Overview for Instructors

Without any prompting from you, your students likely will use the review portion of this site. You should caution them, though, that they shouldn’t read the summaries posted here in lieu of reading the period introductions in the book. Each summary can help students better understand and retain the material in a period introduction, but only if they have read that introduction first. A helpful list of the key points covered precedes each summary, and a brief Making Connections section offers ideas about how to make connections between the seven literary periods in the Anthology.

Self-grading multiple-choice quizzes (twenty-five to forty-five quiz questions per NAEL volume) allow students to review and test their knowledge of the material in the period introductions. Students can take each quiz as many times as they wish and can choose to answer as few as ten questions. The questions will appear in a different order each time they take the quiz. If you wish, you may ask your students to use the Norton Gradebook so that you track their responses. While these quizzes obviously should not be used for assessment purposes, many instructors find that requiring students to email the results encourages them to review. You may also wish to use the quizzes during classroom review sessions.

Like the fourteen thematic clusters in the Anthology, the twenty-eight Norton Topics Online allow students to expand the boundaries of the Anthology and to explore the contexts of the literature included there. Each Topic consists of an Overview, several full-length and excerpted texts, visual images, annotated links to related sites, and Explorations — a collection of questions for writing and discussion. Some Online Topics — "Literature of the Sacred" and "The Woman Question," for example — build on the thematic clusters in the Anthology. Others, such as "Island Nations," "Emigrants and Settlers," and "Romantic Orientalism," introduce new Topics focused on global Englishes — that is, texts that originate in and reflect the intersection of the cultures of the British Isles and the rest of the world.

Unlike the other components of the Media Companion, the Online Topics do not lend themselves to classroom presentation. Each Topic Overview should take only about half an hour to read, but students will need to devote at least two hours to reading and viewing a Topic in its entirety. The best way to encourage students to use this valuable resource is to include two or three Topics as part of the course reading on your syllabus. You can use some of the Explorations questions as the basis of your classroom discussion of the Topic. You’ll also find that least a few Explorations are suitable for an essay examination. Others can serve as the starting point for a student research paper or textual analysis. Approximately 250 of the images included in the Topics are reproduced on the Media Companion CD-ROM; this allows you to view and discuss them in class without going online. The Web Resources section of each Topic contains a small selection of links to carefully selected sites. You might advise students that a perusal of the Web Resources alone will not provide all they need for a research project. While assigning Topics on your syllabus is the best way to guarantee that students will use the site, the Topics are designed for self-study. Suggest that students browse the site and explore what interests them. The most intellectually curious will continue to visit the site long after your course is over.

Norton Online Archive The Norton Anthology editors respond to changing interests by including new texts in each edition of the Anthology. To make room for these new texts, others must be eliminated. Inevitably, some instructors may miss some of these dropped works and wish to continue teaching them. With that in mind, the editors compiled an Online Archive that currently includes 150 public domain texts and will continue to grow as future editions are revised and altered. The Archive provides carefully edited Norton texts, with glosses and notes, that may be downloaded and printed. Whether or not you assign texts included in the Archive, you can refer your students to it as a record of the ongoing shifts in literary and cultural interest and a reminder that British literature extends beyond the boundaries of The Norton Anthology of English Literature.


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