Who is your teacher, and what credentials does this person have?
I've had some excellent professors as well as graduate students; vice versa. Credentials matter to an extent, but if the students can sense the individual's passion for the subject and the ability to convey seamlessly, the content will easily reverberate through a student's mind.
How involved in your learning process is your teacher?
Very much so. One of the best teachers I've had in my life eviscerated my first paper and mutilated my subsequent
papers as well. He did this because he cared about us as readers/writers. His availability for office hours was astonishing. He was very big on consultation regarding (re)vising papers, general questions and your life as an individual. He retired last semester. He esteemed he knew nothing and could get something out of us.
Who controls the direction of the learning? Your teacher? Your class as a whole? You?
Open student discussions [strongly] mediated by the professor [if needed]. I like it when the professor opens up the class by asking each student around the room his/her thoughts, insights or problems they had with the text. If a student's comment happens to deal with specific passages itself, the professor attempts to ground the discussion on that idea and see what we can get out of it. If not, move on. And if further ideas fail to fruition, then the professor will bring up passages he/she thought were interesting.
Are there other people in your class?
Yes. Ideally, the smaller the class size, the better the interstudent(re)actions.
What role do they serve, if any, in your learning process (as they, obviously, are primarily involved with their own processes)?
They can sometimes provide interesting perspectives. Some people phrase phrases in a way (primarily those who think/process information aloud) in which I can compare my line of thought with their own and see if we reach the same conclusion.
How independent are you allowed to be?
Independence lies in your observations, musings, arguments and writing.
How collaborative are you allowed to be?
Elucidating on another student's idea in discussion can potentially bring a lot onto the table.
What does your typical learning environment (if you have one) look like in terms of physical stuff (room arrangement, light, etc)?
I like setting up desks around each other in a circle. I like seeing a moderate amount of natural light permeating the room.
What materials are available to you?
Your mind to propose ideas and texts on your given context to ground your argument.
What rules are in place, if any?
Demonstrate respect to the speaker and the speaker will demonstrate their respect to you. Paper deadlines exist as a near-concrete guide to see how your progressing in the class. I.e. Turning in the paper on the given date is ideal but isn't final - a student may have an issue preventing them from such task.
What is the ultimate goal of the school/learning experience (ie, what do you "get" when you finish)?
Perspective. Albeit I despise English Critical theory, the best thing I got out of it was the notion that context is always changing. The ability to view other contexts may provide one with different perspectives. I plan on graduating this fall but I still want to take classes.
Who dictates the curriculum? What courses are required for completion of the experience? Why?
English professors should collaborate with one another to form an encompassing period/genre of works quintessential to the English Language. Upper level courses of course have more free reign than lower level courses regarding seminal pieces of literature. I understand the premise behind electives and feel every student should try to take upper division courses rather than lower level ones. At least for me, upper level = better discussions, better students and better material (better meaning more).
Oddly enough, I've always believed that the best possible grade a undergraduate could receive would be a B+ (an A- if in honors). The grade A seems reserved for graduate/phd [publishable] material.