Course Exam—ENGL 211 (Prose Forms)

ENGL 211 (Prose Forms) is a three-credit introductory English course where students examine fictional work in prose and encounter major literary concepts, terms, and analytical strategies.  The texts that are studied in ENGL 211 include American, British, and Canadian short stories and novels, which range from the nineteenth century to the twenty first century.  There are no prerequisites for this course, though students without prior writing experience are strongly encouraged to take ENGL 255 (Introductory Composition).  If you are interested in learning more about Introductory Composition, read the ENGL 255 Course Exam Article!

Prose Forms consists of five units, one essay worth ten percent, two essays weighing twenty-five percent each, and an online final exam weighing forty percent.  Students should note that all assignments must. be completed to pass the course.  Units one and two have students examining a range of short stories by several different authors, such as Ernest Hemingway, Eudora Welty, Amy Tan, and Thomas King.  These two units provide introduction to the strategies of close reading, analytical writing, and selected key concepts in literary studies.  Units three, four, and five respectively examine a twenty-first century American novel, a twentieth-century Canadian novel, and a nineteenth-century British novel, as well as relevant literary and analytical concepts.

Dr. Paul Huebener joined Athabasca University in February of 2015 after being at the University of Calgary and McMaster University.  He is the course coordinator for ENGL 211 (Prose Forms), ENGL 302 (An Introduction to Canadian Literature),  ENGL 308 (Native Literature in Canada), ENGL 491 (Directed Studies in Literature), and ENGL 492 (Research and Writing Projects in Literature).  And for the Athabasca University Master of Arts in Integrated Studies program he coordinates LTST 605 (Current Issues in Literary Studies) and ENGL 693 (Directed Studies in Literature).

He states, “One thing that I like about the study of literature is that it provides a window into thinking about larger cultural issues.  My primary field, for instance, is Canadian literature, and from there I have expanded into the critical study of time as well as topics in the environmental humanities.  My personal hobby right now is making espresso, which is both an art and a science.  Learning how to pour latte art is taking me longer than it took to get a PhD.”

When asked to explain the structure of the course to students, Dr.  Huebener continues, “The course has five units: two units dedicated to short stories and one unit for each of the three novels.  Students write three essays (700 words, 1,000 words, and 1,000 words) as well as a final exam.  The assignments and the exam give students a range of choices in terms of which texts and concepts to write about.  The course spends quite a bit of time showing the students, in general terms, what the exam will look like and how they can practice for it.  We want students to feel confident and supported going into the exam.”

He continues “We recommend spending about eight hours per week in order to finish the course within five or six months, although students can work more quickly if they wish.  Having a sense of curiosity and a willingness to read thoughtfully is key.  Complete the assigned readings and take notes on the literary texts themselves, as well as the key strategies for analytical writing.  Discussing your essay ideas with your tutor is always a good idea.”

Dr.  Huebener states, “This course is useful for students who would like to gain the ability to develop close, thoughtful readings of literary texts.  It can serve as a foundation for further studies in English, or as an English literature credit towards another degree program.  Students coming into this course should already be fluent in the English language.”

When asked what students will take away from this course, he concludes “The literary theorist Rita Felski suggests that there are four main reasons for reading works of literature, which include recognition, enchantment, knowledge, and shock.  Of course, there are other reasons as well.  A good literary text is one that is larger than us in some way; when we read it, our consciousness expands.  We want students to leave this course with an expanded consciousness, with a desire to read their world with critical discernment.”

Whether this is a program requirement of yours or the readings or topics above interested you, ENGL 211 (Prose Forms) will have you immersed in interesting readings written in a variety of different centuries!