English 201: Research Writing in Real Life
Instructor: Karrin Peterson, J.D.
This page gives you the general requirements and expectations for English 201. It does not give you the daily assignments. You will find those in the assignment sections that appear on the homepage of my course. In my grading paragraph below, you will see the overall assignments that you are expected to create and the point weight attached to those assignments. You are also expected to read carefully Chapters 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, 27, and the Handbook (of grammar) in the textbook -- this averages out to 1.5 chapters per week in reading. As an average, you may expect to work in this course in an equivalent amount of time that you would work for a live course meeting five days per week: 15 hours per week (5 hours of "in class" time and 10 hours of preparation time that "in class" time).
The benefit of the online environment is that you can work at any hour that suits your needs (in any type of clothing -- I have been known to teach in pajamas). The main challenge of an online class is that you MUST be self motivated and capable of completing complex tasks under your own calendaring system. I will not be there everyday in a live lecture reminding you to complete this or that assignment.
Additionally, you will be turning in your assignments via e-mail. This electronic medium, while generally reliable, can fail. Therefore, you must ensure that your papers get to me. I will acknowledge receipt of a submission from you within twenty-four hours. If you do not get such an acknowledgement from me, you should re-submit the assignment and check for a reply acknowledgement of receipt again.
If you have not already done so, I strongly suggest that you go to the following web address and take the self assessment to see if you and your computer can succeed in the online environment:
When you take this test, be honest with yourself. The test is not graded and an honest answer may save you getting a lower grade than you deserve or desired because your learning style is not suited to the self study requirements of the online learning environment.
Course Objectives: This course will teach you to research and write documented research papers. You will learn how to research a topic in the library and on the Internet. You will learn how to write an argumentative essay that attempts to persuade other people to accept your opinion on a controversial topic. You will learn how to appropriately cite to official sources through paraphrase, direct quotation, parenthetical annotation, and a works cited page. You will learn how to edit and improve your writing skills. Finally, you will, hopefully, improve your ability to think critically and analytically.
Assignment Sections: As you will see on the course homepage, our class is divided into eight assignment sections. These sections cover a specified period of time from one to three weeks. Each section asks you to read designated chapters in your text, post a comment or three on the Discussion page, exchange a draft and critique with a Peer Editing Partner, and submit a finished essay, written document, or comment to me. Each of these functions has points attached to it, so please do not fail to complete all required peer editing, Discussion page assignments, and essays. You could do well on your written assignments and still do poorly in the class if you do not engage in the entire process of the course. I have observed students in my past on line classes losing out unnecessarily on grade points because they failed to complete Discussion page assignments or peer editing functions.
Textbook: St. Martin
You may purchase your textbook online, if you have not already done so. Go to the BCC bookstore home page, http://bookstore.bcc.ctc.edu/. From there, click <Textbooks> on the boxes near the top of the homepage. Follow the directions given for the integrated online book ordering and registration system. You may also personally buy your books at the bookstore. You can find store information and hours of operation at http://bookstore.bcc.ctc.edu/.
Policy on Lateness & Missing Assignments: All required graded written assignments must be completed in order to pass the course. Late written work, except the final paper, is accepted up to two (2) days after a due deadline. There is no grade penalty for work turned in within the two day grace period, but you will lose the potential to rewrite your essay should you receive a grade that is not passing. Thereafter, I will not accept late work, unless you have a compelling and good reason why the work is late. The final paper must be turned in on time or I will not be able to meet the deadline the college sets for turning in grades. This could affect your graduation, receiving financial aid, or transferring to another institution. Obviously punctuality is important to your ability to complete the course. It is especially important, and required, in posting your comment on the Discussion page and in exchanging drafts and critiques with your assigned Peer Editing partner. If you have problems meeting deadlines, communicate with me at once by e-mail at mailto:email@example.com or phone me at (425) 898-9562.
Reading Standards: You will see on the assignment pages that you may read some chapters quickly while you should read others very carefully. In general, devote as much time as you can to reading, and pay close attention to the good instructions you get from time to time in your textbook on the process of critical reading. Remember that close reading requires concentration and reflection. You will be accountable, with respect to grades, for producing papers that conform to the standards and techniques set out in the readings.
Tests: There will be no quizzes or examinations.
Basis for Final Grade: Grades will be based upon writing assignments, comments posted on the Discussion page, and exchanges of preliminary drafts and critiques between assigned Peer Editing partners. The break down on points is as follows:
Major Argument "Letter
to a Politician" - writing # 5 - 100 points
Writings (e-mailed to
instructor) - #1 (online library assignment) - 40 points; writings # 2
(problem/solution memo) & # 3 (causation essay) - 75 points each; and
writing # 4 (annotated bibliography) - 50 points (240 points total)
Discussion Page Postings - 15 points for section 1 "Essential Me" comment; 30 points for the two "debate" postings for section 2 and 10 points for the writing and reading process posting (40 points total); 20 points for the two postings for section 3; 5 points each for sections 4 and 5; and 40 points for section 6 (160 points total for all postings).
Peer editing is a required part of the course. I do not assign independent points for peer editing. However, if you do not engage in this process in a timely manner, you will receive one letter grade lower on your four graded essays than you would otherwise have. I expect you to take time to do meaningful peer editing for your partners -- which is modeled in your textbook in the writing guides. I will refer you to pages in your text that will assist you with this process for each paper in the assignment pages.
500 total grade points possible.
GRADES: A = 500-460; A- = 459-450; B+ = 449-435; B = 434-410; B- = 409-385; C+ = 384-362; C = 361-339; C- = 338-316; D+ = 315-293; D = 292-270; D- = 269-247; F = 247- and below
Re-writing Work: You may re-write up to two (2) of the graded written assignments that you receive a C+ or lower on as long as you turned your essay in on time and engaged in peer editing as required. Late essays or essays that were not peer edited may not be rewritten. You may not re-write the final paper. A re-write may result in your receiving a better grade, if you take this learning process seriously.
To take advantage of the re-write option, you must submit your essay on the due date stated in the materials (NOT submitted under the two day buffer given above). You must also have done the peer editing in a timely manner (which indicates that you have tried to produce your best work on your own). Finally, you must submit the revised essay within a week of your receiving it back from me.
Students in previous classes have found this re-write process, though work, to be extremely valuable in teaching them to become better writers.
Do not fall into the trap of producing a poor or sloppy piece of writing initially and then assume that you will have the time and/or ability to re-write it by the re-write deadline. Initially, doing this will result in your putting off really doing an assignment until you have a backlog of work waiting for you that will interfere with the newly assigned work. Secondly, if I receive an extremely poorly written piece, I retain the option of giving it a low grade and prohibiting your re-writing the piece. This action shall take place at my discretion.
Since good writing requires taking the time to edit and re-write the initially produced piece, you should anticipate and expect to have to re-write at least some of your papers to get the grade that you desire. You may expect me to, initially, grade your essays very closely and completely. This is not done to as a gesture of meanness. All advanced writers are very self critical of their writing skills and habits. This is what makes them good writers, over all. What I desire that you learn is what writing habits you have that you need to changed for you to become a good writer.
My Grading Habits: I do not grade on a pre-determined curve. A review of my grading would show that grades in the B range (B+, B, B-) predominate. I therefore expect most of my students in this course will have grades above the C range. Some students will probably have grades in the A range. However, others may have grades in the C range. They must not feel discouraged. I consider C and C+ writing as entirely respectable for college students. We grow in our writing ability as we meet the challenges of reading and writing in a wide variety of university courses.
each assignment block, you will be asked to post at least one comment on an
electronic discussion location called the Discussion page in these course
materials. You will often be asked to review your peers
Peer Editing: You and an assigned Peer Editing
Partner will exchange: (1) a draft of each of your writing assignments and (2)
a helpful critique of your partner
Format for Writing Assignments E-mailed to Instructor: You will be asked to submit assigned writings by given dates. I require that these come in the manner specified in each assignment, as each assignment asks you to submit your writings in different formats. I will primarily ask for attachments, so that you can practice formatting your documents appropriately (and I can see how you have formatted your documents).
Format for Writing Assignments Posted on the Discussion Page:
Correction Symbols and Comments on Graded Essays: I will use some of the correction symbols from the inside of the final page of your textbook in marking your essays (those that I can use in a type written mode of communication). You should make yourself familiar with these symbols at the beginning of the course. They are linked through reference numbers to sections in your grammar handbook (the shaded section near the end of your textbook). My comments may appear in all caps within brackets throughout your essay. This does not mean I am "SHOUTING" at you, as the Internet custom has developed, so please do not feel that way. The capital writing is easier to see. I will try to make my comments clear and helpful. If they seem confusing, please ask for further clarification by e-mail.
I will place the correction symbol at the end of the sentence in which the error is found. If your essay has many writing errors, I will not "copy edit" the entire essay for you. Rather, you may expect me to grade two or three paragraphs and then comment on the general problems that your writing has in the grading form that I use for each essay. The comments I make will refer you to the sections in the Grammar Handbook (the blue-banded section of your text) that can help you learn to avoid the errors you are making.
You are expected to correct the errors if you choose to rewrite an essay or two.
Communicating with the Instructor and Special Accommodations: You are strongly encouraged to communicate individually with me by e-mail at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org when you are perplexed by an assignment or when something unusual in your life prevents you from meeting an assignment. With rare exceptions, I read and reply to my e-mail messages five working days a week. I try to read my e-mail on weekends as well, though I make no firm promises to do this (sometimes I go out climbing, particularly as the weather gets better). You may also communicate with me by phone at (425) 898-9562. You must also communicate with me if you have special physical needs that may keep you from successfully completing an online course. I will assist you in contacting BCC staff who will work with you to accommodate those needs.
Communicating with Other Students: You will benefit if you communicate with other students about matters pertaining to the class. Always be polite and respectful with each other, but do not fail to provide good and candid advice on the peer editing functions you perform. This said, it is BCC policy that you do not have to give out a personal e-mail address to another person. Therefore, if you desire not to give out your personal e-mail address, please notify me and we will arrange to use the Web CT e-mail or get a campus e-mail address for you.
Withdrawing from English 201: In the event that you decide to withdraw from this course (or any other on line course), you must remember to contact the Registration office and make sure that you are officially withdrawn. In the past, because it is easy to remove a class from your Web CT, a handful of students did this and assumed that they had withdrawn. They were unpleasantly surprised when they received letter grades at the end of the quarter because they had not officially withdrawn.
Online Information for Department of English: You should also review the English Department homepage for information about the department, classes, majors, and scholarships. You can find this at http://www.bcc.ctc.edu/english/default.htm.
Distance Education Web Site -- A Great Resource Center: Early in this class, you should visit the Distance Education web site, if you have not already done this at http://www.distance-ed.bcc.ctc.edu/. This is a great resource for you. You should also surf around this site and familiarize yourself with the information and help that it will offer to you.
Plagiarism and Academic Integrity: In this class, you are expected to write your own essays -- purchased essays are not representations of your work, and will be so treated. Additionally, anytime you take an idea from another source, whether you quote, paraphrase, or summarize, you are required to provide citations (in text and Works Cited page) in the MLA format to document where you took that idea from. Failure to do this is plagiarism and academically dishonest. Good scholarship and writing acknowledges other sources carefully -- you are not expected to be a genius in anything for this class, so plan on relying upon other sources and carefully documenting them. You can find the Arts and Humanities position on plagiarism at http://www.bcc.ctc.edu/artshum/policy.html.