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ONLINE: HONORS HISTORY & Literature

The Middle Ages

Instructor: Roy Speed

Medieval archesOur History & Literature of the Middle Ages is a year-long online course in close reading of medieval texts. The emphasis is, for the most part, England and English literature, but a great deal of what the students learn about this period will be applicable to other European societies and cultures.

The "Medieval Millennium" — roughly 500 to 1500 ad — encompasses a huge swath of British history, and English literature of the period spans everything from Anglo-Saxon poetry and Beowulf to The Canterbury Tales and Le Morte Darthur. This course provides both historical perspective and a deep dive into the most important literature of the period.

Course objectives
Students in this course use the English experience as a prism through which to view and understand the medieval age of Europe. Our readings will be of two principal types:

  • history books — not history textbooks, but works of history by qualified authors, with each work selected for its relevance and readability;
  • works of literature — which we will read both for their aesthetic value and their historical interest.

Students in this course are tutored in close reading, annotating texts, research skills, and presentation skills. There is some mapwork, with geography a perennial enhancement to understanding history, and students are assigned independent research on specific historical issues, culminating in written reports and presentations to the class. Among the historical topics covered in this course:

  • Medieval tapestryThe Roman occupation and departure. — In some ways, the Romans had an enduring effect on the British Isles. We survey the essential points of the Roman period and the limits of Roman influence on Britain.
  • Life in Anglo-Saxon England. — We examine the everyday circumstances and culture of village and country life prior to the Norman Conquest.
  • The Norman Invasion. — We examine the events leading up to the Norman Conquest and its effects both on ordinary English folk and on the institutions of British government and law.
  • The development of the English language. — We examine the multitude of influences that English comprises and the evolving sounds of the language.
  • The age of chivalry. — We peer into the origins of chivalric values and traditions, explore how those values permeated many aspects of medieval life, and study relevant literature.
  • The Hundred Years War. — We explore the effects of Europe's longest war.

Medieval lords and ladiesHomework & other assignments
Homework comprises mainly close reading, annotation, and preparation for class discussions. Students should plan on 3.5 to 4 hours of homework each week.

Students are also assigned independent research on specific historical issues. They will have two major research projects, culminating in:

  • one research report — reports will be drafted in MLA format with correct citations and bibliography;
  • one online presentation — students use PowerPoint to present their findings to the class, and the course will include both a tutorial in PowerPoint design and coaching in effective delivery online.

Texts to purchase

In this course, we will study the following works, either in part or in their entirety. Students must purchase their own copies of these specific editions (all links below are to the correct editions on Amazon):

A note on used books: You may purchase new copies, but feel free to get used books provided that:

  • you get the specific edition we're using;
  • the book is free of internal markings or underlinings.

The reason: This course emphasizes close reading and annotation, and the instructor will at various points review the student's annotations. Purchasing a used text containing someone else's annotations defeats the purpose of this entire line of instruction. — For details on this instructor's approach to annotation, see this article.

To support these efforts, students are also instructed in project planning, annotating texts, outlining ideas for reports and presentations, and correct MLA format. Additional assignments include:

  • Periodic quizzes sent to participants. These quizzes serve as aid to learning and mastering the content; they may also be used to help with generating a grade.
  • Memorization. Students will memorize a substantial passage of Chaucer's Middle English. They will be coached in correct pronunciation, and recordings of authentic pronunciation will be made available to them.

Course fees & payment plan
Our course fee covers two semesters and 75 hours of instruction: $ 1340.

Our payment plan divides the course fee into four installments of $335, payable on the following schedule:

  • 25% upon registration;
  • 25% on August 1, 2017;
  • 25% on November 1, 2017;
  • 25% on January 1, 2018.
 

Now open for registration

Two semesters of online instruction:
Mondays, 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. EST
Thursdays, 12 – 1:00 p.m. EST
starting on August 28, 2017
To register a student, click here:
Register for History & Literature of the Middle Ages

Please note:
Registration requires a 25% deposit ($335).
Subsequent installments:
We will invoice you
for three subsequent payments
of 25% on the following dates:
August 1, 2017
November 1, 2017
January 1, 2018

For more information, please contact us.


Our approach to ...

History & Literature

detail from Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc Du BarryHistory and Literature classes at The Blend consist of lecture, discussions, and—most important—close reading. The course emphasizes reading primary sources from the period under study, and lecture is used to outline the events that form the connective tissue between those readings. Throughout the course, history is presented as an act of imagination requiring diligence and energy. Our students absorb details about peoples, languages, cultures, events, and geography and then, in their minds, assemble those details into a coherent picture of the past.

In our course "The Ancient World," for instance, students read widely and deeply in ancient authors—e.g., Herodotus, Thucydides, Tacitus; they read The Epic of Gilgamesh—and all to populate their minds with ancient voices, events, and concerns. As a result, the eras studied come to life in the minds of our students.

Students also do in-depth research projects and deliver oral presentations on their topics.

In the course of these studies, our students acquire vital skills:

  • close reading and annotating difficult texts;
  • mapwork and geography;
  • research skills;
  • planning, designing, and delivering presentations.

 

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Email us at info@hscollegebound.com