Course Syllabus

LIT 2000: Introduction to Literature
Spring 2018, Section 2E88 | UF Online


Instructor: Kayley Thomas, Department of English


Course Website:

Office: TUR 4108

Office Hours: Tuesday & Thursday, Period 4 (10:40am-11:30am)  & by appointment


Course Description

This entirely online course examines the role literature has played in individuals’ lives and in society. It is centered on three questions: What is literature? Why do we write literature? Why do we read literature? LIT 2000 introduces students to a diverse range of literary genres, from different national traditions and historical periods.

Among the primary aims of this course is to help students develop critical skills of literary analysis and interpretation. Students will also learn how formal and stylistic elements as well as historical contexts shape the meaning and significance of literature. By becoming more skillful readers of literature and its contexts, students become better readers of the worlds that literature addresses, develop their ability to decipher meaning from language, and better understand their own relationship to science, technology, media, commerce, and politics.


Course Objectives

In addition to gaining a deeper appreciation of the expressive potential of language and the varieties of literature, students will develop a broader cultural literacy and an understanding of the changing definition and role of literature in society.

Therefore, by the conclusion of the course students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the content of specific literary works and the structures and conventions of different literary genres.
  2. Produce original, critical readings of literary texts, using different methods of interpretation and analysis, while identifying and interpreting formal and genre-related elements in the texts.
  3. Critically assess the variety of roles that literature has played historically and continues to play in the human experience.
  4. Draw connections between literary texts and their biographical, historical, and cultural contexts of authorship and reading.


Required Materials 

The following books are required for this course. Students are responsible for obtaining these texts from the University Bookstore, ordering them online, or checking them out from the library.

  • William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
  • Camara Laye, The Dark Child
  • S. Naipaul, Miguel Street
  • Carlo Collodi, Pinocchio
  • Jennine Capó Crucet, How to Leave Hialeah
  • Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis

 Additional readings will be provided as links or downloads on Canvas.


Grade Distribution

  • Participation in Course assignments and discussion boards (15%)
  • Module Quizzes (15%)
  • 1 Close Reading of a literary text or passage (15%)
  • 1 Critical Analysis paper (25%)
  • 2 take-home exams (15% each—30%)


Couse Policies

Course Credit: You must complete all assignment to receive credit for this course.


Makeup Policy: Except in the case of certified illness or other UF accepted excuse (, there will be no make-up option for missed or late assignments/exams. Where possible, make-ups should be arranged by email or in person prior to the expected absence. In case of illness, the student should contact instructor on his or her return to classes.


Netiquette: Communication Courtesy: All members of the class are expected to follow rules of common courtesy in all email messages and threaded discussions. Please keep in mind that students come from diverse cultural, economic, and ethnic backgrounds. Some of the texts we will discuss and write about may engage controversial topics and opinions.  Diversified student backgrounds combined with provocative texts require that you demonstrate respect for ideas that may differ from your own. The inability to maintain respect and decorum in all class-related communication will result, at the very least, in a deduction in class participation points, and at the most, the inability to participate in discussions, both of which affect your final grade. 


Assignment Submissions: All papers will be submitted in an accepted electronic file format (.doc, .docx, .rtf) on Canvas; no other formats are permitted. Your papers must be formatted according to MLA style and should be in 12-point Times New Roman font and double-spaced with 1-inch margins with the appropriate heading and pages numbered.


Assignment Maintenance Responsibilities: You are responsible for maintaining copies of all work submitted in this course and retaining all returned, graded work until the semester is over. Should the need arise for a resubmission of papers or a review of graded papers, it is your responsibility to have and to make available this material.


Plagiarism: Plagiarism is a serious violation of the Student Honor Code. The Honor Code prohibits plagiarism and defines it as follows:

Plagiarism. A student shall not represent as the student’s own work all or any portion of the work of another. Plagiarism includes but is not limited to:

  1. Quoting oral or written materials including but not limited to those found on the internet, whether published or unpublished, without proper attribution.
  2. Submitting a document or assignment which in whole or in part is identical or substantially identical to a document or assignment not authored by the student.

                                                 (University of Florida, Student Honor Code, 8 July 2011) 

University of Florida students are responsible for reading, understanding, and abiding by the entire Student Honor Code.

Important Tip: You should never copy and paste something from the Internet without providing the exact location from which it came.

All acts of plagiarism will result in failure of the assignment and may result in failure of the entire course. Plagiarism can occur even without any intention to deceive if you fail to understand and employ proper documentation techniques. When in doubt, ask for help!


Writing Studio: The University Writing Studio (formerly the Writing Center) is located in Tigert 302 and is available to all UF students. Students have the opportunity to work one-on-one with a consultant on issues specific to their own particular development. Because the Writing Studio’s aim is to help students become more effective writers, they do not simply proofread or edit documents. They can, however, assist students to become better proofreaders and editors of their own work.


Statement on Harassment: UF provides an educational and working environment that is free from sex discrimination and sexual harassment for its students, staff, and faculty. For more about UF policies regarding harassment, see:


Sexual Assault and Harassment: Title IX of the U.S. Higher Education Amendments of 1972 makes it clear that violence and harassment based on sex and gender are civil rights offenses subject to the same kinds of accountability and the same kinds of support applied to offenses against other protected categories such as race, national origin, etc. Recent guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Education state that these protections apply also to transgendered individuals. If you or someone you know has been harassed or assaulted, you can find the appropriate resources here:             


Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: Students requesting classroom accommodation must first register with the Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students Office will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to the Instructor when requesting accommodation. Contact the Disability Resources Center ( ) for information about available resources for students with disabilities.


Counseling and Mental Health Resources: Students facing difficulties completing the course or who are in need of counseling or urgent help should call the on-campus Counseling and Wellness Center (352 392-1575; ).


Grading Policies: For information on UF Grading policies, see:


Grade Appeals: In 1000- and 2000-level courses, students may appeal a final grade by filling out a form available from Carla Blount, Program Assistant, in the Department office (4008 TUR). Grade appeals may result in a higher, unchanged, or lower final grade.


Course Evaluations: Students are expected to provide feedback on the quality of instruction in this course based on 10 criteria. These evaluations are conducted online at Evaluations are typically open during the last two or three weeks of the semester, but students will be given specific times when they are open. Summary results of these assessments are available to students at


Getting Help: For issues with technical difficulties for E-learning in Canvas, please contact the UF Computing Help Desk at:

(352) 392-HELP - select option 2

Any requests for make-ups due to technical issues MUST be accompanied by the ticket number received from LSS when the problem was reported to them. The ticket number will document the time and date of the problem. You MUST e-mail your instructor within 24 hours of the technical difficulty if you wish to request a make-up.

Other resources are available at for:

  • Counseling and Wellness resources
  • Disability resources
  • Resources for handling student concerns and complaints
  • Library Help Desk support

Should you have any complaints with your experience in this course please visit to submit a complaint.


Copyright Information: Some of the materials in this course are possibly copyrighted. They are intended for use only by students registered and enrolled in this course and for instructional activities associated with and for the duration of the course. They may not be retained in another medium or disseminated further. They are provided in compliance with the provisions of the Teach Act.


Schedule of Readings and Assignments 

Students should note that this schedule is a guideline and is subject to change. Consult the Modules on Canvas for the most up-to-date schedule for the weekly readings and assignments. This schedule does not list the quizzes or discussion posts, which are linked to on Canvas for each Module.


Unit I – What is Literature?

WEEK 1 INTRODUCTION: The Borders of Literature? (Module 1)

1/8 – 1/14 Reading: 

Martin Luther King, Jr., “I Have a Dream” speech text and audio

Terry Eagleton, “Introduction: What is literature?”


WEEK 2: Drama (Module 2)

1/15 – 1/21 Reading:

  • William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice


WEEK 3: Epic (Module 3)

1/22 – 1/28 Reading:


WEEK 4: Poetry (Module 4)

1/29 – 2/4 Reading: 


WEEK 5: Short Story (Module 5)

2/5 – 2/11 Reading:


WEEK 6: Writing and Review (Module 6)

2/12 – 2/18

  • Close Reading is due on Friday, February 16
  • Midterm is due on Sunday, February 18


Unit II – Why Do We Write?

WEEK 7: Self-Expression/Self-Construction (Module 7)

2/19 – 2/25 Reading:

  • Camara Laye, The Dark Child


WEEK 8: World Making (Cosmopoiesis) (Module 8)

2/26 – 3/4 Reading:

  • S. Naipaul, Miguel Street


WEEK 9: Spring Break

3/5 – 3/11



Week 10: Shaping Citizens: Moral Instruction (Module 9)

3/12 – 3/18 Reading:

  • Carlo Collodi, Pinocchio


Unit III – Why Do We Read?

WEEK 11: Exploration & Discovery (Module 10/11)

3/19 – 3/25 Reading:


WEEK 12: Moving Beyond the Self (Module 12)

3/26 – 4/1 Reading:


WEEK 13: Finding New Selves (Module 13)

4/2 – 4/8 Reading:

  • Jennine Capó Crucet, How to Leave Hialeah
    • "Low Tide"
    • "How to Leave Hialeah"
    • "Men Who Punched Me in the Face"


WEEK 14: New Ways of Seeing (Module 14)

4/9 – 4/15 Reading:

  • Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis


WEEK 15: Conclusion: Where to now? (Module 15)

4/16 – 4/22 Reading:


WEEK 16/17: Write, Review and Test (Module 16)

4/23 – 4/29

  • Critical Analysis is due on Wednesday, April 25


4/30 – 5/6

  • Final Exam is due on Monday, April 30


Assignment Descriptions

Participation in Assignments and Discussion Boards (15%)

  • Students are required to contribute questions, ideas, comments and answers to various online discussion forums. These responses raise either interpretive or criticalquestions concerned with textual meaning. They comment on themes, figurative language and symbolism within the narrative. They also may make judgments regarding the period, history, politics and ethical questions that are relevant to the text. The open-endedness of interpretive and critical responses indicates that there may well be neither simply "right" nor simply “wrong" answers; the success of a response is based on the evidence and reasoning students employ to support their analysis and judgment.
  • The practice quizzes are intended as low-stakes ways for you to learn the material and help you measure your level of understanding of the material before you begin the discussion assignments.

End-of-Module Quizzes (15%)

  • Each module will contain an end-of-module quiz. These quizzes will be short, timed assessments covering the module content contained in the readings, lectures, and supplemental content.

Close Reading Assignment: 750 words (15%)

  • This assignment will test student skills in close reading, especially as that skill pertains to works of poetry and short fiction. Students will be expected to analyze a text carefully and develop an argument regarding the whole of the text through a close reading. No outside sources may be used for this assignment.

Critical Analysis Paper: 1,500 words (25%)

  • This assignment asks students to combine close reading skills with critical concepts or historical information introduced in one of the supplemental readings. The goal is for students to produce a strong conceptual argument supported by textual and contextual evidence. 

2 Take-Home Exams (15% each—30%)

  • Method of assessment will be 2 on-line take-home exams (each exam is worth 15%, or together, 30% of the total grade). Take-home exams will be distributed on-line (via Canvas) and will be two hours in length. The exams will be comprised of short answer and short essay questions based on readings, lectures, and discussion sections.

Note: I am always available to discuss your papers with you during the writing process, and it is my duty as your instructor to provide you with useful feedback on each assignment that you turn in. If you have any questions or concerns about your work, please feel free to contact me via Canvas, visit during office hours, or schedule an appointment with me.


Grading Scale
























































Note: A grade of C− is not a qualifying grade for major, minor, Gen Ed, or College Basic distribution credit. For further information on UF's Grading Policy, see: 

Course Summary:

Date Details Due