This Course at MIT

This Course at MIT pages provide context for how the course materials published on OCW were used at MIT. They are part of the OCW Educator initiative, which seeks to enhance the value of OCW for educators.

Course Overview

This page focuses on the course 21L.501 The American Novel: Stranger and Stranger as it was taught by Dr. Wyn Kelley in Spring 2013.

The course covered American authors and focused on relating the appearance of strangers to different kinds of strangeness. These sophisticated novels collectively illustrated strange places with strange histories, people with strange narratives or backgrounds, and how these can be both strange and estranging at the same time. This course used numerous tools, including Locast and Annotation Studio, along with writing assignments and presentations.

Course Outcomes

Course Goals for Students

  • To identify and appreciate the beauty of creative art
  • To think logically and critically about language
  • To practice revision
 

Curriculum Information

Prerequisites

None.

Requirements Satisfied

HASS-H

Offered

A version of this course, focusing on the American novel, is taught one semester per academic year. The focus of the course changes each semester. Examples of past focus topics include ghosts, wealth and poverty, and the American revolution.

The Classroom

  • This photo shows how chairs in the classroom surround a central table so students all face each other in a seminar-style classroom.

    This course was taught in a seminar-style classroom where students sat around all sides of a central table. Dr. Kelley used a chalkboard in the room and a projector to show passages of text in Annotation Studio during discussions.

 

Assessment

The students' grades were based on the following assessment elements:

The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by the in-class presentation. 15% In-class presentation
The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by class attendance and participation. 10% Class attendance and participation
The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by the three five-page essays. 60% Three five-page essays
The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by the in-class writing. 15% In-class writing
 

Student Information

Approximately 10 students take this course each offering.

Breakdown by Year

Primarily juniors and seniors.

Breakdown by Major

A range of majors.

Typical Student Background

This is an intermediate-level class, so students have had some experience with college writing and exposure to at least one introductory or survey-level course.

Enrollment Cap

There was no cap.

Ideal Class Size

Less than 18.

 

How Student Time Was Spent

During an average week, students were expected to spend 12 hours on the course, roughly divided as follows:

In Class

3 hours per week
  • Dr. Kelley usually began each class with a 15-30 minute discussion of concepts, biographical background of the authors, or other information needed to confidently proceed with the text.
  • Students then discussed specific passages, significant transitions in the text, or moments of tension in the text.
  • Classes regularly included presentations, small group work focusing on close readings, annotations, and in-class writing assignments.
 

Out of class

9 hours per week
 
 

Semester Breakdown

Assignments were due during nearly every class session.  For a detailed list of assignment deadlines, see the course calendar.

WEEK M T W Th F
1 No classes throughout MIT. No session scheduled. Class session. No session scheduled. No classes throughout MIT.
2 Class session. No session scheduled. Class session. No session scheduled. No session scheduled.
3 No classes throughout MIT. No session scheduled. Locast mapping workshop. No session scheduled. No session scheduled.
4 Class session. No session scheduled. Class session. No session scheduled. No session scheduled.
5 Class session. No session scheduled. Class session. No session scheduled. No session scheduled.
6 Class session. No session scheduled. Student presentations; assignment due date. No session scheduled. No session scheduled.
7 Class session. No session scheduled. Class session. No session scheduled. No session scheduled.
8 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT.
9 Class session. No session scheduled. Class session. No session scheduled. No session scheduled.
10 Class session. No session scheduled. Class session. No session scheduled. No session scheduled.
11 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. Class session. No session scheduled. No classes throughout MIT.
12 Student presentations; assignment due date. No session scheduled. No classes throughout MIT. No session scheduled. No session scheduled.
13 Class session. No session scheduled. Class session. No session scheduled. No session scheduled.
14 Class session. No session scheduled. Class session. No session scheduled. No session scheduled.
15 Class session. No session scheduled. Student presentations; assignment due date. No session scheduled. No classes throughout MIT.
16 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT.
Displays the color and pattern used on the preceding table to indicate dates when classes are not held at MIT. No classes throughout MIT
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when class sessions are held. Class session
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when student presentations are held. Student Presentation
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when no class session is scheduled. No class session scheduled
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when Locast mapping workshops are held. Locast mapping workshop
Displays the symbol used on the preceding table to indicate dates when assignments are due. Assignment due date
 

Instructor Insights

On the following pages, Dr. Kelley describes various aspects of how she taught 21L.501 The American Novel: Stranger and Stranger.