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English 261 - American Literature II - Tracey Sherard

Course:American Literature II
Professor:Tracey Sherard
  • Online
Course Length:
  • 16 Week


Welcome to English 101. I’m Dr. Tracey Sherard, the instructor of this course, and I’m looking forward to working with you!

I know that foremost in many of your minds is the state of the current Covid19 pandemic. Make no mistake—these are challenging times. I was on research sabbatical in the Spring of 2020 when California went into its first phase of rising COVID19 cases and ‘lock down.’ While I was not currently teaching, I was attending virtual meetings with the English department. I was—and continue to be—amazed by the resilience of our instructors, and most significantly, by you—our students. As you probably already know, most classes at COC are still virtual. I have been teaching online for over 15 years now and feel optimistic and confident our classroom community can be as valuable and fulfilling as a traditional face-to-face class—provided we all recognize and fulfill our roles in that communal capacity.

Course Description

Course Description:

English 261 “Surveys a wide range of American authors and their relationships to major literary and intellectual movements from the second half of the nineteenth century to the present.”

Student Learning Outcomes:

At successful completion of the course, the student will be able to:

  • Relate the important literary works of the period to their historical, philosophical, social, political, regional, and/or aesthetic contexts.
  • Analyze and interpret themes found in the literature and intellectual movements of the period, using appropriate academic discourse and the conventions of critical literary analysis.

Course Objectives:

  1. Analyze the historical, philosophical, social, political, and/or aesthetic contexts of the period.
  2. Analyze the primary changes in literary styles, genres, and movements during the period.
  3. For the authors of the period, analyze the chief characteristics of their writing, such as their use of language, tone, genre, and structure.
  4. Relate an author’s use of diction, tone, setting, character, figurative language, and other elements of literature to the theme of a given text.
  5. Relate an author’s use of diction, tone, setting, character, figurative language, and other elements of literature to the historical, philosophical, social, political, and/or aesthetic contexts of a given text.
  6. Analyze and evaluate the value of insights and knowledge based upon the study of the literature of the period to cultural concerns.

What to Expect in this Course

Course Format:

We will be engaging in a variety of online activities in this course. Such activities include discussion board original and peer replies based on the assigned reading, as well as taking quizzes and exams. You will also be submitting your writing project for the course online.

Please note that we will cover the same material usually covered in a face-to-face version of the course. Therefore, expect to spend approximately 10 hours per week on this course.

Attendance and Punctuality:

Your “attendance” is required. You should be prepared to log on and participate at least 3 times during each week. Many of you will want and need to do so more often. There may be

times, though, that you need to “miss” class due to your personal schedule or unforeseen emergencies. In such cases, you can work one or two assignments ahead. When possible, you can do some original replies ahead and save them as documents you can cut and paste close to the due dates (postings submitted weeks in advance will not be counted).

Submitting late assignments not only affects your grade, but also deprives you of your classmates’ valuable feedback. It also, of course, deprives them of your brilliant ideas and writing style.

Late discussion board original or peer replies will not receive any points.  If you are “absent” for more than 3 discussion board original replies, along with not receiving those points, you will most likely be dropped from the course for having stopped “attending.” This is in keeping with regular course attendance guidelines from the college.

If you miss even one discussion board, it is a good idea to email your instructor to reaffirm your intention to complete all remaining discussion boards as attendance.

The course begins on Monday of the first week of class, when our CANVAS course shell will become available to you.


Participation is vital to your success in this class, and includes doing the assigned readings, logging on at least 3 times a week and contributing to the appropriate discussion boards, and engaging in various other online activities geared towards the sharing of insights and resources, which will help make the class more interesting and valuable to everyone, as well as contribute substantially to your performance in the class.

Types of Assessments

Quizzes: --20%

There will be 1 syllabus quiz, 3 textbook or period “Volume” quizzes (Volumes C, D, and E), and 20 literature quizzes. Your answers will demonstrate that you are doing the reading, and that you are prepared to interact on the discussion board. Quizzes total 20% of your final grade. Doing badly on one will help you to perform better the next time. However, your overall performance on the quizzes can affect your grade substantially.

Discussion Boards: --20%

Discussion Boards comprise 20% of your grade and are a significant source of critical thinking and dialogue about what you are reading. Discussion Board Criteria and a grading rubric are available to you for directions and to help improve your performance during the course. I will be checking all discussion board original and peer replies for plagiarism (both accidental and intentional cases will result in a referral to the Dean of Students).

Exams: --45%

Three exams will cover the material read and discussed for the course. The exams will include multiple choice questions (including term definitions) and short essay answers.

Essay: --15%

You will write a formal essay on 1-2 texts (choices are restricted to those appearing on the syllabus assignment calendar). You will be held responsible for correctly quoting and citing (including works cited page) according to MLA format.

Essay Policies:

  • Your essay is to be typed, saved to a secure place (even more than one), and submitted to CANVAS in an uncorrupted file before the assigned deadline. CANVAS will automatically run all submissions through, a plagiarism detection tool.
  • I will be grading your essay in CANVAS and will notify you when your score and feedback are available.
  • Essays not meeting minimum length or source requirements will not receive higher than a “C-.” Length is measured with 12-inch margins, Times New Roman 12-point font, and no extra spaces between paragraphs.
  • If accepted at the instructor’s discretion, late papers may receive a 5% deduction from the total possible points for each day that they are late. Late essays will not receive comments, just a score.
  • Late work policies are enforced (common) or waived (uncommon) at the instructor’s discretion.

Textbook Information

Required Course Materials:

  • The Norton Anthology of American Literature, volumes C, D, and E., ISBN#: 978-0393264555
  • Reliable Internet Access and LOTS of “post-its”

Other Relevant Course Information

If this course is not full, you should be able to add it via MyCanyons.

If the course is full, the best way to add is to be on the waitlist, as the college will automatically add you if a spot opens up. They will notify you by email so that you can pay your fees and remain enrolled in the course. Students dropped for non-payment will not likely be able to re-add.

If it is full and has gone to a wait list, replies to emails requesting an add code will go out after the “no-show” drop deadline.

In the event that there is room for additional students other than those on the waitlist to add the class, I will know on Thursday of the first week of class, so please contact me by email early that day at the latest (even if you are on the waitlist you need to contact me). If I am able to add you to the class, your name will be sent directly to Computer Support Services via computer by Admissions and Records and it may take 1 business day before your account is created in CANVAS, though I will do my best to expedite that process.

Additional Resources


This course can be accessed on the first day of class via Canvas at Log into Canvas using your CanyonsID single sign-on:

  • CanyonsID Username is your COC student email address (Ex:
  • CanyonsID Password is your COC student email password

Please visit the Get to Know Your Online Classroom page for help logging into Canvas and for tips on using Canvas and Zoom. Canvas Chat Support is also available 24/7 for any Canvas related issues.

Online Education

Check out the Online Education website for more information on a variety of topics that can help you be a successful online student such as: exam proctoring, learning styles, computer skills, and tips for student success. If this is your first online course, feel free to take our online learning readiness assessment to assess your skills.

The Learning Center (TLC)

The TLC provides FREE online tutoring resources to COC students!

Academic Accommodation Center (AAC)

College of the Canyons AAC provides educational services and access for eligible students with documented disabilities who intend to pursue coursework at COC. A variety of programs and services are available which afford eligible students with disabilities the opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of the college programs and activities through appropriate and reasonable accommodations. For more information on their services visit the Academic Accomodation Center website.

Online Counseling

The Counseling Department offers appointments online. You can schedule an appointment by visiting the Online Counseling website. Counselors can help you map out a plan to reach your educational goals as well as advise you on course selection and registration.

Management of Stress and Mental Health

Often the pressure on our students is very strong, involving academic commitments, relationships, outside jobs and family pressure to name a few. The staff and faculty of College of the Canyons are here to see you succeed academically and care about your emotional and physical health. You can learn more about the broad range of confidential student services, including counseling and mental health services available on campus by visiting the Student Health & Wellness Center in the Student Services Building (across from the bookstore). The phone number is 661-362-3259 that you can call 24/7. You can also e mail for an appointment at At the Canyon Country Campus the Health Center will be in the new Student Services Building.

Also, the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline number is now 988. All students at COC are encouraged to enter that phone number in their cells. You can call it when you, or someone you know, is having thoughts of suicide or is in severe distress.

You can also now use the Crisis Text Line: Just text "Courage" to 741741. Someone will get back to you immediately. Its free, 24/7, and confidential.

Veterans Resource Center

The College of the Canyons Veterans Resource Center is a department within the Student Services Division at the college, created to help veterans and veteran dependents with applying to College of the Canyons, enrolling in classes, and requesting VA Education or Vocational Benefits. For more information please visit the Veterans Resource Center website, email or phone (661) 362-3469.


The Library provides live online and in-person research help, access to a full range of e-resources and physical materials that support the curriculum, individual and group study areas, and much more!

Last updated: 06/08/2022 Sub#: 238