Starting the course? Read this Home Page,
Welcome to English 1140: Introduction to Literature!
If you'd like a brief summary of the course before starting it, go the Syllabus. The "Syllabus" is simply a quick summary of the main elements of this website.
What is this course about? Try these questions: What makes for "good" literature? Does it have to be old and/or crusty and difficult to read? Or can it also be exciting and enjoyable, and either very modern or very ancient? Can short stories, graphic novels, songs, and popular books (like Lord of the Rings be considered true "literature"? What are different ways of writing about literature--or just writing literature? Can literature affect us deeply? Is literature important?
Follow your head, your heart, and your interests through hundreds and even thousands of years of storytelling throughout the world and imagination in our Western literatures. By the end of this course, you will have many answers--and perhaps even more you could ask--about many of these questions and much more.
A brief note: This Intro to Lit course section emphasizes world literature. This means you have the option to choose works (in English) not only from ancient through modern times, but also from a number of countries and cultures in different parts of the world.
I'm very glad to be working with you. Most students who finish this course with a "C" or higher, when they take it from me, say that they have enjoyed the course quite a bit. They also say how much the course has helped them understand literature, culture, and thinking and writing about literature.
1. The first class for attendance can be satisfied in one of these two ways:
Attending in either way ("A" or "B" above) will give you the same amount of attendance credit for Week 1 of the course.
2. Please also determine whether you are ready for this
This class will take a lot of time, and it demands a good deal of work. It
is a 4-credit class--which means it is about 33% more time-consuming
(with a third more work!) than the usual 3-credit class: Be prepared to do the national collegiate
standard for the 1st and 2nd years of college of twelve (12) hours of
work per week to do well in a 4-credit class.
and click on the link near the bottom of the page that says "B.R.E.A.T.H.E. Document." Read it carefully. After reading it, if you have any further doubts, take the simple MnSCU quiz at
If you then still believe that this is the class for you, then please continue reading below:
WEEK 1: BASICS AND EMAILING ME
I am glad to be working with you in this online section of "English 1140-Introduction to Literature" for this semester! I expect the course to be interesting and fun. There are both homework assignments (sent by email) and online classes to attend (by D2L messages). The course study materials include work with classic fairy tales, Greek myth, classic American novels, and recent classic British fantasy literature, along with the option to read a number of literary readings for extra credit or replacement credit.
In addition to online attendance, we'll be seeing (either individually, alone, online or by video; or physically, in person) two different plays. And we'll be seeing "literary" art (either individually, alone, online; or physically, in person, at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts on a Thurs. night). I hope you'll enjoy the class!
I'll look forward to getting your Week 1 attendance assignment--or seeing you in the Week 1 optional computer-lab meeting! If you have questions or concerns ahead of time, please feel free to email, call, or drop by during my on-campus office hours in the spring. Click here for information about my office hours and
When you contact me by email or send your email homework assignments, please send emails to
Please do not use my IHCC email address. My emails there are delivered slowly, sometimes, occasionally several days later. In addition, that email system is down more often than my email address above.
I will be sending you emails each week. If you
are NOT getting emails from me each week, please note that (1) I am using
your email address that you gave the school (if you want me to use a
different or additional one, let me know!), and (2) occasionally, a
student's private email system may reject email from people it does not
recognize, or from people who send emails frequently. For this reason,
you may need to add my email address to your "safe sender" or "trusted sender"
The best way to check for updates is to
Please remember that the official "Schedule" of weekly assignments, though
probably 98% accurate, may have additions and/or changes made on occasion.
This is especially true for those choosing the option of attending in-person
events: these may not be scheduled until several weeks before they happen.
Other changes occasionally are made, too. Because of such changes, you
should always check for updates. If there are any significant changes, I
also will tell you about them in the weekly "Eng 1140" email that I send at
the beginning of each new week.
Your grade for the class is based on a system of X's, with 100 X's (100 points or 100%) equaling a perfect A+. 90 X's is the minimum for an "A," 80 X's for a "B," etc., as shown above.. You choose what grade you want. You may earn your X's in four ways:
Absolute Minimums for Passing:
To get a "D" or better in this class, you must do the following:
This class is a 4-credit class. The hours required for this online class are not less than the same class when taught on campus in a regular, physical classroom. An online class should not have "fewer hours" just because it is online (except possible time saved in driving to and from campus), nor should it be "easier"--the workload is supposed to be the same. You do not get to "skip class time" in an online class: instead, time normally spent in a physical classroom on campus is supposed to be converted, in an online course, to additional time spent online. If any time is saved, it may only be in not having to drive to school.
In fact, the overall work load of a
course, whether online or traditional, is governed by a national
understanding among colleges and universities. This understanding
states that a first- or second-year college course should require about 3
hours of work each week for every credit (counting both class attendance and
homework time). This would mean that in a 4-credit class, the total
amount of work time--both class attendance and homework time--should be
about 12 hrs./wk. Some people may need to do more than that if they want more than a "D" or a
"C." If you cannot handle this much work per week, then you should
drop this course.
There will be five "events" that count as attendance. You may do them alone, either online or on your own time, or you may do them as in-person activities:
1. An initial introduction to the course, either by writing 500+ w. (as described above) about the website; or by attending a computer-lab class in person in the first week of class.
2. A "literary" visit to one or more museums. This can be accomplished by visiting online museums and looking for "literary" references, objects, or art pieces in those museums, and then writing 300 w. about the experience, for a total of 200 min. of time (3 hrs. and 20 min.) or by attending a Thurs. evening group tour at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (with Richard visiting with you, and a tour given by a docent of the museum) and writing about 300 w. about the experience.
3. Seeing two live plays or the equivalent (about 800 min. total, for both). This can be accomplished by watching specifically assigned plays/videos for this purpose and writing 600 words about them for a total time of 800 min. Or it can be accomplished by attending one Inver Hills College play on your own and one professional play at a theater using reduced-rate group tickets (purchased and organized by Richard), and writing 300+ w. about each play experience.
Do NOT buy the books immediately, even the Tatar fairy tales book, until you read how to purchase the books! You do NOT need to buy all of the books, just some of them! (And if you try to buy the Tatar book on your own, it's possible to make a very expensive and incorrect choice!) So, please go to the
web page in this website before buying books.
This "Books & Webs" link is also at the top of every page in this web site,
in the top navigation bar.
Week 15 Consultations: In early or mid-November, please let me know some times that will work for you for a consultation. See the times below. Send me two or three options. You may have an in-person consultation in my B-136 office at IHCC, as below. (Wait until the "2019" version is showing--an old version is still below until mid-Nov. or so.)
Or you may choose a telephone or Skype consultation at a time that we mutually work out. Both of us would be on our computers with a copy of your paper in front of us on the computer. (You'd email it to me ahead of time.) You would then phone or Skype me at the time we have scheduled. Telephone or Skype consultation times tend to work best for me in the early afternoons of most Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
Or you may meet me in a coffee house near me on a Mon., Wed., Fri., or Sat. afternoon, in South Minneapolis near the freeway.
Consultations are not required. But if you do not have a consultation, you will not get your 2 X's of attendance credit for it.
During the consultation: The purpose is to talk about your Final Project. We also can talk about what grade you are earning, if you want. Bring your Draft 1 and your Draft 2 final project to the consultation. I'd prefer to see your D-2 at the consultation, if at all possible, even if only part of it.
Why a Consultation? Each consultation is worth 1 X/point. Even though it is only 15 minutes, those 15 minutes of meeting with me can be invaluable sometimes. I can give you tips and pointers for finishing the final paper.
I hope you enjoy the class! Many people are surprised, by the end of it, not only by how much they have learned but also by how much better they feel that they now understand some of the deeper and broader aspects of literature and of literary writing. If you need anything, be sure to contact me by email, phone, or in person.
Above photo: Discussion of ideas
in a classroom.
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