Dr. Catherine E. Ross, PhD
Associate Professor of English - English 2323
Dr. Catherine Ross
Office: BUS 242
Office Hours: Tues. 2-4 PM, 5-6 PM, Thurs. 2-4, and by appointment
Office Telephone: 903-566-7275
English 2323: British Literature from 1780 to the Present
Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre, Norton Critical Edition, 3rd edn.
Fforde, Jasper. The Eyre Affair, Penguin
Norton Anthology Vol. B, The Major Authors
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein (1818 version). 2nd edn, Longman
A standard collegiate dictionary
The goals of this course are: (1) To introduce you to representative writers, texts, and concerns of British literature from the Romantic, Victorian, and Modern/Post Modern Periods so that you might learn what is characteristic of each period, what these writers have contributed to western culture, and how their lives and work relate to you. (2) To teach you how to read literary texts so you can understand what they say, begin to appreciate the aesthetic moves authors use to make meaning, and feel confident that you can tackle and make sense of demanding texts on your own. (3) To show you how much more you can learn and how much more you will enjoy that learning when you are well-prepared and actively engaged in all course activities.
Learning Outcomes: By the end of this semester, students who practice the reading and thinking methods taught in this course should be able to approach any piece of literature with confidence. More specifically, students should (1) be able to formulate a clearly defined purpose for reading an text assigned; (2) produce persuasive explications of assigned texts; (3) be more familiar with literary language and genres; (4) be able to express their own ideas and integrate them with the ideas of others in discussion and in writing; (5) understand and comment upon the period-specific themes and ideas represented in the texts read; (6) recognize how literary texts and historical, political, and/or social events relate to and shape each other.
Conduct of class: This is not a lecture class. It is a course in critical thinking and reading that requires cognitive focus and active personal engagement. The readings on our syllabus will stretch you beyond your existing expertise or abilities. In all of my classes, I endeavor to shape a social system that will enhance learning. Your part in this includes attending regularly, carefully preparing your homework assignments, and taking active part in class and/or blackboard discussions. To make sure everyone is prepared to learn in class, I give daily reading quizzes. To make sure everyone makes the best use of class time, I require everyone to speak up at least once during each class period or on that day’s blackboard discussion forum. If you do not understand something, please do not hesitate to ask questions as soon as possible—in class, on blackboard, or in emails to me or your classmates. The more you join in and give to the community, the more you will enjoy and gain from this class
While I have high expectations for you, you may expect a lot from me. Above all, you will find that I am deeply committed to help you learn; indeed, I will be delighted if everyone in this class earns an A. This does not mean that I am an easy grader or that the work will be easy. It means I will do my best to help you do the kind of work that is deserving of an A. I will explain what to expect or how to prepare for an assignment; I will model the kind of reading and thinking expected of you. I will give you opportunities to demonstrate and practice your growing cognitive skills. I will also send you reports of your scores on quizzes and tests through e-mail as soon as those documents are marked, and help you understand the errors in your work. There will be three tests, but no term paper or final exam in this class. The last test, however, will be longer than the others, will include some review material, and will count slightly more than the other two tests. I will conduct review sessions for all tests and will always be available during my office hours or via email. If you cannot come by during office hours, we can arrange an alternative time, a telephone conversation, or an email conference with you. .
Class participation: As mentioned above, besides regular attendance and careful preparation for class, this course requires active, daily participation in class and/or Blackboard discussions, response to e-mails, and conferences with me. Without this participation, do not expect to earn an A in the class. I will explain my expectations for class participation and methods of tracking it specifically on the first day of class. I strongly urge you to form a study group for this course.
Absence and Make-Up Work: I expect all students to attend every class; if you haven’t done the work, of course, you will fail that day’s quiz, but come anyway, so you can benefit from discussion and do better on the next day’s quiz. Any student who misses three classes without an approved excuse or who has regular, disruptive, and/or unexplained tardiness, will have his/her course grade lowered by one letter. (You are tardy if you arrive in class more than ten minutes after we have begun working.) Additional unexcused absences or tardiness will have further consequences. An absence is excused if a student brings a note from a physician, is participating in an away game or some other university sanctioned event, or is attending a family wedding, funeral, or other religious occasion. Except in very unusual circumstances, students who miss daily quizzes may not make them up; however, because there are so many quizzes, and because you are allowed to drop two at the end of the semester, this policy does not penalize you unfairly. If a make-up is allowed, it must be arranged in advance and take place at the beginning of class on the first day you return. It is your responsibility to initiate and fulfill these procedures; I do not have time to do this for all students in such a large class. Test make-ups will only be allowed for special circumstances or excused absences.
Grading: Your grade will be based upon your engagement with assigned texts as demonstrated in your active participation in discussions in class and on blackboard, your performance on your quizzes and tests, and your improvement over the course of the semester. I emphasize that I want everyone to make good to excellent grades in this class and will do my best to instruct, encourage, and guide you to this outcome. You must do your best at all times to show me your intellectual interest, involvement, and willingness to work. Knowing the “right” answer every time is not necessary; but you must keep your head in the game. The following formula will be used to calculate your grade:
15% Participation (class and/or BB discussion, conferences, email correspondence as required, other)
20% Daily Quizzes (two quizzes will be dropped at the end of the semester)
20% Test I: The Romantic Period
20% Test II: The Victorian Period
25% Long Test: The 20th Century, before and after
To avoid problems with borderline grades, I enforce a generous “no nines rule,” which I will explain in class. I use a grading program called MicroGrade, which allows me to send students a detailed accounting of their performance at any time through their UT Tyler Patriots email account. I will not post grades on Blackboard because MicroGrade is better and easier to use.
Class Honor System, Academic Dishonesty, and Plagiarism: The pleasures of working in a community in which members respect each other and conduct themselves honorably are significant. I expect this class to be a community that embraces these values readily. You should understand that in a very real way, scholars thrive or become irrelevant depending upon the extent of their knowledge and writing. For this reason, professors consider any kind of academic dishonesty unbecoming and unacceptable conduct. It is not dishonest to study together and to help each other learn. It is dishonest to try to cover your failure to do your work by looking at or copying others’ answers on tests and quizzes. Not only is copying others’ answers a violation of academic integrity; it belittles your character and is ruinous to everyone’s sense of community. Please understand this. Anyone who cheats, allows others to do so, or appears to be cheating will be asked to leave the class and will be given an F for the semester.
Communication: You must have daily access to e-mail and Blackboard because it is very common for questions or new ideas to come up after class has already met, and I frequently send e-mail messages to my students (including hints about up-coming quiz questions). Be sure you check your UT Tyler Patriots email address every day. It is your responsibility to make sure your Patriots email account is up and running by the second class day. If you do not have your own computer and access at home to the internet, go to the Academic Computing Center on the first floor of the BUS building for assistance.
Conferences and office hours: We need to get to know each other. You should come to see me at least twice in the semester. Schedule your first appointment as soon as possible after class begins. My office hours are listed above; if these times are inconvenient, I will be happy to set up an appointment for you at another time. Please do not wait until it is too late in the semester to see me about a problem or concern, especially if you are not doing well on quizzes or have performed poorly on a test. Research shows that students who keep in touch with their professors and who work in study groups learn and retain more. Give yourself the advantage of a good working relationship with your professor and your classmates.
Laptops, Beepers and Cell Phones: I prefer that students not use laptop computers in my classroom. If you must use one, it should be placed in such a way that it does not interfere with my view of your work and does not screen you off from your classmates. Please turn off the audible ringers for all beepers or cell phones when you are in the classroom. Text-messaging during class is rude and disruptive. Anyone found doing so will be immediately asked to leave the classroom and work done during that class period will be given a zero.
The Writing Center: Located in BUS 202, the UT-Tyler Writing Center provides writing tutoring for all students in all disciplines. While you will not be writing any long papers for this class, you will have tests that require short essays. Writing Center tutors can help you prepare for this kind of writing assignment; or, after the fact, they can help you better understand what was strong and/or weak in a test essay, so you can improve on the next test.