Don't know if it is still in print or not, but Kingsley Amis' _New Maps of
Hell_, 1960, was generally regarded as one of the finest references for the
"Early" and Golden Ages of SF. It's commonly available as a used book.
Incidentally, will you be studying SF shorts as well as SF novels? Truly
different literary techniques involved in the authorship of short stories
vice longer SF pieces. That, in itself, might be an interesting topic for
discussion in your class.
Good luck in your endeavor. If my VA education benefits haven't run out, I
might take the class myself!