Introduction to English Studies I

ENGL 1106
September - December 2009

Brief Description of Course

This course introduces students to English as a discipline of study at the university. The course focuses on learning the skills required to move from an initial impression of a literary work to a clear, coherent, written analysis. Particular attention is therefore given to such topics as the purpose of literary analysis, recognizing literary conventions, correct grammar and usage, the basics of argumentation, and proper essay format.



5%  Grammar quizSeptember 22
10%  Grammar test 1October 20
10%  Grammar test 2November 17
10%  Essay 1due October 1
15%  Essay 2due November 19
10%  Mid-term testOctober 29
30%  Final exam
10%  Seminar participation


Essays are due in class. For every day (including weekend days) that an essay is late, the grade on the essay will be reduced by 2%. If an essay is more than ten days late, it will not be accepted and you will receive a grade of 0 for that assignment.


The lectures will focus on studying literature. You are expected to attend all lectures. You will receive helpful advice on how to think about literature, how to develop theories about literature, and how to write about literature. Note that the content of the lectures is meant to stimulate your own thinking: the lecturer’s thoughts about a work of literature do not represent the only way to think about that work of literature. You should develop your own opinions and theories and learn how to express and defend them. The skills you learn in reading, thinking, and writing about literature can be transferred to every university discipline. You should prepare for the lectures by reading the assigned material (before the lecture) and by spending some time thinking about the material. Hint: try to anticipate what the lecturer will say about the reading assignment.


Seminars will take place weekly, starting September 14th. You must attend the seminar section in which you have enrolled on WebAdvisor; you are not permitted to attend another seminar section, unless you change your enrollment on WebAdvisor or have the seminar instructor’s permission. The final seminars will be on December 4th.

The seminars will focus on the mechanics of the English language and of writing. You are expected to attend all seminars. Part of the seminars will review what you have already learned in high school, with a view towards solidifying what you already know; part of the seminars should significantly advance your insight into the nature of effective university writing. Every week, a Seminar Guide Sheet will be distributed in class and placed on the web site: you should follow the instructions on the Guide Sheet and prepare for seminar properly. The seminar assignments will usually have to be submitted to your seminar instructor at the very beginning of class; your completed assignments will sometimes be exchanged with your classmates for peer commentary.


The participation grade is based on your participation in seminar discussions and exercises. Your seminar instructor is solely responsible for the grade. Participation does not consist simply of talking, but of contributing in an informed manner to the seminar. If you have not read the material, chances are your attempts to contribute to the seminar will not be effective or (from a grade perspective) valuable. Attendance alone is not sufficient for a good participation grade: please make an effort to engage with the seminar discussions.

You will be expected to submit to your seminar instructor the completed exercises from the Seminar Guide Sheets. These exercises will not be graded, but will be looked over to ensure they have been completed. Your participation grade will be based on your in-seminar participation, but for every exercise that has not been submitted to the seminar instructor, your participation grade will be penalized by 10%. For example, if your in-seminar participation is evaluated at 75% but you neglected to submit two exercises, then your participation grade will be 55% (or 5.5 points out of 10).


The Department of English Studies and Nipissing University maintains a strict policy on all forms of academic dishonesty. Each assignment must be original work produced by the student only for this course. All referencing and documentation must be complete and accurate for both direct and indirect quotations. The Modern Language Association (MLA) guidelines for essay preparation are the standard in English Studies. Nipissing subscribes to in order to ensure the integrity of the academic enterprise. Students shall submit their take-home essays electronically to prior to submitting a hard copy to their instructor on the due date. Ignorance of what constitutes plagiarism will not be accepted as an excuse: if you are uncertain about any of this information, see your instructor immediately. All suspected plagiarism will be reported to the chair of the department, the dean of the faculty, and the registrar of the university.

Office Hours

Marc Plamondon: Wed: 1:00 - 3:00; Thurs: 9:30 - 10:30

Rhiannon Don: Tues: 1:00 - 2:30; Wed: 1:00 - 2:30


Please feel free to email Dr. Plamondon or Prof. Don, though your seminar instructor should be your first contact person. To assist us, please place ENGL 1106 at the start of the subject line. You may have to wait a day or two for an answer: please do not email us requests that need to be answered immediately. Note also that if we think an email response will take too much time or will not adequately address the complexity of the issue raised, we will respond by requesting you meet with us during office hours to discuss the issue.

Please feel free to come to our offices during our posted office hours: no appointment is needed. If you cannot make it to our office hours, you can request meeting us at another time, and we will do our best to arrange something with you.

Please do contact one of us if you are having difficulty in the course: we are here to help you. The earlier you come to us, the better we will be able to assist you.

If you must miss a seminar, it is courteous (though not required) to send your seminar instructor a brief email informing him/her of your absence.

Class schedule (subject to change)

September 10Introduction and Kilmer
September 15Genesis1. Basic grammar
September 17John and Revelation
September 22Frost2. VerbsGrammar quiz
September 24Hopkins
September 29Layton and Page3.Phrases and clauses
October 1Lord Randall and Thomas RhymerEssay 1 due
October 6Robin Hood and Little John4. Pronouns
October 8Hardy story
October 13Study week
October 15Study week
October 20As You Like It5. Mid-term prepGrammar test 1
October 22As You Like It
October 27As You Like It6. Paragraphs
October 29Mid-term test
November 3Addison7. Quotations
November 5Greenwood Tree
November 10make-up tests8. Punctuation
November 12Greenwood Tree
November 17Greenwood Tree9. Academic writing
November 19Greenwood TreeEssay 2 due
Grammar test #2
November 24Mansfield10. Usage
November 26Mansfield and Anderson
December 1Weisman11. Review
December 3review
December 8review and Stevens