English 1140


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Eng. 1140


This "Syllabus" (or "Summary of the Course") is primarily for those who are deciding whether to take the course. Iit also is for those who want to read a quick summary of the course before they start.

If you already have signed up for the course and don't want to read this "Syllabus," that is fine--all of the info in this page is repeated in more detail in the rest of this English 1140 website.

Welcome to Eng 1140: Introduction to Literature!  This web page is a traditional syllabus, which summarizes the course. To see more information about the author, including contact information, go to www.RichardJewell.org.


Additional Syllabus Information from the IHCC Administration


Welcome! Welcome to Eng 1140: Introduction to Literature as taught by me--Richard Jewell, your instructor.  This four-credit course has an assumed workload of about twelve hours per week: approximately eight hours for homework and four hours for attendance activities.  The Inver Hills Community College Catalog describes this course as follows: 

ENG 1140 Introduction to Literature (MnTC 6B, 2)
4 credits; 4 classroom hours/week.
Introduces students to the methods of examining and understanding poetry, drama, novels, short stories and creative nonfiction. Prerequisite: Placement into ENG 1108 or completion of both ENG 0099 and READ 0093/0094 with a grade of C or higher. (Note: World literature emphasis)

This online section is a web and Internet class that can be taken by anybody in the world with regular access to email and the Web.  Though no one need attend anything in person at Inver Hills College for this course, there also are in-person options for some of the attendance, some of which include in-person options for any city that you may be living in. Only those experienced with using the Web should take this class.

I'd like to make this course not only interesting and helpful to you, but also enjoyable.  You must participate as actively in the class as possible online to do well--attendance is completed mostly in D2L discussion boards.  The more you put into this class, especially in the discussion boards, the more you'll enjoy it and the more rewarding you'll find it.

Literature is a wonderful and exciting field of study--if you read the right literature.  Literature asks--and sometimes answers--questions about what the meaning is of culture, society, the arts, and life itself. For this reason, we will study literature that most of you should find interesting most of the time, and as the course moves forward, there will be increasing options for you to choose in what you read. There will be many options, and these options come from ancient through modern times and from not just the U.S. and Great Britain but also from other countries and cultures.

QUICK SUMMARY OF THE COURSE: (See below for more details.)

Focuses of Course: In this particular section, you will:

  • start by reading the ancient-to-modern short stories called fairy tales,

  • then move into ancient Greek plays, choosing one of the world's most important tragedies ( Oedipus Rex/King) or one of ancient history's best sex comedies (Lysistrata),

  • then choose one of several medieval stories and books, such as Beowulf, Canterbury Tales, or King Arthur legends),

  • chose one of three great 20th century American novelists to read (Hemmingway, Morrison, or Steinbeck),

  • and finish by choosing a novel from one of three award-winning British fantasy series (Narnia, Harry Potter, or Hobbit/Lord of the Rings).

  • There is one central textbook, "Writing to Literature," which is free and on the Web, and will be used about every second to fourth week during the course.

Most of the reading assignments for the course are small paperbacks purchased at the Inver Hills Bookstore or found at other bookstores and libraries or through online purchase, new or used. And some of the course readings are free on the Web.  .

Homework: You'll write short rough drafts of papers each week that, over the next four months, will teach you how to analyze, critique, and interpret literature; use "close reading" to examine literature; and write creatively as in literature. 

I will keep you busy with plenty of reading and writing this term.  However, most of the reading should be interesting, and most of the writing will just be rough-draft, quickly-written writing for which you simply receive a checkmark of credit if you do it.  I ask for a lot of writing because an increasing number of research studies show that students remember more and learn better when they write a lot.  In addition, the frequent writing means there are no objective tests and only one graded term paper.

Attendance: You'll do most of the attendance in online D2L discussion boards. These are required. Some attendance will be "events" that can be done either online or in person, such as plays and meetings with me.

Grading: Will the grading be tough? The course, since it is 4 credits (not just 3 credits) will take more time. But if you put in the time and are willing to sometimes revise papers, you should be fine. Everyone gets the same number of points for whatever work they do; if you don't do the work, you don't get the points. My assumption is that most of you will work hard and earn an average or above-average grade. 

For the actual grading, I have an unusual way of determining your grade. I use a point system: 90- 100 points or X's for the semester equals an A+, 80-89 X's equals a B, etc. For each online attendance you complete, and each homework assignment you do, you will get 1-2 X's. Everyone must earn their X's to get their grade. And if you do something wrong, you will get another chance to fix it and earn your X's for it. Usually 80-90% of students at the end of each of my courses say I should keep using this grading system.

What am I like?  My reputation generally is "tough but fair" and, sometimes, "fun." Feel free to look me up on "Rate Your Professor." I can promise most of you that if you get a "C" or higher in this course (and especially a "B" or higher), you will have learned something that you will remember all of your life--something that you consider significant and helpful.

Please feel free to call me "Richard" or "Mr. Jewell"--or anything else that's nice.  :-)    I'm looking forward to working with you.  For more details about me, go to my website and read "About Richard."  There's a description of me, a picture, my resume, and a sample short story of mine.  I taught undergraduate writing and literature at the University of Minnesota for five years, but in mid-2001, IHCC offered me a lifetime (tenured) position.  Because of this and because I believe that two years at IHCC is as good an education as the same two years at the average private four-year college--and better than the first two years at the University of Minnesota or a state university-- I decided to come here.  I'm very glad you've chosen Inver Hills as your school.  It is an excellent school.    

Disability Services Accommodations. The IHCC Disability Services Office says, "It is the policy and practice of Inver Hills Community College to create inclusive learning environments, and provide students with disabilities reasonable accommodations so they have equal access to participate in educational programs, activities, and services. If there are aspects of the instruction or design of this course that result in barriers to your inclusion, please notify your instructor as soon as possible. For further support, and to arrange specific reasonable accommodations, students are encouraged to contact Kayla Swenson, Disability Services Coordinator/Academic Advisor, 651-450-3508, KSwenso@inverhills.mnscu.edu, Office--College Center 211."

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REQUIRED BOOKS (Bookstore/Library and Free Online. Note: you will only need some of these books, not all. See the website's "Textbooks" link at the top of each website page to determine which books you will need to choose.

  • Main Textbook, required:
    "Writing to Literature" in WritingforCollege (free online)

  • Ancient-Modern Short Stories:
    The Classic Fairy Tales
    edited by Tatar (buy) and/or The Arabian Nights (buy)

  • Ancient Classical Civilization (choose one):
    Oedipus the King
    [Oedipus Rex] by Sophocles or Lysistrata by Aristophanes (both are free online); or Myths of the Ancient Greeks (buy)

  • Medieval (choose one):
    (book--Heaney trans., buy), Canterbury Tales (free online), King Arthur literature (free online), The Honeysuckle and the Hazel Tree (medieval women's poetry, buy), or The Arabian Nights (as above)

  • Miscellaneous Legendary Literature (choose one):
    by Satrapi (graphic novel, buy), Biblical stories (free online), King Arthur literature (as above), The Arabian Nights (as above), Nobel Prizewinning poems by Pablo Neruda (free online), or the written version of any play we attend as a class requirement

  • 20th Century Fantasy Lit. (choose one):
    Old Man and the Sea
    by Hemingway, Sula by Morrison, The Pearl by Steinbeck, nonfiction Holocaust narrative Night by Elie Wiesel, or a novel by Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol or Oliver Twist). (For any of these, buy)

  • Modern fantasy literature (choose one):
    The Hobbit
    by Tolkien; Books 2, 4, and 5 of The Chronicles of Narnia by Lewis; or Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by Rowling; or 3 graphic novels from the following list: Maus, Persepolis, TBA (For any of these, buy)


How much work is a typical college class? 3 cr. = 9 hrs./wk.; 4 cr. = 12 hrs./wk. That includes both class and homework.  I'd like to ask you for your commitment this semester to the expected amount of time for work. The Inver Hills (and national) standard is three hours of work (two of homework and one of class time) per week for every college credit, to receive an average grade. This class is a four-credit class, so please plan on spending about twelve hours per week on attendance and homework: four on attendance and eight on homework.  This represents an average--some weeks may be less, some more.  It also represents the work needed by the average college student to receive a "good" grade of "A" or "B." If you are bright and read quickly but don't do the work, you will get a bad grade in the class--everyone must do the work. However, if you want an "A" or "B" are willing to keep up with all the work week to week, you should be able to reach your goal. 

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  Grading for the Semester    

Your final grade will be determined by the number of X's or points you have earned:

100 (or more) X's/points = A+
90-99 X's = A
80-89 X's = B
70-79 X's = C
60-69 X's = D
0-59 X's = F

The distribution of points or X's is as follows:

  • about 35% or 35 X's for online attendance:
    usually by 1 X or point per online attendance

  • about 10% or 10 X's for "event" attendance:
    about 1 to 4 X's per event

  • about 55%: or 55 X's for weekly rough-draft papers
    usually by 1-2 X's per paper

  • plus or minus up to 1 letter grade from the above for participation, attitude, attention, hard work

  • Extra credit is available.

Basically, you can determine your grade by how many X's you earn.  The method of doing well in this class is to earn as many X's as you can, depending on what grade you want. 

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   Attendance (Mostly by D2L Discussion Boards)

Attendance in is very important. Why? Much of what you learn will be developed through your interactions with others.  That is what much of our online classes is about--expressing your ideas, giving feedback to others, and getting it from them.  Here is a quick summary of the attendance activities:

Course Attendance

  • Online D2L Discussion Boards: This accounts for most of the attendance: roughly, about two online class activities per week--on two different discussion boards.

  • Two "event" meetings with me (Richard). The first is an in-person class group in a computer lab the first week of class (or you can give me a summary of the course website instead). The second is a consultation with me in the latter half of the course by phone or Skype or in person. 

  • 3 "event" visits--online or in person--to plays and art museums. You can do these online, by video, in person in whatever city you are in. Or you can come to the arranged, in-person visits to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (on a Th. night) that I (Richard) will coordinate, a play at a professional theater in the Twin Cities that we will attend as a group (a Thurs., Fri., Sat., or Sun.), and a play at Inver Hills College that you will attend on your own.  

For grading, you earn X's by completing your time and work.  In attendance, an "X" is about 100 min. of work.  The same is true for extra credit - about 100 min. of work per X.   

Make Up and Extra Credit: You may make up missed classes and assignments by doing extra credit.  However, you must complete at least half of the regular attendance and homework--extra credit cannot count for more than half of your work for the semester. 

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How many assignments are there? A lot. However, almost all of them are short and relatively easy weekly assignments. They include a number of short, rough-draft, quickly and even sloppily written papers done by email (or you can hand write them and turn them in). Most of them should simply be just clear enough, with subtitles, for me to read them, not revised, and written as quickly as you can.  You'll get one or two points or "X's" for doing each one, and at the end of the semester you'll receive a grade based on how many points or X's you've received.  It may help to think of these papers like lab practice in a biology course: they will show me you've done the readings and help you practice writing to literature and think about your readings more.  I am doing these kinds of assignments instead of having objective tests or graded papers because I believe that in the long run, you'll learn more from writing on a weekly basis about what you've read.    

All papers must be on time (but in my online classes, I allow assignments in Wks. 1-15 to be up to one week late without penalty). After that time, late papers will not accepted as homework because you need to do the homework to be able to talk in online attendance discussions with others. Homework is generally due by Thursday midnight each week. 


Please remember that you you consider these as "lab" papers--written in rough-draft form--without worrying about grammatical usage, spelling, or punctuation:

How many assignments are there?  There are many.  Most, however, are short and relatively easy.  Be sure to check the "Schedule" regularly to see what is due.  If you run into a true emergency, do call me or come see me before homework is late.
(NOTE: Complete instructions are given in this website for how to write these papers.)

  • Reading Analyses (RA): Write brief outline descriptions of each story, poem, essay, or other reading for the week using the elements of literature.  

  • Expanded Analysis (EA): Choose one reading and write a 300+ word analysis of it, simply describing it by using 5-6 of the elements of literature.

  •  Interpretive Thesis (IT): Choose one reading and write a 300+word interpretation of what some part of it might possibly mean.

  • Literary Review (LR): Choose one reading (or two to three) and write a 300+ word review of it, using summary, interpretation/comparison, and evaluation of quality.

  • Creative Writing (CW): Late in the course, I'll ask you to write some 600+ w. true or made up stories using the elements of literature you will have learned by then.

  • Class Journals (CJ): Write two 300-word journals about class at the beginning and end of the term.

  • Personal Response (PR): Write your personal response, 300+ w., to one or more of the week’s readings.


I am committed to supporting the learning of all students in my class. If you have already registered with Office of Accessibility Resources and have your Letter of Accommodation, please meet with me early in the course to discuss, plan, and implement your accommodations in the course. If you have or think you have a disability (learning, sensory, physical, chronic health, or mental health), please contact the Office of Accessibility staff to learn more about the services and supports available for students with disabilities at Inver Hills. OAR staff can be reached at 651-450-3884, by visiting the office in the Learning Center (L207) or by visiting the website at www.inverhills.edu/LearningSupport/AccessibilityResources/


Any student who faces financial challenges securing their food or housing and believes this may affect their performance in the course is urged to contact the counseling department for support.  The phone number is 651-450-3864 and email is counseling@inverhills.edu. Furthermore, please notify me if you are comfortable in doing so.  This will allow me to help connect you personally with the counseling department.


The Mobile Pantry is brought to Inver through a partnership with The Open Door Pantry.  Students can select FREE food for themselves and their family members.  The food includes FRESH fruit and vegetables, deli items, dairy items, meat, eggs and also some other nonperishable items.  Students can also get things like DIAPERS or formula for their children or other personal hygiene items!  The Mobile Pantry is on campus Wednesday afternoons 12-2:30.  There are no income requirements or limitations.  All students are eligible. If you have questions or would like to sign up for this resource please call our counseling appointment line at 651-450-3508 or email us at counseling@inverhills.edu  and ask to make an mobile pantry intake appointment with a counselor.


I hope you enjoy the class.  If there's anything I can do to help you enjoy it more--alternatives, help with understanding something, etc.--come see me, email me anytime, or call me from 9 am-9 pm.  My phone number, email address, and other info are at www.RichardJewell.org.                   

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This "Syllabus" page summarizes the course. All of the information on this page is repeated, with much more detail, in the rest of this website. 

Scroll down or click here for the following parts of this "Syllabus" page:

The Course in General

Textbooks & Workload







 Updated Jan. 2018

1st Ed., 27 Dec. 2009
2nd Ed., 1 Oct. 2014

Contact: Richard Jewell

Text and images are copyrighted by Richard Jewell (unless otherwise noted) and may be used for nonprofit academic purposes with no permission required. This website is for a course at Inver Hills Community College, a two-year college with full national Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation. (Some four-year degrees also are offered on-campus in collaborations with HLC-accredited four-year colleges.) Inver Hills College is part of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnState), one of the two largest such U.S. college and university systems..