In this video, I want to talk about how to get the most out of this course. I'll talk about the balance of readings, lectures, assignments and interactions. I'll give you some pointers on how to listen and learn. Take advantage of the resources we've given you for this course. Also, about how to navigate your, your way through a large amount of material, in a fairly short amount of time. So, let me start with the readings. And you'll find all of them in the readings tab on the left side of the page. Historical novels can tend to be very long. My copy of a Tale of Two Cities is about 400 pages. So, if you took all the novels that I'm recommending as reading for this class, stack them up end to end, we'd have thousands of pages in total. So, don't expect to read all, or even most of the novels on the syllabus during the eight-week class. That would be impossible. Instead, you should think of this course as a kind of field guide to historical fiction. Maybe a kind of living textbook. Something that you can come back to in the future as you explore and read around in this genre in the months and years ahead. During the class, itself, then, focus your reading on the assigned pages and chapters. If I ask you to read one chapter from Cooper's, The Last of the Mohicans, or Anne Katherine Green's, The Forsaken Inn, read that chapter closely and carefully. Rather than trying to get through the whole novel before the next lecture is posted. In other words, think about the quality of your reading, versus the quantitiy of your reading. The point here is to begin learning how to approach historical fiction. How to understand some of its premises and patterns. So, that when you do go back and read these and other works in the genre in full, you'll have a set of questions and approaches that you can apply elsewhere. If you look under the readings tab, you'll see that I've broken down the reading list into core readings marked in boldface, and supplemental readings which you can pick and choose through as you wish. The only full-length works that I've listed as core readings are the five novels by our guest writers. Everything else under the core readings list is either a short essay or a few chapters of a given novel discussed in the lecture. Let me say a few things about the lectures. My lectures are going to be a combination of broad overviews and close readings. With the broad overviews, I'll give you some biographical details about the historical novelist that we'll be reading. I'll give you some historical context. I'll give you a big picture of these novelists and their time periods. But, I'll also do a fair amount of close reading. I'll focus in on particular passages, sometimes single sentences or words. I'll talk about the mechanics of novelistic prose, how it works at the level of diction, syntax, rhetoric, and so on. I'll also talk about reception. I'll talk about reviews of some of the early novels that we'll be reading. And I'll talk about reactions on the, on the part of other writers. For example, what Jane Austin had to say about Sir Walter Scott. Or what Mark Twain had to say about James Fenimore Cooper, and the Leatherstocking Tales. Some of the lecture that I give, you want to listen to just once. Others, you might need to watch two or three times. Pausing and rewinding a bit to get the point. The lectures are only ten to 15 minutes long on any given topic. They're really intended as as very basic introduction. And of course, they'll be accompanied by a suggested readings that you'll find under the readings tab so that you can follow up in more detail on any of the points that I've raised after you've watched the lectures. So, be aware that these lectures really represent just the beginning of what you might want to know about these topics. And you should follow up on any of them as you see fit. Now, let me talk about assignments and exercises. I'll be giving you three very straight forward types of required assignment to receive a statement of completion in this class. First, you'll have three quizzes to complete over the 8 weeks. These are very simple multiple choice. They'll be based on lecture content and a little bit on the readings. If you listen to the lectures and do the core readings, you won't have any troubles with the quizzes. All have particular days that they're posted, and deadlines by which they need to be completed. And those days are listed on the syllabus. Second, you'll need to post a question for each of our five visiting novelists. You'll receive instructions about how to post these questions once each of the five seminars is posted. And you'll be posting these questions in the discussion forums for each of our visiting novelists. Then you'll be on your honor to indicate that you've done so in the quiz mosdu-, module that we'll provide you. And again, all the details for these will be provided to you when the time comes. And the purpose of this assignment is to foster interaction among yourselves and with our guest novelists as they visit us over our eight week class. And finally, I'm giving you a archival assignment. I'll ask each of you to identify and describe the primary source of some kind. This can come from a public library. Or a document in a repository in your own location. Perhaps one that has old issues of newspapers or other materials relating to the history of a particular town or city. Or a virtual archive online. And we've provided you with a number of links to help you identify one that particularly interests you. And you'll find these in the archives and primary sources tab. The emphasis here will be on primary sources. That is, on the kinds of historical documents and fragments that novelists use as the basis for their stories. One of the purposes of this assignment will be to teach you about the great variety of archival sources available on the ground and online. And my hope is that we'll emerge with a kind of global archive that you can share with your peers in the discussion forums. The class doesn't have any real peer evaluation, aside from the very simple peer verification of the archival assignment. Whether you complete the course, and get a statement of accomplishment, doesn't depend on your qualitative evaluation by other students in the class. If you complete the assignments successfully, by the given deadlines, you get a statement of accomplishment. And again, the assignments are straightforward, and I hope, easy to comprehend. And finally, I want to talk about interactions, which are really the most important parts of this class. I want you take this course as an opportunity. There are thousands of students around the world reading what you're reading, watching the same lectures you're watching. Thinking about what you're seeing and reading in all kinds of ways. Many of our students are in big cities, where they can put together study groups with [INAUDIBLE] other students enrolled in the class. Others are in remote areas of the world. I received one message before class started from a woman taking the class from an isolated island off of Northern Scotland. So, I hope you'll think about the variety of students taking this class. And get to know them, chat with them, interact with them in any number of ways. For example, on the discussion boards, which I hope will be very active. And you should feel free to start a new topic whenever you want. There should also be Google Hangouts. I'll be holding some of these myself. I enc, I encourage you to start impromptu hangouts, at particular points in the course. You'll also, perhaps, have a chance to participate in in person study groups. Start a thread on the discussion boards if you're interested in this. To identify other students in the course who live in your city or area. And there are other resources for interaction. We have an active Twitter stream, a Facebook page started by one of the students in the class, and so on. I also want you to take advantage of the opportunities that we'll have for interactions with our visiting novelists. One of our assignments, again, will be to post a question for each of our five guests, after their seminars have been posted. Do be aware that with this many students, it may be difficult to get a response to your specific question or comment. But, that doesn't mean your contribution to the discussion isn't valuable. In fact, I hope we can impress our guest writers with the enthusiasm and active participation by as many of our students as possible. As another part of our interactions, I also hope you'll share your thoughts on massive open online courses or MOOCs as you've experienced them. One of the tabs on the course page is called MOOCs and Online Learning. And the point of this is to engage you in an active discussion over the course of this class concerning the nature of massive open online courses and their effectiveness. I've given you a number of links to editorials and articles, some of them wide-eyed and Utopian about the promise of online education. Others quite critical about the whole enterprise. And I hope we can make this controversy over online education part of our discussion as the course unfolds. I'll have a discussion board dedicated to this topic, and I'll try to provoke you to contribute to it as we go along. So, I hope this brief video has helped you get a sense of how to get the most out of this course. The next lecture will open unit 1. We'll begin by defining the genre, then moving onto the pre history of historical fiction.