HUMA 1315 Syllabus

The Course:

HUMA 1315

Fall 2015

Humanities: Arts in Contemporary Society. The Humanities in the United States
Austin Community College: Distance Learning (DIL/ONL)

The Course Instructor:

Instructor: Lyman Grant

Email: [email protected]

Web site:

ACC Office Phone: 512-223-3352

Campus Office Location: HLC, Rm. xxxx
Office Hours on RGC Campus: 1 – 3:30pm MW.

I am usually responsive to emails within 24 hours. If I do not respond within 48 hours, please call or email again.


The Books for the Course

Heffner, Richard D. A Documentary History of the United States. 7th ed. New York: Signet.

Art USA: The American Art Book. New York: Phaidon Press.

All other material will be presented through Blackboard or this web site.


The Official Course Information

The Course Description

Humanities 1315 is an introductory course designed to enhance a student’s understanding and appreciation of the modes of communicating ideas and emotions through the visual and performing arts. May be repeated for a maximum of six credit hours when topics vary. Skills: R Student Accident Insurance Fee: $1.00 Course Type: T.


Course Rationale

The study of the humanities from a comparative and interdisciplinary perspective affords the student the opportunity not only to acquire a deeper appreciation of particular works of art but also to gain a larger perspective on the work of art as an expression of the human spirit in a particular time and place.


Instructional Methodology

This course is designed to facilitate personal approaches to a breadth of material, within accepted academic discourse surrounding the areas of study. As there is no physical classroom component, this course is especially dependent upon student completion of coursework in a timely fashion. Items you post in the “online” classroom facilitate your learning, as well as generate material for your classmates to engage with further. Your course texts will cover the broad strokes and provide a basic set of knowledge that everyone will share. The individual writing assignments allow students to explore, present, and initiate discussion on topics that most interest each individual.


Course Objectives/Outcomes

As a result of having taken this course:

  1. Students will be able to demonstrate an appreciation of art in its different forms (visual, aural, etc.) throughout history.
  2. Student will demonstrate general knowledge of assigned time periods and their major artistic and cultural accomplishments.
  3. Students will demonstrate an understanding of how context affects the text (form) and subtext (meaning) of human artistic creations.
  4. Students will form a personal explanation of why (or if) the study of humanities is necessary for education and societal growth.


Discipline Objectives/Outcomes

As a result of having taken this course:
1. Students will be able to identify a variety of significant works of art from various times and places in the geographical area now known as the United States.
2. Students will demonstrate the ability to associate works of art with their cultural context.
3. Students will be able to discuss the relationship between the arts and human nature and values.


General Education Objectives/Outcomes

  1. Civic and Cultural Awareness (Social Responsibility). Analyzing and critiquing competing perspectives in a democratic society: comparing, contrasting and interpreting differences and commonalities among peoples, ideas, aesthetic traditions and cultural practices
  2. Critical Thinking (Critical Thinking Skills). Gathering, analyzing, synthesizing, evaluating and applying information.
  3. Personal Responsibility. Identifying and applying ethical principles and practices; demonstrating effective learning, creative thinking and personal responsibility.
  4. Interpersonal Skills (Teamwork). Interacting collaboratively to achieve common goals
  5. Technology Skills. Accessing information through technology and presenting information through a variety of technological platforms.
  6. Written, Oral and Visual Communication (Communication Skills). Communicating effectively, adapting to purpose, structure, audience and medium.


The Underlying Organizing Principle of this Course Section

The overall goal of this class is to examine the meaning of The United States through art, literature, and political and social writing. Obviously, in one semester, we cannot do this in a perfectly thorough manner, but perhaps we can get ourselves started in asking the question “Where are we today?” and then work our way through the past to see if we can find recurrent threads and concerns in our past. Often classes such as this begin in the past and work forward. This class will be different. We will begin, briefly, with the most recent years and then work our way backwards. As we do so, maybe like peeling an onion, we will begin to see repeated structures. Maybe we won’t.

We will use this historical journey to learn about some of the artistic and intellectual debates and developments that have occurred in the portion of North American geography now called the United States. We will examine popular and classical music, literature (poetry and fiction), painting and photography, movies, architecture, and political-cultural documents.

I will stress two kinds of learning. The first is that we will learn and commit to memory many basic facts. “Who did what when” kinds of things. We will measure our success with this through objective tests offered through the ACC testing centers. The second is that we will attempt to analyze individual works in context of their time and in history. We will measure our success with this goal through discussion boards, essays, power points and other presentations.


How Blackboard Is Arranged for This Course

You will find several folders or “rooms” in Blackboard where material is organized by Unit and by Week.

These rooms include The Lecture Hall, The Commons, The Newsroom, The Library, The Gallery, The Music Hall, and The Cinema.

The Lecture Hall. This is our virtual classroom. Here I will post the syllabus, schedule, and weekly notes or lectures.

 The Commons: This is essentially the Discussion Board (if you have taken other distance learning classes). Here you will discuss with your fellow citizens the topics offered for the week.

The Newsroom: Here you will find critical writings and links to videos about art and political and cultural topics.

The Library: Here you will find poems, short stories, excerpt from novels, and the like.

The Gallery: Here you will find paintings, sculptures, and related works, including instructional videos related to such works.

The Music Hall: Here you will find links to popular and classical music, including instructional videos related to such works.

The Cinema: Here you will find links to of films that we will discuss, including instructional videos related to such works. In some cases, you may need to find copies to films through other online sources or video stores.


This Course’s Organization and Due Dates

This course is broken down into four “Learning Units”:

  1. Post-Modernism, 1945-2015 (Weeks 1-4)
  2. Industrialization and Modernism, 1890-1945 (Weeks 5-8)
  3. Expansion and Romanticism, 1820-1890 (Weeks 9-12)
  4. Formation and Revolution, Beginnings to 1820 (Weeks 13-16)

Student Responsibilities Specific to This Course

For each Learning Unit, you will be responsible for:

  1. Readings from The Documentary History of the U.S. and other assigned texts
  2. Art provided in Art USA: The American Art Book and online
  3. Music samples provided through links in Blackboard and on this web site
  4. Other lessons and aids provided in Blackboard
  5. Contributions to each week’s discussion in The Commons
  6. Library research as necessary to complete assignments
  7. Tests over the common material covered.Analytical Essays
  8. Powerpoint/imovie or other such type presentation.

 Grades and Grading

 Your Final Grade

Your Final Grade will be comprised of:

  1. Participation in online Discussion Forums (15 Forums x 2% each = 30%).
  2. 2 Tests (Taken in ACC Testing Centers (2 Tests x 10% each = 20%).
  3. 1 Summary Essay (1 Essay x 5%=5%)
  4. 1 Analytical Essay (1 Essay x 10%=10%)
  5. 1 Synthesis Essay (1 Essay x 20%=20%)
  6. 1 Biographical Presentation (1 x 10%=10%)
  7. 1 Statement of Personal Philosophy (1 Statements x 5% each=5%)

 Grading Policy

All assignments will be presented with final due dates by which time students will need to submit their work to the teacher through the Blackboard system. Generally, no make-up work will be available for work not turned in without prior approval from the teacher. Occasionally, the teacher may ask the student to do further work on an assignment the teacher believes needs minimum correction for credit. If you dispute a grade, you should begin with discussions with your teacher. You should keep an original copy of all of your work throughout the semester until you receive (and accept) your final course grade.

If, at the end of the semester you wish to officially review your grade, please follow guidelines from the Student Need to Know site <>

 Please note: at no time will I discuss grade particulars with a student via email. DO NOT email me asking about grades or how you are doing in the course. You will get this answer every time: I do not discuss grades via email. Please email me to set a time to meet in person or call me to discuss your questions.


Explanation of Assignments

Online Discussion Forums (30% of grade)

Weekly Discussion Forums are for reporting on your responses to the week’s readings. In these, I will ask you to respond to one (or more) questions relating to your reading of the assigned readings for that week. You should write your responses (250-400 words) in standard academic language, with correct spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, etc. This is not a chat room where informality rules.   Submit your weekly postings by Sunday night at midnight central time. You will also respond to another student’s post by the following Wednesday night at midnight. Each week’s postings count 2% of your grade. There will be 15 discussion forums for a total of 20% of your grade. You will be graded on the length, substance, and stylistic correctness of your posts. Late posts will be penalized also. Posts can be as much as two weeks late with some penalty. I will not accept a post more than two weeks late. (In other words, you can’t put off everything until test time and then complete old work.)
Unit Tests (20% of grade)

We will have two tests in the class. They will be available in ACC Testing Centers. I will be using the Respondus system in the Testing Centers. The first test will occur at mid-term (Week 8) and cover the material in Units I and II. This test will be completely objective. Through various kinds of questions (true/false, multiple choice, time lines, matching), I will test you on your basic factual knowledge of the material covered. You will identify quotations, writers, authors, clips of music, art works, artists, ideas, historical context, and the like. So a passing familiarity with the material covered each week will be necessary. The second test will cover material from Units III and IV. The method will be the same as in the first test. However, there will also be a short Opinion essay (discussed below) included that will be graded separately.


Biographical Presentation (10% of grade)

You will select an artist, musician, writer, architect, politician, religious figure, scientist, or inventor to research and present to the class.   Your presentation will be build as a Powerpoint Presentation (or other presentation or movie software). The presentation will include both visual and audio media. The presentation should last about 10 or 12 minutes, and be a fairly in depth examination of this person’s life, work, and contribution to the development of American culture. Obviously, you will research for this project and will need to give credit to those sources. At heart, you are answering the question: “Why is this person important as a contributor to American Culture?”


Writing Assignments (40% of grade)

Instructions for each of our four writing assignments will be located in folders in The Lecture Hall. We will approach our essays through a building of skills. The first essay will be a Summary (5% of grade) of work from Unit 1. Essay 1 should be (300-500 words in length). The second essay will be an Analysis (10% of grade). The second essay (1000 words) will place two or more works together (at least one from Unit I and at least one from Unit II) examining their relationship in presenting some central idea about the United States. The third essay will be a Synthesis (20% of grade) of several sources examining how different thinkers and artists have reacted to key events, aesthetic movements, or political/social conflicts. The third essay (2000 words) will be developed in steps that will be reflected in the final grade of the essay. Step one will be identifying the topic (which will require teacher approval). Step two will be to identify several sources that will be employed in the essay. Step three will be the essay itself.   The fourth essay will be an Opinion essay (5% of grade). This essay (300-500 words) will be written as part of the second exam in the testing center the final week of class.


Qualities of Successful Distance Learners

Distance learning requires a unique set of knowledge, skills and attitudes in order for students to be successful. Even students who excel in a face-to-face setting may struggle in a distance learning course if they are not prepared or do not know what to expect. As a faculty member, I take training and review best practices continually, so that I am as prepared as possible to teach you and mentor students through distance learning courses.

Students must also be prepared and know their responsibilities and best practices for success. The personal traits and characteristics that contribute to success in distance learning courses, as identified by ACC’s Instructional Development Series, are listed below:

Personal Qualities:

  • Sets goals and deadlines
  • Remains on track and on time
  • Completes projects
  • Seeks assistance (from instructor and/or classmates) when needed
  • Possesses strong reading and writing skills
  • Communicates comfortably via email and other online platforms
  • Possesses strong problem solving skills
  • Plans in advance to provide adequate time for completing readings and assignments
  • Learns from things they hear, like lectures, audio recordings and podcasts
  • Has a designated, distraction-free place to work on assignments
  • Focuses on reading/studying despite distractions
  • Willing to spend 10-20 hours a week on the online course
  • Keeps a record of assignments and due dates
  • Plans to login to the online class daily
  • Students with disabilities know whom to contact for assistance


Suggestions for Success

Please contact me immediately with problems or questions related to any aspect of student requirements. Do not wait! Success in this class is dependent upon staying current with all assignments and announcements. General class announcements will be available online on our course’s Blackboard homepage, and group email announcements will be sent to your ACCmail address (see item Communication below).

All assigned material has been planned carefully. At times, works of art may include mature themes, graphic language, and graphic imagery. However, objection to participating in course activities and/or assignments is not anticipated for college-level study. If you have a personal concern, please notify me and we will discuss your circumstances.

IMPORTANT: If you fall behind for legitimate reasons, contact your instructor immediately to determine a course of action for you to complete your assignments in a timely manner. It is my sincere desire that each student complete the course requirements and I will work with you towards that end in the event that unforeseen and unforeseeable circumstances interfere with your participation in the online course at a point during the semester.

In this course, every effort will be made to situate the primary issues within larger contexts and to understand them within their place in historical discourse. Discussion forums will provide a venue to consider various approaches to the texts and to promote critical thinking regarding issues at hand. Respect for fellow students and freedom of expression is essential, especially in situations where differences of opinion and disagreements occur. Finally, be prepared to challenge yourself by reflecting upon the material at hand and sharing with others your observations and conclusions.



As professor of record for this course, I, Lyman Grant, will communicate with each student individually and in groups by email. Per school policy, group emails will be sent to the address utilized by ACC’s Blackboard (your official ACC email address). I prefer you use your ACCmail address for all ACC business, however I will reply to any address from which you send a message to me and in which you are clearly identified as “you.” DO NOT EVER share your login information with anyone.

At no time is it appropriate for us to discuss grade information or other confidential information via email. In the case of grades or assessment this communication may take place on ACC Blackboard (in areas accessible only to the student in question and the instructor), over the phone, or in person; discussion of other confidential information should take place only over the telephone, in virtual office hours in private chats only, or in person (if we sent a time to meet in person).

For the duration of this course, you are expected to check your ACCmail regularly OR set up automatic forwarding from the ACC google system to your personal email address. During the Class Orientation you will be required to become familiar with and use your ACCmail account if you have not already done so in the past. You may then set up email forwarding of your ACCmail to the email address of your choice, or access your ACCmail directly.

ACCmail <>


Student Discipline and Other Policy Information

Writing Assignments

This is a college course and college-level writing skills are required. Your writing will be evaluated for theoretical sophistication, critical interpretation, creativity, effective argument (including thesis construction as warranted, coherent paragraphs and development, and proper citation of evidence), and style (including organization, grammar, spelling, etc.). It is expected that all work submitted is the original work of the student whose name appears on it and that the work was prepared originally for this course.


Library Research

During the semester, you may be asked to conduct individual research for background information in the course or as part of research for an essay. Be sure to acquaint yourself with ACC and other libraries in the region. Your research may likely require you to go beyond internet connections and visit libraries in person.


Services for Students with Disabilities

Each ACC campus offers support services for students with documented physical or psychological disabilities. Students with disabilities must request reasonable accommodations through the Office for Students with Disabilities on the campus where they expect to take the majority of their classes. Students are encouraged to do this three weeks before the start of the semester.

Office for Students with Disabilities <>


Academic Freedom

Students have the right to believe whatever they happen to believe and, within the appropriate constraints that follow from the organization of a course and its class meetings, to express those beliefs. Grades will never be based on the beliefs that a student maintains, but only on the quality of the philosophical work performed by a student in conjunction with the course.

Each student is strongly encouraged to participate in class. In any classroom situation that includes discussion and critical thinking, there are bound to be many differing viewpoints. These differences enhance the learning experience and create an atmosphere where students and instructors alike will be encouraged to think and learn. On sensitive and volatile topics, students may sometimes disagree not only with each other but also with the instructor. It is expected that faculty and students will respect the views of others when expressed in classroom discussions.

ACC Addendum for DIL setting: All of the above pertains to the forums in ACC Blackboard and anywhere else open discussions take place between students and students, and instructor and students.

Instructor Addendum for DIL setting: In the same way that only enrolled students are permitted to attend classes in classroom settings, it is expected that only enrolled students are logged into and accessing this course’s information through Blackboard. In the same way that class materials, discussions, and activities are intended only for enrolled students in classroom settings, all aspects of this online course’s content, no matter who generates it (you, me, another student), are confidential (accessible only for the purposes of completing course requirements for this semester) and should be treated as such.


Student Discipline

Students at the College have the rights accorded to all persons under the Constitution to Freedom of speech, peaceful assembly, petition, and association. These rights carry with them the responsibility for each individual to accord the same rights to others in the College community and not to interfere with or disrupt the educational process. As willing partners in learning, it is expected that students will comply with College rules and procedures. ACC students are recognized as responsible persons who neither lose the rights nor escape the responsibilities of citizenship. Enrollment in the College indicates acceptance of the rules set forth in this policy, administered through the office of the Campus Dean of Student Services. Due process, through an investigation and appeal process, is assured to any student involved in disciplinary action. (See the “Student Standards of Conduct & Disciplinary Process” in the ACC Need to Know site).

ACC Need to Know site <>

Student Standards of Conduct & Disciplinary Process <>


Health and Safety

ACC’s safety programs are focused on the prevention of illness and injury to students and employees from the potential hazards they may encounter in the course of their educational or work-related activities on campus. Workplace safety inspections, training, and federal and state regulation compliance are initiated through this office. Info on ACC Need to Know site <>


Problem Resolution

If you are having a problem related to this course or related to me as your professor, your first step generally should be to speak with me. If I cannot resolve the problem or satisfy your concern, or, if for some reason you would prefer not to address the issue with me, you may appeal to the Chair of the Department, Grant Potts for help <>


Scholastic Dishonesty

Acts prohibited by the college for which discipline may be administered include scholastic dishonesty, including but not limited to cheating on an exam or quiz, plagiarizing, and unauthorized collaboration with another in preparing outside work. Academic work submitted by students shall be the result of their thought, research, or self-expression. Academic work is defined as, but not limited to tests, quizzes, whether taken electronically or on paper; projects, either individual or group; classroom presentations, and homework. Cases of academic dishonesty will be pursued according to applicable procedures as set forth in the ACC Need to Know site <>

Ultimately, there is no excuse for representing another’s work as your own. A first infraction will result in an immediate “zero” on the assignment and follow-up instructions about how to redo the work. A second infraction will result in further disciplinary actions per ACC Policy. Each student is responsible for knowing his or her rights and responsibilities. ACC Need to Know site, Student Standards of Conduct & Disciplinary Process <>

If you are unclear as to what constitutes plagiarism, it is your obligation to seek help from a reliable source, such as an instructor, a tutor, or another qualified individual. It is also in your best interest to carefully cite all outside sources, as then your original work is easily identifiable and you will receive maximum credit for your own development, thought, and insight.


Plagiarism as Scholastic Dishonesty

Students clearly know that copying each other’s work is plagiarism but are sometimes confused about how not to plagiarize in other instances. The discussion below is intended to clarify the topic of plagiarism.


1) to use the IDEAS of another without giving the other credit as the source,
2) to use the words of another without both putting those words within quotation marks and giving the other credit as the source, or
3) to paraphrase the work of another, use quotes excessively throughout the essay, or pattern your work after that of another, to such an extent that you have, in effect, not produced your own work. (You can be guilty of this form of plagiarism even if you do give credit to your sources.)


The requirements with respect to plagiarism apply to ALL work submitted in this course including all discussion forum posts, all components of the tests and essays.

Proper Documentation:

Your Essays must have a Works Cited (Bibliography) list that includes all sources of any facts or ideas that are not your own, and you must cite the exact sources of those facts and ideas within the body of your text.


Student and Instructional Services

The Learning Labs in the Austin Community College District provide extensive resources for students and faculty. They are located at the Cypress Creek, Eastview, Northridge, Pinnacle, Rio Grande, Riverside, Round Rock, and South Austin Campuses. Please refer to their website <> for more information.


Respecting Copyright

The course materials used for this course and on this site are protected by copyright law–whether I created them or someone else created them. Reproduction of protected materials and use of them as if your own intellectual property, any public distribution or commercial use, or any other activity that violates copyright law may result in legal action to rectify the situation.

Refer to the ACC Need to Know site, section Copyright and Duplication of Course Materials <>


Withdrawals from Course

Withdrawing from a course may affect financial aid, veterans’ benefits, international student status, or academic standing. Students are urged to consult with their instructor or an advisor before making schedule changes. Per state law, students enrolling for the first time in fall 2007 or later at any Texas college or university may not withdraw (receive a W) from more than six courses during their undergraduate college career. Some exemptions for good cause could allow a student to withdraw from a course without having it count toward this limit. Students are encouraged to carefully select courses; contact an advisor or counselor for assistance. See the Student Need to Know site <> for additional information.

If you intend to withdraw, you must take action and confirm your withdrawal yourself. Anyone who remains in the course will receive a performance grade according to the criteria described in this syllabus.


Course Incompletes

An instructor may award a grade of I (Incomplete) if a student was unable to complete all of the objectives for the passing grade in a course. An I cannot be carried beyond the established date in the following semester. The completion date is determined by the instructor but may not be later than the final withdrawal deadline in the subsequent semester. The department chair will approve a change from I to a performance grade (A, B, C, D, or F) for the course before deadline. Consideration should be given to course load, job, and family obligations when carrying an I into a new semester for completion. An I that is not resolved by the deadline will automatically be converted to an F. For complete details please refer to the Student Need to Know site <>

I (Lyman Grant) grant course incompletes only in extraordinary situations, which must have arisen due to unforeseen and unforeseeable circumstances. To receive an incomplete you must:

  1. request it one week before the all the course work of the class is due
  2. be able to substantiate compelling reason for granting an incomplete, and
  3. indicate exactly how and when the course will be completed.


A Final Note on Grades: You must keep an original copy of all of your work throughout the semester until you receive (and accept) your final course grade.

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About lymangrant

Lyman Grant is a professor of creative writing and humanities at Austin Community College. He has work at ACC since 1978. He is the author or editor of two textbooks, two books relating to Texas literature, three volumes and a chapbook of poetry. Recently he traveled the United States for a year in a 34-foot RV 5th wheel trailer with his wife and two younger sons.