ENGL 203: Sequence I: Medieval (5th to 15th Centuries)

Term: Winter, 2020
Class Meetings: W/F 8:10-10:00 AM in 2-13
Office: 47-35G, tel. 805-756-2636 (seldom there outside T office hour)
Office Hours: T 12:10-1:00 in 47-35G; Th 11:10-12:00 and F 10:10-noon in 2-13and by appt.
Dr. Debora B. Schwartz 
Main English Office:  805-756-2597
e-mail: dschwart@calpoly.edu

Calendar of Assignments   PLEASE NOTE that the on-line calendar of assignments may be modified in the course of the quarter.  Check the on-line syllabus regularly (before each class) to ensure you are completing the correct readings and written assignments. Do not rely on a print-out made earlier in the quarter.

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Study Guides:
Online Readings:
Other Required Readings are available on e-reserve in PolyLearn.


Prerequisites: Completion of GE area A: ENGL 202 and ENGL 251 (may be taken concurrently); open to ENGLISH MAJORS ONLY.  Placement in Sequence classes is handled by the English Department Associate Chair.

Course Description and Objectives: ENGL 203 introduces English majors to the vernacular-language literature of medieval Britain as well as to significant Continental works of the medieval period, the foundation upon which modern English literature stands. In addition to presenting a number of both canonical and lesser known authors and works, the course aims to familiarize you with medieval attitudes toward authorship and textuality, with medieval modes of textual production, and with specific textual practices relevant to the interpretation of medieval literature.

By the end of the quarter, you will:

  • be familiar with a number of significant vernacular-language authors working in England between the 8th and 15th centuries and with key continental writers of the medieval period whose works influenced or illuminate the development of the English literary tradition both during and after the middle ages.
  • have considered both canonical and lesser known authors and works, with special attention to issues of exclusion and diversity (e.g. works by medieval women, who typically lacked access to education and were therefore excluded from literary culture; medieval misogyny and defenses of women in works authored by both men and women). 
  • be able to identify and distinguish between significant medieval literary genres.
  • have gained an understanding of how medieval literature differs from modern literature (and from modern notions of what literature is): e.g. the differences between manuscript and print cultures; the tension between Latin and the vernacular languages; the emphasis on literature as an on-going process rather than an end product, and thus the inappropriateness of modern notions of "originality" or "intellectual property" in the medieval context.
  • have bonded with the cohort of classmates with whom you will be studying as you progress through the Sequence and the English Major!

Preliminary Remarks:  Much of what is presented in ENGL 203 will be new to most of you, and many of the readings reflect assumptions and ideas that appear strange to a 21st-century audience. For these reasons, several remarks are in order.

Woman reading1) ENGL 203 requires that you read the assigned medieval texts in the required textbook or the .PDF files on e-reserve, since texts with similar titles may be very different in other editions or translations. Note that while many assigned readings are relatively short, they will require more time than an analogous number of pages in a modern novel. 

There are also assigned background readings that have been written (online readings) or selected (assigned pages in the Norton Anthology) to help you make sense of the medieval readings and to supplement or reinforce material presented in class lectures.  If you are short on time, read the medieval literary texts (primary readings) before class, using the study guide provided, and catch up on background readings over the week-end, but be aware that you will likely get more out of the medieval texts when you consider them within the context of the background readings. 

It is very important that you keep up with the readings.  Medieval literary texts can be complex and challenging, even when the page or line count is low.  Most of the material we will cover may be unfamiliar, and our pace is necessarily brisk.  While I anticipate that most of you will enjoy most of the readings, you may encounter an author or text which you find difficult to grasp or simply do not enjoy. If this occurs, don't despair!  See me with your questions, and remember that we will soon move on to something else!

NOTE:  Because ENGL 203 is a survey that covers over 1000 years -- ca. 450 to 1485 -- you are not expected to come away with the same depth of understanding of each reading as you might acquire in a class with a narrower focus.  So while you will need to keep up with the readings and should read carefully (using the study guides), don't stress if all the details in a given text prove difficult to grasp. We are looking for the broad picture, not the close-up.  An important goal of ENGL 203 is to help you understand how English literature--and English perceptions of what literature is--evolved during the course of the Middle Ages.  Readings will be considered as reflections of the "world view" of the author, the target audience, and the period when they were written.

2) Because literary production in the Middle Ages was largely controlled by the (Catholic) Church, many of the readings deal with Christian themes. We will approach these readings as cultural artifacts rather than as articles of faith, attempting to understand the society which produced them and the world view which they represent. While students familiar with portions of the Old and New Testaments may find this background useful, no prior knowledge of Judeo-Christian tradition is assumed or required. If something puzzles you, try the following: a) check the footnotes, introduction, or study guide to see if an explanation is provided; b) consult Wikipedia (or a print dictionary or encyclopedia); and/or c) ask about it in class or an office hour. (Chances are, someone else is just as puzzled as you are!)

3) Due to the time constraints under which we will be working, classes will focus on interpretation rather than description. Familiarity with the assigned readings will be assumed, so readings will not typically be summarized in lectures. If you come to class without having done the assigned reading, the lecture will be difficult to follow.  More importantly, it will not help you make sense of the assigned readings either individually or in terms of the understanding of medieval literature we are building together over the course of the quarter.  For these reasons, the success of the course depends largely on you. Please make a personal commitment to come to class regularly, punctually, and prepared. Without these preconditions, ENGL 203 will be of little or no use to you -- and no fun for any of us! So, welcome to the strange and wonderful world of Medieval Literature!  I look forward to learning with you this quarter.


You are expected to have an email account and to check it regularly.  Important announcements will be sent over the class email alias and may also be posted in the Announcements section of PolyLearn.  The class email alias is automatically generated using the email address of each enrolled student found in the Cal Poly Directory server. If your Cal Poly email account is NOT your preferred email address, you must

  • Log into http://my.calpoly.edu/ and click on "Personal Info" to change your Email Delivery Address. Once you have done so, any email sent to your <username@calpoly.edu>, including announcements on PolyLearn and emails sent to the class email alias, will be forwarded to the email address you have designated.
Remember: you are responsible for any information sent over the class email alias (e.g. changes in assignments; other class-related announcements), so be sure to check your email regularly. 

Participation 1: Attendance Policy.  Due to the twice-weekly class meetings, any absence causes you to miss a substantial chunk of material. Regular and punctual attendance is required.  Please note that EVERY absence will affect the participation component of your final course grade.

Each student starts out with a 4.0 for Participation, Intellectual Engagement, and Collaboration.  This component of your final grade drops by .3 for the first UNEXCUSED absence; the penalty increases by .1 for each subsequent unexcused absence (from A [4.0] to A- [3.7] to B+ [3.3], to B- [2.8], etc.).  Additionally, it drops .1 for the first EXCUSED absence (4.0 to 3.9) and .2 for the second excused absence (3.9 to 3.7).  Excused absences in excess of two (a full week, 10% of the class) count the same as unexcused absences.

Please note that only absences due to illness, family or personal emergency, or circumstances which are truly beyond your control count as excused.  Deadlines for other courses, work conflicts, and job interviews are NOT valid reasons for missing class. 

For an absence to be excused, please email me promptly.  On the subject line, put your course section (ENGL 203-01) and the date(s) you missed class; in the body of your email, repeat the course section, indicate the date(s) when you missed class, and provide an explanation of the circumstances leading to your absence.

 Class attendance is not the sole measure of your participation in the class. The remainder of the participation grade is based upon your Intellectual Engagement and Collaboration as measured by your participation in your assigned Discussion Group Forum (where you will post a series of lower-stakes, ungraded writing assignments:  5 Mini-Esssays, 10 Classmate Response, and the Getty Virtual Fieldtrip Report) and your completion of two Peer Editing assignments.  Each ungraded assignment that is not submitted to the Discussion Group Forum by the due date counts as an Unexcused Absence

Participation 2: Intellectual Engagement, and Collaboration.  In addition to regular class attendance, the 35% participation component of your final course grade will reflect your intellectual engagement with the material and your willingness to collaborate with your peers as demonstrated through participation in an online PolyLearn discussion group and through peer editing assignments.

You will be assigned to a PolyLearn discussion group of 6-8 students to which you will post a series of five short (2-pg.), ungraded Mini-Essays (=MEs) over the course of the quarter.  Each time a mini-essay ("ME") is assigned, you are expected to read the postings of the other members of your discussion group and to post a thoughtful response of at least one paragraph to TWO of their postings. These ungraded Classmate Responses (=CRs) must include additional textual evidence from the medieval text under discussion (i.e. at least one new quote that was not included in the ME to which you are responding); you must post CRs to at least two of your classmates each time an ME is assigned.  Discussion group postings (both MEs and CRs) will not be assigned individual letter grades, but they will be factored into the 35% participation component of your final course grade

EACH MISSING DISCUSSION GROUP POSTING WILL COUNT AS AN UNEXCUSED ABSENCE.  NOTE: all of your MEs and CRs must be posted ON TIME in order for you to be eligible to receive credit for the GRADED essay.

A one-time Extension is available upon request to all students allowing them to submit an ungraded assignment after the deadline or to resubmit, for full credit, a revised assignment (if the original submission did not follow guidelines).

Medieval Library imageRequired Textbooks:

  • The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 9th ed. (2012), vol. 1a, The Middle Ages, ed. James Simpson and Alfred David [=NA]
  • Chrétien de Troyes, Arthurian Romances, trans. William W. Kibler and Carleton W. Carroll (Penguin Classics)
  • The Portable Dante, ed./trans. Mark Musa (Viking-Penguin)
    (NOTE: you must use the specific textbooks specified above as assigned on the Calendar of Assignments.  Do NOT substitute another edition/translation!!)


  • You must also have access to a good translation of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales to assist you in reading the assigned passages in the Norton Anthology. I recommend that you consult either the inexpensive Penguin Classics translation by Nevill Coghill (see under Recommended Texts, below), or the electronic version translated by David Wright (Oxford World Classics) in the Kennedy Library's collections.  It is accessible at the following link:https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/calpoly/detail.action?docID=728698

Recommended Texts:

  • Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, trans. Nevill Coghill (Penguin Classics) [=CT] (or you may consult the translation of David Wright, Oxford World Classics, accessible at the link above)
  • The Selected Writings of Christine de Pizan, tr. Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski and Kevin Brownlee (Norton Critical Edition). (Assigned e-reserve readings are scanned from this text.)
  • The Lais of Marie de France, tr. Robert Hanning and Joan Ferrante (Baker Books).  (Assigned e-reserve readings are scanned from this text.)
  • Béroul, The Romance of Tristan, tr. Alan S. Fedrick (Penguin Classics) (have a look if you want to read for yourself a story described in an online reading and in lectures)
  • Penguin History of Literature, vol. 1: The Middle Ages, ed. W. F. Bolton. Penguin, 1993. (A chapter of this book, "The Conditions of Literary Composition in Medieval England," is available in the Recommended Readings folder on Polylearn; the book is out of print, but inexpensive copies are available from bookfinder.com.)
Other required readings will be accessed electronically:  Online Background Readings are web-pages authored by me that are found in .HTML files accessible through links on this website; E-reserve readings are .PDF files scanned from printed books and placed on "electronic reserve" in the Library Resources section of Polylearn.  Please note that YOU MUST HAVE ACCESS TO THESE READINGS IN CLASS.  Unless you have an electronic device where you can access AND ANNOTATE these readings (highlight, write comments, etc.), you should PRINT THEM OUT, put them in your course binder, and BRING THEM WITH YOU TO CLASS.
  • To access PolyLearn, log in at MyCalpoly, go to "My Courses" and select "ENGL 203" from the classes you are taking. Click on the PolyLearn link and then on the links in the Electronic Reserves section to download, read and/or print the .PDF files using Acrobat Reader.
  • To access online readings, click on the links above or on the Calendar of Assignments.

Preparation:  Reading assignments are to be completed BEFORE coming to class on the date assigned.

Woman reading

Medieval Readings:

Before reading the primary texts (i.e. the medieval literature), refer to the Study Guides that will point you toward the most important issues for our class.  Familiarize yourself with the study questions BEFORE you begin to read, so you will know what to look for in the medieval texts.  Refer conscientiously to any footnotes or definitions provided in the Norton Anthology.  I recommend that you print out Study Guides and collect them in a course binder that you bring with you to class.

Ideally, Online Background Readings and the Norton Anthology headnotes should be read before the primary readings, since they provide the context within which primary readings will be most meaningful. But if you are short on time, it's most important that read through the primary readings before class (using the Study Guides).  Much of the information in the background readings will be covered in lecture, and you can catch up with the background readings over the week-end and when reviewing for exams.

You must have access to all assigned primary readings in class.  I strongly recommend that you highlight, underline, and/or carefully record page numbers for the passages referred to in lecture or class discussion.  This means:  you should ALWAYS bring textbooks with you to class.  For required readings that are on e-reserve in PolyLearn, I recommend printing them out and putting them in your course binder, but you may access them electronically if you have a reader that will allow you to highlight text and add notes.  Please note:  the screen on your phone is not large enough to use as an e-reader; it will be difficult for you to find the passages we are discussing quickly, and you will not be able to add highlighting or notes.

Because you are expected to have read them before class, assigned primary readings will not typically be summarized  in lectures, which will focus instead on helping you understand why an assigned reading is important and what it contributes to the understanding of medieval literature we are building together over the course of the quarter.

Background Information:

The basic text information for each primary reading -- date, author, language, genre, and form -- is provided under the heading "text info" at the end of each week's reading assignment on the Calendar of Assignments.  "Text info" may also include definitions of literary terms with which you may be unfamiliar.  For your convenience, this information is compiled in a page of ENGL 203 Composite Text Information. I recommend that you print out this page of Composite Text Info and include it in your course binder.

Other background information is found in Online Readings linked to the Calendar of Assignments. I recommend that you print out online readings and include them in your course binder.

Some assigned background readings are found in the Introduction to the Middle Ages in the Norton Anthology -- a helpful overview of historical developments during the medieval period -- or in headnotes to individual authors and works.  Specific pages are listed on the Calendar of Assignments.

Please note that although background information will not be the majority of exam points, basic text information and background information from online readings and assigned pages in the NA will be covered on exams.  Most of this information will be tested in scantron format (for instance, you will be asked to match a text with the appropriate text info, rather than having to pull dates and other information out of your head).   If you are anxious about this component of the class,

  • familiarize yourself with the Text Info as we go along (much more effective than last-minute cramming the week-end before the exam!);
  • print out the Composite Text Information, the Online Readings, and the Study Guides and put them in a course binder for easy review;
  • take good notes during lectures;
  • fill out the old quizzes distributed in class and use them as study guides for exams; 
  • organize a study group and review with friends;
  • come to an office hour (or make an appointment) with your questions.  I am also happy to discuss preparation and study strategies with you.

Graded Work I: Scaffolded Writing Assignments

Each student will complete a series of written assignments starting with lower-stakes, ungraded assignments that help you explore the assigned texts and which prepare you for the higher-stakes, graded writing assignments that count for approximately one third of your final course grade (a three- to four-page expanded and revised paper and the essays on the Midterm and Final Exams). 

Lower-stakes (ungraded) writing:  Each student will be assigned to a Polylearn Discussion Group of 6-8 students.  In the assigned Discussion Group, each student will post:
  • a series of 5 UNGRADED Mini-Essays (=MEs) and 10 UNGRADED Classmate Responses (=CRs).  MEs and CRs are due to your group's Discussion Forum by no later than midnight on the dates indicated on the Calendar of AssignmentsWhile ungraded, your ten CRs are required to get credit for your five ungraded ME postings AND for the graded essay.
  • 2 ungraded Peer Editing assignments, the first a "dry run" response to ME 1 to be completed by all students (to get the hang of how I am asking you to respond to each other's work), and the second "for real":  each student will serve as an official Peer Editor for one ME that a classmate is revising and expanding to submit for a grade.
  • An ungraded Getty Museum Virtual Fieldtrip assignment (submitted both electronically to the discussion group and in hard copy in class).

Failure to submit any ungraded assignment counts like an "Unexcused Absence" and will impact the 35% of your course grade based on Participation, Intellectual Engagement and Collaboration

Both ungraded and graded writing assignments will require close reading of the assigned medieval texts.

Woman writing (Christine de Pizan)Assignment details:

  • Discussion Group Mini-Essays: Each 2-page, ungraded Mini-Essay (="ME") will offer a close-reading based analysis of a narrowly focused element in the text under discussion.  The best MEs push you to move beyond description to interpretation. For instance, you might describe and analyze an author's use of a specific image, theme, character, symbol, plot device or generic convention and use it to "unpack" something interesting about the work as a whole. Aim to have the details you quote and/or describe help you get at something significant (e.g. about the purpose of the text or the author's intended message to the target audience).

    HINT 1: It may be helpful to use a question on a study guide to spark your ideas, but you are unlikely to be able to answer all parts of a study question within the constraints of a 2-page ME. 
    HINT 2: An ME Template is provided on PolyLearn; use it to ensure proper formatting of your ME assignments; it also includes more tips on writing a strong ME!

    POSTING GUIDELINES:  Mini-Essays are due no later than midnight on the Fridays indicated on the Calendar of Assignments. The text of your Mini-Essays must be pasted into the message field of your Discussion Group posting so that classmates can respond to it in a Discussion thread.  Additionally, you must attach your ME as a .docx file so that I can access the first draft of the MEs submitted for a grade and evaluate the changes made during the revision process; electronic submission also allows an assignment to be run through various plagiarism-checking tools in the unlikely event that there are questions about academic integrity (for information on the University Plagiarism policy, see below).
  • Discussion Group Classmate Responses: Over the course of the quarter, you will post ten short (but thoughtful) ungraded replies to MEs submitted by other members of your assigned Discussion Group (two CRs for each ME assignment).  CRs should be at least one meaty paragraph in length and should quote at least one additional piece of textual evidence from the medieval text in support of your comments (i.e. each CR must cite at least one passage of the medieval text that is not mentioned in the ME to which it is a response). You may agree or disagree with the ME to which you are responding, as long as you do so respectfully and back up your response with your own textual support. While CRs are ungraded, you must submit two CRs per Mini-Essay assignment in order to receive Participation credit for your (ungraded) ME postings and to receive credit for your graded revised and expanded essay.

    POSTING GUIDELINES:  CRs are due no later than midnight on the Sundays indicated on the Calendar of Assignments. From within the message screen that contains the text of the ME to which you are responding, hit the "reply" key so that your CR is connected to the text of the ME in a Discussion thread.   

  • Peer Editng:  On W 1/22/20, the first class meeting following submission of ME 1, ALL students should bring a hard-copy print-out of ME 1 to class to give to another discussion group member for the ungraded, dry-run peer-editing assignment, using the rubric and grading codes on Dr. Schwartz's Essay Evaluation Checklist.  On F 1/24/20, peer editors must submit the peer-edited ME 1 and the filled out checklist, including a summative comment and specific suggestions for expansion,  for review by Dr. Schwartz. 

    This initial Peer Editing exercise is a "dry run" designed to prepare you to serve as the Official Peer Editor for ONE student in your Discussion Group, offering feedback on the 2-page ME that the student has chosen for revision and expansion into the 3-4 page graded essay.

    Peer-editing assignments are ungraded, but you must serve as Official Peer Editor for at least one classmate to be eligible for credit on your own graded revised ME (worth 15% of the course grade).

MINI-ESSAY RATIONALE AND POINTERS: These short, ungraded assignments are intended to make you attentive to details in the works under discussion and to prepare you to do well on "higher-stakes" writing assignments.  They should be narrowly focused on topics that can be covered within the two-page target length.  The two-page target length will also oblige you to get to the point (lead with your conclusion; articulate your claims fully and explicitly; avoid broad statements and generalities; no "hook!"); to cut out unnecessary wordiness ("dead wood"); and to express your ideas clearly and concisely. 

MEs may be a response to a study question, an analysis of how a specific aspect of a work helps communicate an author or director's message or intentions, or -- with a very precise focus -- a comparison of a specific element with an analogous element in a previously assigned work.  Regardless of the topic you choose, mini-essays MUST include analysis and interpretation of carefully chosen citations from the text.   An effective ME uses close reading of carefully chosen textual evidence to support an interpretive claim about the text.  You will need a narrow focus so that you can really "unpack" the language and/or images in the scenes and passages you discuss without exceeding the two-page target length.  Careful analysis of a single character, a specific relationship, a key image or symbol, or an important scene or speech is often enough to fill two pages.

MEs should present a logically organized argument to demonstrate the validity of an explicitly stated interpretive claim; don't simply describe elements in the text or summarize plot.  You have freedom to explore an aspect of an assigned text that interests you, but you must keep your focus on the text itself, not background information or the way in which the text speaks to you on a personal level.  You may find it helpful to begin by brainstorming in response to a question on an online Study Guide; to explore how a key image or theme is presented in a limited number of passages within your chosen text; or to analyze an author's use of a literary device that is of interest to you.   Whatever topic you choose, your ME must be grounded in close readinginterpretive analysis of specific passages and scenes.  You will discover that close attention to specific imagery, word choice, etc. in a single descriptive passage or significant scene may be enough to fill your two-page target length! 

For fuller details, see the Mini-Essay Assignment Guidelines and the Essay Evaluation Checklist. NOTE: You should familiarize yourself with this checklist before you start to write, and take care to avoid the issues and errors that are included on the Checklist and in the Grading Codes!

Final lower-stakes writing assignment: the Virtual "Field Trip." Each student will visit the Getty Museum website and complete a Getty Database assignment researching the medieval religious images in the Getty's collections as part of our unit on Marian devotion.  This ungraded assignment must be completed and submitted both to your discussion group and in HARD COPY on the date indicated on the Calendar of Assignment.  It will be graded PASS/FAIL only and will count as part of the Participation component of your final course grade.  Failure to complete and post this assignment to your Discussion Group and to turn in the hard copy in class will be counted as Unexcused Absences.

Unfortunately, there can be no actual ENGL 203 field trip this quarter due to budgetary constraints -- but interested students are encouraged to make their own "pilgrimages" to the Getty Museum in Los Angeles (its collections include significant holdings in medieval manuscripts and paintings); to the Huntington Library in Pasadena (to see the magnificent Ellesmere Chaucer manuscript and other medieval manuscripts); or to the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena (housing an exceptional collection of late Medieval and early Renaissance paintings).  Extra Credit may be arranged for a written assignment based on any of these excursions.

Higher-stakes (graded) writing: 

Exam Essays:  the essay component on the midterm and the final exams will count for a significant portion of the Exam grade (the essay is typically worth from 1/3 to 1/2 of the exam points).  There will be a broad range of prompts to choose from.  Exam Essays are scaffolded assignments, meaning that your lower-stakes writing (your own MEs and CRs, your peer-edits, as well as your thoughtful consideration of the MEs submitted by other members of your discussion group) should prepare you to do well on these higher-stakes exam essays. 

GRADED 3-4 page Paper, a REVISED and EXPANDED version of ME 2, 3 or 4.   Depending on which ME is revised and expanded, Papers are due on the date indicated on the Calendar of Assignments. Your graded essay will be submitted to your instructor in both hard copy AND electronically (as an emailed.docx attachment), for grading and written feedback.  (I do not provide feedback electronically, but Cal Poly faculty are encouraged to require Electronic submission of assignments which allows the use of various plagiarism-checking tools in the unlikely event that there are questions about academic integrity; for information on the University Plagiarism policy, see below). Revised/expanded papers will be accepted ONLY within the windows indicated on the calendar of assignments.  Revised MEs must be accompanied by a carefully peer-edited hard copy of the original ME, which must include an Essay Evaluation Checklist filled out by the member of your PolyLearn Discussion Group who is acting as your Peer Reviewer; this Peer Reviewer must include a summative comment including specific suggestions for expansion on the back of the checklist.  Revised/expanded Essays submitted without the peer-reviewed copy of the originally submitted ME and the filled out Essay Evaluation Checklist are not eligible to receive credit.
You are encouraged to discuss your ME revision/expansion with me prior to submitting your 3-4 page essay to me in hard copy AND electronically.  The window during which Graded Essays will be accepted has been chosen to allow students adequate time to obtain feedback from a peer and to edit/revise work carefully but still complete the revision in a timely manner while the text(s) under consideration is/are still relatively fresh in their minds.
The revised/expanded ME Paper be worth 15% of the final course grade.  NOTE: As you edit and expand your ME, you should think about and take into account the corrections and editing suggestions made by your Peer Editor (or your instructor in an office hour meeting), but the final paper is your own.  Students will be expected to edit carefully to avoid repeating the issues and errors pointed out in the feedback on their ME.

Other Graded Work:

Possibility of READING QUIZZES: In the past, I have used Reading Quizzes in ENGL 203, both to give students an incentive to keep up with course readings, and because returned quizzes can be of significant benefit as study guides when preparing for exams.  However, they also take up a significant amount of class time.  Rather than devoting class time to Reading Quizzes, I will distribute copies of old quizzes for you to fill out and use for exam prep.  However, if I perceive that students are not keeping up with reading assignments, I reserve the right to reinstate Reading Quizzes; in that case, they will be worth 10% of your course grade.  Should reading quizzes be reinstated, the final course grade will be calculated as follows:  25% Participation, Intellectual Engagement, and Collaboration; 10 % Reading Quizzes; 15% graded ME revision; 20% Midterm; 30% Final.  In the event that reading quizzes are used:

  • No make-up quizzes will be given. If you miss a quiz, you will get a copy to use as a study guide.
  • No extra time will be given to late-comers -- so come to class promptly!
  • E.C. pts. are available on every quiz, and your weakest quiz score will be dropped from your quiz average. Thus, you can make up for a weak or missed quiz by preparing well for subsequent quizzes.]
EXAMS: Exams will include both essay and objective sections. Final will be cumulative, but with emphasis on work since the Midterm. The closed-book Midterm Exam will take place in class on day 1 of week 5 (W 2/5/20); the three-hour, closed-book Final Exam will take place at the following dates and times: 
  • ENGL 203-01 : Wednesday, March 18, 2020, from 7:10 - 10:00 AM. 
You must take Final Exam at the scheduled time.  Please keep the exam date in mind as you plan your end-of-quarter travel. 

Calculating the Course Grade:
35% Participation, Intellectual Engagement and Collaboration, based on class attendance, submission of ungraded ("lower-stakes") writing assignments to the assigned PolyLearn Discussion Group (5 MEs, 10 CRs, and the Getty Virtual Fieldtrip Write-Up), and completion of 2 peer-editing assignments (one "dry run" and one "official"). If applicable, quizzes will count for 10% taken out of this category.
Graded 3-4 page essay: this "higher stakes" writing assignment is a revised and expanded version of ONE ME.  This paper must be submitted in hard copy along with a peer-edited hard copy of the original ME, including the Peer Editor's filled out Essay Evaluation Checklist with summative comment and suggestions for expansion.
20%  Midterm Exam
Final Exam

A word about Academic Integrity: because of the nature of the material and of the assignments in this class -- and also because of the faith I have in you as English majors familiar with the conventions of our discipline and committed to the learning process! -- I do not anticipate encountering problems with plagiarism in this class.  Nonetheless, Cal Poly faculty have been encouraged to explicitly address Plagiarism issues on our syllabi.  So for the record:

Plagiarism is a serious offense.  I expect that you understand what constitutes plagiarism and how to correctly use and cite information in your papers.  In its most basic definition, plagiarism means taking ideas and/or words from others without properly citing them.  In this class, you may refer to ideas or concepts defined in lectures and on my web pages without citing the lectures and web pages explicitly, since I consider that information and these concepts to be "yours" to use freely (provided that you do not copy language directly from my pages). The writing assignments in this class should cite ONLY the primary (medieval) texts, not secondary sources or critics. Both ungraded MEs and the graded ME revision paper should cite only the medieval works on the syllabus and offer arguments based on close reading of the primary texts.  It is unlikely that students who adhere to these guidelines might inadvertently commit plagiarism in this class. 

The background and interpretive information in the assigned headnotes in textbooks or provided in lectures and on my website should be sufficient context to ground your close reading of the medieval texts in the manner required for assignments in this class. I strongly recommend that you do NOT consult other online resources for "help" as you grapple with these texts, since in my experience, students using these sites have been most prone to inadvertent (and occasionally deliberate) plagiarism.  If you DO consult such materials, you MUST list these resources in a "Works Consulted" section of your ME or graded Paper.  Please note that a Work Consulted listing, along with the normal Work Cited listing, will cut significantly into the already limited room you have to make your argument (no more than 2 pp. for an ME or 3 pp. for the revised paper).  It is to your advantage to complete the assignments as they are intended; the online resources you may find will not typically help you complete these assignments successfully, and the consequences of even inadvertent plagiarism are high.

That said, if
you are unsure of how to avoid plagiarism in your papers, you should talk to me before you turn in the paper. 
Turning in a writing assignment completed in whole or in part by another individual, or adapted from another individual's work, is plagiarismIf you are caught plagiarizing in this course, you will fail the course and you may be expelled from the university.  Finally, you may not turn in a paper you completed for another class for credit in this class; similarly, you cannot turn in work completed in this class for credit in any other class without obtaining express permission from that professor. 

For your convenience, I am including below the language from Cal Poly's Academic Integrity policy (CAP 681; see <http://www.osrr.calpoly.edu/plagiarism/> ):

"Cal Poly will not tolerate academic cheating or plagiarism in any formAcademic dishonesty is addressed both as an academic issue and as a disciplinary incident under the CSU Standards for Student Conduct.  [. . .] Plagiarism is defined as the act of using intentionally or unintentionally the ideas or work of another person or persons as if they were one’s own without giving proper credit to the source. Such an act is not plagiarism if it is ascertained that the ideas were arrived through independent reasoning or logic, or where the thought or idea is common knowledge. Acknowledgement of an original author or source must be made through appropriate references, i.e., quotation marks, footnotes, or commentary.  Examples of plagiarism include, but are not limited to, the following: the submission of a work, either in part or in whole, completed by another; failure to give credit for ideas, statements, facts or conclusions which rightfully belong to another; failure to use quotation marks [. . .] when quoting directly from another, whether it be a paragraph, a sentence, or even a part thereof; close and lengthy paraphrasing of another’s writing without credit or originality; and use of another’s [paper], project or [. . . ] part thereof without giving credit. Submitting the same project to multiple instructors as a unique creation may also be considered plagiarism. A project produced for another class must be cited just as when citing any other source. Prior to resubmitting work from a previous course, a student must receive explicit written permission from the instructor of the current course. A project produced for another class must also be cited just as when citing any other source."

Contents of this and linked pages Copyright Debora B. Schwartz, 1999-2020 [last updated 3/8/20]