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Humanities 100 - Introduction to Studies in the Humanities - Tracey Sherard

Course:Introduction to Studies in the Humanities
Professor:Tracey Sherard
  • Online
Course Length:
  • 16 Week


Welcome to Humanities 100. I’m Dr. Tracey Sherard, the instructor of this 100% online course, and I’m looking forward to working with you!

I have been teaching online for over 17 years now (two of them during the pandemic) 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.

The reading and writing for this course are challenging, but full of opportunities to express your humanity and your creativity as a world citizen engaged with historical and social developments relevant to our contemporary global landscape. We'll be studying historical documents, short stories, poems, a novel, some visual arts, and film, all related to the theme of decolonization.

I'd like to take a moment here to ask you to remember that experiencing obstacles is a very normal, and even exciting, part of the learning process. I certainly experienced it  a student, and still do in my role as a college professor, one that requires ongoing perseverance in the face of ever evolving challenges. Snd for this journey, I am grateful.



Course Description

Catalog Description:

Humanities 100 introduces themes and methods of inquiry of the Humanities. Compares and contrasts ideas and cultural expressions of Western and Non-Western Civilizations, focusing on a selected theme chosen each term.

Student Learning Outcome:

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Evaluate the ideas and values expressed in cultural productions from multiple time periods and cultures as they relate to a selected theme and through the methods of inquiry apprized by the humanities.

Course Objectives:

1.         Apply methods of inquiry used in Humanities disciplines to assigned cultural expressions.

2.         Compare and contrast the basic methods of inquiry and disciplines that comprise humanistic study.

3.         Analyze key artistic, cultural, and ideological elements of selected cultural expressions.

4.         Construct relationships and comparisons between ideas and values expressed in humanistic works of different time periods and cultures.

5.         Relate written and visual works to their cultural and historical context.


Our Course Theme:

Using key concepts of postcolonial theory, this course will examine historical, philosophical, artistic, and literary representations and critiques of the western binaries of self/other, male/female, and nature/civilization that ultimately structure western ideas of non-western cultures, specifically those shaped by colonialism and its aftermath. Analyzing texts from Africa, the Caribbean, and India in light of traditional western ideals present in popular British and American texts fosters critical thinking about imperialism and its ethical implications. We will consider the question of agency in particular. Has the liberatory promise of postcolonial thought been fulfilled? To what extent are postcolonial subjects represented as exercising free will, the ability to extricate themselves from seemingly predetermined narratives of tragedy?

What to Expect in this Course

Please log in to our course CANVAS shell on Monday of the first week of class.

Some Basic Information:

While this is a 100% online class, it requires just as much—if not more—time and effort than a traditional in-person one. You will be expected to complete the same amount of work that is required in a face-to-face class (‘class time’ plus ‘homework’). Therefore, expect to spend an average of 8-10 hours a week on reading and writing assignments for this course.

Students who do well in online courses tend to share the following qualities:

  • They are good at motivating themselves to complete work by deadlines
  • They are strong readers and communicate well in writing.
  • They have strong time management skills.
  • They enjoy active, cooperative learning experiences.
  • They have reliable access to the Internet.
  • They have basic computer skills, including the ability to cut/copy and paste between documents, send and receive email attachments, and most importantly, save documents in the appropriate requested file formats.

Basic Required Skills:

You will need to have ready access to current word document creating software (Microsoft Word preferred). If you do not have Microsoft Word, you will still be expected to be able to either save (or ‘export’ if you have a MAC) your documents in Microsoft Word and/or PDF formats (no rich text format, Pages, etc.). You will need an up-to date version of an internet browser (See CANVAS login page for compatible browsers). You need to be computer literate, well-skilled in basic document creation and handling. You should know how to copy and paste from one document to another and how to attach documents to emails. You must know how to override default settings in your word processing program to set page margins, spacing, and fonts, so that I can ensure fairness in determining whether your writing assignments meet minimum full-page requirements.

You will also need to avoid working close to deadlines as unreliable internet connections and computer issues do not often result in extended deadlines.

Course Requirements:

In order to successfully complete this course, you must log onto our class site several times a week to retrieve and submit assignments and to participate in collaborative exchanges with your peers. All of these activities involve deadlines (late work may be accepted at the instructor’s discretion with official documentation of a mandated court date, medical emergency, or illness/death of an immediate family member).

This course requires the same amount of total work hours (including time spent in class) as a regular face-to-face, full semester length section. In a regular semester, that would mean time spent in class plus reading and homework, usually totals 8-10 hours. If you cannot devote this amount of time, please reconsider whether this is the appropriate time for you to take a 100% online course.

NOTE: just as in a traditional class, if you know in advance that you are going to “miss” a few class periods, doing a few (not many) assignments ahead of time may lessen the negative impact of your “absence” on your grade. However, while early assignment availability is usually possible, it’s never guaranteed, as I continuously update and create new material depending on the needs of each particular class.

This is not a class in which work can be completed far ahead of deadlines or made up during the last minutes of the semester. Class-wide discussion boards (where much of the work will be conducted) will be asynchronous, not synchronous—meaning that you can log in at a time of day convenient to you as long as you meet the deadlines.

***There are no Zoom meetings for this class***

I will be online at various times during ‘business hours,’ 9-5, Monday through Thursday (and occasionally on Friday before 12:00 noon) to facilitate discussion, make announcements, and provide schedule reminders. These virtual ‘office hours’ addressing course-related questions will take place on CANVAS via the Announcements page, the Course-Related Questions discussion board, and possibly other means still to be determined. If you have a personal or grade-related question, make sure to email me (otherwise use our CANVAS classroom).

***However, I will not be available to you 24/7, so planning ahead to get any questions you may have answered is essential for your comfort and confidence as the course proceeds***

Types of Assessments

Syllabus Quiz:

The syllabus quiz is a mandatory part of the orientation process.

Orientation Email: 

The orientation email you send me is a mandatory part of the orientation process

Discussion Boards

The success of this course and your performance in it depends largely on how much you contribute! COC’s attendance policy is that students who miss one class over the number of times a class meets per week be dropped from the course. For the purposed of this online class, you will be dropped if you miss three Original Replies.  If you have any questions about this and how it complies with the college’s attendance guidelines, please make sure to ask for clarification early on. Discussion boards are based on the reading and provide a basic framework for class online discussions. Your questions, observations, and insights will play a significant role in determining the shape that the course takes. “Coming to class” with a well informed and thoughtful discussion board post will prepare you for class and allow you to participate in the discussion more readily. While discussion board “attendance” is necessary to participate, simply “attending” is not enough to receive full credit. If you want to receive a passing discussion board grade, be prepared to actively and thoughtfully compose both your Original and your Peer Replies. Discussion boards cannot be made up later.

Reading Quizzes: 

Multiple-choice or brief essay reading quizzes accompany all reading assignments. Each quiz is available for 24 hours. Quizzes cannot be made up later.

Film Essays: 

Peer Replies of 2-3 pages are due (upload them to on the dates indicated on the calendar. Each essay should have a clear stated or implied thesis with well organized, developed, and supported paragraphs. All essays should be at least 2 FULL pages, double-spaced with no extra spaces between paragraphs, and have margins set to 1 inch. File format: PDF. Meeting the minimum page length with these specific measurements is required to earn a C or above.


There will be three exams, each available for 24 hours and focusing on a specific set of texts (from Africa, Jamaica, or India) and application of key concepts in postcolonial thought to those texts. Exam questions may include multiple choice, definition, short answer/essay. Essay answers should meet the minimum length requirement and be double-spaced with no extra spaces between paragraphs, and have margins set to 1 inch. File format: PDF. No text, rtf, Pages, etc. Meeting the minimum page length with these specific measurements is required to earn a C or above. Exams cannot be made up later

Textbook Information

Required Texts for Purchase (available through COC Bookstore):


Postcolonial Studies: The Key Concepts (Routledge: 978-0415661911)

Voices of Decolonization: A Brief History with Documents (Bedford: 978-1-4576-1815-4)

Bessie Head and Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, To Stir the African Heart: Four Stories (The Feminist Press at CUNY: 978-1558615472)

The Penguin Book of Modern African Poetry (Penguin: 978-0140424720)

Marcus Garvey, Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey (Dover: 978-0486437873)

Claude McKay, Selected Poems (Dover: 978-0486408767)

Michelle Cliff, No Telephone to Heaven (Plume: 978-0452275690)

Salman Rushdie, East/West: Stories (Vintage: 978-0679757894)


Optional Text for Purchase (extra credit assignment):


Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers (Random House: 978-0812979329)



Other readings assigned for this class are available on CANVAS in PDF files. In order to participate actively and effectively, you should print these readings and annotate them as you are reading.


Required Ability to View Films:

The following films are required to be viewed for course assignments.

The Harder They Come

The Mighty Quinn

A Passage to India

Bend it Like Beckham

***Method of access will vary among students according familiarity and expertise. Your decision to remain in class should be informed by these factors.  There will be a document in the Orientation folder for just some examples of how to view these films***

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 Wednesday, 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: 12/11/2023 Sub#: 239