ENGL 4430/Spring 2023/Requirements

From Gerald R. Lucas
Requirement %[1]
Response 40%
Exams 30%
Project 30%

This course is composed of three general requirements: reading, writing, and exams. Each requirement will be on-going throughout the semester, will require regular contributions, and may be comprised of various assignments. A midterm and final exam will test analytical and interpretative skills with essay and short answer questions.



Each lesson asks students to discuss assigned readings on Packback. This weekly forum is a written discussion about the texts. Posts should be focused, interpretive, and supported by primary and secondary texts. They should show what you’re reading and thinking about in relation to the course content—it is a place to share and develop ideas about the texts as a community. Try to discuss every text you read; the minimum required response per week is three: one question and two response posts. See the Packback below and the Schedule for more information.


Students’ knowledge of the course texts will be evaluated with a midterm and a final exam. These exams will be composed of essay and short-answer questions. The best answers employ an objective knowledge of the material, thoroughness, depth of insight, precision, and originality of interpretation. The best way to prepare for these tests is to read the assigned texts thoroughly and have a general understanding of the main themes of the works. Additional research always helps.

Research Project

General assignment: In 1500 words or fewer, compare two or more short stories by different writers that we have studied in this class incorporating at least three scholarly sources.

The easiest approach to this assignment will be the traditional research paper. If you choose this route, format your essay in MLA Style and submit it as a PDF on or before the due date (see Schedule). This five-page essay (1500-words max) should be an analysis that compares and contrasts at least two literary texts. It should focus on how the texts engage with a specific theme or idea and how they differ in their treatment of this theme. In addition to analyzing the texts themselves, you should also incorporate research from at least three scholarly sources to support your analysis and provide additional context.

Alternately, come up with a project idea that incorporates research and critical comparison to engage the at least two of the texts we have read for this semester. For example, a reading blog, a YouTube channel, a Digital Humanities project, a Wikipedia article—this could even be a group project. If you’re interested in doing something besides a term paper—and who wouldn’t be?—send me a proposal with specific details via email before midterm for approval or discussion.

Required Materials

Halpern-art tale.jpg

Our study of World Literature this semester will use either of the following:

  • Halpern, Daniel, ed. (1986). The Art of the Tale: An International Anthology (1st ed.). New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 0140079491.
  • Various PDFs. Password is on D2L.

 Please note: The Art of the Tale may not be available in the university book store, but you should have time to purchase a used copy from Amazon or other book store. Please do this immediately, as you will need the book after the first week of class. Also, as far as I can tell, there has been only one edition of The Art of the Tale, so even if you cover looks different than the one here (e.g., like this one), you should be fine.

Your course book(s) and readings are an important part of the class and should be purchased (or downloaded) immediately. Lessons are built from specific readings and assignments will depend on those readings. If available, you may use an ebook, but be warned that page numbers referred to in lessons may not be the same in an electronic text. Book rentals are also acceptable, if necessary.

Even though this is an online course, I recommend old-fashioned, analog note taking. In other words: use an ink interface of some sort, as well as dead trees to take notes. Notes should not only reflect essential aspects of the readings, but individual interest in every topic researched for class.


The Packback Questions platform will be used for online discussion about class topics and is a requirement of this course. Packback Questions is an online community where you can ask open-ended questions to build on top of what we are covering in class and relate topics to real-world applications. There will be a Tuesday at 11:59PM EST deadline for submissions.

In order to receive full credit, you should submit the following minimum requirements[2] per each deadline period, usually weekly:

  • One (1) open-ended Question every week with a minimum Curiosity Score of 70, worth 33.33% of each assignment grade
  • Two (2) Responses every week with a minimum Curiosity Score of 70, worth 66.67% of each assignment grade

How to Register on Packback

An email invitation will be sent to you from help@packback.co prompting you to finish registration. If you don’t receive an email (be sure to check your spam), you may register by following these instructions.

  • Create an account by navigating to the Packback website and clicking “Sign up for an Account.”[3]
  • Then enter our class community’s lookup key into the “Looking to join a community you don't see here?” section in Packback at the bottom of the homepage.
     Community Lookup Key: d8bca00c-1e99-413c-a240-128a566775b6
  • Follow the instructions on your screen to finish your registration.


  1. This is the general percentage breakdown for these requirements. As I use a point system for evaluation, the percentages are just an estimate.
  2. Of course, those who post more quality responses—especially on texts we cover over more than a week—will score higher. A-students do more than the minimum, right?
  3. If you already have an account on Packback you can log in with your credentials.
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