This Course at MIT

This Course at MIT pages provide context for how the course materials published on OCW were used at MIT. They are part of the OCW Educator initiative, which seeks to enhance the value of OCW for educators.

Course Overview

This page focuses on the course 21L.705 Major Authors: Old English and "Beowulf" as it was taught by associate professor Arthur Bahr in Spring 2014.

Traditionally, this is a two semester sequence with the first semester covering Old English and the second semester focusing on reading Beowulf. This course, however, compressed Old English vocabulary and grammar into the first six weeks, followed by reading and literary critical conversations of several passages in Old English, riddles and Beowulf.

Course Outcomes

Course Goals for Students

Students should be able to read Old English. When faced with a sentence in Old English, students should be able to navigate it - identifying the verb, subject and cases.

Possibilities for Further Study/Careers

Because of interest from the students in this course, professor Bahr extended Old English and "Beowulf" into a more advanced course.

 

Curriculum Information

Prerequisites

Completion of 2 previous literature courses.

Requirements Satisfied

  • CI-M
  • HASS-H

Offered

21L.705 is a seminar course taught in the spring and fall semesters, though the instructor and focal topics vary. This was the first iteration of 21L.705 Major Authors: Old English and "Beowulf".

The Classroom

  • This photo shows the classroom for this course, which has seating for 14 around a central seminar table.

    Lecture

    This classroom had moveable chairs around a centrally located seminar table that accommodated 14 students.

 

Assessment

The students' grades were based on the following activities:

The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by daily vocabulary quizzes. 15% Daily vocab quizzes
The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by the first and second exams. 30% Exams 1 and 2 (15% each)
The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by the final exam. 30% Final exam
The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by participation. 25% Participation
 

Student Information

Approximately 12 students take this course each time it is offered.

Breakdown by Year

Students were predominantly juniors or seniors, with a few sophomores and graduate students.

Breakdown by Major

Students were mostly non-majors, with a small number of literature double majors.

Enrollment Cap

12 students

Ideal Class Size

10-12 students is the ideal size because each class session included translation activities completed by each student in succession.

 

How Student Time Was Spent

During an average week, students were expected to spend 12 hours on the course, roughly divided as follows:

In Class

3 hours per week
  • Met 2 times per week for 1.5 hours per session; 25 sessions total; mandatory attendance
  • Vocab quiz at the start of each class, followed by student questions
  • Every session included translations by each student and class discussions
  • Discussion of mock exams in 2 sessions
  • 3 exams
 

Out of Class

9 hours per week
  • Completed readings
  • Completed vocab and grammar activities from Baker
  • Completed mock exams
 

Semester Breakdown

WEEK M T W Th F
1 No classes throughout MIT. Class meeting; quiz held. No session scheduled. Class meeting; quiz held. No session scheduled.
2 No session scheduled. Class meeting; quiz held. No session scheduled. Class meeting; quiz held. No session scheduled.
3 No classes throughout MIT. Class meeting; quiz held. No session scheduled. Class meeting; quiz held. No session scheduled.
4 No session scheduled. Class meeting; quiz held. No session scheduled. Class meeting; quiz held. No session scheduled.
5 No session scheduled; mock exam due. Class meeting; mock exam discussion; quiz held. No session scheduled. Exam held. No session scheduled.
6 No session scheduled. Class meeting; quiz held. No session scheduled. Class meeting; quiz held. No session scheduled.
7 No session scheduled. Class meeting; quiz held. No session scheduled. Class meeting; quiz held. No session scheduled.
8 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT.
9 No session scheduled. Class meeting; quiz held. No session scheduled. Class meeting; quiz held. No session scheduled.
10 No session scheduled; mock exam due. Class meeting; mock exam discussion; quiz held. No session scheduled. Exam held. No session scheduled.
11 No session scheduled. Class meeting; quiz held. No session scheduled. Class meeting; quiz held. No session scheduled.
12 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No session scheduled. Class meeting; quiz held. No session scheduled.
13 No session scheduled. Class meeting; quiz held. No session scheduled. Class meeting; quiz held. No session scheduled.
14 No session scheduled. Class meeting; quiz held. No session scheduled. Class meeting; quiz held. No session scheduled.
15 No session scheduled. Exam held. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. No classes throughout MIT.
16 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT.
Displays the color and pattern used on the preceding table to indicate dates when classes are not held at MIT. No classes throughout MIT
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when class meetings are held. Class meeting
Displays the symbol used on the preceding table to indicate dates when quizzes are held. Quiz
Displays the symbol used on the preceding table to indicate dates when mock exams are due. Mock exam due
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when no class session is scheduled. No class session scheduled
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when mock exam discussions are held. Mock exam discussion
Displays the symbol used on the preceding table to indicate dates when lunch sessions were held. Exam
 

Instructor Insights

My goal for the course was for students to read Old English. I wanted them, if they were faced with a sentence in Old English, to be able to confidently navigate it.

—Arthur Bahr

In the following pages, professor Bahr describes various aspects of how he taught 21L.705 Major Authors: Old English and "Beowulf".