During the next eleven weeks, we'll read and discuss eight of Shakespeare's plays. We'll examine their themes, their language and poetry, their historical background, their place in Shakespeare's development.
No textbooks have been ordered for this course because all of Shakespeare's plays are easily available on the Internet for free. In the Web Links tool on the left-hand tool bar, I've posted a link to a website with full on-line texts of all the plays. If you prefer to read a physical copy, the plays are widely available in inexpensive paperback editions. I recommend he Signet or Penguin editions. You'll find them at Barnes and Noble or the University Bookstore, or you can order them from Amazon.
In addition, I recommend the Arkangel series of audio productions of the plays. You may find it helpful to listen to the plays as you read them.
Plays to be discussed
An "outcome" is something you should be able to do at some minimum level (C-) or better by the end of the quarter. The course assignments are designed to help you achieve these outcomes step by step.
By the end of the course you should be able to
This course is an introduction to Shakespeare as a dramatist. Its aim is to help you read and appreciate Shakespeare's plays. We'll begin in the first week by discussing Elizabethan England and the basics of Elizabethan drama. Then we'll do close readings of the plays, which represent the major genres in which Shakespeare wrote (comedy, tragedy, history, romance) and which cover the course of his career.
We'll use Vista's threaded discussion to talk about the plays. Discussions will be prompted by your own discussion papers, as well as my observations and questions as we read the plays. One of the themes I see running through all these plays is power: an examination of the limits and duties of those in authority, legitimate kinds of authority, and the consequences of illegitimate uses of power. You'll discover and discuss other important themes in the course of your reading.
Most college instructors assume that you'll study one to two hours outside of class for every hour you spend in the classroom—a total of 10-15 hours per week for a five-credit course. I expect roughly the same total time commitment, even though you are not coming to classes on-campus.
However, in an on-line class, you are in control of your own time. You'll never be required to meet on-campus or to be on-line at a specific hour.
The Vista course calendar will show exam dates and the dates by which I expect you to complete the reading and writing assignments.
To participate fully, you'll need to read each play more than once, visualize it in your mind as a living performance, work on your understanding of Shakespeare's vocabulary and syntax, ask and investigate questions of interpretation about the plays, and think out and support possible answers to the discussion questions I post.
Four Discussion Papers (20 points: 5 points each)
A discussion paper is a short paper that addresses a question of interpretation about some aspect of our reading. It may explore possible avenues of approach to the question or propose and support one or more answers. It is not a a research paper or even a polished essay, but it should be literate and spelled correctly.
The purpose of this paper is to provoke a useful discussion. You'll post each paper in the on-line discussion, and the entire class will discuss it. Writing and reading discussion papers is a good way to gain perspective on new material and explore diverse points of view.
If English is not your native language, don't worry if your grammar isn't perfect. I won't grade anyone down for grammar mistakes unless they interfere with readers' understanding of the ideas in the paper.
Due dates are cast in concrete. A discussion paper is of little value if your group doesn't have enough time to respond to it. If you post a paper late, but within the discussion period, I'll take off points according to how late it is. A paper that is not posted within the discussion period will receive a zero.
Weekly Discussion (30 points: 10 weeks, 3 points each)
Each week, you'll respond to the ideas in the posted discussion papers. The discussion will focus on understanding the reading and exploring ideas, not on critiquing the papers.
Expect to spend a considerable amount of time reading and commenting on the discussion. The purpose of the discussion is to explore the meaning of the myth within its original culture and within our own and to relate the myth to the terminology, assumptions, and critical concepts of myth studies.
The on-line discussion does not take place in a chat room. You will not have to be on-line at a specific hour in order to participate. However, you must post your responses early enough in the response period for others to comment on them and for you to answer back.
The due dates for discussion comments are cast in concrete. If you don't post your comments by midnight of the day the discussion closes, they won't count for points. But do go on talking about a topic if you're finding it interesting.
On a separate page (Discussion Papers and Discussion), you'll find more detailed advice about writing and discussing your papers.
Critical Analysis Paper (10 points)
You'll write one substantial paper (4-5 pages) that discusses in detail some critical insight you've developed about two or more of the plays.
Two Exams (40 points: 20 points each)
The exams are cumulative. Exam 2 will require you to relate current reading to material covered in the first part of the course.
Before computing final grades, I may give one extra credit point to people who have consistently contributed in some special way to the life of the discussion. The total of extra credit points is capped at three, including extra points gained on quizzes. No other extra credit is available.
Starting at the beginning of Week 3, your cumulative points will be available to you on-line at all times. Your personal records are password protected. The other students will not be able to see them.
Here's the grade scale I'll use.
You are responsible for
I accept responsibility for
My on-line week runs from Sunday evening to Friday afternoon. I am seldom on-line between Friday evening and Sunday afternoon.
Discussion papers and exam essays must present your own ideas in your own words. If you use someone elses exact words to illustrate or support your ideas, you must put them in quotation marks. If you summarize or quote someone elses ideas, facts, or words, you must state your source and the page number of the idea or quotation.
I wont accept a paper you've copied from an outside source, one in which your main point comes from an outside source, or one in which you use words or ideas from an outside source without citing the source. These are called plagiarisms. I also wont accept a paper you've written for a previous course.
Ill give a plagiarism or a recycled paper a zero and send a report to the Dean of Students. A second offense will result in an F for the course.
For more information, read the official policy of the Division of Arts and Humanities: "Student Procedures and Expectations" http://www.bcc.ctc.edu/artshum/studentinfo.html
Bellevue Community College Affirmation of Inclusion
Bellevue Community College is committed to maintaining an environment in which every member of the campus community feels welcome to participate in the life of the college, free from harassment and discrimination.
We value our different backgrounds at BCC, and students, faculty, staff members, and administrators are to treat one another with dignity and respect.
Office Hours and Appointments
My spring quarter on-campus drop-in office hours are 10:30-11:20 Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you're usually on-campus at those hours, please feel free to drop by and see me without an appointment. I'm in R230 on the second floor of the R building. I'll usually be at the big table behind the secretarial cubicles, so I won't be available by telephone. If you need to get in touch, please e-mail me.
If you'd like to meet with me in person but have to make a special trip to campus to do so, it's best to make an appointment by e-mail, even if you're planning to come during my office hours. There may be a school holiday that you aren't aware of, or I may be having conferences in the Writing Lab with my on-campus class. For a meeting outside my normal office hours, you'll need an appointment.
If you have emergency medical information to share, or need special arrangements or course modifications because of a disability, please let me know right away. If you're not already acquainted with our Disability Resource Center (DRC), I can refer you there, or you may contact the DRC directly by going to B132 or by calling (425) 564-2498 or TTY (425) 564-4110. Information is also available on their website at http://bellevuecollege.edu/drc/
New to On-line Courses?
If you're new to on-line courses and are feeling confused or overwhelmed, take heart; you aren't alone. Your first on-line course is bound to be a bit alarming at the beginning. Before the course starts, you might want to do the on-line Vista tutorial posted on the Distance Education website. You'll find it at http://bellevuecollege.edu/distance/studentguide/. Once the course starts, don't be afraid to ask questions, express distress, or come see me in person to get help.