190: INTRODUCTION TO FILM, VIDEO,
Section 002, M
3-6:30 p.m. (Screenings)
and W 3:45-6:15
p.m. (Discussions), HHH 321
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
PROFESSOR BOB NOWLAN
Office: HHH 425,
Office Hours: MWF
12-1 p.m., M 6:50-7:30 p.m., T 9:50-10:30 p.m.,
W 6:20-7 p.m., and
DAVE CARPENTER and ANDY WILKINS
firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
English 190: Introduction to Film, Video, and
Moving-Image Culture is an introduction to the critical study of film and video: to the
interpretation and evaluation of film and video in cultural context.
includes everything that we, as human beings, have created, built,
learned, and conquered in the course of our entire history, in
distinction from what nature itself has given us. Specific cultures
(as well as specific subcultures) comprise the sum total of the
particular knowledges, capacities, fields of work (and fields of play),
customs and habits, traditions, values and attitudes, social roles and
identities, and shared ways of thinking, feeling, acting, interacting,
and behaving that characterize and, more importantly than merely
characterize, that internally unify and externally differentiate
particular regions, classes, and other social groups.
Film and video constitute principal constituents of
1.) moving-image culture (i.e., culture produced, distributed,
exchanged, and consumed in the form of constellations of
moving-images), 2.) human culture at large, and 3.) myriad specific
national, regional, local, racial, ethnic, class, gender, sexual,
generational, political, religious, artistic, philosophical,
recreational, and avocational cultures (and subcultures). (For
the sake of simplicity of expression, I will refer from this point
forward in much of the rest of this course explanation statement to
'films' when I am actually describing films, videos, and other kinds of
moving-image cultural productions.)
Throughout the history of world cinema, three
principal objectives have driven forward the production, distribution,
exhibition, and reception of film:
1.) the provision
of entertainment, especially as diversion, distraction, and
expression and communication-concerned with aesthetic issues
such as capturing and conveying the felt experience of the ordinary and
the extraordinary, the everyday and the unusual, the familiar and the
unfamiliar, and, especially, "the beautiful" and "the sublime"-in both
the natural world and human society;
critique-as contribution to, and instrument of, social change.
Many films, as well as many cinemas, aspire to meet two or three of
these goals, often employing one as means toward the achievement of at
least one of the other two (e.g., artistic expression as a vehicle of
social critique). Yet it is still useful, in beginning to come to
terms with the aims of different kinds of film and cinema, to recognize
these as primarily oriented toward serving one of these three
here refers to a particular institutional form governing the
production, distribution, exhibition, and reception of a series of
films, especially a series of films sharing common subjects, styles,
social vantage points, and cultural backgrounds: e.g., “German
Expressionist Cinema,” “Classical Narrative Realist Hollywood Cinema,”
“Italian Neo-Realist Cinema,” “French New Wave Cinema,” “Dogme 95
Cinema,” “1960s American Underground Cinema,” “British Free Cinema,”
and “The New Queer Cinema.”)
The kinds of pleasures film can provide us in fact
come in many forms, at times quite complicated and sophisticated,
including those that usefully subvert culturally dominant ways of
making sense. Yet Hollywood (along
with other, allied sectors of the bottom-line profit-driven, corporate
capitalist, multinational conglomerate mass media) often encourages us
to approach the pleasure we experience from film primarily, if not
exclusively, as a purely escapist form of entertainment. In other
words, Hollywood frequently encourages us to retreat from, rather than
to confront, understand, and strive to overcome life's problems and
What's more, even when mainstream media productions
do address serious issues, they often do so in reductively simplistic
and sentimentally trivializing ways. Usually they don't extend
messages quite as trite as "everything always turns out for the best,"
"don't worry, be happy," "crime never pays," or "good always triumphs
over evil," yet they still usually embrace, rather than critique,
cultural clichés. For example, a film might suggest that
hard work and a positive outlook on life will overcome all obstacles,
or that the support of a loving family and true friends should be all
we ever need to pick us up when and if we are down and need help, or
that heroic individuals can always defeat even the most brutal (ab)uses
of state and corporate power.
At the same time, another popular current in
contemporary Hollywood film rejects, even mocks, these naive attitudes
but does so only to support a cynical view of contemporary social
existence as an alienated quest for survival in an essentially selfish,
corrupt, and vicious world where might makes right, style (in the sense
of superficial "flash" and "glitter") matters far more than substance,
and maintaining an outward facade of cool, confident control, along
with a pose of proudly defiant self-reliance, always trump
manifestations of fellow feeling, shared concern, and social
solidarity. In addition, of course, other common trends in
contemporary Hollywood involve making films a.) that function as little
more than opportunities to demonstrate the look, sound, and feel of the
latest special effects technology, or b.) that delight in facile forms
of pseudo-comedy-comedy devoid of wit, charm, and even humor-so as to
revel in the gross, the mean, and the cruel.
Contemporary Hollywood films often tend, moreover,
to discourage us not only from questioning, challenging, and critiquing
the social status quo but also from thinking for ourselves as we come
to terms with what they represent to us in the course of our experience
watching (and listening to) them. These films frequently tell
tales that represent "the way things are" as simply "the way they have
to be"-or, even more insidious than that, as "the only way they can and
should be." They manufacture worlds that comfort us with
infantilizing illusions that we are invited to accept, without
question, at least for the duration of a film, as the simple equivalent
of "reality" itself. They insert us into positions within the
illusory worlds they construct such that we experience no incentive to
reflect either upon the process of construction or the meaning of
illusion, where we are reassuringly protected from having to confront
any genuinely unsettling thoughts or feelings-i.e., thoughts or
feelings that linger to trouble us long after the film has ended.
These films, moreover, flatter us by providing us with a false sense of
our omniscience-false because these films not only do our seeing and
hearing for us but also because they attempt to take charge as well of
our thinking, feeling, reacting, and responding in relation to
virtually everything we encounter from the beginning to the end of the
film's running time.
In this course we will reflect critically upon the
processes of manipulation I have just recounted as well as examine a
number of alternative models of film production and reception that
challenge this interpellation of the film spectator-auditor
(viewer-listener) into the position of uncritical, passive
consumer. We will also consider the contradictions
involved in processes of film production, distribution, exhibition, and
reception that spark usefully critical engagements with even the most
"conservative," "mind-numbing," "desensitizing," and "trivializing"
forms of mainstream Hollywood "blockbuster" film.
It is important that we subject film to critical
study because, over the course of the past 110 years, audio-visual
texts, especially audio-visual texts organized around the moving image,
have come to exert an extremely powerful impact upon the shape and
substance of individuals' lived experience of their relationship to the
conditions of their own existence. This impact is today
prospectively as powerful, if not indeed often considerably more
powerful, than that exerted by traditional print media. In fact,
film, television, video, and "cyberspace" have become principal sites
within our contemporary Western societies for the production and
dissemination, as well as the reproduction and reinforcement, of
meanings, values, ideas, ideologies, and social modes of thinking,
understanding, feeling, believing, acting, and interacting, even when
presented to us as "sheer entertainment."
This course will begin, first, with a brief
introduction to the rudiments of “critical media literacy” and the
“elements of meaning” involved in “reading film.” From that
point, we will turn, second, to learn about film makers' use (to
express and communicate meaning) of techniques of a.)”cinematography,”
b.) “mise-en-scène, “ c.) “editing,” and d.)
“sound.” We will here concentrate on influential and
innovative uses of these techniques, including representation from
"independent" film makers working outside of Hollywood and beyond the
United States as well as examples from historically significant
Hollywood films. After this, we will, third, inquire into the art
and politics of representation in (especially) American (primarily
Hollywood) film. In this third section of the course, we will
begin with an introduction to and overview of the study of
representation and ideology in film, turn from there to discuss the
structure and history of Hollywood filmmaking, and proceed in turn to
examine representations of issues of race and ethnicity, class, gender,
and sexuality in (especially American) film.
The films I have selected to screen in this course
represent a critically acclaimed and historically influential
variety. As I see it, one of my principal responsibilities
in teaching this course, as an expert in cinema studies, is to
introduce you to titles of films, and kinds of film making-as well as
ways of interpreting and evaluating films-that you have not encountered
before. Like past students in the many English 190 classes
I have previously taught, I hope you too will come to appreciate the
opportunity this course provides for an "eye-opening" experience.
The following two required texts
are available for purchase at the UWEC Bookstore:
1.) Kasdan, Margo, Christine Saxon, and Susan
Tavernetti. The Critical Eye:
an Introduction to Looking at Movies. 3rd Edition, Revised
Printing. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt, 2002.
2.) Benshoff, Harry and Sean Griffin. America on Film: Representing Race, Class,
Gender, and Sexuality at the Movies. Malden, MA:
You may feel free to purchase these
from any other bookstore or book outlet, including by means of on-line
ordering outlets (such as amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com), as you
wish, as long as you acquire them in time to use in and for class.
I will supply copies of other required texts used in
the course in the form of photocopied handouts, weblinks, documents
posted on our Desire2Learn electronic classroom (which I will explain
in class before you first need to use it), and in other diverse forms.
W 1/26: Introduction and
Orientation, Including Screening and Discussion of Thou Shalt Not Kill.
M 1/31: Screening, Mulholland Drive.
Discussion, Introduction to Critical Media Literacy/Elements of
Meaning and Mulholland Drive.
Read for Class: The Critical Eye (CE), Chapters
M 2/7: Screening, Suture and Seconds.
W 2/9: Discussion,
Cinematography, Suture, and Seconds.
for Class: CE, Chapter 3, 33-60.
M 2/14: Screening, Dogville.
W 2/16: Discussion,
Mise-en-Scène and Dogville.
for Class: CE, Chapter 4, 61-90.
* First Learning
and Contribution Paper Assigned. *
M 2/21: Screening, The Battle of Algiers and Bloody Sunday.
W 2/23: Discussion, Editing, The Battle of Algiers, and Bloody Sunday.
Read for Class:
CE, Chapter 5, 91-108.
M 2/28: Screening, Apocalypse Now (Redux).
** First Learning
and Contribution Paper Due. **
W 3/2: Discussion, Sound and Apocalypse Now (Redux).
for Class: CE, Chapter 4, 109-126.
M 3/7: Screening, Casablanca and Play It Again Sam.
W 3/9: Discussion, Representation
and Ideology, Casablanca, and Play It Again Sam.
for Class: America on Film
(AF), Chapter 1, 1-22.
M 3/14: Screening, Sunset Boulevard and The Player.
W 3/16: Discussion, Hollywood
Cinema, Sunset Boulevard, and
for Class: AF, Chapter 2, 23-46, and CE, Chapter 8,151-174.
* Second Learning
and Contribution Paper Assigned. *
W 3/30: Screening, Pleasantville and Out: the Making of a Revolutionary.
Second Learning and Contribution Paper Due. **
M 4/4: Screening, Bamboozled.
W 4/6: Discussion, Race and
Ethnicity, Pleasantville, Out: the Making of a Revolutionary,
for Class: AF, Introduction to Part Two and Chapters 3-4, 49-95.
M 4/11: Screening, Bread and Roses and Life and Debt.
W 4/13: Discussion, Class, Bread and Roses, and Life and Debt.
for Class: AF, Introduction to Part Three and Chapters 8-9,
* Third Learning
and Contribution Paper Assigned. *
M 4/18: Screening, Gilda and Dead Reckoning.
W 4/20: Discussion, Gender, One; Gilda; and Dead Reckoning.
for Class: AF, Introduction to Part Four, 203-206,
and Chapters 11-12, 229-270.
M 4/25: Screening, Antonia’s Line and Different for Girls.
Third Learning and Contribution Paper Due. **
W 4/27: Discussion, Gender, Two; Antonia’s Line; and Different for Girls.
for Class: AF, Chapters 10 and 13, 207-228 and 271-290.
M 5/2: Screening, The Watermelon Woman and Latter Days.
W 5/4: Discussion, Sexuality, One;
The Watermelon Woman; and Latter Days.
for Class: AF, Introduction to Part Five and Chapter 14,
M 5/9: Screening, His Secret Life and Kilometer Zero.
W 5/11: Discussion, Sexuality,
Two; His Secret Life;
and Kilometer Zero.
for Class: AF, Chapter 15, 318-338.
M 5/16: Final Examination, Part One, 5-6:50 p.m.
R 5/19: Final
Examination, Part Two, 3-4:50 p.m.
*** PLEASE NOTE WELL:
ADDITIONAL (SHORT) READINGS
MAY BE ASSIGNED FROM TIME TO TIME,
AND THE PRECEDING SCHEDULE IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. ***
ORGANIZATION AND CONDUCT OF CLASS SESSIONS
afternoons we will screen films. We will take a brief
break of five minutes between each screening on days in which we will
screen more than one film. Students are welcome to bring pillows,
blankets, and folding lounge chairs to use if you find these more
comfortable than the classroom chairs. You may also bring snacks
as long as you take care to eat and drink quietly as well as not to
spill anything on the classroom carpet. Please note well that
occasionally screening sessions will run longer than three and one-half
hours, and occasionally they will run shorter; students are expected to
stay through the end of screening sessions that run late, yet may leave
as soon as screening sessions that run short end-the time commitment
will all balance out.
afternoons we will discuss topics in film, video, and
moving-image culture study based upon the assigned readings for the
week as well as the films screened the previous Monday afternoon.
Frequently, I will show clips from the films screened the previous
Monday as well as DVD extras to initiate and stimulate discussion. I
will also, from time to time, show clips from other videos, DVDs,
websites, CD-Roms, and DVD-Roms to help explain and illustrate key
concepts. The student mentors and I likely will occasionally make
use of other kinds of equipment and associated materials to demonstrate
techniques, concepts, and practices as well.
I will direct our discussions, assisted by student
mentors Dave Carpenter and Andy Wilkins, and, as useful, I will combine
discussion with some extended comments and short, informal
presentations of my own. However, I will always ask you to help
out as I introduce and explain positions, concepts, methods, and
practices. I plan to combine largely brief and informal
presentations with extensive questioning of and discussion with
students, following a variety of formats. I always prefer to
teach by way of discussion as opposed to lecture; students learn better
through active engagement and dialogue with each other as well as with
me. Students will frequently spend portions of class time on
Wednesday afternoon working in small groups; students will also from
time to time prepare short written reflections either prior to or
during our Wednesday meetings to share with the rest of the class.
GENERAL EXPECTATIONS OF STUDENTS
Although I expect that students enrolled in this
course do greatly appreciate and enjoy watching films (as I most
certainly do), and although I also suspect that a number of you may
have already had some experience in film production or may wish to
pursue this work in the future, as participants within this course
students should be sincerely interested in learning about the critical study of
film. I expect students in this course to be consistently
intellectually serious as well as academically diligent. I expect
students to strive to bring actively and extensively to bear-in your
writing for class essays and your contributions to class
discussion-insights you gain through your engagement with the films we
screen, the required readings, and the topics these films and readings
raise for our consideration. Finally, I expect students to let
me, Dave, or Andy know right away when and if you have any questions or
problems in relation to any aspect of how you are doing with the
course, so that we can do everything we possibly can to help answer
these questions and solve these problems.
ON INTELLECTUAL CHALLENGES,
AND CURRICULAR INTEGRITY
The English Department aims to provide you with an
intellectually challenging education. This means we will often
include texts and introduce topics in our courses that candidly explore
adult issues, including ones that offer representations that may, on
occasion, prove unsettling, disturbing, and even offensive to some of
The higher educational academy is not a "safe space"
separate from the rest of the "real world" where you can expect to be
sheltered from encountering anything you might find disagreeable or
objectionable. On the contrary, we expect you to take up the
challenge to confront these kinds of texts and topics in a mature,
responsible way, and that means bringing directly to bear your negative
reactions-including your reactions of shock, dismay, and discontent-in
class discussions and in your writings and presentations for
class. If you find a position or practice represented in a text
or topic included in the assigned readings or screenings for class to
be objectionable, it is therefore of crucial importance that you raise
your objections openly and honestly, not simply claim personal
exemption from having to see, hear, or talk, read, and write about
these kinds of matters. After all, disturbing positions and
practices exist extensively outside of the classroom as well as in what
we read, see, hear, and otherwise confront in and for class; what we do
confront in class exists in this institutional space as symptomatic of
positions and practices that operate beyond the confines of the
classroom, the course, and the university. If and when you find
any text or topic genuinely appalling, you maintain the ethical
responsibility, as a mature adult and as a responsible citizen, not
simply to try to hide from these positions and practices but rather to
work to critique and change them.
Students should expect therefore that you may well
on occasion encounter representations that you will find troubling, in
this UWEC course and in many others as well; within this Department you
will receive no right of exemption from engaging with these and no
welcome for simply complaining (especially to a higher administrative
authority) about their inclusion. Instead you should bring your
objections forthrightly to bear in your contributions to class
discussion. Finally, to conclude this particular point of
discussion, a professor differs from a high school teacher in many
respects, but one key difference is that we maintain a principal
professional, ethical responsibility forthrightly to represent the most
advanced knowledges in our fields of expertise and to proceed from
there to work toward their further development and dissemination. In
short, we must create, advocate for, and profess these knowledges; you
should expect that your professors may from time to time take strong
and indeed controversial positions on difficult and challenging issues,
eschewing the pretense of disinterested neutrality. To do
anything less than assume this responsibility, and to do so with
alacrity, would be to shirk our professorial responsibility and to
render ourselves unworthy of maintaining our professorial position.
SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS FOR THE COURSE GRADE
In evaluating all work done for this course, I will
take account of how carefully, seriously, intelligently,
enthusiastically, and imaginatively students engage with the concepts,
issues, positions, and arguments addressed in the course and
represented by the films, videos, and other electronic texts we screen,
the graphic texts we read, by me, by the student mentors, and by each
This course cannot contribute effectively to your
education as critical students of film if you do not attend
class. What happens in class is an indispensable part of this
course. I will take note of student attendance and therefore I
expect students to adhere to the following attendance policy for this
1.) Students should not exceed a maximum of three
2.) Students should provide me with written confirmation of
a serious, individual or family emergency for any further absences beyond
the maximum of three unexcused absences.
3.) Students who miss more than seven
classes total, for whatever reason, should expect that they are
unlikely to pass the course, and therefore should withdraw
from the course and enroll again in a subsequent semester.
4.) Attendance at
all classes in which films will be screened is required as well,
even if and when the films we screen are readily available on video for
you to watch and listen to elsewhere and at another time. Also, I will note well any students who
leave class after the break during these screening sessions; not
attending the entire screening session (unless you have made
arrangements with me ahead of time to leave early) will count as an
absence from class that day.
5.) Students are
responsible for finding out and making up whatever you miss if
and when you do miss class.
Learning and Contribution/Learning and
Contribution Reflection Papers
What This is
and Why it is Important
My foremost aim in teaching this course is to help
you to learn something of significance and value. I will judge
you to a significant degree on what you learn, how- and how hard-you
strive to learn, and on how-along with how well-you contribute to the
learning for the rest of the class.
You cannot learn or help others learn if you do not
contribute. If you don't contribute to the work of this
class not only will you fail to derive as much gain from it as would be
the case if you did contribute, but also you will deprive everyone else
of the benefit of your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, values, knowledge,
and experience. In fact, to remain passively silent in class
exploits the work of others who actively engage.
Class participation represents an important
opportunity to learn, not just a place in which to demonstrate what you
have learned. By raising questions, testing and trying out ideas,
taking risks and making mistakes, you learn a great deal-and help
others learn a great deal as well. You learn through talking, not
just talk to show what you have learned. Don't hesitate to speak
forth in class if you have anything at all to throw into the mix.
At the same time, just talking a great deal does not
necessarily mean that you are making a quality contribution to the
class by aiding the learning that we aim to accomplish. Quality
of participation is much more important than quantity, although a
sufficient quantity is indispensable to insure quality. Still, I
want to emphasize here that I perceive talking for talking’s
sake–especially talking which pulls us off on far-fetched tangents,
which remains disconnected from and disengaged with the reading and the
rest of the class, or which effectively silences others–to be negative
Quality class participation does not, moreover,
involve merely asking questions of me and responding to my questions;
quality class participation requires you to work as assiduously as you
can to advance a serious and substantial discussion with your peers
about the texts and topics subject to discussion. Students should,
therefore, be prepared to engage with and respond to each other in
class discussion, and I will take particular note of how well you do so.
I would like you to come to class with strong
opinions on the topics of discussion, to be ready to share your
opinions with the class, and to be open-minded enough to debate your
own and others’ thoughts and to push them as far as they will go.
In evaluating class participation, I find the
following modification of a system designed by my colleague, Professor
Mary Ellen Alea, useful: A = Nearly daily response, and with
consistently useful, insightful comments and questions; B= Daily
response, with regular, relevant comments and questions; C = Less
frequent, occasional questions and comments; D = Almost always entirely
quiet; F= Engaging in behavior that disrupts the learning processes of
you and your fellow students, such as talking while others are
speaking, not paying attention in class, or doing other work or
attending to other interests during the time class is meeting.
Forms of Contribution
Contribution to the class certainly can extend far
beyond mere speaking in class: it may include a variety of ways in
which you can bring to bear your insights to help yourself as well as
the rest of us gain from the experience of this course.
Excellent writings for and in response to class (on Desire2Learn,
see below) and as part of your learning and contribution reflection
papers (see below as well) can help make up for limitations as far as
participation in class goes. At the same time, listening
carefully, respectfully, and thoughtfully in class discussions is yet
another important means of contribution–as is taking time to meet and
talk with me and with class mentors Dave Carpenter and Andy Wilkins
outside of class.
Contribution Reflection Papers/
Learning and Contribution Reflection Grades
Learning and contribution will constitute a
significant proportion of your overall course grade. As
part of this grade, you will write three learning and contribution
reflection papers. For these papers I will ask you
questions that will require you to address what you have been learning
as a student enrolled in this course, and to assess how, along with how
well, you have been contributing to your own learning, and to that of
others in the class.
As I see it, these papers provide you a useful
opportunity to communicate with me how you believe you are doing with
the course, as well as why so, and to demonstrate your critical
self-reflexivity, the hallmark of a liberal arts education. As
you are assessing your own learning and contribution, you may include
thoughts in reaction to issues raised in class discussion that you did
not have the opportunity or did not feel comfortable enough to share in
class; these additional reflections will help me get a better sense of
what you have been thinking about and how you have been responding to
class discussions, as well as to the readings. I will take into
account what you write in determining your learning and contribution
grade for the preceding semester period; performance on these papers
represents a vital component of your learning and contribution grade.
I will provide you specific directions in the
assignments I give you for each of these papers; please note well that
the questions you address will change from the first to the second to
the third reflection paper. These papers should be typed,
double-space, on single sides of standard white letter-sized (8"
X 11") typewriter, computer printer, or photographic paper. All
pages should be numbered, and you should place your name at the top of
each page. You may use any standard font you wish, yet you should
keep your point size between 10 and 12 points. Papers must be
stapled, and you are responsible for doing so, not me. You should
follow rules and conventions of Standard Written English and a
consistent, accurate format for citation and documentation of sources.
I recommend an
approximate minimum target range of between 1250 and 1750 words
(roughly 5-7 double-space pages).
and contribution grades (including learning and contribution reflection
papers) will be worth the following percentages of the overall course
grade: #1, 17.5%, #20%, and #3, 22.5%.
The final exam
will take place, in class on M 5/16 and then again on R 5/20, in two
parts. Part one of this
exam will run for 110 minutes, and will consist of a series of short
response essays on questions related to the re-screening of a selection
of clips from films screened in the preceding four weeks of the
two will begin with the screening of two short films not
previously screened in class, followed by an extended essay in response
to these two films. This part of the final exam will, once again,
run for 110 minutes. You may use any textbooks, photocopied
handouts, notes, guides, outlines, et. al. you want as you work on both
parts of this exam. Parts one and two of
the first exam will each be worth 10% of the overall course grade, for
a total of 20% of the overall course grade.
I have created a Desire2Learn electronic classroom
website for this class. Beyond me posting material here for you to
retrieve, I am also asking you periodically to post short reflections,
comments, and critiques on this site that engage with readings and
screenings in dialogue with your fellow classmates and with student
mentors Dave Carpenter and Andy Wilkins. I will explain how to
access this site, and make sure you can do so, very early in the
Here's how this assignment will work. After
each Wednesday discussion class meeting you will have the opportunity
to post a short, informal reflection, comment, and/or critique on
issues directly related to the films and readings discussed in class
that Thursday. Then, once your fellow students have posted their
thoughts, you will have the opportunity to write a second short,
informal paper responding to what one or more of your classmates has
Your postings may be quite informal, yet you should
nevertheless try to write as clearly and cogently as possible. I
will also expect your postings to demonstrate you are taking this
I will ask Dave and Andy to offer evaluations
of how you have done with this work, and take into account their
recommendations in grading your Desire2Learn postings. This will
be a space where you can engage in discussion primarily with your peers
and with Dave and Andy, largely free from having to worry about
directly addressing me with anything that you here write.
You need not post on Desire2Learn every week; I expect you to write a
minimum of three initial posts and six response posts during the
first half of the semester (through spring break). I will
then expect you to write a minimum of three
additional posts and six additional responses during the second half of
the semester (after spring break).
You will have up
to eleven days after each Wednesday discussion class to post your
initial comments, reflections, and/or critiques and then up to fifteen
additional days to post your responses (except
at the middle and end of the semester where we won't have quite this
much time available).
I recommend a
minimum average of approximately 500 words for each post (i.e.,
if you are concerned about how much or how little you ‘should write’,
estimate posting the equivalent of roughly two double-space typed pages
each time). This is not hard and fast at all; it's just to give
you something to use as a guideline in drafting your reflections,
comments, and critiques.
Overall, I expect the opportunity to engage in this
kind of supplementary, informal dialogue will help you in your learning
and contribution, as well as make the course more interesting and
meaningful for you. It will also give you the chance to test out
and receive potentially helpful feedback on ideas you might want later
to pursue in class discussions, and in learning and contribution
reflection papers. In addition, this will give you a chance to
share ideas that you thought of after class discussion, or that you
needed more time to think out and formulate effectively in your own
mind before sharing these, and Desire2Learn postings should help
students who are shy about speaking forth extensively in class
discussion. I know everyone in class has much of value to offer,
including those who do not feel as readily inclined or as comfortable
to voice this in class discussion as some others.
I will grade you twice on your Desire2Learn papers:
10% for the first
half of the semester, and 10% for the second half of the semester.
Again, I will take into account Dave’s and Andy’s recommendations in
determining these grades, but this will in every case be my decision.
Late Papers/Extra Time with the Exam
Make arrangements with me as far ahead of time as
possible if you find yourself needing to turn in a paper late, or if
you need more extra time with the exam. If something comes up in
your life that causes you difficulty meeting deadlines or taking the
exam within the scheduled period of time, let me know and we’ll see
what we can work out. I understand problems happen, and student
life can often, unexpectedly, turn quite difficult and painful; I am
ready to work with you if you will be upfront and responsible with me.
I am giving students in this class two different
opportunities to earn a substantial amount of extra credit this
first opportunity requires you to attend one or more of the screenings of films
selected by the International Film Committee (and sponsored by
the International Film Society) as part of the spring 2005 UWEC campus
film series in Davies Theater: Crimson
Gold, running from R 2/3 through Sn 2/6 at 6 and 8:30 each
night; Goldfish Memory,
running from R 2/17 through Sn 2/20 at 6 and 8:30 each night; The Terrorist, running from R 3/3
through Sn 3/6 at 6 and 8:30 each night; The Letter, running from R 4/7
through Sn 4/10 at 6 and 8:30 each night; Brotherhood of the Wolf, running
from R 4/28 through Sn 5/1 at 6 and 9 p.m. each night; and Goodbye Lenin! from R 5/5 through
Sn 5/8 at 6 and 8:30 p.m. each night. After you attend a
screening, you should write an
approximately one page paper, offering your reflections and
comments in making sense of and responding to the film to share in a discussion of the film with
either Dave or Andy (or Dave and Andy) of approximately one-half
hour’s time. You may do this
for one, two, three, four, five, or all six of these films.
You will receive
2.5% extra credit each time you do so.
second opportunity requires you to participate in a class field trip to
attend part of the annual Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film
Festival. We will take a class field trip by bus to the
Twin Cities to attend the Festival on Saturday
April 9. I will pay for the bus; you will only need to pay
the cost of tickets for the film(s) you attend–and for any refreshments
you wish to purchase that day while in Minneapolis and/or St.
Paul. Beside the opportunity to attend screenings of interesting
films from around the world–including from independent sources, and
unavailable through mainstream channels–we will seek to have a good
time together on this class outing. On past class field
trips my classes and I have taken to the Twin Cities, students have had
a great time. You are welcome to bring friends from outside of
our class to come along with you as you wish. You may earn 2.5% extra credit
simply for coming along on the field trip, as well as an additional 7.5%
extra credit if you, again, subsequently write up a short (one page)
reflection and comment paper on at least one feature film (or
session of short films) you attend while participating in this field
trip and then take the time to discuss this
with me, with Dave, with Andy, and/or any two or all three of us in a conference of
approximately one-half hour’s time.
THE GOALS OF THE BACCALAUREATE
This university is, as many of you know, a liberal arts
institution; education in the liberal arts (and sciences)
represents the historic and central commitment of what we do together
on this UW campus-not vocational training and pre-professional
development. The university administration and faculty support
this commitment so strongly that they have asked that all syllabi
elaborate the official goals of the baccalaureate, as well as identify
which ones the course in question will help you achieve.
According to the UWEC administration, the baccalaureate degree shall
work to develop the following for UWEC students:
1.) an understanding of a liberal education.
2.) an appreciation of the University as a learning community.
3.) an ability to inquire, think, analyze.
4.) an ability to write, read, speak, listen.
5.) an understanding of numerical data.
6.) a historical consciousness.
7.) international and intercultural experience.
8.) an understanding of science and scientific methods.
9.) an appreciation of the arts.
10.) an understanding of values.
11.) an understanding of human behavior and human institutions.
UWEC strives to help you meet
these objectives in the course of the higher education you pursue
here. Please note that in making these our foremost aims,
we at UWEC clearly distinguish ourselves from technical colleges as
well as from all other UW schools, especially places like Stout and
River Falls. This section of English 190 will help contribute
to you meeting goals 1-4, 6, and 9-11.
These goals cannot be met passively by the student:
each requires your striving toward it to be met. Striving means
learning actively, completing assignments in a thorough and timely
fashion, participating in class discussion, and making connections
(above and beyond those emphasized by us in the classroom) between what
we do while meeting in class and what you do when engaged outside of
I encourage you to meet with me in conference during
office hours or at another mutually convenient time to discuss any
issue of interest or concern related to what we are doing in this
course. Learning that takes place in conferences can at times be
equally as important, and in fact occasionally even more important,
than what takes place in class. Please do not hesitate to meet
with me during office hours or to ask for an appointment at any time
you think this might be helpful; I regard making myself available for
conferences with you outside of class to be an indispensable part of my
responsibility as your teacher. Moreover, I always sincerely do
welcome getting to know and work with my students outside as well as
inside of class. I am ready to do whatever I can to help you in
your understanding of issues addressed in discussions, readings, and
screenings, as well as to help you in your writing for and
participation in this course. I want to make sure that I do all
that I can to help you succeed in this course and I want to help you,
as far as I can, to gain as much out of it as possible through your
participation in and work for it. You may also feel free to write
me via e-mail, and to call me-or leave a message for me on the
answering machine-at my office. I enjoy meeting and working with
students outside as well as inside of class; I really do. I would
rather talk with you during my office hours than do anything else, so
please do not worry about "disturbing" me in coming to talk with me; my
office hours are time that I have set aside to meet, talk, and work
with you. PLEASE DO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS OPPORTUNITY!
And, remember, once again, taking the time to meet and talk with me
periodically in conference is a great way to contribute to the class.
Also, Dave Carpenter and Andy Wilkins have signed on
as student mentors with this class because they want to work with and
help you. Please feel free to contact and meet with them outside
of class about any matter of interest or concern; they too will hold
regular office hours and be readily accessible to assist you.
Dave and Andy can be of great help do you; take advantage of the
opportunity to work with them.
Any student who has a disability and is in need of classroom
accommodations, please contact the instructor and the Services for
Students with Disabilities Office. *
I strive to be as responsible and as accountable to
my students as possible. I believe it is crucial that students
become aware of the ideas and the values which shape and direct their
education, and I believe students should expect that all of their
teachers will be prepared to explain why they teach as they do.
Please, therefore, take the time, as early as you can this semester, to
read through and think carefully about my "Statement of Teaching
Philosophy" that I have posted on my UWEC faculty website:
This statement explains WHY I teach as I do. I think it is
extremely important that you know and understand where your teachers
are coming from in teaching you as they do. You will find me one
who trusts you sufficiently always to be frank and honest about this
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Last Update: January 21, 2005