EN440 Shakespeare

for FA 2006

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Vision Statement: Park University will be a renowned international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learners within the global society.


EN 440 Shakespeare


FA 2006 HO


Okerstrom, Dennis R.


Associate Professor of English


PhD, English and History

Office Location

305 Copley Hall

Office Hours

M & F, 9 -- 11; T & R, 9 -- 10, or by appointment.

Daytime Phone

Ext. 6337



Semester Dates

21 August--15 December 2006

Class Days


Class Time

12:25 - 1:40 PM



Credit Hours



The Necessary Shakespeare, by David Bevington.  New York: Longman, 2004.

The Bedford Companion to Shakespeare.

Additional Resources:
Additional readings and films will be provided during the semester.

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
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Course Description:
A survey of major comedies, histories, tragedies, and non-dramatic poetry. 3:0:3

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Discuss a representative sample of Shakespeare's work
  2. Analyze commonalities, differences, and trends across Shakespeare's career
  3. Examine the cultural and political background for Shakespeare's plays and the Elizabethan theater
  4. Construct a detailed interpretation of a single play or of a distinct issue in Shakespeare's work.

Core Assessment:

All Park University courses will include a Core Assessment with rubric. This will include ¾ of the Core Learning Outcomes listed above. The Core Assessment in this course will be a major critical paper of no fewer than 5 pages, which will include research and MLA documentation. The project will be completed in the final quarter of the term.

 The rubric for this assignment is published so the student can see the expectations.

Link to Class Rubric

Class Assessment:
Presentations, journal, research paper.


Each student will take part in two presentations to the class, the first on a topic in the historical, cultural, or critical background to Shakespeare's works or their study.  These must be completed in the first four weeks.  The second presentation will be a discussion of the student's essay (see below).

A reading journal, recording responses to the semester's reading assignments and other related work, will be kept throughout the semester.  Four hundred words per week, on average, earns an A, 300 a B, 200 a C.  From here, you do the math.

Finally, an essay will be due near the end of the semester, in the 4000-word range.  We'll discuss topics, standards, and procedures as the semester develops.  If however you are especially interested in plays plays we are reading late in the course, you might wish to read ahead.  This is not a project that can be sqeezed into a week or two at the end.  English majors should plan on writing something from the field of criticism (see "Shakespeare Criticism" in Bevington's introduction).  Non-majors might choose something that relates to their own field of study: history, political science, business, education, law, or the like.  The possibilities are endless, and I will be glad to offer suggestions if you would like.

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Late submissions are a major pain for the professor and unfair to classmates.  The obvious now having been stated, life often brings surprises with the sunrises.  If you know beforehand that you must be absent on a day material is due, submit it ahead of time for full credit.  If life surprises you, submit it late with an explanation and I will use common sense and judgement in determining whether full or partial credit will be given. 

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
We're all adults, so this section might be considered demeaning.  Nonetheless, egregiously disruptive or rude behavior will result in your termination from the class.  Your professor has a couple of pet peeves in addition to commonly accepted rubrics of exemplar behavior.  Cell phones: unless you are on a death watch, turn off your phones.  If you are on a death watch, alert the professor at the start of class, turn your cellular oral communications device to vibrate, then excuse yourself from the class to take the call.  And please--if you are absent, do not ask your professor when next you see him: "Did we do anything important in class last time?"

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Week 1 -- Dealing with the language. Read "Shakespeare's English," lxxvi--lxxx.

Weeks 2 & 3, -- Sonnets. Begin first presentations.

Week 4 -- A Midsummer Night's Dream

Week 5 -- The Merchant of Venice

Week 6 -- Much Ado about Nothing

Week 7 -- Macbeth

Weeks 8 & 9 -- I and II King Henry IV

Week 10 -- King Henry V

Weeks 11 & 12 -- The Taming of the Shrew

Week 13 -- Othello

Weeks 14 & 15 -- Presentations

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87-89
Academic dishonesty, which includes submission of material not completely the result of your own research and writing, will result in failure of the course.

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87
Okay, you know what it is.  Don't do it.  Failing the course is the consequence.

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "W".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 89-90
The professor will give you, gratis, three absences.  For each three absences thereafter, your final grade will be lowered by one letter.

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: http://www.park.edu/disability .


CompetencyExceeds Expectation (3)Meets Expectation (2)Does Not Meet Expectation (1)No Evidence (0)
1, 2, 3                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
Reflects a clear individual approach to the project, including responses to particular texts. Reflects limited individuality, little sense of the particular texts. Lacks any sense of individuality, with almost no sense of particular texts. Does not turn in paper or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 
Incorporates smoothly all elements of the discussion. Incorporates elements but relationships are unclear or transitions are abrupt. Elements are separate and unconnected. Does not turn in paper or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 
Addresses scholarly issues of cultural/historical background, biography, and literary criticism. Addresses some scholarly issues from the three categories. Addresses few or no scholarly issues. Does not turn in paper or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 
Applies individual approach, with skillful attention to technical aspects of scholarly writing. Applies limited individuality, little sense of texts, cultural/historical background, biography, and literary criticism. Lacks any sense of individuality, almost no grasp of texts, cultural/historical background, biography, and literary criticism. Does not turn in paper or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 
Content of Communication                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
1, 4                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Gracefully communicates central idea with strong sense of purpose and supporting detail. Communicates central idea with enough sense of purpose and supporting detail to convince reader. Lacks a strong central idea, instead strings together many ideas without convincing supporting detail. Does not turn in paper or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 
Technical Skill in Communicating                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
2, 3                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Incorporates research and individual voice skillfully with attention to all aspects of texts and supporting detail. Uses some research, though with little evidence of individuality. Does not provide convincing evidence and does not write with a convincing personal voice. Does not turn in paper or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 
Disciplinary Literacy: Contextualizes literary work.                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Skillfully examines cultural and political backgrounds of Shakespeare's work in ways that promote new knowledge. Includes some commentary on cultural and political backgrounds, but lacks sense of closure to discussion. Lacks a grasp of cultural and political backgrounds. Does not turn in paper or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 
Second Literacy:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Skillfully applies appropriate historical or theoretical framework. Skillfully applies appropriate historical or theoretical framework. Lacks detailed framework. Does not turn in paper or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 


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Last Updated:8/16/2006 8:41:09 PM