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BYU Course Outcomes

Course Learning Outcomes

When you have completed this course successfully you should be able to:

  1. Identify, contextualize, and explain representative authors, works, and movements in American literature.
  2. Through writing, exams, and other activities, demonstrate an understanding of the historical development and cultural context of American literature.

Course Materials

You will use the following textbooks for this course:

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Our course is divided into three units—these roughly follow three eras of development in American national literature and history: colonization to the founding of the United States in the late eighteenth century; the nineteenth-century rise of a uniquely American culture and literature; and the later nineteenth- and twentieth-century challenges reflected in realism, modernism and the new voices which have redefined earlier views of American literature. Your textbook is the best available, the recently published American Passages: A Literary Survey. We will not cover all of the lessons or material presented in this textbook but it is the best source available for helping you understand current scholarship in American literary history.

In addition to your textbook, you will also read from The Norton Anthology of American Literature (6th Edition). We also read an outside novel, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Blithedale Romance (Bedford Cultural Edition). Please note that you will need to purchase this edition of the novel, as it has some supplementary readings as well.

For each of the three units, you will submit a short, typewritten essay on topics provided in the lesson. Follow instructions carefully as you prepare and submit these essays.

Remember to submit your assignments as Microsoft Word .DOC or .DOCX files. Name the file using this style—be sure to use your own name: ENGL293_JaneSmith_WritingAssignment1.docx.

The course itself consists of fifteen lessons, twelve of which end with Speedback questions that examine your ability to identify and assess the most important textual and cultural issues in the readings.

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The course ends with a final exam that assesses your mastery of the readings and key ideas from the course. The exam has 50 multiple-choice questions on it and it is closed notes and closed book. There is a two hour time limit on the exam.

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Type of Assessment Part of Grade
12 Speedback Assignments 48% of final grade
3 Essays 30% of final grade
Final Exam 22% of final grade

The final exam has 50 multiple choice questions and is a “closed book” exam that will be administered by a proctor. The Speedback assignments and the response essays are “open book.”

I will read and respond to your essays. The Speedback assignments and final exam will be graded electronically according to the following scale:

Grade High-End Low-End
A 100 94
A- 93 90
B+ 89 88
B 87 83
B- 82 80
C+ 79 77
C 76 72
C- 71 70
D+ 69 67
D 66 63
D- 62 60
E 59 0

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Copyright Notice

The materials used in connection with this online course are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated. Any copying or further dissemination of these materials may be subject to applicable U.S. Copyright Laws. For questions or more information, please visit the BYU Copyright Licensing Office website.

“Members of the BYU community who willfully disregard this Copyright Policy or the BYU Copyright Guidelines place themselves individually at risk of legal action and may incur personal liability for their conduct. The unauthorized use or distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject individuals to civil and criminal liabilities, including actual and statutory damages, costs and fees of litigation, fines, and imprisonment

Violations of the Copyright Policy may result in university disciplinary action including termination of university enrollment or employment.” (Emphasis added. Excerpt taken from the BYU Copyright Policy)

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University Policy - Title IX Statement

Preventing & Responding to Sexual Misconduct

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of "Sexual Misconduct" prohibited by the university.

University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Incidents of Sexual Misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at t9coordinator@byu.edu or (801) 422-8692. Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at https://titleix.byu.edu/report or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day).

BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by Sexual Misconduct, including the university’s Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at http://titleix.byu.edu or by contacting the university’s Title IX Coordinator.

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Accessibility Notice

BYU is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates persons with disabilities who are otherwise qualified to participate in BYU's programs and activities. In this spirit, BYU Independent Study aspires to improve web accessibility for users. While not required by law, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Levels A and AA provide a wide range of helpful recommendations to make Web content more accessible. BYU Independent Study strives to apply WCAG 2.0 recommendations where feasible, but may deviate from any recommendations that would result in an undue hardship to BYU Independent Study or alterations to program and course content and objectives. If you have questions about accessibility, or if you need to report problems with any accessibility features please see our Accessibilities and Accommodations Web Page.

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Course Policies

These policies are specific to this course. For additional information about general policies, please refer to Independent Study Course Policies page.


12 computer-graded assignments may be resubmitted once for a fee.

3 papers may not be resubmitted.

Resubmit an assignment for a fee.


1 proctored, computer-graded exam, may retake once for a fee, must pass to earn credit for the course.  Please note that you must pass the final exam at 60% in order to pass the course. 

Retake an exam for a fee.

Getting Help

Please use the help menu in this course to contact Independent Study or your instructor. You can find a list of free tutors available to BYU Independent Study students on the Free Tutoring Services website.

Note: The Harold B. Lee Library website provides a number of online resources and librarians are available via phone, chat, and email to answer questions about library-related issues.

Inappropriate Use of Course Content

All course materials (e.g., outlines, handouts, syllabi, exams, quizzes, media, lecture content, audio and video recordings, etc.) are proprietary. Students are prohibited from posting or selling any such course materials without the express written permission of BYU Independent Study. To do so is a violation of the Brigham Young University Honor Code.

Copyright © 2016 Brigham Young University. All rights reserved.

Published by the
Department of Independent Study
Division of Continuing Education
Brigham Young University
120 MORC
Provo, Utah 84602-1514