Nicole Williams English 1106 Office: Shanks 440 Office Phone: (540) 231-8406 Office Hours: Monday

and Wednesday 11:00-12:30, Online Hours: Friday 12:00-2:00 Email: Nicoleaw@vt.edu Website: http://www.nicoleannwilliams.com Text Required: A Call To Write: 4th Brief Addition. John Trimbur. 2008. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 054705016X Course Description- From Composition at Virginia Tech “In first year composition, we see writing, visual communication, and speaking as three important aspects of strong communication, communication which will be useful to you both as a student and as a graduate of Virginia Tech.” University Composition Requirement The aim of this course is to teach effective written, spoken, and visual communication practices that go beyond much of the writing you did in high school. Course Objectives Course Policies Successful Completion: In order to successfully pass this course you must attend class, participate in class discussions, complete in class writings, outside readings, homework, and complete all four formal writing assignments. Successful completion of the four formal assignments includes turning in all required drafts and attending workshops and conferences. Electronic Note: In an effort to do our part to help the environment, all course work will be electronic based. Assignments will be posted online, all work will be handed in electronically via blackboard or your own websites, workshops will be conducted electronically, and grades will be kept electronically through Scholar. Together we can save hundreds of pounds of paper this semester and, essentially, a lot of trees. Attendance: What happens in class each day only works if everyone is here to participate as much as possible; therefore, attendance is mandatory. You are allowed three absences for the semester free and clear. I don’t need to know where you were or what you were doing. However, each absence over three will automatically

lower your participation grade by 1/3 of a letter grade. For instance a B will go down to a B-. Tardiness: I value the time we have together in class to accomplish our goals for the semester. I do not appreciate students that interrupt class by habitually coming in late. It is distracting to me and to your peers. Please come to class on time. Participation: This course depends heavily on your readiness and willingness to contribute to class discussions and activities daily. I expect each of you to work with me and each other to make this a real community of learners. Therefore, you must come to class each day fully prepared having done all assigned readings and work ready to participate in class. A portion of your grade depends upon class participation. Additionally, class activities are designed to build off of outside work; therefore, I will know if you are unprepared and your grade will reflect it. In addition keep in mind: 1 Being absent is not an excuse for turning in late work. All assignments are expected to be turned in at the beginning of the class period they are due. If you are not going to be in class e-mail your work to me by the beginning of class time. Late assignments will be penalized half a letter grade for each day they are late. For example, a B paper will go down to a C+. Late work will no longer be accepted a week after the due date. 2 In class work cannot be made up so it would be wise to come to class prepared each day. Format for Assignments: All formal writing (except multimodal compositions) should be: 1 Computer generated/typed 2 Double-spaced in 12 point font 3 1 inch margins on all sides 4 Name, instructor, course, and date should be listed on the top left, doublespaced. 6 Do not double space between paragraphs 7 Do not include cover sheets unless specified 8 Documented using MLA Style Classroom Behaviors: 1 Our class meets in a computer classroom, which may pose several distractions. Checking e-mail and surfing the web during class time is both rude and inappropriate. This behavior will not be tolerated and will affect your participation grade. 2 Please remember to turn off all cell phones, ipods, mp3 players, and other communication devices that pose a distraction to our class. If your phone rings, vibrates, sings, or makes any other noise during class I get to answer it. In return, should my cell phone ever

ring in class you get to answer it. Failure to follow the policy will affect your participation grade. 3 Class time is not a time for private discussions amongst each other. Such behavior is rude and disruptive to the class. Please save such conversations for after class. Respect: Respect for others in our classroom is non-negotiable. We will be discussing many ideas and concepts that may challenge your current thinking. This is the fun of college! Have respect for one another and be open to new ideas. Virginia Tech Honor Code: The Honor Code will be strictly enforced in this course in so far as it does not interfere with collaborative development and mutual learning. All assignments submitted shall be considered graded work, unless otherwise noted. All aspects of your coursework are covered by the Honor System. Any suspected violations of the Honor Code will be promptly reported to the Honor System. Honesty in your academic work will develop into professional integrity. The faculty and students of Virginia tech will not tolerate any form of academic dishonesty. Plagiarism of any work from a current or former student in this course is considered to be an honor code violation. Through the use of peer evaluations and collaborative development, and the use of the WWW, there is a strong possibility that you will be exposed to concepts and ideas that you can use in your own work. Getting permission to use those ideas and concepts from the originator (except when it is already in the public domain such as on the Web, or in print) and giving appropriate acknowledgement in your own work circumvents a charge of plagiarism. Presentation of someone else’s work as your own is dishonest and unacceptable. If I find out that you have plagiarized you will receive a zero for the assignment and, possibly, fail the course. Be assured that I will find out if you have plagiarized, therefore it would be wise for you to do your own work and cite any and all material you take from other sources. Plain and simple-if it isn’t your own words or idea than tell me where you found it. Principles of Community: The Virginia Tech community honors and upholds distinct principles. You can find these Principles of Community printed on the inside cover of your VT Composition text book. Course Adaptations: If you are a student with special needs or circumstances, if you have emergency medical information to share with me, or if you need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible during my office hours. Writing Center: You are encouraged to take advantage of the Writing Center. The Writing Center offers free one-to-one assistance on all your writing projects for all of your classes. The Writing Center is located in 340 Shanks Hall. It is open Monday to

Friday 9-5. You may schedule an appointment by calling 231-5436. www.composition.english.vt.edu/wc Course Adaptations: If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, if you have emergency medical information to share with me, or if you need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible. My office location and hours are located at the top of the syllabus. Course Requirements Formal Essays: For this class you will write four essays that are 5-6 pages each outside of class that will culminate in one 18-20 page paper at the end of the semester. Each essay will require a draft that will be responded to by me and your peers. Assignments will be discussed throughout the semester as the time for each approaches. Detailed assignment sheets can be located on my website. Assignments are due at the beginning of class as stated on the course schedule. All assignments will be turned in electronically. Blogs: You will be required to create and maintain a blog throughout the semester. We will create the blogs together in class. Each week you will be required to write at least one blog post on your own blog and respond to at least one of your classmates blog posts. Your blog entries each week should discusses your thoughts and ideas on any of the assigned reading for that class week and how they may relate to your own writing. This is your chance to reflect on the reading and writing you do each week. We will discuss the conventions of blog writing in class. Your blog can be thought of as your electronic journal to track your learning and progress during the semester. It is also a tool to communicate and share ideas with your peers and the world. In-class Writing: During class time you will be asked to write on a variety of issues, ideas, and prompts that relate to readings and class material. These writings will assist in class discussion and serve as a tool for both of us to reflect on the work you are doing. These will be completed on blackboard during class time. You will find that each of you has your own section on the discussion board where you will produce these assignments. This will allow you to view them all in one place when it comes time to put together your portfolio. Portfolios: The best way I have found to help students understand and appreciate what it means when I say “writing is a process” is to include a portfolio component in my writing classes. Twice this semester, once at midterm and once at the end of the semester, you will be responsible for collecting and revising the work you’ve done in and outside class. You will turn in both formal and informal writing, some of it revised, some of it not. You will also include an introduction that discusses what you’ve learned and provides a self-evaluation of your writing. These portfolios will be returned with a formal letter grades attached that evaluate the work in the portfolio as well as your success in the class. These portfolios will be electronic web texts.

Group Project: Once this semester you will get together with a group of your peers to deliver a power point presentation. A detailed assignment sheet will be handed out and posted on blackboard. Readings: Outside readings will be assigned for each class period. They are listed on the schedule. It is vital to your grade that you complete all readings and come to class prepared to discuss them. Conferences: You will be responsible for meeting with me twice during the semester outside of class. One conference will be at midterm to talk about the progress of your portfolio revisions. The meetings will be about fifteen minutes long and I will cancel class for the week to accommodate these conferences. I will tell you very specifically what you should bring to the meeting at the time we schedule it. Failure to come to these conferences and/or failure to come to these conferences prepared with a draft to work on will count as one week of absences-furthermore, do not waste my time or your own by not showing up or showing up unprepared. I am just as busy as you are, but if you are prepared to invest time in your writing then I am too. A sign up sheet will be passed around as the time approaches for conferences. It is your responsibility to schedule a second conference with me at the end of the semester as you prepare your final portfolio. Failure to schedule and attend will result in an absence. Additionally, feel free to come to my office hours at any time during the semester. Note: All writing you do in this class-drafts, revisions, in-class writing, blogs-should be saved so you have a wide selection to choose from when putting together your portfolio. It is imperative that you save all your writing so you can see how you have developed as a writer throughout the course of the semester. Evaluation and Grading Policies In this course you will not receive letter grades on individual drafts and assignments. I know many of you are probably thinking that I am completely crazy for doing this. I also know not receiving a letter grade on each paper will make some of you nuts however; it really is for the best. Using this portfolio system of evaluation allows me the opportunity to give you credit for the things that grading individual papers does not: such as effort and revision and improvement. Although you will not receive individual letter grades on each draft you turn in, you will receive extensive comments and feedback from me that will help you understand the quality of the work you are doing as well as assist you in improving your writing. You will receive a letter grade at mid-term and at the end of the semester when you turn in your portfolio. These two grades will be based on the following criteria: 1 Meeting all of the requirements described above. 2 The quality of your written work, including how successful your revision work is.

3 The quality of your effort in class, in workshops, in discussion, in groups, in conferences, and in general. 4 Your demonstration of a willingness to try new things, think in new ways, and explore different perspectives as both a reader and a writer. My comments should provide you with a clear understanding of your progress in the class; if you ever feel as though you are unsure, come see me and we will discuss it. Grading Percentage Breakdowns Different assignments in this course require different levels of effort. The following breakdowns should provide you with an idea of the amount of time and energy needed for each. 1 Blogs 10% 2 Group Project 10% 3 Participation- this includes attending class having completed all outside reading and assignments, participating in class discussion, completing inclass writing assignments, coming to conferences, and participating in other class activities. 10% 4 Formal Writing Assignments 4 essay Drafts (5% each) 20% 5 Portfolio (mid-term 15% and final 25%) 40% 6 Final Presentation 10% Please Note: A minimum course grade of C is required to receive credit for this course. I will be using the Grading Rubric below to grade all formal assignments included in the portfolio. A = Superior – Convincingly and ardently communicates a noteworthy idea to an audience through sophisticated use of rhetorical strategies. 1 Thesis/Focus-demonstrates an awareness of audience, is sophisticated, and clearly established and maintained throughout. 2 Organization-has a clear sense of logical order appropriate to the content and thesis. 3 Development-demonstrates critical thinking that is clear, insightful, in depth, and relevant to the topic. 4 Syntax and Diction-uses sophisticated language that engages the reader; manipulates sentence length to enhance the total effect of the essay; uses precise language that expresses complex ideas clearly. 5 Format and Design-fully integrates elements of design to best serve rhetorical purpose. 6 Research (if applicable)-uses sources effectively and documents sources accurately. 7 Mechanics-contains very few errors of spelling, grammar, paragraphing, or manuscript format. B = Strong – Effectively conveys an insightful idea to an audience through consistent

and controlled use of rhetorical strategies. 1 Thesis/Focus-is intelligent, clearly established, and consistently addressed throughout. 2 Organization-is logical, clear, and controlled. 3 Development-demonstrates critical thinking that is more than adequate, with significant detail; may show depth in thinking and research. 4 Syntax and Diction-demonstrates knowledge of and skill with complex and varied sentence constructions and vocabulary. 5 Format and Design-consistently contributes to the persuasive aims of the assignment. 6 Research (if applicable)-uses sources effectively and documents accurately. 7 Mechanics-may contain errors, but these errors do not interfere with the essay’s overall effectiveness. C = Competent – Communicates an idea, but does not consistently address the needs of its audience. 1 Thesis/Focus-has a central idea that is conventional or general. 2 Organization-the essay’s organization is choppy and may, at times, be difficult to follow. 3 Development-demonstrates limited critical thinking and limited knowledge of the subject. 4 Syntax and Diction-demonstrates competency with language use, but sentence constructions and vocabulary may be limited or repetitive. 5 Format and Design-unevenly incorporates elements of design to aid its argument. 6 Research (if applicable)-lacks sufficient research for the topic, poorly incorporates sources, or fails to document accurately. 7 Mechanics-contains multiple errors that hinder the essay’s readability. D = Inadequate – Ineffectively communicates its idea to its intended audience. 1 Thesis/Focus-is superficial and inconsistently addressed; reveals limited awareness of audience. 2 Organization-reveals no apparent strategy and lapses in focus and logic. 3 Development-displays little knowledge of the subject, does not form conclusions, or fails to exhibit critical thinking or clear reasoning. 4 Syntax and Diction-contains repetitive, incorrect, or ineffective sentence structure; displays a limited vocabulary. 5 Format and Design-bears little relevance to the assignment’s rhetorical purpose or guidelines. 6 Research (if applicable)-lacks sufficient research for the topic, poorly incorporates sources, or fails to document sources accurately. 7 Mechanics-contains many errors that garble the meaning or intent. F = Incompetent – Fails to present its ideas to the audience and does not meet some or all of the criteria for the assignment. 1 Thesis/Focus-lacks a central idea, has no awareness, or limited awareness, of its audience and purpose. 2 Organization-is random and without focus. 3 Development-displays little or no knowledge of the subject, does not form conclusions, or fails to exhibit critical thinking or clear reasoning.

4 5 6 7

Syntax and Diction-fails to demonstrate competency with language use; sentence constructions and vocabulary may be inappropriate, facile, or incoherent. Format and Design-makes no attempt to use the elements of design to help persuade its audiences. Research (if applicable)-fails to include sufficient sources for topic, incorporates irrelevant or inadequate sources, or plagiarizes. Mechanics-contains serious and multiple errors that seriously hinder the reading of the paper.

Source: Ball State University Writing Program

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