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Undergraduate Course Descriptions
SUMMER I 2016
Introduction to Professional Writing
We use writing in our everyday lives to communicate change, give instructions, and create relationships. We write to inform, request, offer apologies, lodge complaints, and seek clarification. In this course we will use a rhetorical lens to consider what it means to be an effective, efficient, and ethical composer in the workplace and in our social and civic lives. To do so we will explore a wide array of composing tools and strategies. And we will reflect on how these strategies and tools apply across contexts. Throughout the semester students will work with design software and utilize a variety of media to do workplace research, perform audience analysis, and conduct usability testing. By the end of the semester each student will have compiled a portfolio of work in both digital and print media.
Introduction to Professional Writing
Students should have basic technology skills and have access to the Internet and Blackboard. Students should be adept with using email, attachments, and blackboard. The course will introduce students to strands of Professional Writing like design, resume writing, document design and multimedia. Students will also review and evaluate a number of online and traditional texts ranging from websites to professional reports. Students will also learn the ways with which professional writers work with multiple documents and files of various types. While students will work with traditional documents, they will also address composing with multimedia. Access to Blackboard and the Internet for the full first summer session is required by all students.
Introduction to Professional Writing
In this class, you will reflect on how rhetoric and visual design can inform effective communication in collaborative and technologically diverse contexts. Using print and online tools, you will explore the composing process through invention, collaboration, audience analysis, and revision. Besides composing traditional professional genres, like memos, proposals, instructions, and public relations materials, you will also reflect on how these can be redesigned and delivered in digital and networked contexts. Consequently, you will be required to experiment with various emerging Web 2.0 technologies, culminating in a major design project purposed for a specific professional audience. This course will enhance your ability to compose well-designed, persuasive, and purposeful texts in a variety of professional and academic contexts.
In this course, students will become familiar with Greek, Roman, and Norse mythologies and learn different approaches to the study of myths. They will also explore how mythological narratives affect our own culture and can inform our reading of literature. Students will spend time considering the recent cultural interest in superheroes (e.g., why are “origin stories” so important in comic book mythology?); the presence of Trickster and Badman figures in rap music and hip-hop culture (e.g., from N.W.A. to the Notorious B.I.G.); and, especially, the ways in which contemporary writers revise and rewrite traditional myths. Finally, students will have the opportunity to consider the presence of myth in contemporary cinema.
This is a fully online course. Assignments may include weekly discussion board participation, short quizzes, and writing activities (formal and informal).
British Literature to 1800
As a survey of British literature fromBeowulf(first recited in the eighth century) to the death of Samuel Johnson (1784), the course will consider such major authors as Geoffrey Chaucer, Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, John Milton, Jonathan Swift, and Samuel Johnson; a broad variety of genres, including narrative poetry, utopian fiction, tragedy, comedy, Christian epic, travel narrative, biography, and the periodical essay; topical and thematic concerns such as wit, imagination, art and nature, reason and passion, life choices, happiness, gender roles, marriage, and crime and punishment; such concerns as the value and purpose of literature, strategies of interpretation, and various factors that figure into the enduring permanence of our featured writers; and the relevance of selected works to other works of literature students have read, the current arena of local, national and international affairs, contemporary popular culture, and other academic courses students have taken. In addition to such standard canonical texts as Chaucer’sCanterbury Tales, Sir Thomas More’sUtopia, Christopher Marlowe’sDoctor Faustus, Ben Jonson’sVolpone, and John Milton’sParadise Lost, we will also be reading and discussing a number of texts with which you are most likely familiar such as Mary Astell’s “Some Reflections upon Marriage,” Daniel Defoe’s “The Cons of Marriage,” Aphra Behn’s prose novellaOroonoko, or The Royal Slave, Eliza Haywood’s prose novellaFantomima; or, Love in a Maze, Jonathan Swift’s “The Lady’s Dressing Room,” and Samuel Johnson’s prose novellaThe History of Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia. Required texts: Geoffrey Chaucer,The Canterbury Tales(translated into modern English by Nevill Coghill);The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. 1B: The Sixteenth Century and the Early Seventeenth Century; The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol C: The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century.
World Literature to 1600
We will range widely in time and geographical location to encounter a representative sampling of the rich variety in world literature during a period of over 4000 years. Readings will include the Gilgamesh epic; selections from the Hebrew Bible and ancient Egyptian poetry; selections from Homer (Iliad and/or Odyssey); Oedipus the King by Sophocles; selections from ancient Chinese Literature (The Classic of Poetry and the Analects of Confucius); selections from ancient India (the Bhagavad-Gita); selections from Roman poetry (Catullus, Ovid, and perhaps Virgil); selections from the Christian Bible; selections from the Qur’an; Dante’s Inferno. Reading quizzes; class participation; written responses; midterm and final tests. Text: The Norton Anthology of World Literature. Ed. Martin Puchner. Vol. 1. Shorter 3rd ed.
Women in Literature
In this course we will examine literary representations of women by authors who at some point identify as women. We will begin with the introduction to Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar’s landmark work, The Madwoman in the Attic, as well as Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own” and Alice Walker’s “In Search of our Mothers’ Gardens,” and discuss the cultural, economic, and political factors that historically have affected western women’s writing. We will explore multiple genres, including poetry, fiction, young adult literature, graphic narrative, and essays. We will look at how women create narrative about women’s experiences, and consider factors including class, sexuality, race, gender identity, modes of production, activism, and motherhood. Our work together will not seek to reduce women’s writing to a common denominator of qualities, but rather, explode existing categories.
Reading and Writing Arguments
Students should have basic technology skills and have access to the Internet and Blackboard. Students should be adept with using email, attachments, and blackboard. The course will focus on using rhetorical strategies to develop and formulate persuasive and argumentative essays that will evaluate and critique multiple sides of an argument. Students will compose arguments and work with new media to examine, analyze, and articulate their own arguments and the arguments of others, considering rhetorical principles like audience, purpose, arrangement, and media. Students will be expected to conduct research, write thoughtfully and ethically.
*Access to Blackboard and the Internet throughout the full first summer session is required by all students.
Writing for Business
Professional writing is not just crossing the T's and dotting the I's. Writing on the job requires knowing the types of documents that are familiar to our bosses and co-workers, so they can find information quickly. Each of these documents has certain conventions and requirements we need to master to communicate effectively - and efficiently - in the workplace. In this course, we will focus on analyzing and producing rhetorically effective workplace writing with an eye to audience awareness, using different genres, and developing a professional tone throughout. Students will work individually and in groups on projects that range from letters and resumes to reports and proposals. The course is suitable for students of any major who want to improve their professional writing skills and thus their career potential. Text: Meyer, Sebranek, and Van Rhys, Write for Business/A Compact Guide to Writing & Communicating in the Workplace.
Introduction to Linguistics
What can language tell us about ourselves and our communities? In this introductory linguistics course we will address how language reveals important aspects of our social identities. As a member of this class you will conduct original research and produce a language podcast. You might choose to explore sociolinguistic topics such as language and gender; language and sexuality; code-switching; language shift; language variation; ethnic and regional dialects; and bilingual and multilingual education. Through reading about a range of approaches to studying language in the field, you will gain the necessary foundation for analyzing contemporary social issues that matter to you. Required text: Finegan, Language: Its Structure and Use, Sixth Edition.
Shakespeare: Early Plays/Poems
This course covers six plays chosen from those written in the first part of Shakespeare’s career to represent the major genres of tragedy (Titus Andronicus), history (Henry VI, Parts 1, 2, and 3, and Richard III), and comedy ( The Comedy of Errors); selected sonnets; and a narrative poem like Venus and Adonis or The Rape of Lucrece. We will give attention to matters like cultural context, gender, and genre. There will be special emphasis on various aspects of performance. Reading quizzes, informal response papers, oral presentation, critical paper, midterm and final exams. Text: Bevington, ed., The Complete Works of Shakespeare, 7th ed.
Literature for Young Adults
There is no better time to read young adult literature than the summer and this course will provide you with the best beach reading available: the “canon” of young adult literature. In this course we will read seminal titles as well as some modern “classics,” and will interrogate texts from various critical lenses discussing issues such as censorship, race, gender, class, and sexual orientation and identity.
Summer II 2016
Introduction to Professional Writing
This course prepares you to face workplace challenges that require professional communication skills in terms of writing and presentation. It will enable you to develop critical appreciation for core technical concepts including audience, context, persuasion, and purpose in writing situations with an emphasis on ethics in communication. You will be exposed to writing a variety of business collaterals, such as resumes, memos, proposals and reports in different contexts and for different purposes. Additionally, this course puts a huge emphasis on information design from a visual communication framework and challenges students to create technical documents from a defined visual perspective. Most importantly, you will find opportunities to collaborate with peers to share expertise, knowledge, and experience in a service-learning framework. By the end of this course, you will learn to design effective technical documents to solve problems with attention to text, visuals, format, usability, and citation.
Introduction to Literary Studies
ENG 205 studies a mix of texts with an eye toward constructing meaning in a collaborative setting. This iteration will adopt popular fiction of the 20th century as our primary lens through which we will examine constructions of race, gender, culture, and sex and to understand theoretical discourses and vocabularies.
Ashley Bissette Sumerel
In this course, students will become familiar with Greek, Roman, and Norse Mythology, as well as myths from other cultures. In addition to critical analysis of the myths, students will learn different approaches to the study of mythology, and explore how mythological narratives affect our own culture and can inform our reading of literature.
This is a fully online course. Assignments may include weekly discussion board participation, writing activities, quizzes, essays, and a final project.
American Literature to 1870
American Literature to 1870 examines the work of American authors from the 16th through the 19th century from literary, historical, and aesthetic perspectives, noting patterns and breaks in chronological trajectories. While the course focuses on the aesthetics of different literary genres, it also situates texts within historical and national contexts, including exploration and colonization, 18th-century and revolutionary writings, and the Romantic era. Students learn to appreciate and to analyze a variety of American literary texts, hone their critical reading skills, sharpen their essay-writing skills through the practices of outlining, drafting, and revising, creating original, sustained, thoughtful, and persuasive arguments, and improve their communication skills in writing and class discussions.