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Web Schedule Spring 2018

Revision Date: 13-Dec-17

HUM-2030-VO01X - American Folklore

Synonym: 172236
Location: Online
Credits: 3 (45 hours)
Accelerated Section: This course has special meeting dates and times. See comments below or consult VSC Web Services - Search for Sections in the VSC portal for specific dates and times. If you have any questions call the site office offering the course.
Semester Dates: 01-23-2018 to 03-12-2018
Last day to drop without a grade: 02-01-2018 - Refund Policy
Last day to withdraw (W grade): 02-20-2018 - Refund Policy
Faculty: Martha Lance | View Faculty Credentials
This course has started, please contact the offering academic center about registration
This section meets the following General Education Requirement(s):
Human Expression
  1. Many degree programs have specific general education recommendations. In order to avoid taking unnecessary classes, please consult with additional resources like your program evaluation, your academic program page, and your academic advisor.
  2. Courses may only be used to meet one General Education Requirement.

Browse the Moodle Site for this class.

Course Description:

An exploration of how the traditional and popular beliefs and practices of North American cultures have developed over time and what their interpretation reveals about social identity, relationships, and change. Studies verbal, material, musical, and ritual folkways as expressive and artistic forms in everyday life.

Essential Objectives:

1. Define folklore and its development as a specific field of study, and identify key theoretical concepts in the discipline and the role that folklore plays as a tool for understanding the everyday beliefs and experiences of different cultural and ethnic groups within the United States.
2. Describe the major genres and explore various topics included in the study of folklore including stories, urban legends, songs, games, jokes, riddles, superstitions, magic, rituals, holidays, dances, proverbs, foodways, folk art, and folk medicine.
3. Identify and compare major symbols and themes found in American folk traditions, relate these to particular social contexts, and describe how these have changed over time.
4. Compare and contrast the origins, development, and process of transmission of differing groups' folk traditions.
5. Analyze and present a specific folktale, song, ritual, or other folklore form in performance.
6. Describe aesthetic, literary, and social theories of folklore and the methodologies that have been applied to the discipline, including fieldwork, recording, and transcription.
7. Identify, collect, document and analyze local folk materials including stories, songs, photographs, and objects.

Additional Instructor Pre-Assignments/Notes/Comments:


Folklore is present in each of our lives and connects us with tradition, family and community. This course will examine who the “folk” in folklore are and the genres where we might find evidence of their activities and beliefs.  We often think folklore scholars collect quaint folktales and songs and record “odd” behaviors.  While, certainly “traditional” cultures are worthy of study and analysis, folklorists today also examine contemporary beliefs and actions.  Since the term ‘folk lore’ was coined by Englishman, William Thoms, in 1846, the field has continued to evolve and expand to include modern themes and subjects; indeed, in a section of this course, for example,  we will look at how the internet changes how we transmit jokes and stories to wider audiences. We will rely on our understanding of culture to orient our thinking about the centrality of the human experience and to the techniques and theories of the field of Folklore as we explore diverse groups both here in Vermont and abroad who share a commonality of experience and belief. This course will be an exploration of Folklore with an emphasis on your own personal experiences. Projects will include ethnographic research and hands-on projects that encourage you to examine where folklore and folklife is present in your own life.

Required text:

Lynne S. McNeill, Folklore Rules: A Fun, Quick and Useful Introduction to the Field of Academic Folklore Studies. (Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado, 2013).

Course Objectives:

-          define what folklore is based on our overview of the discipline

-          Identify examples of folklore in your own life

-          Explain concepts of culture and understand where you might find evidence for it

 Topical Outline

What is Folklore?

Who are the Folk?

How do Folklorists do their work? 

Selected genres we will explore include:

-          Music

-          Urban Legends

-          Body Art and tattoos

-          Jokes and proverbs

-          Folktales and Stories

-          Material Culture and Objects

-          Food and Foodways

 Interaction, Contribution, Attendance, Academic Honesty and Grading

How can we create a healthy and collaborative online classroom environment?  We are all responsible for creating a great learning atmosphere.  Keep these ideas in mind. Be 100% present.  Bring all of yourself to class and take time to think about the discussion questions before you write.  Some of the questions will challenge you and you might find yourself unable to write a quick response right away; you might need time to ruminate about the topic. Great! Give yourself ample time to compose your discussion responses.


 The format of this course is mostly discussion.  You will have specific reading and writing assignments.  You will also have some “fieldwork assignments” that require you to become an anthropologist by observing and interviewing people.


While this is an online class, weekly attendance is required. In this class, completion of all the work listed in Moodle for each week defines attendance. I will “take” attendance by checking to see if you have posted at least two discussion items and submitted written work and assignments for each given week.

Your participation and contribution will determine the success of the course and your experience in it.  I take participation very seriously.  Since you cannot contribute if you are not present, absences and lateness will have an impact on your grade.   Under extreme conditions, I will grant extensions but, late work may be graded down.

Academic Honesty

Plagiarism is using someone else's words or ideas without giving them credit. In an academic community, this is a serious infraction.  Do not cut and paste information from the internet as your own work. Plagiarized written work will receive a failing grade.

Semester Grading

Class Contribution      

Grades are based on attending class, participating and being fully prepared.

Weekly online discussions                            35% of grade

These include discussion items that sometimes are simply questions I pose to you or they might include a video that you need to watch and then answer additional questions. Sometimes I will forward a news items via email to everyone that requires that you read the article and respond. I will ask each of you to keep your eye out for news items that are pertinent to the course as well.  Discussion contributions are two part – your own posting and a response to a posting of a classmate. 

Written Assignments

Midterm                                                          30% of grade

Final (Your Personal Folklore Presentation and Document)     35% of grade




Spring 2018 textbook data will be available on December 4. On that date a link will be available below that will take you to eCampus, CCV's bookstore. The information provided there will be for this course only. Please see this page for more information regarding the purchase of textbooks.

The last day to use a Financial Aid advance to purchase textbooks is the 3rd Tuesday of the semester. See your financial aid counselor at your academic center if you have any questions.

Contact Faculty:

Email: Martha Lance
Hiring Coordinator for this course: Samantha Boymer

Please note: In order to receive accommodations for disabilities in this course, students must make an appointment to see the Americans with Disabilities Coordinator in their site and bring documentation with them.

Academic Honesty: CCV has a commitment to honesty and excellence in academic work and expects the same from all students. Academic dishonesty, or cheating, can occur whenever you present -as your own work- something that you did not do. You can also be guilty of cheating if you help someone else cheat. Being unaware of what constitutes academic dishonesty (such as knowing what plagiarism is) does not absolve a student of the responsibility to be honest in his/her academic work. Academic dishonesty is taken very seriously and may lead to dismissal from the College.

Course description details subject to change. Please refer to this document frequently.

To check on space availability, choose Search for Classes.

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