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Class Policies

Page history last edited by Joe Essid 14 years, 8 months ago

Required Materials: 

  • Writing Analytically. This text is in stock at UR Bookstore
  • The Transition to College Writing by Keith Hjortshoj. This text is in stock at UR Bookstore
  • The Fall of the House of Usher & Other Writings (be sure to get the Penguin edition, at the bookstore)
  • Old-timey, sewn-in binding "composition book" (available at bookstores and off campus just about anywhere)
  • Blog account at Blogger and Photo-sharing account at Koinup . You need a Koinup account so you can add photos to our class group.
  • Digital camera or cell phone with camera and ability to transfer photos to your computer
  • Earbuds or headphones for audio with campus computers (be sure yours has a long cord!)
  • Complete lack of fear when writing and a non-lazy brain.


Strongly Suggested Materials: 

  • Computer capable of running Second LifeĀ® (see their System Requirements page).
  • Computer headset with mic for voice work in Second Life.


The Writing You Will Do:

You'll do three major projects that will consist of short wiki projects that have been drafted and revised. These short projects are individual assignments that have due-dates but not grades. If you miss a due-date, you don't get any feedback from me and I'll dock the major-project grade by a full letter grade. 


Read on for information about the graded informal writing (a blog and "composition book") I'll require you do on a weekly basis.


Twice during the semester, you will meet out of class with a Writing Consultant from my RHCS 383 class.  If you miss a meeting with your Consultant, I will dock your grade for the next project by a full letter.  The Consultants are experienced writers studying with me. They then work for the university and you may encounter them in other courses. I hope that several of you will join this program next semester by taking RHCS 383.



Success in this class depends upon your working with your classmates. For that reason, you are to come to class every day. I will take roll daily. Do not be late for class, either--if you miss the roll, you've used a skip; that said, let me know if you are charging across campus from another class in North Court! That's an exception, though tell the other teacher about my policy and be sure that s/he does not hold you in the other class late.


After three skips, you lose a +/- grade per absence. More than six absences will result in your failing the class with a grade of "V" (failure for reasons of excessive absence), with no excuses or exceptions. Student athletes should let me know in advance about away games--you are responsible for getting me a schedule for your sport.  If we enounter a natural disaster or mass illness and the university declares an emergency, we'll make plans. Personal illnesses, however, are not excused. Save your three skips and use them wisely, as you would do in a workplace.


Late Work:

F, for short work such as your blog or composition book. For the three portfolios, however, all late work will lose one FULL letter grade per day late (a project earning a grade of C becomes a D after one day late, an F after two days). Keep in mind that this wiki date-stamps every page, and I can determine when a page has been revised.


What about short projects?  Here I use a reward and not a punishment. You'll see short-project deadlines on our class schedule.  If you turn in the project by the due-date, I give you feedback and a "probable grade." If you miss the deadline, I will not give any feedback on the work. You'll be on your own, with the help of the class and the Writing Consultant, to assist you until the next major project comes due.


I will also reduce a portfolio grade for incomplete word (missing drafts, commentary from editors, or final revisions, depending on what the assignments ask). In one of my previous sections, a student earned a final grade of D for the course and had to repeat 103; she wrote average prose but never bothered to write drafts or pay close attention to others' writing!


Behavior in Class:

You are not to use our lab technology, or any you bring with you, except for Eng. 103 classwork. The first time I find you doing otherwise (surfing, using mail, texting, etc.) you get a public warning. For each instance afterward, I count you as absent and will notify the Residential Dean and your academic advisor that you could fail the class for excessive absence.  The same policy will apply for students who are sleeping or verbally disruptive during class. Most years, I fail at least one writer for this reason. Don't let that be you.


Plagiarism & Cheating:

Do not copy others words or ideas without attribution. That's theft, and even if I suspect it I will turn your work over to Honor Council for an investigation. Pay close attention to Writer's Web pages on using sources, paraphrasing, and citing sources. Ask me if you are uncertain about proper citation.


Unless writers ask prior permission, they are not permitted to submit work written for another class. Doing so without permission will result in referral to Honor Council for cheating. The writer must provide the name of the class and professor for which the paper is or was being written. I reserve the right to refuse submission of the paper after contacting the other faculty member.



You must earn a grade of C or better in Eng. 103 to avoid repeating the course. I will make you repeat this class based on late work, missing work, or poor attendance. For information about how I grade papers, see these two pages: What is an "A" paper? and my Pet Peeves in Writing.  That said, the first document in particular was written when I only assigned printed text in courses (and I think it will help you in other Richmond courses where you still print and staple whatever you turn in--that staple is important!). 


I'm in the process of developing--and hope you'll help me here--a set of guidelines for grading multimedia projects like this wiki.  Have a look at the draft and you'll get credit for providing advice!


Note that I will take a "sequential" approach to grading your papers in regard to grammar, usage, and style. For each paper, I hold you accountable for more topics from Writer's Web. See each assignment sheet for details.

Your final grade for Eng. 103 will be determined as follows:

  • Three Major Projects: 75%
  • Writing Diagnostic 5%
  • Participation: 20% (blog, composition book, in-class discussions, editing, in-class writing, final group project)



This is a major part of the class and I expect active engagement. On the first day of class, everyone begins with a participation grade of A. It is up to each of you to maintain that grade by lively and engaged participation. I use the "Socratic Method" for our reading discussions (usually once per week). That means I will directly call upon class members for answers to questions I pose. Be ready and be caught up on all work.


If you are not at your best when called upon, you will still have other opportunities to participate. Many days will be set aside for the Editing Groups or for guided work with sample papers. Work in the group will count as part of the participation grade. I will assess your participation in the group by the way you mark others' work by leaving comments on their wiki pages.


Composition Book & Blog Assignments

You will do at least two short writing assignments every week.  Each of these will help you play with ideas and begin drafting for your projects. 


Composition Book: ALWAYS BRING IT TO CLASS. I expect a response each week that relates to an idea from our readings. You can focus on a single claim, or broadly discuss, say, your experience writing analytical prose.


You can do more than one entry a week! In fact, you should use this book as your writing journal for ANY preliminary writing you want to do.  It's the place for note-taking, drawing pictures, noting sources as you do research, ranting and raving in a civil way. Once in a while you will have to show it to a classmate, so keep that in mind!  Mostly, however, this book's audience is you and me.


How will I grade these books?  Well, A-F of course, but the trick is that I won't collect everyone's each week.  I will pick up all the composition books when the wiki projects come due, but each week, at random, three of you will have to turn in your composition books.  If you don't have them in class with you, you get an F...so always bring them to class.


Blog: After drop/add settles down, you will set up a blog at http://www.blogspot.com (no other sites, please). While Blogspot is not the most fully featured client, it is easy to use and we'll be able to set up our profiles to follow each other's blogs easier from a single source.  From each group page I'll make a starting page and blog page for each of you.  I will randomly grade three blogs each week, as with the composition books.


HOW IT WORKS: Each week, drawing upon your entries in the composition book, you are to post a blog entry. Most weeks the topic will be assigned (see the schedule). For other weeks, you'll decide what you wish to write: about a reading we've done, writing as a college student (gnash your teeth over Core if you wish; I won't tell your teacher), about some aspect Second Life.  You can get brownie points from me by commenting on others' blogs.  Do not launch into personal attacks, profanity, or other stupidity; keep in mind that what you write is public to anyone on earth interested enough to visit your blog.  And given the attention my last class got when we used Second Life, we will have visitors.  It's hard being a pioneer, but you can do it!


The best blog entries about Second Life may be edited, with your permission, and republished at "In a Strange Land." Want to join that stellar company? Read "Nine Signs of an Effective Blog Post"


The Writing Center:

The Writing Center (4th floor Weinstein Hall) is staffed by trained student Writing Consultants who are good readers of essays. They can assist you with planning, revising, or documenting sources in your assignments. I will refer some of you to get additional assistance on your work at the Writing Center. In these cases, you are required to attend the tutorial. I also provide extra credit for your participation grade if you visit the Center on your own.

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