Student Guide: College Composition 101 and Academic Year

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1 1 Student Guide: College Composition 101 and Academic Year PLEASE USE THIS GUIDE FOR BOTH 101 AND 102. DO NOT THROW IT AWAY. Welcome to College Composition. In this class, your teacher is committed to helping you succeed. The course structure is designed to provide you with a practical, positive approach to writing. Thus, the key to your success in this class will be your willingness to work hard and apply yourself. In this class, you should master the writing skills taught you and learn to write proficiently for your future college and work-world writing tasks. Again, welcome to this class. Here are some questions and responses to help orient you to this course: Why is College Composition a required subject at all colleges? College Composition is required because colleges recognize the integral relationship between good communication skills and success in college life. Because good writing and good thinking are inseparable, an ability to write effectively will serve you well the rest of your life. Also, writing plays a more important communication role in many vocations than most freshmen realize. The writing skills you acquire in this class may well prove valuable in your future career. Another important consideration is that this course functions as a prerequisite for the required upper division W courses and will help prepare you for writing success in those classes and in many of your other college classes. The teachers in your future college classes will expect you to use your composition writing skills to successfully complete the varied writing tasks they assign. What is the difference between College Composition 101 and 102? Both semester courses are part of the same writing class. The difference is in what is stressed and what kind of writing is emphasized. The first semester of College Composition (101) provides you with practice in writing 500-word expository essays in different writing modes. The focus is on basic writing strategies that can be effectively adapted to varying writing purposes and intended audiences. Attention is devoted to writing process (how you write) and to writing product (what you write). Prewriting and rewriting skills receive special attention. Because the second semester of College Composition (102) reinforces the skills and strategies covered in 101, taking 101 is a prerequisite to taking 102. In the 102 portion, you will write 500- word persuasive and argumentation essays and a 2000-word research paper. Nearly one half of the class is devoted to the writing of the research paper, while logical thinking and rhetorical composition skills also receive considerable attention. Specifically, what will I learn in this class? If you apply yourself in this class, we have set it as a goal that you will learn to: ENGL analyze your intended audience and effectively gear your written message to your audience;

2 2 2. clarify your primary purpose for each writing task and control and shape your writing according to your purpose; 3. employ prewriting strategies such as brainstorming and peer feedback to ensure adequate and worthwhile development of your ideas; 4. write paragraphs that share ideas in coherent, unified, and developed units of thought; 5. write sentences that communicate complete thoughts in the most effective arrangement, including combining ideas within a sentence when feasible; 6. word ideas in a clear, direct (active voice), concrete, and appropriate manner; 7. write beginnings to your compositions that attract the reader and which clearly establish your purpose; 8. write conclusions to your compositions that smoothly end the essays and which reaffirm the thesis; 9. use a thesis to unify your total written message; 10. use transitions to sew your ideas together; 11. arrange your ideas in the most effective order, given audience, purpose, and written mode; 12. rewrite the first draft of each paper a sufficient number of times to ensure that the final draft is organized, unified, and developed, and that the written style is fluent and the language lean and engaging; 13. edit the final draft to eliminate all mechanical errors that could hinder clear communication with the reader; 14. use word processing effectively in producing early and final drafts of papers. ENGL more skillfully apply #1-14 above to persuasive, argumentation, and research writing tasks; 2. effectively employ rhetorical strategies in your persuasive writing; 3. distinguish between fact and opinion, to discern fallacies and propaganda techniques, to understand the basic patterns of logical thinking, and the employ this knowledge accurately when writing or reading; 4. attend the library orientation program, which will acquaint you with research materials, including online catalog and databases and full-text periodicals and books; 5. write a research paper that a. is at least 2000 words in length excluding the outline, note page, and bibliography; b. conforms to MLA style; c. is thesis-oriented; d. contains correct paraphrasing of borrowed ideas and makes minimal use of direct quotations; e. employs correct in-text citations and bibliographic entries to document borrowed material; f. makes use of online materials, periodicals, and books to glean ideas for the paper. A minimum of 7 sources is required, including at least 2 books and 2 periodicals; g. uses the reference room, on-line catalog, databases, and specialized indexes in preparation for the paper.

3 3 How much writing and what kinds of writing will I do in this course? Because writing is learned best by writing, you will be doing a lot of writing. For 101, you will be writing five 500-word essays, each in a different writing mode. In addition, an essay test for the final exam will test your ability to write a good expository essay under exam conditions. For 102, you will be writing three 500-word persuasive/argumentation essays and a 2000-word research paper. In addition, the final exam will ask you to write a persuasive/argumentation essay. What materials will I need for this class? 1. Textbook (some variations from professor to professor): Glenn, Cheryl, and Loretta Gray. Hodges Harbrace Handbook. 17 th ed. Thompson- Wadsworth, Recommended for reference: Morris, William, ed. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (or other recent dictionary). Additional material: 1. English folder, Form A, as a cover and file for all class writings turned in. 2. Notebook: a loose-leaf, three-ring binder, holding 8½ x 11 medium-lined notebook paper or punched typing paper, for all course work. DO NOT USE A SPIRAL NOTEBOOK FOR THIS CLASS. How will I be graded? You will be graded on your major writings, minor writing exercises, quizzes, and tests. The major writings, including the research paper for 102, will account for the major part of the grade. Ask your teacher for the specific grade percentages, and write them down here: ENGL 101 A= % - % Writings = % of the final grade B= % - % Quizzes and Daily Work = % of the final grade C= % - % Tests = % of the final grade D= % - % ENGL 102 A= % - % Writings = % of the final grade B= % - % Quizzes and Daily Work = % of the final grade C= % - % Research Paper = % of the final grade D= % - % Tests = % of the final grade What will the teacher expect from me in this class? When you enroll in English 101 or 102, you and your instructor enter into a partnership to help you achieve the writing skills you need and a personal style that represents you at your best and makes your ideas acceptable to others. Both you and your teacher agree to fulfill certain responsibilities. Let s spell them out:

4 4 1. The improvement of any skill, including writing, depends largely on practice. This being true, you agree to do all the assigned writing and to submit it at scheduled times. You agree to write as honestly as you can. The instructor agrees to take what you say seriously and to react to it candidly and responsibly, transmitting to you the best suggestions the teacher is capable of for improving your writing. 2. Because students can help other students and in so doing make giant leaps toward improving their own understanding or achievement, you agree to take sincere interest in what classmates write, to listen to them, and to react thoughtfully and as affirmatively as possible. Your instructor agrees to promote a climate of mutual trust and noncompetitive evaluation. Don t write anything you don t feel comfortable sharing with classmates. 3. You agree to read thoughtfully the assigned material in textbooks or in selections provided by the teacher, applying the ideas to your own needs. The instructor agrees not to plod through material in class, but to use it as a launching pad for discussions, demonstrations, projects, and sometimes for lectures which probe further into areas which the readings uncover. 4. Not all students come to College Composition with equal backgrounds or identical interests and abilities. Because that is so, the instructor agrees to individualize part of the course and to provide those needing extra help with tutorial aid. 5. Emergencies sometimes occur. When they keep you from attending class, you agree to ascertain what work you ve missed, and, if the situation warrants, to make up missed work. You further agree to arrange make-up work the first time you attend class following an excused absence. Work for days when you had an unexcused absence will usually not be accepted. In addition, you are responsible to have the assignment for the current day upon your first return following an absence (unless you ve worked out an arrangement previously). Be sure you know your teacher s attendance policy because you will be held responsible for this policy. Check with your teacher to see how to clear your absences, and write the procedure down here: 6. All major papers must be typed, double-spaced, and printed on one side of the paper only, leaving ample margins (see sample MLA paper in Harbrace Handbook, Chapter 40). Right margins should not be justified. Other papers may be written in blue or black ink or typed as the teacher specifies. Pencil work is never acceptable. All writing must be neat, legible, and proofread. Notice: You accept full responsibility for your typist s promptness and correctness. Excuses such as, My typist didn t understand the proper form, or My typist didn t finish my paper in time, are not acceptable. 7. Your teacher pledges to make your assignments as clear as possible. Consequently, you agree to fulfill each assignment according to the teacher s instructions. This includes avoiding all forms of plagiarism, which involves taking and using as one s own the ideas or words of another without documenting such use. Use of material from other sources, whether printed matter or

5 5 writings of other students, should be acknowledged either in the body of the paper or in endnotes. Typists should be faithful to the writer s draft, and any changes made by a typist constitute plagiarism. Deliberate plagiarism is a serious offense which can result in failure in a course or even suspension from the university. Please read Southern Adventist University s stance on academic honesty in the Undergraduate Catalog to guide you in your writing. You are required to submit a draft of each major piece of writing to Turnitin. Ask your teacher for details concerning this requirement. 8. Periodically you will need to ask a teacher or a tutor for help with a paper. The manner in which you ask for help is very important because it reveals your learning attitude and determines the quality of help you will receive. Therefore, please ask specific questions when seeking help with a piece of writing. Asking questions like Is my thesis limited enough? Have I worded my ideas effectively in my third paragraph? or What could I do to make my ending smoother? proves more productive than handing a paper to someone and asking them to read all of it and indicate everything that is wrong. This latter approach reveals a poor learning attitude and invites an unfocused and ineffective response. Ask the most focused questions that you can about your writing problems to insure the best quality responses from teachers and tutors. 9. Once you begin a class with a composition teacher, it is expected that you will remain in that teacher s class for the semester unless you face an adjustment in your work or course load calling for a class schedule change. If you must change sections where the change involves two teachers, see the Composition Coordinator. If you ve done your part in these agreements and your work meets acceptable standards, you ll receive course credit. However, there are at least five ways to invalidate our agreement. Any one of them can result in automatic failure to earn course credit: 1. Exceed 6 absences for a 3-day-a-week class or 4 absences for a 2-day-a-week class. (See the Undergraduate Catalog for the university s absence policy.) 2. Fail to complete all the assigned major writings, including the 102 research paper. Note: You must pass the research paper in order to pass Neglect to revise the major writings if required by the instructor. 4. Fail to take, complete, or pass the final examination. 5. Commit deliberate plagiarism. (See item 7 above.) Now you re ready to begin the course. As you take up the first activity, your instructors wish you success and God s rich blessing.

6 6 (sample cover page for all writings) To Reach the Stars Anne Greene Professor Jones ENGL 101, Section A August 1, 2010

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