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You have reached the syllabus for 
Illinois Valley Community College's

Introduction to Shakespeare I

Literature 2021, Online

Fall 2015

Kimberly M. Radek, Instructor

Office: A-314  

Office Hours: 11:00-12:30  on T
12:00-1:00 on M

Phone: 1-815-224-0395     E-Mail: kimberly_radek@ivcc.edu

18 August  - 10  December 2015

Course Objectives

In this course you will become acquainted with Shakespeare's dramatic and poetic genius through critical study of selected works, in order to understand how the Bard's use of literary elements, motifs, and conventions generate themes of the works, as well as how those works were influenced by a variety of social and cultural issues and how they continue to influence society and culture.  These objectives will be met through intense reading, research, quizzes and examinations, and written responses (papers) to the works.  

This course has English 1001 and 1002 as required prerequisites, counts for three hours of General Education credit at IVCC, and transfers to IAI-participating schools as an H3 905 class, and, as such, it must be approached with a serious and thoughtful attitude. In addition, it will help you to attain several of the eight goals, deemed central to IVCC's general education program, specifically:

Goal 1. To apply analytical and problem-solving skills to personal, social, and professional issues and situations.

Goal 2. To communicate successfully, orally and in writing, to a variety of audiences.

Goal 3. To develop an awareness of the contributions made to civilization by the diverse cultures of the world, including those within our own society.

Goal 4. To understand and use contemporary technology effectively and to understand its impact on the individual and society.

Goal 5. To work and study effectively both individually and in collaboration with others.

Goal 6. To understand what it means to act ethically and responsibly as an individual in one’s career and as a member of society.

Goal 7.  To develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle, physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Goal 8. To appreciate the ongoing value of learning, self-improvement, and career planning.

Required Texts

The primary readings are all available online through MIT's Complete Works of Shakespeare or the University of Virginia's Electronic Text Collection; additionally, I have re-formatted them into printable versions which you can access through the External Links section of Blackboard. Please be aware that these printable versions are still quite lengthy.

Garber, Marjorie.  Shakespeare After All. New York: Anchor, 2005.


Required Texts for Attending, Rental, Borrowing, or Purchase

You are required to watch several versions of some of these works. You will be responsible for attending performances or renting and viewing films.   The IVCC library does have several of the films.

Grading Scale (%)

            A   90-100%   B   80-89% C   70-79%   D   60-69%   F 59% and lower  

Discussion Responses: 20%
Individual Participation (Quizzes): 20% 
Examination #1: 15%
Examination #2: 15%
Papers (2): 30% 

Discussion Responses, Individual participation, and Examinations are all available in Blackboard.

Discussion Responses: You will be given questions to answer based on each reading, some of which might entail some research.  These will be shorter written exercises than the more formal papers, and there will be one for each play. Please respond to the question directly yourself, and then respond to at least two classmates. Your initial response to the prompt should be at least 200 words long and contain a quotation or two from the play in question. Feel free to bring Garber or your other research on the plays into the discussions.

Individual Participation:
You will be evaluated on your contribution and efforts. There will be a reading comprehension and analysis quiz on each play covered for the semester. Any other work, in addition to these quizzes but not otherwise listed above, will be graded and make up your participation grade. Note: All of the quizzes are timed, and you can only access them once, so make sure you're ready to take them before you take the links to them.

The Examinations: You will be tested over the material covered in class lecture material, discussions, and assigned readings and viewings. The examinations may include short answer, multiple choice, true/false, and essay questions. These exams will show that you have read or viewed the assigned texts critically and analytically, identifying common themes and techniques in them, and can write clearly about them. There may be film viewings to analyze for each exam.  Note: The exams are timed, also, and I recommend that you view the film clips and take notes before accessing the written portions of the exam.

The Papers: You will write two 5-6 page  research papers for this class. Your papers should be typed using double-spaced lines and should follow standard MLA format. I prefer that you e-mail them to me with the class prefix and number, class section number, and assignment title in the subject line of your e-mail. Unless otherwise specified, these papers should, of course, have clearly stated thesis statements in their first paragraph and comply to the standards given in IVCC's  The Style Book.  Papers will be given letter grades that will be converted to percentage points before the final semester grade is calculated, and they will be evaluated on audience, grammar, organization, presentation, spelling, and style as well as on content.

Expected Student Outcomes

Students will be able to understand and appreciate the important themes and concerns of Shakespeare's works.

Students will demonstrate an understanding of and an appreciation for the literary elements and conventions, especially as Shakespeare uses them to communicate meaning. 

Students will gain an understanding of the impact that society,  history, politics, and technology have and have had upon literature. 
Students will appreciate how literature has had and continues to have an influence upon society,  history, politics, and technology.
Students will learn various techniques for approaching texts critically, including the debate on the identity of authorship of the Bard.  
Students will further develop their abilities to write about writing, specifically as they write about the works of Shakespeare.

Expected Student Behaviors

Students will read/view texts with understanding and appreciation, reacting to and analyzing what he or she has read/seen, by the date(s) they are to be discussed.
Students will participate actively in lectures and discussions, asking/submitting questions for clarification on ideas or issues, if
Students will integrate and cite accurately information of other writers, critics, or scholars, using those other opinions, beliefs, and/or observations to support his or her own opinions, beliefs, and/or observations.
Students will synthesize lecture, discussion, and text materials to come to a more solid world view on the impact the Bard has and has had upon history, society, and the artistic world, and vice versa.
Students will respect each other's personal beliefs and be committed to helping each other learn more about the course information and themselves. Students will help each other become more confident in his or her own unique personal voice and see the authority in his or her own personal experience. 


The College's policy on plagiarism applies in this class; I will question you if your work does not appear to be your own. Keep all notes, outlines, drafts, and finished assignments so that you can demonstrate that writing you have submitted is your own work, should any question of plagiarism arise.


All students must attend class--either in person or virtually, where permitted--however, if one decides that he or she cannot complete the coursework, then that student must request a withdrawal from me through e-mail by noon on 3 November 2015. I will not withdraw anyone from the class, even if they have stopped contributing, unless it has been requested of me. Keep in mind, too, that withdrawing from a course may jeopardize or change your financial aid, so be sure to consult with a financial aid advisor before committing to a withdrawal.


You may be eligible for academic accommodations if you have a documented physical, psychiatric (anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, AD/HD, post-traumatic stress, or others), or cognitive disability, such as a learning disability.  If you have a disability and need more information regarding possible accommodations, then please contact the Office of Disability Services at 816-224-0634. Tina Hardy at (Tina_Hardy@ivcc.edu, 224-0284).



Tentative Class Schedule

For each due date, please read the listed play and the corresponding chapter about it from Garber's Shakespeare After All, as well as any other links listed, and complete the corresponding quiz and discussion on Blackboard.

Please also read and explore the authorship debate, which you will find is the last unit in Blackboard's discussion threads. Readings for that topic can be found in the discussion thread, itself.

Unit One


19 August-10 October

By 24 August

Garber's "Introduction" to Shakespeare After All, The Folger Library's comments on Reading Shakespeare, and this link
Romeo and Juliet and its Book-A-Minute counterpart

By 31 August
  A Midsummer Night's Dream and its Book-A-Minute version
By 14 September
  Richard III and its Book-A-Minute adaptation
By 21 September
  Hamlet and its Book-A-Minute foil
By 10 October   Much Ado About Nothing
On or around 1 October   Paper #1
By 11:59 PM on 10 October   Examination #1

Unit Two

  19 October-10 December

By 19 October
Othello and its Book-A-Minute rendition

By 26 October
The Taming of the Shrew and its Book-A-Minute echo

By 2 November
All's Well That Ends Well

By 16 November
The Winter's Tale

By 6 December
Twelfth Night
On or around 1 December   Paper #2
By 11:59 PM on 10 December   Examination #2

Enter Blackboard Discussion | The Instructor's Homepage
IVCC Homepage | Syllabus

Contact Kimberly M. Radek, the instructor of Introduction to Shakespeare I, at Kimberly_Radek@ivcc.edu

This page was last updated on 15 August 2015. Copyright Kimberly M. Radek, 2008.