Your Instructor
Course Description & Assumptions
Learning Outcomes
Course Philosophy & Groundrules
Course Progression
Course Technologies
Course Requirements
Assignments and Grading
Other Course Policies & Disclosures

Your Instructor

Tyler Chadwick, Instructor, Idaho State Department of English & Philosophy

Phone: Will pass along via email
Twitter: @KingTawhiao
SpeakPipe: Leave me an online voicemail @|tc
Skype: tyler-chadwick

Office: Since I live in Utah, I have no office on campus. If you’d like to chat with me, shoot me an email or a text with your questions or to set up an appointment to meet virtually.

Click here for more about me.

Connecting with Me

As your instructor, I’m here to help you succeed. If you need to contact me, the best way is via email; so unless all else fails, email first, then relax—you’ll rise to the top of my queue soon enough. I do my best to respond to messages within 24 hours, unless it’s the weekend: then you’ll just have to wait until Monday. I do answer my phone, so feel free to text or call if you’ve got something urgent to discuss. If I don’t answer your call, you know the drill: name, number, brief message. I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Course Description & Assumptions

In their introduction to Literature: The Human Experience, Richard Abcarian and Marvin Klotz defend the reading of literature as something that can change us. They observe that we can “learn a great deal” about ourselves, about our own and others’ cultures, about the world, by spending time with a wide variety of books. In the process, they continue, our “[r]eading will make wise, humane, and just citizens of us all.”

But such deep change demands more of us than just passing our eyes over words. It demands more than simply skimming the surface of the language that streams around us everyday, flowing via social media, popular culture, news outlets, text messages, course materials, advertising, etc. It demands that we read actively as well as widely, that we open ourselves to the influence others’ stories can exert on our character, on our habits of being.

In this course, we’ll take those demands seriously by actively and critically reading, analyzing, and interpreting diverse works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama written by authors from diverse cultures and traditions. Additionally, we’ll ask after the ways digital media and technologies can augment and/or detract from the human experience of reading literature. Because the course is located online, it provides the ideal environment in which you can reflect on and develop your critical reading and thinking skills as they’re practiced and enacted in digital communities, which are media-rich and highly participatory. To this end, our curriculum is based on several assumptions about thinking and reading in the 21st century. It assumes,

  1. that reading is a social act;
  2. that the emergence, rapid evolution, accessibility, and prevalence of digital technologies demand that we think differently about how, what, where, why, and for whom we read;
  3. that learning to navigate, analyze, and meaningfully participate in the diverse, mass-mediated, multicultural environments that surround you will serve you well in college and beyond.

Working from and building upon these assumptions, together we’ll make this course’s online presence and participatory network a public record of our collective engagement with literary works as mediated and shared by digital tools. My hope is that doing so will help us better understand what it means to be human in a rapidly changing, media-rich world.

Learning Outcomes

After spending the semester engaged with the course curriculum and our learning community, you should be better able to:

  • Practice reading as a conversation carried out among reader, text(s), and writer.
  • Use the tools of active reading (including annotation, note-taking, and reading aloud) and various digital technologies to enhance your encounters with texts of all types.
  • Recognize the unique characteristics of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama and understand how these characteristics influence the ways we read texts from each genre.
  • Understand how major works of literature explore the human condition and examine human values.
  • Demonstrate and apply basic terminology for the analysis and interpretation of literary texts.
  • Compose a variety of texts for various purposes in response to what you read.

Course Philosophy & Groundrules

Some online learners (especially new ones) begin classes feeling isolated, but this course is designed to help you connect with your peers and to learn in community with them. To responsibly participate in our learning community, we each need to understand and to accept, to model and to uphold certain groundrules, as outlined on this page. These groundrules will be in effect throughout our time together, so be sure to read them carefully. If you have any questions about what’s expected in terms of class interaction, please contact me or post them on the Got Questions? page in our Google+ community.

Course Progression

The course is divided into three units. In the first, Community Building, we’ll get to know each other and explore the course focus, assumptions, technologies, and methodology. Once you’re acquainted with your peers, the general course format, and the methods and tools we’ll use to share and extend the reading experience, we’ll spend some time addressing the question What is Literature?. During this unit, we’ll discuss the various genres of literature—fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama—by looking at specific texts and exploring how they function. Our third unit, Interacting with Literature, will fill the majority of the semester and will consist of discrete modules. In each module we’ll read texts that address one of the themes covered in our course textbook, Literature: The Human Experience.

Course Technologies

In order to more effectively consider the core assumptions of this course and to collaboratively work toward its learning outcomes, our class interactions will take place in various social media environments and will make use of online content generation and sharing software. Follow this link to learn more about what technologies we’ll be using throughout the semester.

Course Requirements


Literature: The Human Experience (Shorter 9th Edition)
Edited by Richard Abcarian and Marvin Klotz

ISBN: 0-312-45281-0

Available online from various used book sellers and in the campus bookstore.

Additional texts (written, visual, and audio) will be shared electronically.


In addition to the textbook (see above), you must have the following items to succeed in this online class:

  • A notebook or journal (can be any size or any type).
  • A reliable dictionary (can be print or electronic: I’m impartial, although the one I use most is the app on my phone).
  • Regular access to reliable, high speed internet on a computer (not just a mobile device). Mobile devices rock, I know, and there are parts of the course that can be accessed and completed with them. But to really succeed, you need to have regular access to a laptop or desktop computer with high speed internet. Just think of this as your “transportation” to class.

Assignments and Grading

Weekly Participation (50%):

Weekly participation includes completing the assigned reading, meaningfully contributing to class discussions, sharing your reading experience through various digital channels, and collaborating on various projects with your peers.

You’ll report, reflect on, and assess your course engagement via weekly reflection surveys.

Compositions (50%):

Over the course of the semester, you’ll create three compositions. Some will be individual compositions, some will be collaborative.

Grading Scale

Course grades will be based on the following scale: A (100–90%), B (89-80%), C (79–70%), D (69–60%), and F (59–0%). I’ll keep a running record of your grades in Moodle.

Other Course Policies & Disclosures

Late Work & Extra Credit

Because this course is participatory and collaborative in nature—meaning that it will succeed or fail based on when and how everyone “shows up”—you should do everything in your power to complete and submit your work on time. If, however, you run into trouble and are having difficulty meeting a deadline, contact me beforehand and I’ll see if/how I can help.

I may offer extra credit opportunities throughout the semester, so stay tuned.

Drop/Withdrawal Dates

Per ISU policy, September 8th is the last day to drop full-semester courses and October 31st is the last day to withdraw from full-semester courses. (Follow this link to the school’s academic calendar.)

Academic Honesty

“Students in University courses constantly engage with ideas generated by others, reading these ideas in texts, hearing them in lectures, discussing them in classes, and incorporating them into their writing. Since these ideas represent intellectual property—the very heart of the academy—it is vital that students give credit for these ideas where credit is due. When students do not clearly acknowledge and correctly cite these sources, [whether intentionally or unintentionally,] they commit plagiarism. [. . .] In either case, [. . .] plagiarism constitutes violations of the University’s policy on Academic Dishonesty” and will result in a course grade of “F,” a letter to the student’s home department, and referral to the Dean of the student’s college and/or the Dean of Students for further action. (Source:

ADA Disclosure

Idaho State University is committed to providing equal opportunity in education for all students. If you have a diagnosed disability or if you believe you have a disability (physical, learning, hearing, vision, psychiatric) that might require reasonable accommodation in this course, contact the Disability Services Center, Rendezvous Building, Room 125 (208.282.3599) or online at It is the responsibility of students to contact instructors during the first week of each semester to discuss appropriate accommodations.