English 201: The Research Paper
Instructor: Karrin Peterson, J.D.
This page gives you the general requirements and expectations for English 201 (formerly known as English 102). It does not give you the daily assignments. You will find those in the Assignment sections that appear on the homepage of my course. From 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 13, 22, 6, 19, 21, 7, 20, 8, and 9 of the textbook (in roughly that order). 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.
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! Several times a quarter I review student grades and send out reminder messages for those students falling behind, but this is still not the same as the everyday and live lecture. This is a reactive as opposed to proactive reminder system and you will fall behind by the time you get my reminders.
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.
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 home page, our class is divided into eight assignment sections. Each section asks you to read designated chapters in your text, post a comment on the Bulletin Board, exchange a draft and critique with a Peer Editing partner, and submit a finished essay to me by e-mail. Each of these functions has points attached to it, so please do not fail to complete all required peer editing, Bulletin Board 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 Bulletin Board assignments or peer editing functions.
St. Martin's Guide to Writing, 6th edition, will be the required text, available through the BCC Bookstore. You will be asked to read, either carefully or quickly, most of the chapters in this textbook. Some chapters will not be assigned.
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: All required 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 penalty for work turned in within the two day grace period. 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 Bulletin Board 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:firstname.lastname@example.org or phone me at (425) 898-9562. If an essay is turned in beyond the two day grace period, you will not be given the opportunity to re-write it.
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.
Exercises: You will be asked to do a number of exercises in each of the chapters that you read. These exercises ask you to reflect upon what you have read and how it affects your writing.
Tests: There will be no quizzes or examinations.
Basis for Final Grade: Grades will be based upon writing assignments, comments posted on the Bulletin Board, and exchanges of preliminary drafts and critiques between assigned Peer Editing partners. The break down on points is as follows:
Final Paper - 100 points
Writings #1 & 4 - 25 points each (50
points); writings # 2 & 3 - 75 points each (150 points)
Bulletin Board - 10 points for section 1; 5 points for sections 4, 6, 7, and 8 (25 points); 15 points for section 2; 25 points for section 3; 30 points for section 5 (100 total point for all Bulletin Board postings)
Exercises - 100 points (each chapter varies)
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. 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
You may re-write any of the graded written assignments that you receive a C- or lower on by the time deadlines noted in the eight sections. You will not have time to re-write the final paper prior to my having to submit your grade to the college. 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 time. (See the paragraph on timeliness above.)
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.
Discussion Forum: For each assignment block, you will be asked to post at least one comment on an electronic discussion location called the Bulletin Board. You may post more if you wish. The Bulletin Board will allow you to exchange comments with the entire class in an easy, well organized way. Depending upon the section, I may initiate the Bulletin Board portion for some assignment blocks with a posting about the currently assigned reading and writing and additional lecture-type comments at the beginning of each section. Thereafter, student comments can expand the discussion.
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's draft. You will post your draft and critique on the bulletin board. You will be assigned to a Peer Editing group. Members of that group will be the only students able to see your draft and read your critique. Peer Editing groupings will be made after the first week of the quarter.
Writing Assignments: You will be asked to submit assigned essays by given dates. I require that these come as an integral part of an e-mail message. This will allow me to return your essay with my comment and grade as a simple reply to your e-mail message. Please do not send attachments; I will not read them. You may type your finished essay into a regular e-mail message or you may cut and paste it there using a text editor.
Format for Writing Assignments:
At the left hand corner at the top of your e-mail message screen, give your name, your e-mail address, our course number, the current date, and the number of the writing assignment.
Double space and enter a title without quotation marks on the left hand side of the message screen.
Double space and begin your essay, using single spacing within paragraphs.
Double space between paragraphs.
Correction Symbols and Comments on Graded Essays:
I will use correction symbols from the inside of the final page of your textbook in marking your essays. 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. I will try to make my comments clear and helpful. If they seem confusing, please ask for further clarification by e-mail.
Communicating with the Instructor: You are strongly encouraged to communicate individually with me by e-mail at mailto:email@example.com 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. 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 a Web CT or campus 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. Removing a class from "My Web CT" does not equate to a withdrawal.
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.