Hello! I’m Brittany and I like to go by Britt or just Brittany. I’m a senior graduating Spring 2020! I’m a huge book nerd, always reading, and I love to play video games.  

My summer schedule this year is quite full as I go camping nearly every weekend in Carlyle, which is why I decided to go the online route versus the traditional classroom setting. I also have a family vacation planned at the end of June with for an entire week! Additionally, I get to attend book conventions/events this summer with my mom where we get to meet our favorite authors and get their signatures. Recently, I got to go to Chicago for the BTS concert as well as getting to go to the Field Museum where I got to see Sue the T-Rex! 

My younger sister, my dad, and me in front of Sue!

Reading has always been a passion for me, ever since I was a little girl. It was my way of escaping reality as well as falling into another world, so to say. I read a lot so it became no surprise to anyone when I decided I wanted to become an independent author when I graduate as well as an editor for authors.

Online classes have always been convenient for me, especially when I’m trying to take an online course during the summer. Being on campus would just be impossible since I’m always gone. This way, I can still ‘attend’ class even if I’m travelling. Furthermore, literature courses on campus always seem like they would be better online so I’m going to see if this is really true since this is my first online literature course. So far, I’ve only taken a couple online courses and they were both psychology courses. Each were rather easy online. However, I’ve never used WordPress before so I’m super nervous about that and how that’ll work out for me, in the end.

I think my expectations of this course would be a course that expands my analytical reading and to really read as a writer. I’m hoping this course provides me with better examples of the type of writing I want to do when I graduate next year. My other literature courses have helped in these departments, but we always read about authors that write in a genre I don’t plan to write in so this being a YA course gives me hope that this class will be better beneficial to me. I also hope to have discussions that are more open to different opinions than what I’ve experienced in traditional classrooms since this is online and it’s usually safer to have a different opinion. Lastly, if I were to describe an ‘ideal’ student, it would be someone who devotes a lot of time in the week to prepare for class as well as homework and takes extensive notes, always paying attention. I’ve always hated being partnered with someone who doesn’t care about the class, so I’d want an ideal student to care about the course and what we’re learning.

I look forward to seeing everyone’s posts and learning new things!

Caitlin – Introduction Post

Hello! My name is Caitlin Schrank. I’m a computer science major here at SIUE and I’m working towards my literature minor as well! I’m working full time over this summer as a Digital Intern at Ameren, as well as taking Technical and Business Writing in July.

Me with one of my favorite short story books that I got last year.

Genres I like to read include romance, true crime, mystery, comedy, and self-reflecting/questioning works, etc.

I initially took Introduction to Literature to fulfill a general education requirement and fell in love with literature, analyzing works of writing, discussions, and reconnected with my love of reading.

This will be my fourth online English class that I’ve taken in college. I’ve also taken two other non English classes online before.

I’m expecting to learn lessons from this course that aren’t necessarily in the curriculum. I generally enjoy literature classes for how they challenge my beliefs and make me think about my perspective, in addition to allowing me to escape my reality by delving into the stories of others. I’m also expecting to learn about how to condense my thoughts into a shorter amount of written words. I think it can take more skill to say something profound with fewer words than to be extremely verbose.

I think an ideal student for this course would be someone who shows genuine interested in the content and puts towards a lot of effort in trying to interact both with fellow classmates but also the texts themselves. Also I think it’s important to have an open mind to ideas and opinions that you might not currently agree with or be familiar with.

Jenny’s Introduction

Hello All,

I’m Jenny Olson.  I’m a high school English teacher working on my master’s degree.  I have a wonderful husband, six rambunctious–I mean delightful–children (ranging in ages from 12-24), and two cats, Daisy, my WordPress pic because her face really seems to mirror how I feel frequently, and Isabel, who I most often call “Crazy” because it fits her best.

My plans for the summer:  Well, currently I’m in sunny Fort Lauderdale, where my husband and I have toured the Everglades, visited the beaches, eaten wonderful food, and will be frequenting Miami and Key West in the next couple of days.  My plans for directly after this course, or really during the last week of this course because I didn’t realize we were still doing class the second week of July:)), will be to go to Fort Walton Beach, FL with five of our kids to visit family and hang out on the BEST BEACHES in North America.  I have this class and Gender, Language, and Pedagogy for the month of June. I’m also the Cross Country coach at the high school where I teach, so I’ll be doing summer running, which for me means biking with my runners because I have a torn meniscus, two to four times a week until early August.  Otherwise, summer will be filled with a lot of hanging out time with our four kids who still live at home–they deserve a LOT of attention, since Mom is an English teacher, which means grading consumes my world between August and May each year–and reading anything I can get my hands on. I will also spend a great deal of time outside–I LOVE the outdoors, preferably poolside or beachside, but any outdoor time is good!

What I like to read:  So this is a tricky question.  I specialize in YA Lit because I’m desperate to give the students at my school ANYTHING to read.  I attend conferences, have helped with the Lincoln Award in IL for the last four years, and try to be aware of anything and everything related to YA Lit; that also means I’ve seen Jason Reynolds and Laurie Halse Anderson both speak in STL in the last couple of months, and I LOVE all things YA–that being said, usually summertime is my time to find some bestsellers, maybe a classic or two I’ve never read, and some self-help selections or memoirs.  This summer will be the exception with this YA Lit class, but clearly I couldn’t pass up a course like this with what I teach. I’m also a Game of Thrones fan, I mean of the books–the absolute WORST book hangover of my life was upon completion of A Dance with Dragons!  Hopefully now that the show is over, Martin will finish the books, and we’ll know what ACTUALLY happened.  

Past Experiences in Literature Courses:  I haven’t taken any literature courses in sixteen years.  I had some great ones during my undergraduate coursework. I had a semester class on Faulkner–that was a wild ride!  I had all of the typical American lit, world lit, medieval lit, renaissance lit, and Shakespeare courses; they were fun.  I’ve never taken an online literature course, so this is going to be a new experience. Luckily, I enjoy new experiences!

Online Learning:  I have no experience with online learning.  I’ve had access to Blackboard for courses and even had some smaller assignments uploaded onto Blackboard in previous classes, but this entire blog situation is all new to me.  I feel like it’s 1998 again, and I’m trying to figure out this new-fangled World Wide Web situation:))) Please forgive any silly questions or blog faux pas, but I am a quick study, so I anticipate finding a new skill set and perhaps something I can use in my classroom in the future!

Expectations for the Course:  I expect there are students from many different age groups and experiences in this class, so I anticipate glimpsing new viewpoints and learning from others about a topic that is very near and dear to my heart.  I anticipate being challenged. My response to social media opinions is to NOT ENGAGE. I have no interest in arguing or debating online, so I’ll probably be a bit shy at first of getting into the thick of alternating opinions and viewpoints–I expect I’ll struggle with this challenge initially but eventually will ease into polite engagement.

Ideal Student:  For any course, the ideal student is one who gives full energy and effort toward the subject matter.  Open-mindedness, an expectation of learning new things, and an active and questioning mind are always necessary.  A student who enjoys reading and discussing literature is vital for this course to be effective and enjoyable. Clearly, intrinsic motivation is a necessary requirement.  I become a bit annoyed as a student when I’m “all in” so to speak and I sense that others are giving a “half-hearted at best” effort; that is not to say that we are not all busy and have a millions things that require our attention, but proving my own point, we are ALL busy, so there are no excuses in a course where we can literally respond at 3 A.M. or 3 P.M. for half-hearted responses and effort.  (Please forgive if that sounds too strong, but I’m used to teenagers always explaining the million-reasons-why they can’t complete their 10-minute assignment <insert eye roll>.)

I believe that’s everything.  I’m looking forward to this course!  I’m feeling concerned and challenged by the amount of reading that it will necessitate, but I’m also very excited about it!