Syllabus for HUM-102



Introduction to the Humanities II: Drama, Poetry, and Narrative surveys classics of Western literature in their cultural context.The course is divided into three parts, each focused on one of the genres featured in the course title. The first section of the course considers the sweep of drama from its earliest religious and ritual context (Oedipus the King) to works that reflect a culture adrift from its moorings (Waiting for Godot). The second section presents poetry as a “rediscovering of common experience,” beginning with Shakespeare's sonnets and moving through Blake, Whitman, Dickinson, Frost, and Rich. In the third part of the course, a survey of narrative literature, students read and discuss authors such as Dickens, Brontë, Melville, Kafka, and Walker.

Course content consists of a series of half-hour video lectures that discuss authors and works. Works of literature will be sampled or read in entirety from both online sources and hard-copy texts. This course is based on the course "Understanding Literature and Life" from the Teaching Company.


After completing this course, students should be able to:


  1. Discuss the cultural context of a broad selection of Western literary works.
  2. Compare and contrast works of literature.  
  3. Discuss issues of race, class, and gender presented in Western literature.
  4. Explain the use of dramatic devices such as irony, plot, conflict, setting, and theme.
  5. Describe the use of poetic devices such as rhythm, meter, metaphor, and point of view.  
  6. Discuss the evolution over time of literary topics such as the tragic hero, views of love, the crisis of death, and the search for human meaning.
  7. Discuss the use of narrative devices such as character, plot, setting, language, and point of view.
  8. Differentiate between the literary forms of drama, poetry, and narrative.  
  9. Write a cogent, coherent, and substantially error-free essay or paper.


You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbooks are available from the University's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Video Programs

The video programs are being offered via streaming video technology through the course Web site. See the Video Playlist in the top section of the course space.


ISBN-10: 0316184152

ISBN-10: 0393323951

ISBN-10: 0156031825

Note: You will also read works of literature online.

Online Writing Sources and Tutorial Options

Introduction to the Humanities II: Drama, Poetry, and Narrative is a writing intensive course that places great emphasis on helping you to further develop your writing skills. Listed below are helpful writing resources and tutoring options:


Introduction to the Humanities II: Drama, Poetry, and Narrative is a three-credit online course, consisting of nine modules. Modules include topics, learning objectives, study materials, and activities.  Additionally, some modules contain an overview. Module titles are listed below.


For your formal work in the course, you are required to complete written assignments, participate in online discussion forums, and complete a final paper. See below for more details.

Consult the Course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Discussion Forums

You are required to participate in seven graded discussion forums as well as an ungraded Introductions Forum. The online discussions are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules.

Essay Assignments

You are required to complete eight essay assignments. The assignment are on topics associated with the course modules and are 400 to 600 words in length.

Course Papers

There is no midterm or final examination in this course. Three papers of 750 to 1,250 words each act as your overall assessments and are worth 36 percent of your grade.

These course papers will allow you to demonstrate your mastery of course objectives and concepts. They give you the opportunity to draw together what you have learned about each genre as well as representative writers and themes. A full description of each paper is provided within the course.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:






























Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a course not in your area of study), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence, and honesty. The University expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.

Students at Thomas Edison State University are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

All members of the University community are responsible for reviewing the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog and online at

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State University expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the University insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to helping students understand the seriousness of plagiarism, which is defined as using the work and ideas of others without proper citation. The University takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing are subject to discipline under the academic code of conduct policy.

If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Originality Report Checking at Turnitin

Disciplinary Process for Plagiarism

Acts of both intentional and unintentional plagiarism violate the Academic Code of Conduct.

If an incident of plagiarism is an isolated minor oversight or an obvious result of ignorance of proper citation requirements, the mentor may handle the matter as a learning exercise. Appropriate consequences may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool in addition to a lower grade for the assignment or course. The mentor will notify the student and appropriate dean of the consequence by e-mail.

If the plagiarism appears intentional and/or is more than an isolated incident, the mentor will refer the matter to the appropriate dean, who will gather information about the violation(s) from the mentor and student, as necessary. The dean will review the matter and notify the student in writing of the specifics of the charge and the sanction to be imposed.

Possible sanctions include:

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