This file is not applicable to your class (Spring 2003). You have the requirements in the handout you received on the first day of class. If you have any questions, please ask me.

This section of Core Studies 6 is experimental; it is part of a FIPSE grant to put Core Studies courses at Brooklyn College partially online. Starting with the week of February 19, we will not meet in the classroom on Friday; from Friday, February 23rd on, the equivalent of Friday classes will take place online, and we will meet in the classroom on Monday and Wednesday only.

Friday classes and online lessons:

Starting Friday, February 23rd Friday classes will be presented entirely on this Website. If the assignment for Friday is reading one act of a play or eighty-five pages of a novel, the online lesson will explore relevant topics for that assignment, e.g., theme, characterization, imagery, structure, point of view, use of language, and tone. If the assignment is reading twenty-five pages of Keats's poems, the online lesson will consist of the discussion and analysis of two or three poems. The lessons include direct statements, questions (with and without hints), quotations from the text, quotations from critics, and background information. The fact that only two or three poems are dealt with at length does not mean you are exempt from knowing the other poems in that day's assignment; it just means I can't cover every poem, just a few, whether in class or online.

Participation in (Friday) online classes:

You will participate in online classes by using Caucus, an online discussion forum or bulletin board. Using Caucus, you may ask about anything you don't understand, respond to other students' comments, agree or disagree with my remarks, comment on the day's lesson, or raise new ideas.

You should not feel that you are entirely on your own in preparing the online lessons; I am available for discussion and problem-solving, online via e-mail and Caucus and in person before class, after class, and during office hours.


A student who misses more than five classes will fail the course. I count participation in Caucus as attending Friday online classes. Since the online lessons are nearly one-third of the course, only two absences from Caucus are acceptable. For a third non-response or absence, a student's final grade in the course will be lowered one level, e.g., from a C to a C-; for a fourth absence, the final grade will be lowered yet another level, e.g., to a D+; a fifth non-response or absence will result in the grade being lowered one more level, e.g., to a D. And a sixth absence from Caucus will result in a final grade of F.

Writing requirements:

You will take an inclass midterm and an an inclass final; you will also submit three papers for grading. Click here a description of topics for paper assignments. You may revise a paper and resubmit it, with the original paper attached. If you choose a different topic and write a new paper, you still must submit the original paper. If the grade for the revised paper is higher, I will use that grade in computing the final course grade. If the grade is lower (an unlikely possibility), I will use the original grade in computing your course grade.

Final course grade:

The grades of the midterm, final, and three papers count equally, with one exception; a student whose midterm and/or final grades are significantly lower than those on the papers will receive a course grade based on the tests only. Class participation is also considered in computng the final grade. If one of the three graded papers is not handed in, the grade for the missing paper counts as two F's in the computation of the final grade. Any student who does not hand in two of the three required papers or who does not take both the midterm and the final will fail the course.


I have set up a forum for this course on Caucus (an online discussion forum or bulletin board). You are required to post a response to the Friday lesson each week on Caucus. You have from Wednesday after class till Monday morning before class to post your response. What kind of response do I expect from you? Basically, I want to see that you have thought about the assignment, even if you haven't understood part or all of it or if you dislike the work.

You may respond in various ways; you may

  • agree or disagree with one or more points in my online comments,
  • respond to comments and questions I post on Caucus,
  • answer a question in the online lesson,
  • respond to the comments of other students,
  • ask your own question(s),
  • add your speculations about the text,
  • indicate what you haven't understood,
  • explain why you don't like a character, a work, or an author.
Of course, your response must have some development. For example, it is not enough to write, "I don't understand why Hamlet doesn't act." To show that you have thought about this point, you would explain why you don't understand his inaction: "He had many opportunities, like when he saw the King praying. If he really loved his father, he would have acted when the Ghost told him about Claudius." I respond to Caucus comments, both online and, when appropriate, in class. If you prefer that other students not see a particular comment or question, you may e-mail me privately. Comments to Caucus are not graded or corrected.

Posting weekly to Caucus is required. I will count your response as attending the Friday class. A non-response for one Friday is an absence from one class.

Click here for instructions on using Caucus.

Other online requirements:

My Website provides links to Websites relevant to the authors, works, and subjects covered in this course. You should explore some of these links; they are generally helpful.

Supplemental materials for Monday and Wednesday classes:

Study materials to supplement Monday and Wednesday classes are also online. These materials may be used to prepare for class, to review class discussion, and/or to study for exams. Reading these materials is optional, though you might want to look at them before you decide not to bother. Students in previous classes have found them useful.

E-Mail requirement:

You must have an e-mail account. If you don't have one now, you may use the e-mail account Brooklyn College automatically assigns each student, or you may get a free Web-based email account from,,,, etc.

Computer skills:

The registration bulletin states that students do not need computer skills to take this section of CS6. However, a student who lacks computer skills or is unfamiliar with the Internet or e-mail will have two weeks at the beginning of the semester to acquire the necessary skills. Once the online component of the course begins, all students are expected to log on to my Website for Friday's lesson and to participate in Caucus. There are no exceptions.

To get help in acquiring these skills or to solve computer problems that almost surely will come up, you may go to the Library Cafe in the first floor of Whitehead; the staff there is very helpful. There are also the Atrium and the Jack Woolfe facilities in Plaza. Or you may see me during office hours or make an appointment. If you do not have a computer at home and have severe time constraints (work, family obligations, etc.), you will be at a disadvantage in meeting the requirements of this course. If you are in this situation, I recommend that you take another section of Core Studies 6 or take Core Studies 6 another semester.

Purpose of Course || Introduction to Caucus ||Online Materials
Syllabus || Core Studies 6 Page || Melani Home Page