Home Page for English 251:  Introduction to Literature

Spring 2000

Lyman Baker, Instructor

You can click on the items underlined in bright blue below to go to different pages with the information described.

[If some ot the links don't work, please be patient. I will soon be backing them up with the pages they point to.]

First off, Web-Browser Basics describes some very elementary things you need to be able to do to use our course Web Pages to best advantage. You will learn how to move around within and between Web pages, how to print a Web document, how to save one for later use, how to locate search tools (with directions for use) that help you locate documents of interest to you -- and how to find out ways to do things not covered in these basic instructions.  If you are already familiar with the basics of reading and printing documents on the web, you should skip this.

The Course Schedule lists the due dates for all reading and writing assignments, along with the three examinations.  I have broken it into three separate web pages. Schedule 1 covers assignments up to the first xam.  Schedule 2 covers assignments between the first and second exams.  Schedule 3 covers assignments between the second final exams.  These schedules are in their nature provisional and tentative, and in the course of the semester it may be necessary to alter one or more of them.  When this happens, I will notify you by e-mail vial our class listserv.  In some cases it may be useful to return to the schedule in question in order to print out the revised version.

Texts for the Course tells you what books you need to purchase for the course, and where to get them.

There will be three examinations (each worth 100 points).  A memo on Examinations explains what their format will be, and provides links to prep sheets and to detailed discussion of what the criteria will be for evaluating them.  There will also be three writing assignments (worth a total of 100 points).  Consult the general memo on Writing Assignments to find out what the purpose of these is within the overall goals of the course, what to aim at in doing them, and what to do if you find yourself "stuck" with little to say.  The individual writing assignments themselves can be accessed by clicking on the appropriate label in the "Course Schedule."

Keeping in touch.  By the end of the first week of the course, every student should be on the mailing list for the class listerv.  You should check your e-mail at least once a day to sure you don't miss special announcements bearing on the course (assignment and deadline changes, opportunities for extra credit, answers to questions).  It is your responsibility to ensure that you are on the class listserv mailing list at the address you prefer for reading your e-mail, since missing out on these communications can be disastrous.  The listserv can be used by anyone in the class to contact everyone in the class -- to ask for ideas in response to a question, to recruit study partners, or for any other class-related business.  Of course, if you have a question about your own grades, or need to tell me about some emergency that requires you to ask for an extension on some deadline, you'll want instead to contact me directly.  (If you do this from the link just given, be sure to tell me the e-mail address to which I should apply -- and mention which course you are enrolled in!)  Another resource we have at our disposal is the class electronic discussion board.  This is the best way to pose questions about the works we are reading in class -- to exchange ideas about what this or that episode or detail of a story or play or poem might mean.  You should check out the discussion board soon, and use it to start discussions and contribute to lines of inquiry opened by others.  At the end of the course, if you are on the border line between two grades, a major factor I will be taking into account is whether I remember you as having participated in discussions, in class and/or on the discussion board.

About This Course provides a detailed discussion of of the goals and methods of the course. (It also tells you how final course grades will be calculated on the basis of total points earned.)  You should work your way through this as soon as possible.  (Among other things, it will help you decide whether you want to remain in the course!)  This is a rather lengthy explanation of what we will be up to and why, so I have broken it down into a series of separate pages that you can work through in succession, if you are going to read it on-line. I suggest, however, that you print out a copy of the whole so you can have it on hand to consult when you are not connected to the KSU computer network. To this end, I have provided an integral version that you can call up in your browser for saving as a single file for taking home or for printing off in one go. That way you can have it on hand for reflecting on and consulting throughout the course.  (Alternatively, you might save a copy of the complete version to a floppy disk.  You can then load it quickly off-line into a browser for working through as convenient.) 

There are several misconceptions that students sometimes bring to a course such as ours. It is important to get these cleared up as soon as possible. You will want to reflect on the role of Reason and Objectivity in Interpretation.  If you have questions on the issues raised here or on the positions I adopt upon them, by all means raise your questions to class. Or you can e-mail your puzzlements to me at lyman@ksu.edu and I will try to satisfy your curiosity. An important link available from this document is a short essay More on "being able", which addresses various damaging confusions many students have about the nature of "intellectual talent," the business of a university education, and the role in such an education of introductory courses in literature (and the humanities in general).  As you will see, the kind of expectations students put upon themselves in their general elective courses has serious political consequences for the future of whatever country they happen to be citizens of.

If you have any condition, such as a physical or learning disability, which will make it difficult for you to carry out the work as I have outlined it or which will require academic accommodations, please notify me in the first two weeks of the course.

One resource you will want to consult repeatedly is our on-line glossary of literary critical concepts.  This is not exhaustive, and it is continually under construction.  (From time to time I may use the listserv to call your attention to a new entry.)  Also, in the course of the semester I will continue to elaborate upon a List of Web Links to sites that may be of interest to you in connection with our course.  As appropriate I will be working links into the Course Schedule that will take you to relevant portions of this general compilation.


  Suggestions are welcome.  Please send your comments to lyman@ksu.edu .

      Contents copyright 2000 by Lyman A. Baker

Permission is granted for non-commercial educational use; all other rights reserved.

      This page last updated 25 January 2000.