68. The best leader follows the will of the people.
75. Act for the people's benefit. Trust them; leave them alone.
Tao Te Ching (a Chinese book of Integrity and the Way, composed in the 4th century B.C.
The above statements from the Tao reflect important parts of my educational and personal philosophy, and in keeping with these beliefs I try to conduct a student-centered classroom. This means that although I give the assignments and grades in the course, I sometimes ask you to choose what path the class should follow. Hopefully, you will become an active participant in the course and develop better writing skills that will further your education and personal growth.
We'll spend the first week or so in class getting to know each other and doing some diagnostic writing and testing; you also will have some homework that we will go over in due time. It's very important that you keep up with your assignments because we move quickly and may go over a whole week of homework in a single class period. Please be aware that this is not an especially difficult course, but it is time consuming. be sure that your weekly schedule permits you to dedicate about two hours out of class for every hour in class.
1. In order to receive passing grades on out-of-class essays, you must provide five copies of rough draft (legibly typed, double spaced, and with thesis underlined) on date of group edit. These due dates for group editing are listed on the syllabus or will be announced in class. If you are seriously ill or can't make it to class on any of these dates, make arrangements with a peer to get copies of your rough draft to the classroom. No excuses are accepted.
In addition. in the event that your essay misses the due date for group editing, you still are required to write the essay as part of the requirements of this course. The essay will become part of your portfolio and may receive consideration at the end of semester, depending on your overall performance.
2. When you submit an essay to be graded, I ask that you write a self evaluation and give yourself a letter grade (A-F) or an S-U (Satisfactory-Unsatisfactory) grade, depending on the assignment. Of course, I know that students sometimes inflate their grades from the grades teachers might give the essays, but what I look for in your self evaluation is whether or not you know what makes good writing, good writing. I then read the essay, give it a grade, and write a short explanation to you as to why I gave such a grade and what you can do to improve your writing.
NOTE: Attached to the syllabus distributed in class are operational definitions of a six-point grading scale used to score the CLAST essay. These criteria are used statewide to evaluate college student's writing, so i have merely converted the six-point scale to letter grades (A-F) and an S-U scale. Also I try (and I encourage you to try) to use the language of the criteria when discussing and evaluating writing.
3. Types of grades will be as follows:
- Essays 1 & 3, S-U (satisfactory-unsatisfactory)
- Essays 2, 4, and 5, A-F letter grades
- Timed Writings, 6 point CLAST scale
- Portfolio/Midterm Evaluation, A-F letter grade
- CLAST Practice Grammar Test, Number correct should be 70% minimum
4. At the end of the term, I will average your grades, but I do not use any sort of numerical averaging system. I determine you final grade by looking at your whole portfolio to evaluate your progress in developing into a college-level writer. I also give what would be considered numerically a 10% bonus for regular attendance (less than 10% absence) and participation.
NOTE: You must pass the final in-class essay in order to receive a final grade of "C" or better.
5. There will be a midterm teacher-student conference and possibly recommendations to withdraw for those who are not doing at least "C" work.
6. In the event that a student wants to contest a final grade, I will discuss the student's portfolio and performance with him or her. if the student still contests the grade, I agree to having the student's portfolio and attendance records reviewed and evaluated by two willing HCC full-time English faculty on the Brandon Campus.
1. Poor attendance will affect your final grade. Absences beyond 10% of total classes may result in lowering of your final grade by one or more letters. If you are absent, you are expected to know what assignments need to be completed before returning to class. It's a good idea to exchange phone numbers with someone in class to make sure that you know what needs to be done when you are absent. If you don't complete writing assignments as they come due, I may waive reading and grading them.
2. I'll call roll until the withdrawal date.
3. Excessive absentees (over 10% absences) may receive no credit for participation.
1. We'll use a combination of methods: lecture, peer feedback, group work, individualized instruction.
2. Writing assignments (6,000 words):
- Five essays using process of drafting, group editing, revising, copy editing, and final drafting
- Two or three Timed Essays (You will have a minimum of 90 minutes.)
- Final in-class essay
- Re-edits of all writing using Correction Symbols handout and LBW
- LBW Exercises and Grammar Handouts
- Practice CLAST Grammar Tests and Jimenez's Simplified Grammar Tests
- Two brief (about 250 words) critical summaries of essays in CW; summaries will be graded S-U
- Journal (optional --may be placed in portfolio)
3. Emphasis in teaching and evaluating writing as combination of intelligent content and good mechanics (about 50%/50%)
4. Re-edits using LBW (Label chapter and section or page number where item is discussed and then fix the error; this should be done in the margins or between the lines of the graded final draft that I return to you.) You should re-edit everything I comment upon or provide a correction symbol for, such as unclear thesis, transitions needed, punctuation, and grammar. My reasons for having you correct your weak spots are so that your next essay will be stronger in content and show fewer mechanical oversights.
However, due to time constraints, I often will copy edit only one paragraph of your essay. It then becomes your responsibility to go over the rest of the essay to correct similar errors to the ones I marked and to smooth out all other rough spots you might see on taking another look at you essay.
NOTE: Re-edits should be done in handwriting or printing on the final draft of the essay that is graded. Use the margins, the space between lines, and the back of the page to make corrections. For your own benefit, you may also make corrections and reprint the essay, but this is not required; I am primarily interested in seeing the LBW page numbers and the corrections on your original final draft. In rare instances, I may ask you to revise and reprint.
5. My requests for you to work with a tutor: If I ask you to work with a tutor (myself or a qualified student that I appoint as tutor) and you don't take my advice and your writing doesn't improve, I may waive the reading and grading of your work after midterm.
Course Objectives: Course objectives approved by the HCC Communications Cluster are attached to the syllabus handed out in class and will serve as outcomes for this course. This is what I want you to accomplish as you complete this course:
1. Learn to employ a writing process that includes; prewriting/planning, rough drafting, peer feedback, conceptual revision, copy editing, final drafting, and proofreading.
2. Learn the shape of the essay as a piece of writing with a beginning, middle, and end that communicates something meaningful to you and valuable to the reader.
3. Learn to construct a thesis for each essay in a single sentence that specifically tells the reader the main idea of your essay.
4. learn to provide concrete support for your thesis and to connect support with thesis in a fluid manner.
5. Learn to use the HCC library to gather information on topics that you are interested in and want to write about.
6. Learn to construct clear sentences by employing precise word choice and appropriate punctuation. To reach this goal of writing clear sentences, you will learn to do the following:
- Pick out verbs and subjects in any group of words (LBW Ch. 5)
- Recognize subordinate (dependent) clauses (Ch. 5)
- Recognize main (independent) clauses (Ch.5)
- Combine sentences within a paragraph by using subordination and coordination (Ch. 5) to achieve a greater fluidity
- Classify sentences according to a clausal structure (Ch.5)
- Learn to recognize and correct fragments, comma splices, and fused sentences (Ch.10,11)
- Use the comma: to separate main clauses joined by coordinating conjunctions; to set off introductory elements from the main clause; to set off nonrestrictive elements from the rest of the sentence; for other standard uses (Ch.21)
- Use other marks of punctuation appropriately
- Use college-level vocabulary and standard practice in grammar, punctuation, and spelling
7. Learn to use smooth transition between paragraphs and within paragraphs as needed (Ch.3)
8. Learn to write successful introductory and concluding paragraphs (Ch.3)
9. Learn to use a dictionary and to seek out reading material when faced with a challenging topic.
10. Learn to respect the views of others and to develop a curious mind.
Plagiarism: Plagiarism is stealing and passing off someone else's work as your own. Plagiarized work will receive an "F" in this course.
Classroom Discipline: I respect you as a student and a human being, and I expect you to respect me as your teacher and a human being. I also expect your cooperation in the teaching/learning process. If you disrupt the class in any way, I won't read your work, and you'll fail the course.
Finally, to get the most out of this course, be sure that your course load is reasonable, you know how to study, and you avoid getting behind on assignments. Last of all, remember that good writers are seldom born; good writers are made through the sometimes arduous process of writing and rewriting.