BOS377: Advanced Speaking, Reading and Writing in Bosnian (formerly Serbo-Croatian)

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BOS377: Advanced Speaking, Reading and Writing in Bosnian (formerly Serbo-Croatian)



Note to Students: Each student in this course must read every single word of this course syllabus. The Instructor Has Every Right To Change Any Aspect Of The Syllabus As Necessary!

Course Information



This course employs a website: Please familiarize yourselves with it as soon as possible. Everything you will need you will be able to access via this website. Please think of it as a class portal from which you will be able to retrieve important information such as readings and information in regards to homework assignments.

Class Meetings: Formal times will be announced during first class.

Course Description: This is an advanced-level speaking, reading and writing-intensive course and it is designed for students whose Native language is either Bosnian, Croatian or Serbian. Its main goal is to continue to help students to practice speaking, reading and writing in the language through individuals and group-supported activities. It carries with it the following goals:

To enhance skills in reading

To enhance skills in writing

To enhance skills in familiarity with the Native language by evaluation

To enhance students’ performance in core communication strategies at a higher level

To give students several opportunities to enhance and achieve a higher reading level

To give students several opportunities to enhance and achieve a higher writing level

To give students a forum to communicate orally in the Native language

To give students background of Bosnian culture and heritage through the use of specific course readings

To participate in collaborative discussions on specific themes in both English and the Native language

To allow students to gain a sense of comfort in communicating in the Native language

Prerequisites/Other: Students who are enrolled in this class must have some experience in either speaking, reading and, or writing in Bosnian, Croatian or Serbian as parts of this course may be taught in these languages. In addition to this, we may be reading some texts written in these languages in class. We will casually and formally speak and write in these languages, too.

Required Readings:

Most of the required readings will be provided on the course website. Other items such as worksheets will be provided by me and will not be distributed on the course website. This means that if you miss class, you are responsible for getting the work you have missed either from me or a student in the class.

Course Requirements

Any homework that I give in class should be completed for the next day. I will usually give out a worksheet or two for students to complete. I will “take up the answers” the following day and you will have to either correct yourselves or I may mark your worksheets while you are doing other work.

You must attend every single class. Attendance in this course is crucial. If you miss more than three (3) classes, I will deduct points from the attendance percentage/mark. If you are constantly late or absent, I will formally drop you out of the course.

You must participate when required.

You must take this course and its instructor(s), teaching assistant(s) and likewise seriously. This includes any guest lecturer(s) and the like. If you do not abide by this rule, I will formally drop you out of the course.

You must have a positive attitude towards learning.

You must take responsibility for your own learning and for your own work that your produce.

You must not commit plagiarism in whole or in part.

Required Evaluations


Of which 5% = attendance

Of which 10% = speaking

Of which 5% = randomly-distributed quizzes



Two short and one long


Themes of study: Core units will be designated according to these themes as appropriate. The instructor has the right to skip or withhold from teaching a particular theme below:


2. CULTURE FROM WITHIN {Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian}

3. CULTURE IN THE SELO {Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian selos and cultures}



6. Identity Crisis

7. War

8. Ethnic Nationalism and the War

9. Dayton and Moving Forward

10. Possible Trends

Note: The course will focus rather heavily on culture and what it means to be a Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian and how globalizing processes have an affect on people’s (in general) perception of “culture.” Units 6 to 10 will be studied interchangeably between units 1 to 5.

Format: This course uses lectures, course readings (online and in print), videos (both VCR, DVD and website-based), internet radio and tutorials. Lectures will meet to discuss certain aspects of ex-Yugoslav culture providing students with an academic stimuli to discuss and orient themselves with an understanding of such cultures. Class sessions and tutorials will give students opportunities to speak, read and write in the language and to practice the art of writing. Written assignments such as worksheets will allow students to enhance their writing in the language as well as in English. I expect students to have a good speaking proficiency in this course, at least a level 1 writing and reading proficiency is also fundamental. You are welcome to participate in this course even if you do not have, or are unsure whether or not you have these credentials as most work that you will have to produce will be in English language format.

Required Readings and Materials: A variety of online articles including both scholarly and non-scholarly sources, Internet Accessibility in which you have e-mail access, - as a guide.

This is an advanced-level course, so the reading material may at times be quite heavy and will require you to read a substantial amount of pages. You should expect to read, on average, about 100 pages or so per week. Note that some articles are about 20 pages in length or so.

The class will not “slow down” to accommodate for anyone, so please schedule yourselves accordingly.

Details of the Required Evaluations


You are expected to attend every single class in order to earn 5%. In addition to this, you should note that “participation” does not only mean coming regularly to class, but it also includes speaking in class and contributing to class in well-informed class discussions which will be held frequently. Your contribution to such discussions will form a significant portion of your mark or about 10%. Additionally, I will administer spontaneous/random quizzes from time to time to test your knowledge of the required readings, lectures or other materials. There will be 10 quizzes throughout the class duration although only 5 will be grades and your highest 5 marks will be taken into account, while the others will not. Most of the questions will be quite broad.


You will be given a series of rather short worksheets that you must complete. They will test the following:

a. your ability to comprehend material written in BOSCROSER

b. your ability to write (either simple or complex sentences)

c. your ability to write in essay form in either BOSCROSER (no Cyrillic required)

*************Each worksheet will be given for homework and is due the next day for either “take-up,” marking, or both. Please be attentive to completing the worksheets. I will usually give out a minimum of one and a maximum of ten, but only a maximum of three will be due the next meeting session.


You will be required to write a series of essays based a particular theme or themes in this course. The first two essays will be fairly short and the final essay will be substantially longer and may be written as either a creative write-up or an ISU.

Essay 1 will be based on an introductory theme, usually a class-assigned reading or readings. You will choose one out of two provided and you will reply to the question being posed. It must be 4 to 8 pages in length, double-spaced and in Times New Roman font. 10%

Essay 2 will be will be a precis of 2 to 3 pages in length. It must be double-spaced and in Times New Roman font. 5%

Essay 3 is a much longer piece of writing that can be creative. It may also take the form of an ISU in which you investigate a topic of interest. It will be done in two stages. Stage one is an annotated bibliography (10%) while stage 2 is the essay (20%).  30%


Test 1 (10%) will be an assessment of concepts through mid-term. Half of it may require you to write in Bosnian to express yourself. This will be done solely to assess your grasp of terminology, your sentence structure and the like.

Test 2 (5%) will be an essay test in which you answer the following question in academic format:

“How has this course helped me to improve my overall communication skills in the Bosnian language?”


Grading of Work

I will use the following system for grading all evaluations in this course:

A+ 95% to 100% 5

A 93-94.9% 4

A- 91-92.9% 4-

B+ 88-90.9% 3+

B 85-87.9% 3

B- 82-84.9% 3-

C+ 79-81.9% 2+

C 76-78.9% 2

C- 73-75.9% 2-

D+ 71-72.9% 1+

D 69-70.9% 1

D- 65-68.9% 1-

F 64.9% or less A

This grading scheme employs the 0.09% standard which I tend to use to your advantage. If you happen to fall into the 0.09% category your mark will increase to the nearest full percentage point. (Example: a student who is getting an 81.9% (a 2+) will automatically be bumped to an 82% (a 3-). If I find that the above grading scheme is “too harsh” with the distributive principles, I will make an immediate change over to the following:

A- to A+ 80% to 100% 4

B- to B+ 70% to 79% 3

C- to C+ 60% to 69% 2

D- to D+ 50% to 59% 1

F less than 50% R


A word about citations

You can use any type of format for your citations in-text and bibliography. I suggest that you stick with one that you are most familiar with such as MLA. I do not expect, nor do I want you to use formats such as APA or CMS (Chicago Manual of Style) for your papers unless it is absolutely necessary to use these styles.

For more information on how to correctly employ MLA style, please look through the following websites carefully:

For more information on how to properly use MLA style within the context of your papers, please consult any of these websites:


Please note that besides these websites, you are more than welcome to consult me whenever you have questions, comments or concerns about citations. I will be more than glad to help you out.

I expect that each and every single one of you understands how to employ citations properly. If not, you will lose significant points. Note that I will be looking for citations within the context of your papers only. Also please note that you should not cite things that I say within the context of lectures unless necessary or you ask permission beforehand.


I am more than happy to discuss essay topics, essay ideas, essay construction or anything in regards to your essays with all students. Please ask for help sooner rather than later.


I expect that you will submit your assignments on time in appropriate Word Document format. Please follow the procedure when submitting your assignments

Give your file a title which appropriately reflects the assignment.

All work should be typed, double spaced in Times New Roman Font; learn how to create page numbers and headings as appropriate. Your first page must adhere to the following rules:

Your name

Your instructor
s name

The course name

The date of submission (or due date)

Title of Your Work Centred Appropriately

Format for the Essays

Each assignment you submit for this course carries a specific format or list of instructions that you have to abide by when handing your work in.

All essays for LANGUAGE COURSES MUST employ the MLA citation style. If you do not cite your material appropriately you will risk reductions to your marks. The following are some rules that you must follow in your essay writing:

1. Use academic language. Be certain that you spell every word correctly and that your sentences are clearly written in academic format. Do not employ contractions in your writing such as: cant, shant, shouldnt, couldnt, wont, wouldnt, shed, hed, wed, Id, etc. Instead, you should write out the world in full, for example: couldnt = could not, shouldnt = should not, shant is old form for should not. One way to ensure that you are employing accurate spelling is by hitting the spell check key. You should also possibly print out your work and read it aloud to yourselves. If something sounds weird or off, fix it before submitting your assignment.

2. In academic writing, you must always use the third person. This means that you cannot utilize the word “I” unless the specific assignment allows you to use both third and first person sentence structures. If the assignment asks for your opinion, you can say something like, “this work contains significant information about the Balkans” or something to that affect and then you must give examples of the kinds of information that the work gives to you, a novice reader of the subject matter.

3. Each of the main arguments within the context of your essay must include examples to support the argument and, or opinion. An example would be: “this work contributes to my understanding of the people of the Balkans because it gives an account of how music plays a significant role in their culture because it is a source of expression and feeling to which everyone plays a particular role. The first part of the sentence contains your initial argument and the part after the “because” gives you the example to support the argument or opinion.

4. Answer all of the questions/parts of the essay thoroughly with the use of detail and academic thought. Remember to provide appropriate input into your answers. Do not leave your reader without acknowledging the insights and thoughts that you have about the text.

5. Edit, but only in an effort to make sure that your sentences are clear. A sentence that contains more than 50 words is way too long.

6. Citations
everything that does not come from you MUST be cited, therefore, you must cite every single sentence if the idea(s) within the sentence are not yours. If you do not cite your work appropriately, the highest possible mark that you will receive for your work is 69% or C+ as a final grade, so please be careful. I will strictly check for plagiarism and your paper may be subject to subsequent screening potentially via turnitin.

7. Proofread your work at least thrice before you decide to submit it.

8. Your work must adhere to the following style: -it must be written in a size 12 point Times New Roman font (I will not accept work written in any other font, but Times New Roman), all pages must be numbered, work should be double spaced, your identification information and the identification information for this course must be visible on the first page.

9. Needless to say, your papers should not contain any slang or clichés within their contexts.

10. Make certain that each of your essays are written for the purpose of informing an audience (your reader).

Note that in class, I will provide you with further and more detailed instructions in regards to each essay for this course including the actual instructions.

Academic Honesty:

A word to the student
You are responsible for submitting your own work with your own original ideas. There is to be no borrowing or copying of other peoples work. In this class, this should not be a problem, however, when in doubt, please cite the places where in which you have found your information that may pertain to your answering of a question on an assignment.

E-mail Policy

You may e-mail the instructor only for any of the following reasons provided:

1. If you have any questions, comments or concerns about this course.

2. If you will be absent from the course for a period of time.* (This could be any period of time from 1 day to 1 week or more.)

3. If you missed an assignment.

4. If you did not receive an assignment via e-mail you should check the course website; if the assignment is not posted on the course website then send me an e-mail telling me that you need a copy of the assignment.

5. If you require help on any given assessments.* (This includes, tests, assignments such as worksheets, etc.)

6. All e-mails should begin with the course code BOS377 and a brief subject line that states the purpose of your e-mail. For example: “BOS377: I have a question about the lectures.”

7. Please allow for a maximum of 1 work week or 5 days for your question to be answered. Furthermore, be sure to keep all questions brief and do not send me questions about an assignment the night before it is due as I will not respond.


9. Do not ask questions which require a lot of explanation in your e-mails. Save these questions for lectures and tutorials.

10. Do not e-mail the instructor for notes; they will usually be provided. You are also expected to take your own notes within the class. Please write all of your notes on lined or blank paper in either black or blue ink or pencil: NO LAPTOPS ARE PERMITTED IN BOS377!!The Instructor E-mailing You:

The instructor will only e-mail students to answer any questions pertaining to the course, the assignments, tests and quizzes given out in this course and other course-related issues. The Instructor will also e-mail the students information about upcoming assignments. The instructor will also e-mail assignments to students where applicable. If applicable assignments will be posted on the class website:

Required Film(s): To Be Announced


Drop Policy

***** As everyone knows, I give people at least 2 weeks to drop my courses after enrolment therefore:

You can drop this course and any others offered during the term within a period of 2 weeks of enrolment, after that, you will receive a mark of “0” for every assignment that you do not attend to completing. Consequently, you will also receive a “0” as the final mark in this course.*****

Effective Participation Strategies

Public speaking is at times difficult especially in settings or situations where you may not really have talked to the people around you or when you are in unfamiliar surroundings. To help make the process of communicating with others in an insightful and formal way within the context of my class, here are some good tips to keep in mind to help you better orient yourself in the academic realm:

How to get good participation marks

Although attendance will do quite a bit for your final mark in this class, it will not warrant an excellent mark on its own. The instructor will expect that you come to class and tutorials for the most part – fully prepared to actively participate in all discussions. This does not mean that you just sit there and absorb information, but that you sit and take part in the issues which we discuss in the tutorial session both online and in person. Here are some good ways to take advantage of tutorial and class sessions and ensure that you receive good participation points.

1) Come to every tutorial/lecture discussion with perhaps a question, a comment about the readings or even pose a concern if you have one.

2) Sometimes it does not matter exactly what you say, but how you say it. For example, you can ask a question of others and that too could count as participating. It is called “active learning.” Your instructor will be thrilled that you are engaging with the core materials.

3) Share your ideas with others in tutorial/lecture discussions. It is very easy sometimes to get stuck on certain topics and opinions that we will be looking at and reading about. Raising a question or even a response to those things will do wonders in ensuring your understanding.

4) Be sure to attend every single tutorial. You do not have to participate in all of them, just make sure that you are there and focused on overall discussions.

5) Ask for help in advance. Your instructor will record any questions you ask as part of “active learning.”

6) Treat all members of your tutorial with fairness, dignity and respect. Remember that everyone has the right to an opinion. Hate language and the like will not be tolerated by either the teaching assistants or the instructor for this course.

7) Answering the questions for the readings (if there are any posted) can also help you to contribute to participation in tutorials as the instructor will go over answers to these questions during this time period.

8) Try to answer questions that others pose or raise some of your own if possible.

9) Come to tutorials with questions in your head about the readings.

10) After each reading that you complete respond to the following core question Come to tutorial with an opinion!

Remember that participation is not a measure of how much you say, but the amount of input and insight that you give into a particular discussion or question. Consequently, quality is better than quantity. 

I hope that these tips will help to ensure that you can actively contribute to tutorials. If you require further assistance, you are my than welcome to speak to me.

Some class etiquette

1. Please do not bring on your person cell phones or the like to class. They are distracting. Turn them off if you must have them with you.

2. You are not permitted to bring a laptop for the purposes of writing notes and the like for BOS377. Those found with one will be asked to turn it off and to write in pen or pencil on paper.

3. Bring to every class: pens (black or blue ink), pencils (regular or mechanical), erasers, plenty of paper (at least 10 lines sheets and 2 blank sheets per period), a binder or a folder in which you keep all the papers, a beverage, preferably water.

4. Any inappropriate forms of behaviour such as disrespect shown towards the instructor or the teaching assistant or other students in the class will result in automatic cancellation of your enrolment.

5. Attend classes regularly: If you are going to be absent from class due to a religious observance or for any other reason that will make you miss class (for instance you have an urgent appointment) you need to tell me ahead of time that you will be away. You will be responsible for making sure that you have read the material and that you have the necessary lecture notes. Please do not ask me or your teaching assistants for any notes. Instead, please ask someone within the class.

6. Since we all know each other fairly well here (I hope), your study buddies are all of us, however do not expect your instructor to be your study buddy. I am, however, more than willing to help you in every way possible, but I will not provide class lectures or separate tutoring or separate class lectures or the like.

7. You are responsible for completing homework for the perspective period of time. I will be checking homework on a regular basis.

8. Do not consume any food during lectures. It is okay to consume food during tutorials. You are allowed to have only water with you as a beverage which you may consume any time you wish.

9. If you come to class late or if you arrive and the instructor has begun lecturing, please do not bother coming into the region where classes are held. Instead, have a walk around and wait for the second hour of class to begin. There will be a break between the 1st and 2nd hour of class.

10. You are not allowed to audio-record my lectures or my voice. If you are caught, you will be cancelled from your enrolment. You are also forbidden to film via cell phone or other device, the lectures and class discussions.

11. I will provide 5-to-10 minute breaks between the 1st and 2nd hour of lecture where in which you may use the facilities, get up and talk, walk around, etc. Please do not use the facilities during lectures, discussions, tutorials and the like as it disrupts class time. In cases where you must use the facilities please enter and exit the class quietly to avoid disruption.

12. I will occasionally bring in my siblings to participate in classes, please welcome them.

13. This course requires that you do all of the readings and participate fully in lectures. Please raise your hands, do not argue and remain civil.

14. I will bring snacks for us to enjoy every class. Please let me know during our first class whether or not you have any food allergies. Likewise, you are more than welcome to bring in your own snacks which you may consume only during the tutorial hours.

15. Essays and essay topics are always negotiable. For instance, if you “do not fancy” an essay topic or question that I give out, you are more than welcome to change it to something else as long as it fits within themes within the course. You may not completely distort or create essay topics that have nothing to do with the major themes covered in BOS377.

16. Worksheets that I hand out for this course will likely not follow “themes.” Instead, you will be given a series of worksheets to practice creating simple and compound sentences and worksheets which ask you to write a letter or to create a poster or to write a start of what could be a short story or an essay. Worksheets and the questions they ask you to complete must be done accordingly. They will allow you to not only practice written in the language, but also enhance your writing skills.

17. All essays must commit fully to the MLA style guidelines. Page limits are set as is and they are not negotiable. I will not accept essays that do not conform with MLA style and appropriate page limit guidelines as mentioned.

18. All papers must be turned in printed and given to me in class. I will not accept papers that have been sent to me via e-mail. You are only permitted to send papers to my e-mail account if you want me to look over your “rough work” and wish for me to comment on your progress so far, otherwise paper copes are the only acceptable format. Title pages are optional for short papers, however for longer papers (more than 6 pages) please include a title page with the full identifiers. <

19. All tests and quizzes in this class are required and are not considered “collaborative work.” This means that you are not allowed to “share” answers amongst one another. You are, however, more than welcome to “discuss” with each other possible studying strategies. You are not permitted to share your answers or your marks with other students in this class. This is not a competition, this is a class where you practice and keep track of your own learning.

20. Please govern yourselves accordingly or as if this was a “formal class.” I try to be as professional as I can when I teach and I expect the same level of professionalism and civil behaviour from all of my students regardless of age.

I hope to have a wonderful class with you all!