Course Guide Table of Contents

 Useful Course Links



Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC)

Extended Learning Institute (ELI)

Dr. Diane Thompson

The Course Guide explains what you can expect to do and learn in ENG 252.  You may take this course either as a TV and paper course, or here on the WWW. Both versions use the same section number. but they do not use the same textbook, and the assignment are a little different. You should decide which way you want to take the course, and follow the instructions in either the paper or WWW Course Guide.

This section of ENG 252 is offered by NVCC through the Extended Learning Institute (ELI). For information about ELI and how to register for courses, go to the ELI Policies and Procedures Screen.

Start by reading through the entire Course Guide.  The table of contents at the left will guide you to specific sections. There are some useful links below the Table of Contents that lead to other parts of the course. I suggest printing out the Course Guide, so you will have a paper copy handy.



English 252 is the second semester of a year long World Literature Course. It starts with the European Enlightenment, when people thought they could use reason to understand the world, and finishes in the 20th century, when people have realized that reason alone is not enough to make sense out of the bewildering varieties of human experience.

In this course, you will read a varied selection of literature from around the world. I have tried to select readings that you will enjoy, find relevant to your own experience, and want to read again in the future. The selections offer valuable windows into other times, other places, and the minds and hearts of other people.  



Concepts You Should Learn from this Course:

Different times and places are indeed different, yet they can be fruitfully compared and contrasted by using connecting themes.

Reading literature from different times and places takes patience, intelligence and imagination.
It is possible, with effort, to really enjoy literature written in other times and/or  places.
Reading such literature with understanding is important because it helps us to understand how we are human, and how others, who are different, are equally human.

By the End of this Course You Should Be Able to:

Read a piece of literature from another time and place and know how to find background information to help you understand, explain, and enjoy it;
Write about two pieces of literature from different times and/or places, explaining how they are the same and how they are different;
Recognize some of the literary traditions that carry themes and ideas from one time and place to the next, creating an intellectual history of human civilization.



The Norton Anthology of World Literature: 1650 to the Present, 2nd Edition, Package 2.

There are a variety of Norton World Literature Anthologies, so be sure you get the correct  ISBN number: 978-0-39392454-1. This is a package of three separate books sold together in a single slipcover. The slipcover is  mostly brown and dark green.

If you have taken my English 251 through ELI, you may have been able to get access to all of the assigned readings on the Internet. Unfortunately, this is not possible for English 252, because the more modern texts are NOT available for free on the Internet. You will definitely need the textbook for this course.

All general course materials, such as study guides and supplemental information will be available on the Internet. You may read them there or download and print them.

There are optional videos, which are very similar in content to the study guides for this course. The videos are broadcast by ELI; they are also available in the NVCC libraries and can even be rented through ELI. If you learn better by video than by print, you may want to use them instead of the study guides.



This section of English 252 is a distance course. We will not see one another, but we will be in contact:

you will post your writing to public Forums
your instructor will respond to your writing
you will read other students' writing
you will send and receive e-mail
you will call the instructor occasionally to keep in touch.

In short, you will not be isolated, although you will be doing your work apart from other students.

This is an Internet-based course, so you need to have access to the Internet, including a NOVA student email address. You also need to be reasonably familiar with how the Internet works. Internet access is available on each NOVA campus if you have trouble with your home computer; however I do not recommend taking this course unless you have regular access to a computer that is connected to the Internet.

The Discussion Board is a public place where we all can read one another's postings. Consequently, do not think of your work as "private," when you post it to the class forums. I encourage you to think of this openness as an advantage, expanding the potential audience for your writing.



For specific information about how an ELI course operates, such as how and where to take exams, how to contact ELI, how to purchase course materials, how to schedule yourself, etc., please go to the ELI Policies and Procedures Screen.


COURSE OVERVIEW (each unit should take about one month). After Unit 1, you may select those readings which are needed for the Activities you choose.

Unit 1 -- The European Enlightenment -- Reason triumphs (for a while). You will read two delightful satires about reason and folly: Moliere's Tartuffe and Voltaire's Candide. You will also take Exam 1, comparing the two satires in some way that interests you.

Unit 2 -- Romantic Representations of the Individual -- You will read selections from Rousseau's Confessions, Goethe's Faust,  a group of of European and English romantic poems, a Japanese story about an evil demon enchanting a handsome man, and a few Urdu lyric poems.

Unit 3 -- Realism, Social Repression and Women's Roles -- You will read Hedda Gabler by Ibsen and Six Characters in Search of an Author by Pirandello, and select a short story from a group dealing with women's roles. These stories offer fascinating comparisons/ contrasts to the roles of women in Hedda Gabler and Six Characters. At the end of this Unit you will take Exam 2, which will ask you to compare/contrast readings from Units 2 and/or 3.

Unit 4 -- Individuals in a Global Context:  Achebe's Things Fall Apart and a choice of your own. At the end of this Unit, you will take the Final Exam, which will ask you to compare/contrast material from Unit 4 and Unit 3 with material from one or two of the earlier Units.

I have prepared Study Guides largely about the literature of the western tradition, because they are sources and/or models for so much of the culture, ways of thinking, and writing that followed in Europe, the Americas and the rest of the world. This is my area of knowledge, and I can best help you with these texts.

I have selected several striking examples from non-western civilizations that present an alternative view of reality on a specific topic, such as the role of the individual in society, the impact of the West on another culture, or the uncertainty of knowledge.

You may suggest substitute readings that are relevant to the general substance of this course. Just let me know what you would like to substitute for what, and I'll let you know if it's all right with me (it often will be). You may also suggest substitute Activities, and if I like them, I may even add them to an Activity List and give you five points extra credit.



Task Possible Points Total Possible
Introduce yourself 50 50
10 Activities 50 each 500
Exam 1 100 100
Exam 2 150 150
Exam 3 200 200

You can earn up to 1000 points for the entire course. Final grades will be assigned according to the number of points you have earned. You need to pass at least two of the exams in order to pass the course.

You may only submit one piece of work at a time. You must then wait for my feedback and grade before submitting the next. This means that you will not be able to hurry through all the course work at the last minute, so plan ahead. I will under NO CIRCUMSTANCES grade more than one piece of work in a single day, so you must plan accordingly.

A = 900 - 1000 points
B = 800 - 899 points
C = 700 - 799 points
D = 600 - 699 points
F = Below 600 points

You will keep track of your personal schedule of work due dates, work completed and grades received on the Grade Record Form.

If you are in a great hurry, you may want to consider the Eight Week Option. If you start using it and find you cannot work that fast, there is no penalty for slowing down and using the regular 15 week schedule instead.



Plagiarism is a serious breach of ethics and will not be tolerated in this course.  If I identify plagiarized work, I will not grade it, nor will I allow it to be redone. The rule is: if you didn't know it before you read (or heard or saw) it, you need to cite the source of the information (in parentheses), either directly after using the information, or no later than the end of the paragraph in which you refer to it. 

Plagiarism and the www

It is very easy to find and copy material on the www. However, it is also very easy for me to go to and type in a phrase from student work. In two recent cases I found a clear source for the student work within a couple of minutes of searching.

  • Research is fine, but you MUST cite the sources of all information you find no later than the end of the paragraph in which you use it.
  • If you use direct quotes of material, you MUST use “quotation” marks plus citation of source to indicate that you did not write the material.
  • If you put the material into your own words, you still MUST cite the source.
  • If you submit work that uses sources without citing them and if I find the sources, I will not grade your work and you may not redo it.
  • Teachers become very familiar with the styles of student writers, and when a student submits work that does not fit his/her general style, a bell goes off in the teacher’s head, prompting her to suspect plagiarism and look for sources.

All students in this course post their work on public forums. You are encouraged to read other students' work to get ideas about how to do the writing tasks. If you read an idea in another student paper that is so good you feel the need to discuss it, you may "quote it" and cite the student author as your source. Any other use of student work  is plagiarism.



If you have a documented disability that may affect your performance in this class, please email me at Diane Thompson, or call me to discuss your situation.  




  • Your Last Withdrawal Date is based on your individual date of enrollment. You should have received this information from ELI shortly after enrolling in the course. If you did not receive it, contact ELI immediately at 703-323-3347 and request your Quick Start Syllabus for this course.

  • I require all work to be submitted at least three working days (e.g. Monday through Friday no later than 5:00 pm) before your deadline date, so that I have time to read and grade it.

  • If you have not successfully completed all of Units 1 and 2, including Exam 1 (work I have accepted and graded), by three working days before your Last Withdrawal Date, you will be dropped from the course with a grade of W.


  • Incomplete grades are not given simply because a student is behind on work, but rather, can be available when there are legitimate, verifiable, documentable, unavoidable reasons that have prevented a student from progressing appropriately.

  • In order to be eligible for a grade of Incomplete, which would allow you up to TWO more months to complete the course, you need to successfully complete ALL of Units 1, 2, and 3, including both exams, at least three working days before your current end date AND you must send me an email requesting the grade of Incomplete and explaining why you were unable to complete the course on time. You must be prepared to verify your explanation with the appropriate documents as needed.

  • An Incomplete does not cost anything and does not involve a grade penalty. However, if you do not complete the balance of the course work within the allowed two months, you will be graded out of the course at the end of your Incomplete, based on your earned points. 


  • NOTE: the actual dates for each deadline below will depend on your own enrollment date, which varies by semester and session and length of course. You need to consult the ELI Calendar to locate your own critical dates.

Critical Date Deadlines


Work (completed and graded) required to continue in course

Blackboard Log-in Deadline Approximately 20 Days after the start of the session Students who have not logged in to Blackboard by this date will be dropped with no refund.

Inactive Students Dropped

End of
Week 4
Students who have not completed all of the assignments in Unit 1 including Exam 1 by this date will be withdrawn without a tuition refund.

Last Withdrawal Date

End of Week 9

Units1 and 2 and Exam 1 completed and accepted at least three working days before the end date  or students will be dropped with a grade of W and no refund

Course End date

End of Week 16

All course work completed and graded at least three working days before the course end date




Incomplete option: up to two more months to complete the course

Starts on the course end date

All of Units 1,  2 and 3 including Exams 1 and 2 successfully completed and graded at least three working days before the course end date AND an email to me requesting the Incomplete and explaining why it is needed (supporting documentation must be available)

NOTE: If you submit work that is not, in my opinion, "college level," I will not grade it, so it will not count towards the required pieces of work you need to stay in the course after your First Assignment Deadline and your W date. I may allow you to redo such work, but you will need time to do that, so do not wait until the last minute to post careless work in a hurry; it will be too late to do the necessary revisions to get the work accepted as college level.



Since this is a college English course, all graded work must be of college level. This means that it:

responds appropriately to the assignment
has college-level content
is well developed
has a clear, readable style
is reasonably well-focused
is well-organized
uses appropriate language and tone
uses correct English mechanics.

If you submit work that does not meet these requirements for college level work, I will not correct or grade it. You will be allowed one chance to redo and resubmit it. The best strategy is to do your best work before submitting it for a grade.



There are a wide variety of suggested ACTIVITIES for each Unit. You will select one for each reading assignment, complete the Activity, and post it to the appropriate forum.  Each Activity should be no less than 250 words (the equivalent of one typed, double-spaced page). It may be longer, if you need more space to express your ideas. If you can think of relevant reading selections and questions that are not listed, let me know what you'd like to do and I'll almost certainly ok it. You will receive five points extra credit if I decide to add it to the Activities list.

I will accept only one Activity at a time. You must wait for my response before posting the next Activity. If you post another Activity before I have responded to the previous posting, you will have to repost the second Activity after I have responded to the first one.  Under NO circumstances will I ever read more than one piece of work in a single day. Please do NOT wait for the last minute to submit work--that will be too late.



Since this is a distance course, you will be asked to take three proctored exams. These are necessary so that ELI can assure the accrediting boards that the course work is actually done by the student enrolled. You may take these exams at any NVCC Testing Center.

Each exam may only be done AFTER you have completed the preceding Unit Activities. For example, you must complete (and have my grades back) from Activities 1 and 2 before you may take Exam 1.

I will only accept one exam at a time. You must wait until you have received my grade and feedback before doing the next exam. This means that you cannot do two exams together at the end of the course, so plan ahead.

If it is not possible for you to get to an NVCC Testing Center, you may arrange for a proctor at another location. If you need a proctor, go to the ELI Policies and Procedures Screen. Select the link for Examination Proctors, from the Table of Contents, for information on how to arrange for a proctor.

You need to pass at least two exams with at least a D (more than 60%) in order to pass the course.

Click on Exam Pass (see left menu on Blackboard Forums page) to go to the passes for your three exams. Print them out and take the appropriate one to the Testing Center for each exam (e.g. pass 1 for exam 1, pass 2 for exam 2 and pass 3 for exam 3). You will also need a photo ID when you go to the Testing Center to take an exam.

You may only take one exam at a time, and it must be in the required sequence of coursework. If you take an exam out of the required sequence, I will refuse to grade it. If there is still time in the course I may let you retake it after you have completed the required preceding Activities.

Exam 1 will ask you to compare some interesting theme, events or characters from Tartuffe and Candide. Exam 2 will ask you to write about readings you select from Units 1, 2 and 3, and Exam 3 will ask you to write an essay based on work you have been doing throughout the course, comparing two or more readings from different times and/or places. All exams for this course are open book. You may also bring your preparation materials (web site printouts, notes, or an outline, but not actual drafts) to the exams. Any materials you bring with you (except books and printouts of texts) will be collected by the Testing Center and returned to me along with your exam. You will not receive either the exam or the materials back, so please do not bring materials you want to keep unless you have other copies of them.

After I read your exam, I will send you a note with your grade and my comments. The exams are un-timed, so you can write without feeling pressured. You should not find these exams difficult because you will have prepared for each one by doing the course work for the unit. Exam 1 is worth up to 100 points; Exam 2 is worth up to 150 points, and Exam 3 is worth up to 200 points.

NOTE: This entire COURSE GUIDE is subject to revision according to the instructor's judgment of the needs of the class.



I will send you your grades by email each time I read and respond to a piece of your work. You MUST use your College email address, because I cannot send your grades to any other email address. Here is the link to instructions for getting your College email address: Email Instructions



To start working on the course, go to Unit 1.

(c) Thompson; 11/16/98; updated: 02/22/2011