The photo is from Virtual Renaissance.
This class will not be like
other classes you have taken: it will be conducted almost entirely on
the internet. Our classroom lectures, discussions, and writings will all
be available online where we can read and respond to each other freely,
repeatedly, and at times other than our scheduled class time. Our class
will go beyond the walls and boundaries of the traditional classroom.
A web page will be designed for each of the texts under discussion. In
those web pages, besides having a video file with the teacher lecturing
about the texts, you will also have an outline of that lecture and/or
previous class discussions. Furthermore, you will be able to post your
response journals, as well as have an arena where you can discuss freely
with your classmates, teacher, and the assistants the texts read for class.
You will have access to many helpful sites about Shakespeare and his works
on the World Wide Web; you will have access to short film clips from movie
versions of the plays, as well as some samples of songs from the plays;
and you will receive specific and helpful instructions and materials that
relate to those plays. Lectures by the teacher about each of the plays
under discussion will be available online, together with Powerpoint outlines
of those lectures. You will be able to watch those lectures and read the
outlines as often and whenever you want. An on-line chat room will be
available where you can interact with your classmates, as well as with
the teacher and the two graduate teaching assistants available for this
course, Kevin Chen and Gretchen Lee. Online discussion and message/announcement
boards for students will be important for teachers and assistants to relay
their messages. Quizzes will also be taken online.
I view your reading list for this course as a set of scripts-texts not meant to be primarily read (though that is what we will do), but rather performed for an audience. After all, the script is only the first step of realizing a play in production. After the playwright writes it, directors interpret it; actors and actresses make the characters flesh and blood; set designers, costumers, and light designers create the illusions we accept in seeing a theatrical performance; finally, critics interpret the playwright's-and a given production's-meaning. Accordingly, this course will go beyond an emphasis on texts alone. I strongly recommend that you watch videotapes of the plays we are reading this semester. This may be done either in groups or individually. Because the performative nature of drama involves a combination of the visual and the verbal, we will have a multimedia emphasis, especially incorporating filmic versions of the plays and recordings of songs from the plays into classroom discussion. Because this course will go beyond an emphasis on texts alone, students will also have the opportunity to hear audio recordings of selected passages. In this way you will be able to see and hear the text as it is presented in performance. This class, then, will give you a set of techniques for reading and considering Shakespeare's plays in their dramatic context.
In his plays and poetry Shakespeare often asked more questions than he answered, so half of the delight of reading Shakespeare's works involves allowing yourself the challenge of experiencing those questions head-on and considering them in light of your own views and experiences. In an effort to assist you with this, I will expect you to join in our online discussions and offer your own opinions. Also, I will require each of you to join a small group, with about four or five of your classmates, to discuss and even "act" out the plays we are reading. Each group will have online discussions in the chatroom at least one to two hours every month. They must notify the teacher of the times for those discussions each month.
I strongly recommend that you
read from The Riverside Shakespeare (click to check
If you have New Arden editions of the plays, they are also acceptable
alternatives; if you intend to read other editions, please talk to me
As you may already have guessed, because you are both a teacher and a student in this class, your attendance online will be required and regularly checked. Students who do not regularly check into our class website and join online discussions will have their final course grade significantly lowered.
I believe students should be encouraged to write well in all of their English classes. Papers must exhibit good ideas and good writing.
Short Writing Assignments