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National Park, AR · General Education · General Education Com Arts

American Literature I (8142)

  • Summer 2020
  • Section
  • 3 Credits
  • 05/22/2020 to 08/13/2020
  • Modified 08/10/2020

Class Information

  • Class Days:  Online
  • Class Time: Online
  • Class Location: Online
  • Class Format: Online Delivery


Course Description

Survey of American poetry, fiction, and essays from 1620 to 1865. Provides historical, biographical, and formal approaches to these works of American literature.

ACTS Equivalent:  ENGL 2653

Prerequisites ENG 1123 - English Composition II* with a grade of “C” or better

Corequisites:  None

Next Course in Sequence:  None


General Education Purpose and Objectives


National Park College (NPC) is committed to its mission statement, "Learning is our focus, student success is our goal."  NPC is dedicated to helping all students develop as communicators, critical thinkers, and professionals who behave ethically and recognize the diversity of the world around them. The General Education Objectives are designed to be an integral component of all courses at NPC.

General Education Objectives (GEO)

It is the expectation that upon successful completion of a certificate or degree program at National Park College, the student will be able to:

  1. Communicate effectively using oral, written, and electronic methods.
  2. Use critical and analytical thinking skills.
  3. Demonstrate discipline-specific knowledge, skills, and competencies.
  4. Exemplify professional demeanor, ethical behavior, and respect for diversity.

Arkansas Course Transfer System (ACTS)

Course Equivalent

Course Title: American Literature I

Course Number: ENGL 2653

Course Description

Selected works of American literature from its beginnings to 1865. It is strongly recommended that the student should have completed ENGL 1023 (Composition II) with a “C” or better.

ACTS Course Objectives (ACO):

The student will:

  1. Read, analyze, and interpret works by representative American writers. (CLO 1, 2)
  2. Identify various literary techniques, methods, and ideas. (CLO 2)
  3. Illustrate how literature reflects culture and society. (CLO 3)
  4. Write at least one interpretive paper. (CLO 4)

Course Level Objectives (CLO)

Upon successful completion of this course the student will be able to:

  1. Analyze and interpret works by representative American writers. (GEO 2, 3)
  2. Critique various literary techniques, methods, and ideas. (GEO 2, 3)
  3. Formulate how literature reflects culture and society. (GEO 2, 3, 4)
  4. Write at least one interpretive paper. (GEO 1, 2, 3)
  5. Compare works of major periods of American Literature with the characteristics of the periods. (GEO 1, 2, 3)

Required and Recommended Materials

Title of Textbook:
The Norton Anthology: American Literature, Beginnings to 1865, shorter 9th ed.,Volume 1
Editor: Robert S. Levine
Publisher and ISBN: Norton, 978-0-393-26452-4


Course Activities

Essays: You will write two essays in the class. You should be adept at MLA format for these. I have included several resources for these essays in a class folder. 

Discussion Forums: You will write weekly discussions, which consist of a 100-word post and two replies, at 50 words each. In these discussions, you are required to make a miniature claim about the topic and support this claim with at least one quote from the text that is properly formatted in MLA style. You should know how to summarize as well as interpret for these discussions. 

You'll want to do MORE than simply summarize the readings, adding a short (sentence or two) summary and then largely interpreting what you've read.

Specifically, (courtesy Seattle Pacific University's online course description of literary interpretation):

  • Close reading intensively examines a text’s language and literary devices, creating a detailed map of the text’s possible connotations and implications. Close reading is the primary tool used in interpretation.
  • Interpretation is an explicit argument about a text’s deeper meanings—its implied themes, values, and assumptions. It pays special attention to the text’s contradictions, tensions, and ambiguities. Interpretation also recognizes how the cultural context of the text and the reader might influence our interpretive conclusions.

Remember to post once, using at least one quote from the text, and respond twice.

Here is the proper way to quote:

When you first quote, use the author's full name in a signal phrase:

Ben Franklin writes, "Quote" (43).

Later, you may use one of these methods:

Further, Franklin states, "Quote" (67).

He also asserts, "Quote" (Franklin 43-45).

When you quote a complete sentence:

Franklin states, "All the leaves are brown" (90).

When you quote a phrase from a sentence:

Franklin also notes that "summer is the best time to go swimming" (90).

Quizzes: You will take weekly reading and terms/vocabulary quizzes. These cannot be done on your cell phone. Please use a reliable Internet server. 

Keep track of the course under Course Schedule, located under Begin Here.

Grading Policy

At the end of the course, the overall numerical grade will be converted from a numerical scale
to the following letter grade scale as indicated in the Grading Scale.
Grade Weight
Weekly Assignments: 50 percent
Final Exam: 10 percent
Essay I: 20 percent
Essay II: 20 percent
Total: 100 percent
Grading Scale for Final Grade
A --- 90 to 100
B --- 80 to 89
C --- 70 to 79
D --- 60 to 69
F --- Below 60 
Evaluating Student Work (Rubrics)
Rubrics will be provided for all assessments except those self-assessment activities that are
objective in nature. The rubrics will provide guidelines for you to follow in completing
assessments. Students who plagiarize in the course will receive a zero for the assignment
with no opportunity to resubmit the work. See the academic honesty policy in the syllabus for
more on this topic.
Why do I start this list with the "B" paper? Because a B is a fine thing to get on a paper and
because a B paper is a paper that fulfills the requirements of the assignment in full. In short, a B is the description of work well done. The A paper adds several positive qualities that surpass all the
requirements of the assignment. Among these are clarity and richness in content. More detail is given below. You will be given instructions for each assignment (including major essays). These instructions, along with the below evaluation criteria, will be used to grade your work.
B paper (Good):
It is significantly more than competent. Besides being almost free of mechanical
errors, the "B" paper delivers substantial information--that is, substantial in both quantity and in
relevance. Its specific points are logically ordered, well developed, and unified around a clear
organizing principle that is apparent early in the paper. It has positive value that goes beyond the
avoidance of error, but it lacks one or more qualities that would bring it close to perfection. It may
develop an idea fully and accurately but lack elements of originality. It may have all the qualities of an A paper except naturalness of organization, or it may be marred by improper form, inappropriate style, or occasional obscurity. Stylistically, the opening paragraph draws the reader; the closing paragraph is both conclusive and thematically related to the opening. The transitions between paragraphs are, for the most part, smooth, the sentence structures varied. The diction is more concise and precise than that of the "C" paper. In general, a "B" paper offers substantial information with few distractions. The B paper, then, is a complete paper in fulfilling the assignment, but lacks something in organization, clarity, richness of detail, quantity of information, or cleanness of style. If you receive a B on a paper, ask me what from this list describes what is missing. Often, the B paper is one revision away from being an A. The revision involves noticing the flaws and thinness in analysis, content, or style, and then moving vigorously to correct them.
A paper (Superior):
The Superior paper is written far above the minimum standards I have outlined
for the assignment. It includes all the positive qualities of the B paper listed above. In addition, it
displays originality, imagination, vitality, and a personal voice for the author. But the principal
characteristic of the "A" paper is its rich content and analysis. The quality, quantity, clarity, and density of the information delivered is such that the reader feels significantly taught by the author, sentence after sentence, paragraph after paragraph. The "A" paper is also marked by stylistic finesse: the title and the opening are engaging; the transitions are artful and related to the argument of the paper, not mere window dressing; the phrasing is tight, fresh, and specific; the tone enhances the purpose of the paper. Finally, the "A" paper shows a subtlety of logic that often escapes the more straightforward "B" paper; it makes strong claims while anticipating nuance, special circumstances, and irony. The "A" paper, because of its careful organization and development, imparts a feeling of wholeness, clarity, and strength of argument.
C paper (Adequate):
It is generally competent but lacks intellectual rigor; it meets the assignment, has few mechanical errors and is reasonably well organized and developed. The actual information it delivers, however, seems thin and commonplace. One reason for that impression is that the ideas are
typically cast in the form of vague generalities--generalities in presentation of theory, experimental findings, or even application examples. The paper may not be developed fully, its logic may be unconvincing or its organization, paragraphs, or sentences weak. Stylistically, the "C" paper has other shortcomings: a weak opening paragraph, a perfunctory conclusion, strained transitions, choppy and monotonous sentence patterns, and diction marred by repetition, redundancy, and imprecision. Occasionally, a paper may rate an A or B in content and receive a C because of errors of form. Just as often, a paper may be relatively correct in form, but its content may be uninspired or thin, thus warranting a grade no higher than C.
D paper (Unsatisfactory):
This paper is largely faulty, often because of errors of form or mechanics, but it does not warrant complete disregard. It may contain little or no content, it may simply restate arbitrarily selected material from the sources, or it may lack coherent organization. It does, however, have some saving graces: a spark of originality, an important argument buried in incoherent syntax, some mastery of sentence skills, or a relative grasp of organization.
F paper (Not acceptable):
Its treatment of the subject is superficial; its theme lacks discernible organization; its prose is garbled or lacking in clarity or style. Mechanical errors are frequent. In short, the ideas, organization, and style fall far short of acceptable college writing in English (the language,
and likely, the Department).
Adapted from Christopher Green’s website:

Course Policies

  • Classroom Attendance policy in accordance with the campus attendance policy. - In this online course, your attendance is recorded by weekly work. In a fast-paced summer course, you may be dropped for missing a week's work.
  • Late and Make-up Work policy - I do not take late work. 
  • Extra Credit policy - I do not offer extra credit in this summer course. 
  • Feedback and Response Time policy - Since for most assignments you have until the Sunday evening to complete the work, I have that following week to grade your work. Many of the assignments have rubrics. You can read the feedback in the rubric comments.
  • Expectations concerning:
    • Time and Effort Commitment -
      You should carefully consider your time obligations before committing to this course. The general suggestion for all college courses of 2 hours work per week outside class for every hour credited definitely applies to this course. (You should expect 6 hours of homework a week for a 3 hour course) plus the 3 hours you would normally be attending class for a total of 9 hours.
    • Inclement Weather / LMS downtime -
      When NPC is out of class due to weather, our class will continue as set in the calendar. The only time this will be modified is in the case of an unplanned D2L downtime. If D2L goes down unannounced, any assignments that are due
      during that time will be reopened for one day. D2L down time that is announced by the NPC Online office will need to be observed by the learner and assignment submission modified by the learner if it interferes with a final due date/time for any assignment.
    • Communication - Contact me through D2L. I will not communicate through Outlook as a general rule.
    • Expectations for Written Assignments - All essays are expected to be formatted in MLA style with a works cited page and properly cited quotes. I have included essay resources in the course, but you are expected to have mastered this in your composition courses. For discussions, I expect you to correctly format your quotes in MLA style here, too. In all assignments, you should proofread carefully, with attention to punctuation, grammar, word choice and style. 

I will not allow makeup work for plagiarism in this class. You will receive a zero on the assignment, and the second occurrence of plagiarism can result in you being dropped from the course.  

NPC Policies

Board Policy 6.600 -- NPC Attendance Policy

Instructions to Students regarding attendance:

  1. Students are responsible to know and comply with syllabus attendance and coursework guidelines in each of their courses.
  2. Students are expected to meet all attendance requirements and engage in coursework as outlined in the course syllabus. Failure to maintain satisfactory course participation is the equivalent of excessive absenteeism and may result in the student being dropped. To maintain good-standing in online courses, students are expected to submit assigned coursework in a timely manner per instructor requirements.
  3. Students participating in athletics or a college-sponsored extracurricular activity are required to communicate scheduled absences ahead of time and to make arrangements with their instructors regarding missed coursework, including exams. The instructor determines how academic work associated with a college-sponsored absence(s) can be completed by the student.
  4. Failure to meet a course’s attendance policy does not mean a student will be automatically withdrawn from a course. Students seeking to withdraw from a course should do so either online through the student’s account or in person by visiting Student Affairs.
  5. Students who do not withdraw from a course by the published Academic College Calendar withdraw date will receive an earned grade.
  6. A faculty member may administratively withdraw a student from a course, including online courses, any time during the semester up to the published Academic College Calendar withdraw date if attendance does not meet syllabus guidelines.
  7. Students will not be administratively withdrawn by faculty after the published Academic College Calendar withdraw date except in life-changing circumstances or as a result of military orders.
  8. The withdrawal of a student from all courses may require the student to repay all or a portion of the financial aid received as calculated by the Financial Aid Office in accordance with government grant guidelines.
  9. Only in extraordinary circumstances may a student earn a grade of IP (In Progress) to defer course completion. Please see the Incomplete Grades policy in the Student Handbook located at

The full attendance policy is available by clicking on this link to the Board Policy

Academic Honesty Policy

National Park College considers honesty and integrity as essential qualities of any learning institution. The faculty and staff strive to live up to these qualities in all aspects of their lives and encourage their students to do the same. Integrity and moral values will carry over in to their professional lives and careers. NPC’s goal is to successfully prepare all students for their futures and equip them to handle whatever challenges they may face; therefore, NPC considers academic dishonesty as unacceptable.

Any NPC students who display dishonesty in their behavior while attending classes at NPC will be subject to disciplinary action to help the student first and foremost, but to also protect the rights, dignity, and property of others while maintaining an environment that fosters success and learning.

Violations of the Academic Honesty Policy will not be tolerated on the campus. Violations may range from receiving an “F” on the assignment in question up to permanent removal from the College.

  1. Technology manipulation
  2. Collusion
  3. Deception
  4. Misrepresentation and Lying
  5. Cheating
  6. Plagiarism
  7. Fabrication and Falsification
  8. Stealing, Defacing, and Destruction of Property

Please take time to read the entire policy, which can be found by clicking on this link to the Academic Honesty Policy.

LMS Policy

Brightspace by Desire to Learn (D2L) is the official learning management system (LMS) for the College. All students are expected to complete the LMS Student Training prior to the first day of class during their first semester here. Below you will find various policies relating to the LMS.

Privacy Policy:  Links to the privacy policies for all external tools used in the course are provided in the LMS. You can find the various privacy policies by clicking in the Begin Here module in each of your courses.

Accessibility Statement:  Links to the accessibility statements for all technologies required in the course are provided in LMS. You can find the various accessibility statements by clicking in the Begin Here module in each of your courses.

Netiquette Policy:  The netiquette policy for this course is located in your course in the LMS. You can find the Netiquette policies by clicking on the Netiquette Link by clicking in the Begin Here module in each of your courses.

Flexibility Clause:  The aforementioned requirements, assignments, policies, evaluation procedures, etc., are subject to change. Learners’ experiences and needs, as well as emerging knowledge, will be considered in modifying this course syllabus.

ADA Statement

National Park College (NPC) believes in providing equal access and opportunity to qualified persons with disabilities in compliance with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended; the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990; and the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008. It is our goal to ensure equal and comprehensive access to College programs, services, and campus facilities. It is the policy of NPC that no individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, and advantages or accommodations at the College. National Park College’s ADA statement may be accessed by clicking on this link to ADA statement.

The Disability Services office is located in Room 240 of the Gerald Fisher Campus Center Building. You are also welcome to call us at (501) 760-4227 or e-mail [email protected] for more information. Students with disabilities should visit our website using this link to disability services for more information.

Student Resources

Academic Success Center

The Academic Success Center provides tutoring and other resources to help students succeed. Visit our webpage at this link to the Academic Success Center.

Computer Services Department

The Computer Services Department provides computing resources for students including password resets. Visit our webpage at this link to the Computer Services Department.

NPC Library

The NPC Library provides a wide variety of services to students. Visit the NPC Library website.

LMS Support

Support for the LMS is available through NPC Online by email to [email protected], phone at 501-760-4292, or visit Charlotte Phelps Room 204.

Testing Center

The Testing Center provides test support for students and faculty. To learn more about the testing center visit our webpage at Testing Center.

Class Schedule

The schedule for this course will be made available in the LMS.  The instructor reserves the right to modify the schedule as the semester progresses.

Course Evaluations

Students will be asked to evaluate their instructor and course near the end of the semester. These student evaluations are very important to the improvement in the quality of instruction and course materials. All results are anonymous and shared with the faculty only after the semester is over and grades have been posted.

Legal Disclaimer

The schedule, policies, and assignments in this course are subject to change in the event of extenuating circumstances or by mutual agreement between the instructor and the students. The instructor will always inform the students of any changes in a timely manner.

In the event of a community crisis the college reserves the right to change the mode of instruction for any or all classes.