?

This essay will require analysis.  Don’t bother retelling the story:  your readers have read it.  Instead, take the story apart to see how the pieces interact.  Show us cause-and-effect relationships, the causes being the elements, the effects being the readers’ reactions, and the relationships being the means by which the reactions were evoked.  Identify the general effect in a Thesis Statement (or Statement of the Controlling Idea). 

You will need to make use of frequent references to the story (and perhaps information in other parts of Clayton) in order to support your Controlling Idea.  These references will need to be cited and documented.  (See the Lecture “On Citation of Sources” in the Content Area of the class).  But the references themselves will not be sufficient:  you have to draw the connections for us.

Place the essay into the appropriate Dropbox.

Week 8: The Novel
Readings

Read The Left Hand of Darkness including Le Guin’s Introduction.  You will find this set of maps useful in the process:  http://www.ursulakleguin.com/Maps/Map-Gethen.html

Discussion 15
Identify and classify the major conflicts of the plot, identify the climax, and demonstrate which of the conflicts are resolved in it (this task will require bringing the plot threads together and paying especial attention to the Conditions of Victory). (20 points)
Discussion 16
Evaluate the need for Chapter 7 in the novel.Identify its relationships to and effect upon the elements. (20 points)
Final Exam

This exam will consist of five short essays which employ focus on individual elements to enhance understanding of selections from the novellas and the novel.  It will be written in a two-hour time frame and therefore be evaluated with due concern for the cleanliness of its presentation. 



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.

Points will be deducted for any other assignments that are late up to two weeks (up to ten points for papers and five points for quizzes/exams).   These points and the two-week maximum can be waived for extraordinary circumstances, but the student must communicate with me about the reason for lateness.

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.


Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Helpdesk, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.


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