Winter Quarter 2009
Syllabus: English 105
Instructor: Jim Goldsmith
Office E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
URL for VISTA: http://vista.bcc.ctc.edu
††† (Use this URL to get back into the course if you lose your bookmark.)
This syllabus answers basic questions about English 105. You may print the entire syllabus by clicking anywhere on this page and selecting Print Frame from your File menu.
About English 091 and 105
English 091 and English 105 are taught together on-line. English 105 covers the same material as English 091, but to receive credit for 105, you must work faster and do more writing.
English 091 is graded pass/fail. Students in 091 must show evidence of progress each week but they do not have to cover a set amount of material by the end of the quarter.
English 105 is graded A through F. The course is divided into five assignment sets, each consisting of two or more assignments. The first two sets cover parts of speech, basic sentence patterns, and editing. Sets 3 through 6 focus on more complex editing and style. You may work more or less at your own pace, but your grade will depend on how many of the assignment sets you complete satisfactorily by the end of the quarter. If you don't already have some knowledge of the basics, you may have trouble completing the course. The grading scheme is described in more detail below.
If you prefer a more relaxed, flexible, self-paced format and do not need transfer-level credit, consider switching to 091 now, even if you're at the English 101 level or above. Many professionals prefer 091 because it adapts more easily to individual needs and unpredictable work schedules.
††† * Patterns 1 by Linda Leeds
††† * Patterns 2 by Linda Leeds
††† * Any college level writing handbook that includes a substantial section on grammar and punctuation
††††† If English is not your native language: Chartbook: Understanding and Using English Grammar by Betty Azar
Chartbook is the best reference book available for non-native speakers at the advanced levels of English.
If English is your second language, or if you are bilingual, you will have to decide whether you need Chartbook or not. Look it over before you buy it. If the terminology and subject matter are familiar to you, you'll probably find it useful. If they are not familiar, don't buy the book unless I tell you you need it later. It assumes that you already know the terminology it is using.
What You Will Learn
The overall goal of English 105 is to help you improve your editing skills. If you complete all of the 105 assignment sets satisfactorily, you will be able to
(1) Correct Basic Mistakes in Grammar and Punctuation
††† * Avoid unclear pronoun references without avoiding pronouns
††† * Use verb tenses consistently
††† * Decide when to use a comma, a semicolon, or a period
††† * Follow your own editing and proofing process
(2) Revise Your Prose to Improve Clarity, Flow, and Style
††† * Make choppy sentences flow more smoothly
††† * Make longer sentences more readable
††† * Decide when to use passive patterns and when to avoid them
††† * Reduce clutter in your writing
††† * Use parallel and balanced structure to achieve special effects
††† * Punctuate your sentences to convey the tone and rhythm of your own natural voice
††† * Use "difficult" verb tenses with confidence
I expect you to spend about 15 hours a week on this course. This is the same amount of time I would expect you to spend if you were taking the course on campus (5 hours in class, 5-10 hours of homework).
However, when you take a course on-line, you control your own time. You will not have to meet on campus or to be on-line at a specific time. You'll choose when to visit the on-line classroom and when to study. You may do all of your work on weekends or spread it out over the entire week.
I strongly suggest that you set aside regular times to study. Time management is much more difficult when you don't have to face an instructor in person every day.
The course consists of 17 assignments organized into five sets of two or three chapters each. At the end of each set you'll take a test.
You must follow the on-line instructions for each assignment. The on-line assignment instructions tell you which practices to do in Patterns, which ones to skip, which ones to post in the discussion, and which ones to send directly to me. The instructions also suggest ways to customize the work to meet your specific needs. You will not have to waste time practicing skills you already know, and you may spend as much time as you need practicing skills that are new to you.
To find the assignment instructions, click on the Assignments icon on the course Home Page and then on the icon for Set 1. I suggest that you print each assignment instruction page and check off each part of the assignment as you complete it. You must complete all required parts of an assignment before you go on to the next one, unless I tell you differently.
Assignments 1-6 include journal writings. With the Introductory Assignment, you'll find a handout that gives you more information about how to write and send your journal writings.
Each week, you'll send me a self-evaluation report in which you describe what you've done during the week and set goals for the next week. With the Introductory Assignment, you'll also find a handout that tells you what to include in your self-evals, what format to use, and how to send them. It includes an example of a good self-eval.
Some due dates for English 105 are "firm" and others are "fuzzy." A "firm" due date is absolute. If you don't turn in the work by that date, you'll lose points. A "fuzzy" due date is a target date. If you turn the work in on or around that date, you'll stay on schedule and will not have to rush at the end. If you miss a fuzzy due date, you won't lose any points.
All self-evaluation due dates are firm. To accommodate those who work full time, your class week will run from Tuesday to the following Monday. Self-evals are due by midnight every Monday except when Monday is a holiday. If you're taking this course from a different time zone, your due time is midnight Pacific Standard Time.
To receive a passing grade in the course, you must turn in your self-evals on time.
If you know you're going to be away from your computer for several days (for example, on a business trip), and if you make arrangements with me ahead of time, we can arrange an alternate due date. If you're going to be away for two due dates or more, you'll have to find a way to access the course during your trip.
The due dates of the first four tests are fuzzy. Try to turn each test in during the week in which the due date is posted. No matter how late you are, you won't lose any points, but if you miss the due date of any one test by more than a few days, you'll jeopardize your chances of passing the five tests required for an A.
The final due date of the fifth test is firm. For the fifth test, you'll see both a fuzzy due date and a firm due date. If you don't turn the test in by the firm due date, I won't grade it at all, and you won't receive any points for it.
Journal writings and discussion practices do not have due dates. Send the journal writings for each chapter as soon as you complete them. Post discussion practices as soon as you complete them.
English 105 is graded A-F. I'll base your grade on two elements of the course: your weekly self-evaluation reports and your tests. The two sets of points are not added together.
††† Self-evaluation Reports (100 points). You'll turn in ten self-evaluations, each worth 10 pointsó5 for timely arrival and 5 for content. I'll subtract points if your self-eval is late, if it is not informative, or if it doesn't show evidence of progress. A self-eval that is a full week or more late is not eligible to receive any points, as it is too far out of date to be useful.
††† Assignment Sets (100 points). English 105 consists of five sets of assignments. At the end of each assignment set, you'll take a test that is worth 20 points. You must achieve minimum competency (Pass = 16 points or more) on each test before you may go on to the next set. If you don't achieve minimum level or above on your first try, you'll continue to work on the skills of that set until you succeed. There is no penalty for having to retake a test.
To receive a grade in the A range, you must do all the required work, receive a total of 90 points or more on your self-evaluations, and pass all five tests with scores totaling 91 points or more.
A+ = 98-100
A = 95-97
A- = 91-94
To receive a grade in the B range, you must receive a total of 80 points or more on your self-evaluations, do all the required work for the tests you pass, and pass four or five tests with scores totaling 61 points or more.
B+ = 81-90
B = 71-80
B- = 61-70
To receive a grade in the C range, you must receive a total of 80 points or more on your self-evaluations, do all the required work for the tests you pass, and pass three or more tests with scores totaling 46 points or more.
C+ = 56-60
C = 51-55
C- = 46-50
To receive a grade in the D range, you must receive a total of 80 points or more on your self-evaluations, do all the required work for the tests you pass, and pass two or more tests with scores totaling 31 points or more.
D+ = 36-40
D = 31-35
F = 30 or below
BCC does not recognize grades of A+ or D-, but if you achieve a total score of 97 or above on your tests, give yourself a pat on the back.
Transfer to English 091
Important: In English 105, you must have at least 31 test points to pass, even if you have 100 Self-eval points. This is not true in English 091, where the entire grade is based on Self-eval points. If you don't have at least 31 test points by the end of Week 6, I suggest that you send me a message and request to be transferred to the 091 section.
I'll post your points on the on-line grade sheet, which you may see by clicking on the tiny Grades icon in the toolbar at the top of your page. Your self-eval points will be labeled SE 1, SE 2, etc.
Important: If you stop posting your work and sending your self-evaluations, you'll receive an F for the quarter unless you withdraw from the course before BCC's deadline (usually at the end of Week 7). The exact deadline is noted on the Summary Calendar and on the main Course Calendar. To drop the course, go to the BCC Home Page. Find and submit a withdrawal form. (This form may also be called an Add/Drop form.)
To receive an Incomplete, you must negotiate with me at least a week before the end of the quarter. In general, I'll agree to an Incomplete only if you've kept your self-evals up to date, only if you're within 10 points of passing, and only if special circumstances justify the extension.
Failure of your hardware or software does not justify an Incomplete. You're supposed to keep copies of all your work and have a back-up plan for getting on-line. An Incomplete must be completed within two weeks after the end of the quarter.
You are responsible for
††† * Reading and following instructions and questioning me if you find an instruction you don't understand
††† * Visiting the on-line classroom four or five times a week
††† * Notifying me ahead of time if you're going to be "absent" for three days or more
††† * Posting or sending the required work, including comments on other students' work
††† * Letting me know if you're having trouble with your hardware or software, with a course concept, or with the sense of isolation that is inevitable in an on-line course
††† * Obtaining and maintaining access to the Internet
††† * Coping with technology problems, including viruses, that involve your own machine or software
††† I expect you to write ethically. Journal writings and papers must present your own ideas in your own words. If you use someone else's exact words to illustrate or support your ideas, you must put them in quotation marks. If you summarize or quote someone else's ideas, facts, or words, you must cite your sources. I won't accept a journal writing or guided writing you've copied from an outside source or one in which you present words or ideas from outside sources without citations. Such a paper is called a plagiarism. I also won't accept a paper you've written for a previous course unless you obtain my permission ahead of time. A plagiarism or a recycled paper will receive a minus 10 points. A second offense will result in an F for the course. If you're not sure whether you're presenting other people's words and ideas ethically, ask me about the problem before you turn the paper in.
I accept responsibility for
††† * Keeping the on-line classroom up to date
††† * Monitoring my mail at least once a day Sunday through Thursday
††† * Responding to your questions and concerns within two working days
† ††* Sending back tests, guided writings, and self-evals within five working days
††† * Keeping accurate records of your points
††† * Keeping you informed about technology problems that are outside your control (and mine)
My on-line "weekend" runs from noon Friday to 8:00 p.m. Sunday. I often don't check my mail at all during this period.
If this is your first on-line course, it's bound to be a bit confusing at the beginning. Don't be afraid to ask questions or admit you're having trouble with something. Post your questions in the discussion room in the Announcements and Questions topic. Your classmates may be able to answer before I do. The quickest way to relieve frustration and anxiety is to share it.