Medieval English Literature and Culture 
Instructor: Prof. Cecilia H.C. Liu 
Course Description
      This course aims to acquaint students with the major literary works of medieval England (Old English and Middle English period).  Through a close reading of selected Old English literature, Middle English literature--Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Piers Plowman, and medieval lyrics and plays--students come to some understanding of life and thought in the Middle Ages.  Medievalism was a dominant influence in the lives of Englishmen, but the renaissance had assumed definite form and the country stood on the threshold of the modern world.
     The major texts are viewed within the framework of the techniques, of Allegory, the forms of Romance, and the theme of Courtly Love. Synthesis of ideas is stressed, especially in terms of the progress and development of early literary form and technique in later periods in literature.

Texts: The Norton Anthology of English Literature Vol. 1 (6th ed.), handouts, some videos, and texts from websites

    The one-semester two-credit-hour class will be internet-assisted so that students can go beyond the walls and boundaries of the traditional classroom.  By using the internet, students will have access to many helpful sites on the World Wide Web about Medieval British literature and culture; they will be able to discuss freely with their classmates and me the texts that we will read for class; and they will receive specific and helpful instructions and materials that relate to the texts under discussion.  I will also be able to include in the online site a variety of supplementary audio and visual materials relating to the Medieval period. Besides, this internet-assisted class will also include links to relevant online sites containing information related to Medieval British literature and culture, student comments from other classes about the texts under discussion, online essays and analyses, as well as general materials about Medieval literature.
Discussion Board
       Each student as they read a given assignment will be asked to enter their comments, questions, problems, and insights directly on the website.  Students read and respond to their classmates’ comments, thus providing an arena for student interaction that will be more informal, more detailed, and more individualized than is often possible in the regular classroom setting. 
       Besides seeing students’ responses to a particular assignment, I will see students’ comments to each other, and then provide my own feedback to the students. Thus each student's opportunities for immediate, multiple, and individualized feedback will be enhanced, eliminating the distance that students often feel between themselves and their teacher, between themselves and their classmates, and between themselves and the texts.
1. Regular attendance with preparation: Absences and lateness are strongly discouraged. 4 unexcused absences will constitute reason for failing this course.  Grades will be lowered after the third absence. Three lates = one absence.  No late papers.
 2. Class participation: Finish the assigned reading and be prepared to ask questions and discuss in class. Active participants will get extra credits. 
 3. Discussion Board: One entry each week on the assigned reading/questions.  Online you write  a) what you think about the assigned reading  b) any question you have about it c) your experience of visiting relevant websites  and  d) respond to /comment on what your classmates have written or disscussed--questions, reflections, insights, etc. On 10/26, 11/30 and 1/11, you submit in the portfolio which consists of all entries you write for the discussion board.  If you miss the discussion board, you write journals to replace it. 
 4. Group projects: in-class oral presentation [not exceeding 20 minutes] on assigned topics about the background or critical analysis to our readings, and after the oral report, turn in a written paper. 
 5. Webpages: group project to prepare webpages related to topics discussed in class 
 6. occasional quizzes and a final exam.
Grading Policy:

  Group projects:  Oral     15% Quizzes and class participation     10%
  Written   15%   Discussion board entries/journals   20%
  Webpages   20%  Final exam        20%
Syllabus in History (99F)

*Cecilia Liu
 (O) 2903-1111 ex. 2560 
 (H) 2901-7317