Humanities Basics

From Gerald R. Lucas

Before you can begin your work for this course, you must first learn or review the fundamentals about the liberal arts in general and the discipline of the humanities specifically.

François-Xavier Fabre, Oedipus and the Sphinx

This document provides a quick introduction to the conventions in the liberal arts and what you need to know coming into one of my courses. Please give careful consideration to all of the information and links on this page. If you do, you’ll have a much better experience this term — and you might need them for a quiz. Let’s get started.


  • Discover strategies for college success;
  • Learn where to find course information, including syllabus, schedule, and resources;
  • Review important literacy skills for humanities — skills you will need to use all semester;
  • Learn how to best contact your professor.
  • The Basics

    These items are just practical matters to orient yourself to my classes — especially if you’re taking a fully-online course.

    Plan to Do Well

    To do well in my class — or really any class in the liberal arts — is generally not complicated. Find out how by reading “How to Do Well in My Class” and the rest of the articles in LitMUSE Essentials. These are the essential golden rules; heed them well.


    The most important document on this site is your course syllabus. Be sure you take some time to read it, as it will likely answer many of your questions about the class, like requirements, textbooks, policies, and assignments. If you ever are unsure of something about your class, chances are the syllabus will clarify it. Please consult it before contacting me or posting a question. Also, do not print the syllabus, as it might change; consult the bottom of the syllabus for the last-updated date.

    Contacting Me

    I try to make myself as available as possible to my students. The best way to contact me is via email (See Communication). You may see me in-person or via Skype (drgrlucas) during my office hours.


    What would classes be without rules? Indeed, maybe fifty percent of education is learning how to follow directions. You should familiarize yourself with my particular course policies. I try to keep them as simple as possible. Please take some time to read through them, so you can understand what is expected of you as a student in my courses.

    The Fundamentals

    My courses — and all courses in the humanities — require certain preliminary knowledge even before we begin. This is information that you might already know or have likely heard somewhere else. Consider it essential for success.

    Writing Conventions

    When writing in the liberal arts, certain conventions must be followed. These are outlined in “Writing in the Liberal Arts.” Please make note especially of the guidelines in the first section. When writing online, use the Digital Style Sheet for standards and the digital citation guidelines for citing your sources.

    Editor’s Checklist

    Once you have completed any writing assignment, consult the “Editor's Checklist” before submitting it for evaluation. Eliminate all of these errors for a solid foundation.

    Research and Response

    This is the essence of the liberal arts education: research and response separate the educated from the merely trained. “Research & Response” discusses why these skills are important and how they should be applied to coursework. Also see “Digital Citation” for instructions about citing sources in a digital environment.


    Still confused about something? Consider perusing these resources. Some of the documents in this collection you will have already seen, but others could also be helpful as you progress through the semester. This collection may be accessed in navigation menu above by clicking “Advice & How To.”

    Still have some questions? Try to find answers on the FAQ.

    Next, proceed to Online Basics »