Frequently Asked Questions


What’s the Point of this Course?

This course is meant to expose you to the various literature in and about Alaska and the Yukon Territory. To identify a group of stories, essays, and poems as “Alaskan” or “Yukon” is to say that the literature in question is rooted in a specific place, grounded in a particular landscape.  Alaskan Literature can be seen as a subset of “American Literary Regionalism.” Traditionally, critics have seen this genre as a mode that takes place in the latter half of the 19th century and the first part of the 20th. Some of what we cover in this course will be from that era, but not all of it.


So, What Are We Going to Do in This Class?

Your assignments are explained in detail in the “Assignments” link found in the menu above.   Each week you will read works based in Alaska or by writers living there.   See the Syllabus and Course Schedule for a quick overview.


This Course is and Open Course. What Does That Mean, Exactly?

This course is different from a course in Blackboard. No one can see a course in BlackBoard unless they are enrolled in the course. This course is open for others to find and see on the web. It can be found through search engines, meaning that many of your assignments can be seen by fellow students and by anyone else who happens to bump into the site.

It’s important for you to learn that (unless it’s a private journal) writing always takes place in a rather public context, and that often has an impact on the quality of student writing in a course like this one.

*Please note that your grades are recorded only in Blackboard. They cannot be seen by anyone other than you and myself.


How Do I Get My Grade?

This course operates on a 1000 point scale. Informal writing assignments are 50% of your grade and the midterm and final exams are the other 50%. See Calculating your Grade for detailed information. If you want to know what your grade is currently, you must log in to Blackboard.


What Book Are We Using?

See Required Texts. Usually readings will come from these books, but occasionally they will come from the web.


How Can I Get in Touch With You?

I live and work in Fairbanks. Contact me via email if you want to meet on campus in person or talk by phone.   I’m also available through video (Skype, iChat, and FaceTime). See the Contact page for details.


What’s your policy on late assignments?

Communication is key. As a general rule, I do not accept late work, but I’m also a reasonable person so be sure to contact me if an emergency comes up. See the Schedule of Assignments for deadlines.


How Long Will it Take You to Grade Assignments?

I will check to see if your submissions are completed by the deadline, but I may not respond with comments for up to 5 days.


You Took Off a Bunch of Points for Grammar and Spelling But I Can’t Tell What I’ve Done Wrong. What Gives?

I am not an editing service. You are a college student. You should be able to write grammatically standard sentences, use SpellCheck, and edit for clarity. This course is intended to teach you to write about literature; it is not intended or equipped to provide developmental instruction. If I cannot understand your writing, you will have to seek personalized help from a place like UAF’s Writing Center, Rural Student Services, or Student Support Services.


Have other questions about the course? Put them here and I will try to respond: