Instructor:                                     David Owens

e-mail:                               [email protected]

Phone:                               (509) 527 - 4425

Office:                               Main Building - D111

Office Hours:                    By Appointment


Online Peer Mentoring:


Required Texts and Materials(click on the link for more detailed information)

·         Anderson, M.T. – Feed (a novel)

·         Satrapi, MarjaneThe Complete Persepolis (a graphic novel)

·         Tamaki, Mariko – Skim (a graphic novel)

·         Yu, Jessica – Protagonist (a film)

Course Objectives:

At the end of the course, students should have demonstrated an ability to:

·         Interpret complex forms of literature to derive meaning or themes and evaluate the interpretations of others by comparing them back to the text

·         Identify and articulate complex ideas and themes in stories and poems through thoughtful discussion or written assignments and distinguish their own world view from the theme of a story or poem

·         Practice and successfully apply strategies and concepts specific to various forms of literature, such as plays, poems, short stories, novels, film, and comics, from various cultures and historic times

·         Apply literary terms and concepts to various pieces of literature to analyze how they work


Orientation Quiz and Survey

   20 points

Weekly Quizzes

 130 points

Discussion Board Forums

 500 points

Moderating a Forum

   40 points

Synchronous Sessions

   80 points

Assignment 1: Literary Analysis of Persepolis

   50 points

Assignment 2: Narrative Analysis Assignment        

   80 points

Assignment 3: Creative Response to a Class Text

 100 points  




1000 points  

Contacting the Instructor: If you have a general question about the class, your first step should be to look at the Course Forum to see if I have already answered it. If your concern isn't already addressed there, post your question, and you will usually get a response within 24 hours. If it has been over 24 hours, or if it is a question of a personal nature, then feel free to contact me directly.

            The best way to contact me, at any time of day, is to email me through Canvas. At any reasonable time of day, you can usually get a response from me within two hours, if it is clear that a response is called for.

Reading: I don't believe in setting a schedule for reading a longer work chapter by chapter, so I will expect you to have an entire novel, film or play read, watched, or listened to by the beginning of our discussion. You may then feel free to go back and re-read, re-watch or re-listen to it in part or whole during the week we discuss it.

            I hope that you will find many of our texts enjoyable, but I know that you will find some of our texts challenging. I expect that you will approach all readings in this class by trying to understand each text in its own context as well as being able to productively articulate your own thoughts and feelings about it. Even if you find something boring, confusing or even offensive at first, I hope that your response will be to re-engage with it, ask questions about it, re-read it, roll it around in your head, and write about what you don't understand or what bothers you on the discussion board. When all else fails, read the text again. Even if you think you understand the text perfectly, reading it (or parts of it) will often yield different interpretations, expanded understanding, and deeper insight.

Copyright Notice: Many of the materials posted to this course site are protected by copyright law. These materials are only for the use of students enrolled in this course and only for the purposes of this course. They may not be further retained or disseminated.

Synchronous Sessions: Collaborate is a program designed for real-time interaction between instructors and students. I will hold 2 one hour long class discussions on Collaborate every Wednesday during our classroom session, which is open to any student who would like to attend. Full participation in each session will earn you 10 points: 5 points for being present and demonstrating that you have read the text, and up to 5 points for participation (for a possible 20 points if you stay for both hours on Wednesday). In order to participate in the session online during regular Wednesday sessions, you will need to log in at the beginning of class and be able to listen through speakers or headphones. A headset with a microphone can be more convenient, but it isn't necessary. Most students type their questions and responses.

            If you are not able to participate in as many sessions as you would like, you can earn 5 points by listening to recordings of each session that I will post in the “Collaborate Session Recordings” Module. This will also be important because lecture materials from the sessions might show up in quizzes. Unfortunately, Canvas does not tell me when you listen to a recording, so you’ll need to post the secret phrase (or three specific things you learned from the session) to the session assignment drop box to get credit for it.

            The synchronous sessions are a fairly essential part of the class, and I hope you will find them valuable enough to participate beyond this 80 point obligation even if it is only by listening to the recordings. However, in order to encourage you to do at least that much, I have made earning at least 60 points through the Collaborate sessions a requirement for getting an A in the class. You'll need at least 50%  (40 points) in Collaborate to earn a B or better. (You can earn 40 points simply by participating in two full class sessions or listening to 8 of the 20 session recordings, so this is not a huge obligation.) There are 200 points available here if you fully participate in every session, so that's a possible 120 points of extra credit.

            It is important to know that Collaborate is a java application that pops up in a new window. In order to run it successfully, you will need to make sure that your java software is updated and that you can set your browser to allow some pop-ups if it tends to block or filter them automatically. Currently, all links to future recordings will link you directly to the Blackboard Collaborate page. Once I have recorded that session, that link will move to the left and the link will take you directly to the recording.

Discussion Forums: The bulk of your grade this quarter will come from Discussion Forums. Each week we will have from 2 to 5 discussion forums, and you are expected to post at least one paragraph to each or earn a penalty of -5 to your overall score for each forum that you fail to contribute to before it closes (usually on Sunday). No matter how many forums there are, you should plan to contribute at least 5 paragraphs to forums each week in order to earn the full 50 points for the week. Every week I will look at your total contributions and evaluate them on the following rubric:

·         Student posted at least 5 substantial paragraphs (at least one per forum) in a timely manner

·         At least two of those were responses to other posts (all of them can be)

·         The posts represent a thoughtful and reflective response to the text rather than a knee-jerk reaction

·         The posts contribute materially to the discussion directed by the prompt (demonstrates original thought and moves the conversation forward)

·         The posts demonstrate a detailed and comprehensive understanding of the text with no obvious misreadings

·         The posts should attempt to apply some of the literary concepts and terms in this course

·         The posts should be fairly well proofread, focused, and without excessive padding

            Going beyond these expectations can earn you up to 10 extra credit points per week for a possible 100 points of extra credit throughout the quarter.           

Also note, plagiarism of any kind, from outside sources or from other students, will not be tolerated and will very likely result in a failing grade for the class.               

Moderating a Forum: In addition to posting to forums every week, you and at least one other student will be assigned to monitor and moderate one of our forums this quarter. To earn the full 40 points, you should start the conversation off with a few observations and questions (this will count as your usual post for the forum) and then come back periodically to keep the conversation moving by responding to threads and asking questions. At the end of the week (by Saturday night), you should post a summary of the main ideas that came out of the discussion, including the live discussion if the forum was addressed in class. You and your partners can divide these tasks up in whatever way seems to work best as long as it all gets done and everyone contributes in roughly equal measure.

Quizzes: Quizzes will come in two varieties: comprehension and concept. Comprehension quizzes will open a week before modules in which we discuss one of our major works and will need to be mastered (4 out of 5 points) before you gain access to those modules, but you will have unlimited number of attempts. They will consist of straightforward questions about the content of the readings. Your first comprehension quiz will be over the syllabus to make sure you understand how the class works, and mastering it will unlock module 1.

            Concept quizzes require that you apply some of our literary concepts to any text that we have read since the last concept quiz, including the readings for the current week. At the end of the quarter, there will be a slightly more comprehensive concept quiz that will look back on all the readings for the quarter. Each new concept quiz will open as soon as the previous one closes, but you will only have 25 attempts at each one to get your best score. Your first concept quiz will be over the glossary terms and the week 1 readings.

            After the first week, you will typically only have to worry about one quiz per week, either a comprehension or a concept quiz, which will close Saturday at midnight of the module in which the text was discussed. However, you’ll want to start taking them as soon as they open to make sure the modules open in a timely manner and so that you can get help on the concept quizzes from the Course Forum or the synchronous sessions.

Assignments: Three times during the quarter, you will be asked to submit a project outside of the discussion forum structure. The first will ask that you demonstrate your understanding of our glossary terms by using them to explain how a chapter of Persepolis develops its theme. The second will ask you to more closely examine narrative point of view by rewriting a short scene from one of our stories or poems and explain how the new version changes our understanding of theme or character in the entire work. The third is a creative response to one of our texts or themes that can take any form that can be digitized and uploaded to the web, and is to be accompanied by an analytical rationale.

Course Overview (Weekly Schedule): The ENGL 111 work week runs from Sunday to Saturday, but you should think of it as a two week cycle that begins the week before a reading is due. Take our novel, Feed, for example. Ideally, you should start reading Feed on the Sunday at the beginning of week 3, when the Feed reading quiz opens. While you are reading, you should take the quiz a few times to focus your reading and to make sure you have mastered it so that you can open the module for week 4 before the next Sunday (this is especially important if you are responsible for moderating one of the Feed forums). In the meantime, you would also be composing a draft of the Persepolis chapter analysis, which is your first major assignment, and then responding to other people's drafts. You should either plan to attend the live class session Wednesday evening or listen to the recording on Thursday so that you can get some feedback on your analysis. By Saturday of week 3, you should have posted two paragraphs to the Persepolis as Memoir forum, posted your analysis draft, and posted responses to two drafts by other students.

            By Sunday of week 4, you should have finished reading Feed, have gotten at least 4 out of 5 on the Feed reading quiz so that the week 4 Feed module is open to you, and have read the feedback on your analysis draft from the instructor and your fellow students. You might even go ahead and post to one of the two Feed forums. On Monday you would post your final draft of the Persepolis analysis. On Tuesday and Wednesday, you should post two more paragraphs to the Feed forums, probably responses to other students. Once again, you should plan to either attend the class sessions live in person or through Collaborate on Wednesday or listen to the two recordings on Thursday because there might be some hints about the following week's concept quiz, which will already be open (so you might have made a couple of attempts before class). Then you only have two more contributions to make to the Feed forums before Saturday (unless you are moderating one of the forums, and then you will want to make a few more contributions or post a wrap-up summary).

            As you can see, it is good to do a little reading, a little writing, and take a quiz every day to keep from getting overwhelmed by the workload in this class, but it is also conducive to weekend students. Although there will be suggested deadlines for individual forums, the only firm deadlines are the assignment deadlines, the quiz deadlines, and the weekly forum contribution deadlines every Saturday night, so, if you get a good start each week on Sunday by posting a few initial paragraphs on the forums, you can do some reading and log on a couple of times during the week to master the next quiz, and then wrap up your forum posts by responding to other students on Saturday and listening to the previous week's Synchronous sessions.

Participation: Participation in the class is also very flexible. If you find you contribute best by writing on the forums, then you really only need to listen in during Synchronous sessions (or listen to the recordings) and contribute an extra paragraph each week to the forums. If your forum posts tend to be thin and insubstantial, then you'll want to participate more fully in the Collaborate/classroom sessions. If you tend to get lower grades on concept quizzes and assignments, then you might want to do a little extra on both to make up the lost points. Even though it is fairly easy to earn extra credit by doing a bit more here and there, I am usually pretty careful not to let students maintain more than 100% total in the class even if they do extra in every facet of the class because I don't want students approaching the end of the quarter with 120% and feeling like they can skip the last week. So, if you are going above the requirements on both Collaborate and Forum participation, and you don't need the extra points to make up for quizzes and assignments, then you are doing it solely for personal edification.

Evaluation: For the most part, your final grade will be calculated as a straight ratio of points earned to points possible and translated into a letter grade based on a fairly generous scale. I have already weighed the grades by giving them a specific point value, so there is no tricky math involved, and whatever the Canvas grade book says on any given day will pretty accurately reflect your actual grade in the class.

            However, although you can use extra credit on forums and collaborate sessions to make up for missed quizzes, less-than-stellar assignment performance, or even shoddy work on previous forums, missing an entire module's worth of forums will disqualify you from getting higher than a B in the course. Likewise, you need to listen to at least 12 of the 20 Collaborate recordings (or fully participate in 6 sessions/3 class days) to qualify for an A/A-, and at least 8 session recordings to qualify for a B. However, if some crisis does make you miss a week or more of class, you can salvage your grade somewhat by completing a 50 point make-up analysis on one of the short narratives I provide. However, you can't use the make-up assignment to bump yourself to an A at end of a quarter of mediocre work.


Min %

Max %

Min points

Other conditions





Did not miss any modules, >75% in Collaborate, and no Make-up Assignment





Did not miss any modules, >75% in Collaborate, and no Make-up Assignment





Did not miss any modules, >50% in Collaborate





>50% in Collaborate





































Disability Resource Center: To learn about available services and accommodations, contact: Claudia Angus; Office 133D, Phone: (509) 527-4543, TDD: (509) 527-4412, E-mail: [email protected]