LITR 5431 American Romanticism 2010
Student Midterm Samples

#5 online texts comments

midterm assignment

Christina Crawford, 5. Yay, No Text Book!

          The way that I have chosen to access the online texts is by e-mailing them to my kindle.  I received my kindle as a gift from my husband last year.  He hoped it would be useful to me for school, and it has been, but not nearly so much as one would hope.  Anthologies, like the one suggested for this course, are the problem.  Whenever the text is an actual novel or work I can usually find it for kindle.  But the actual textbooks required are never available as e-books.  Having the material available online has been super convenient and having a kindle has made it very easy for me to access without using a lot of paper and space on the weekly readings.

Chrissie Johnston: I like the online texts because all I have to do is print them out, plus it is cheaper than buying the book, at least most of the time. What I donít like is that there are no page numbers to reference. Page numbers are very helpful when giving a presentation and while following one. I print out the online texts so that I can take notes. I could read them online and be okay, but I have a photo graphic memory and in order for it to work I have to ďseeĒ the page the information is on. I guess the bottom line is I have to have a print copy, but Iíll work with whatever makes my life easier.

Mary Ann Kane

Describe and evaluate your reading experiences with our online texts. 

I find it most helpful to print out the online texts in order to read them. Not only does it make it easier to carry the readings with me to work, lunch, etc., but it also allows me to highlight the parts I think are important before class. I absolutely love the highlights and annotations you add to them. They make the reading much more enjoyable and allow me to leave the dictionary with my books as I am studying. While I understand most of the terminology used, there are times when there is a word that has either changed meanings from when it was written or I just am not familiar with its usage. Your notes are very helpful in that aspect! Because you add so much good information to the readings, your online texts are much more helpful and advantageous to the Norton Anthology. I may still refer to the book on occasion, but for the most part, I depend on your online texts for my reading.

The only observation I see worth making is that the longer texts are sometimes in a font too small for my old eyes. In those cases, I merely copy and paste them into a Word document and augment the font size to one that is more readable for me. This is no problem for others, I am certain, so don't make changes on my account. I appreciate all the work you do in order to make the readings more understandable and accessible.

Cristen Lauck Ė Itís all good

          For the most part, I donít mind reading for web print outs. I only read them after I have printed them out because I like to highlight and take notes on the paper.  The only possible problems I could see are if people are unable to get to a printer easily or are limited in the amount of paper or ink they can use. But this can be avoided by going to the school computer labs if they can get there in time. The only other observation is that when you put your notes in the middle of the text it can possibly throw off our flow of reading or cause us to solely concentrate on that line but I havenít had any trouble with it. Perhaps you might want to think about putting your comments at the end of a passage instead of in the middle of the sentence. Just a thought. ☺

Danielle Maldonado, Experiences with online texts

I enjoyed very much the availability of online texts within the course. I feel like itís a lot more user-friendly than lugging around a large textbook. It goes without saying, though, that as graduate students in Literature we should own a good anthology of American Literature to have on hand for teaching and future reference. I have several Norton Anthologies but it wasnít the exact text we were using in class.

With the cost of books today, offering our texts online gives the opportunity for those struggling financially to either read on the computer screen or print out texts a little at a time. I was happy to return my text and get $75 back.

The course website and availability of online texts also granted us instant access to course materials. Whether you had your book with you or not Ė at school, at home, on a break at work Ė you could access texts via the Internet, which made it easier to find time to read.

Some readers may find it difficult to read on their computer screen. Youíre also at a slight disadvantage if you donít have printed texts in class when we refer to passages. However, I find that some of the most outspoken and knowledgeable students in the class never take notes or make annotations; it really depends on how best you learn. Itís also probably no surprise that the older you are, the more apt you are to print out your texts for well being of your eyes.

I printed all of my texts out because I simply canít sit at my computer and read without demands for Elmo on Youtube. That also offered me portability as to where I wanted to read, though. Itís much easier carrying around 20 printed pages than a 10-pound text. I found the highlights and annotations very helpful for reading but almost a hindrance for presenters. That is, when searching for gothic elements or evidence of the sublime to present in class, itís difficult because youíve already pointed out many instances. I was worried that I was repeating information or ďcheatingĒ since it was already available to the class.

One thing about your courses that I enjoy is the website. Itís always available for me to check due dates, get more information and see what others have done as well as access the course texts. In fact, I think that students should still have to provide an online handout, presentation or notes to be available the remainder of the semester with their presentation. It helps to refer to that when writing your midterm or final. I would recommend continuing to offer the course both ways. That way youíre reaching different types of learners and students can read the texts as they wish.

Veronica Ramirez

The online texts have become an invaluable tool for this class that at first I did not use. I always bought the books because I love to have a hard copy, to be able to cuddle up on the couch, and also to have them as reference for a later date. I also never sold the books back to the bookstore because I like to have them in my personal library. This semester, I have completely flipped, and in reality, I wish I had not bought the Norton Anthology book as I have only picked it up once, when my laptop battery was dead.  The annotations in the online text not only make it easier to read, but make it easier to understand what the importance of the text in relation to romanticism is due to your notes.  Dr. White, you have made an avid book collector into a fan of online reading, but more importantly your notes and annotations make it easy to follow the class, go back and study the notes, and prepare for the midterm and class more efficiently.  In response to your questions about printing:  I usually only print out the class notes, and not the text, since I know where to go back and look for it.  I really do appreciate the work you put into your webpage since it makes the class more organized and easy to maneuver through.

Another aspect of the online texts is that if you pull down the Tool menu in the web browser it has the option to send it to OneNote.  I am not sure if you have used OneNote but it is a great tool because you can save it on your computer, highlight it, and freely annotate the text as if it were a printout and then print it out with additional annotations.


Thank you for working so hard on those online texts!

Amy Shanks, Experience with Online Texts

  • I like to print the text out because I donít like reading off of computer screens and I like to mark the text.
  • One of the greatest benefits of having the texts online is seeing the highlighted portions and notes from the instructor. I find them very helpful!
  • I have always found anthologies to be cumbersome. I prefer printing off the selections

Helena Suess, Online Reading Experience

          I have found the online texts immensely useful, surprising myself a little as Iím a bit of a luddite who will probably never accept the death of print, or carry around a ďbookĒ made of circuitry and LCD rather than pages and ink. But being able to read the course materials online saved me the trouble of purchasing and carrying either one huge book or however many smaller ones. The annotations and boldface combined with a web browserís search feature make locating important passages incredibly easy, and the possibility of copy-pasting into a word processing document allows for notekeeping that doesnít result in favorite books being dogeared or scribbled over. My only issue with the format is pretty obvious: I can only access it if I have a computer, and when traveling or running errands Iíd much rather stick a five-dollar quarter-pound paperback in my bag than lug around a massy ingot of fragile and expensive electronics.