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English 151L Late Summer 2015

Monday June 1 to Thursday August 6th

Highlights from the syllabus

detailed schedule will be in the main syllabus

Hi! Welcome to the class.

I am Kathryn Gordon (you may see Elizabeth in
places same person!)
ar c
My email is
Backup e-mail is

a fo ommu
of r icatio
ect i

Office hours (you get an almost instant response):

Mon. 2pm to 5pm & Wed. 6-8pm
Working then? No problem: We will find a time
you can make. Saturdays are good.
Office hours by phone, skype, text or email.
I do not mind texts: 518/364-6813

This is me at a surprise birthday/book

publication party my fabulous sister
threw for me.

At the end of the course Ill tell you about my books and
current writing projects. If youre interested. (I lost that
jacket someplace )o:

Our Book
Backpack Literature, 4th edition. W. J. Kennedy and
Dana Gioia.
ISBN: 978-0-205-15166-0. I do not use

the My Literature Lab add-on.

You do not need the Access card
There are eBooks and rentals that cost
less. There are 2 copies on reserve
at the main library and 1 at the Monroe Library
Warning: this book has very small print. If that will matter to
you, an e-book version may be better.

Get the book ASAP

The first weeks reading will be
available on line because not everyone
can get the book right away. But after
that you really need the book. Again:
You do not need the Access card
Find a way to get the book. I notice
people who dont get the book by the 2nd
week fall behind and often drop. Give
yourself the tools you need to succeed.

Do you think you will have

trouble getting the book by
the end of
the first week (June 6th)?
Call me now 518/364-6813

How to earn points

Part of the

Total Points
Possible 1040





4 essays (50-150 each).

All essays earn points.
No essay fails unless
you fail to turn anything

1 rough or final draft

each week except for
weeks 1 & week 5.
Posting rough drafts
is optional but earns
extra forum points.



10 weeks - up to 20 each
week and 10 extra in
weeks when we
workshop on the 4

1 forum per week.

Post 3-4 times. Always
post in readingrelated threads



10 posts (up to 20 each,

with extra points given
for extra long/good

1 per week. If you fall

behind you can catch
up, but no more than
2 catch-up posts in
any one week.

Imitate &
Create Blog


Up to 20 points each.
Topic options given each

Self-paced, can be
done any time, except
no more than 2 in any
one week



One check-test each


Do any time during

the week up until
Sunday 11PM.

About those
Bonus Point Opportunities
Where points go

Ways to earn Bonus or Big Bonus points


Essay guidelines describe ways to earn bonus points. Could

be an amazing title, extra sources, or adding an extra

Added to your points for that essay.

No max

Added to your Forum points for that

week, which adds to your forum
total for the semester

1. Talk a lot. Write a lot & interact well with other posts and
earn 5-10 more points over the max of 20.
2. Scavenger hunt: Check announcements for things to look
for in the weekly forum. Email in answers for the bonus
3. In some weeks, student-started threads are allowed.
These can earn up to 20 extra forum points if they are
very active. Moderate to keep it going.

Workshopping on rough

During the 4 workshop weeks, earn 10 extra points for active


Weekly Forum

Added to your Forum points for that


Improve the course

Added to the Bonus Pts column in
the gradebook. Note that the
Reading Checks part of the course
is in beta version. There will be
typos and questions that could be

Find a typo, flag a schedule glitch, suggest a great link, or in

any way improve the course for 10-20 bonus points. Let me
know by well-written email. The quality of the email effects
the points, and there is a mistake in this sentence. Find it for
10 bonus pts. Hint: verb vs noun form.

Q & A about Bonus Points

Q: What if I have enough points for an A before the end of the semester?
A: Then you can skip the last essay, or some other work. You earned it. But please do stay around in the
discussion forum. We need you.
Q: Do I have to try to earn bonus points?
A: No. The bonus points are not in the grading scale. You can earn 0 bonus points and still get an A.
Many do. Bonus points might provide a buffer if you have some crisis or a very busy time during the
semester. If you can earn them early, why not? Plus, less experienced writers who score low on
essays can still do well in the course (and learn more) by earning bonus points. Hard work = high
Q: Where do bonus points go?
A: Most go into the Bonus Point column in the gradebook. Forum bonus points go in the forum column.
Essay bonus points usually just add to an essays overall score.
Q: Are bonus points included in my running total?
A: Yes, but they are not counted in the total possible points. They are true bonus points. Thats why you
dont need to earn ANY to still earn an A.
Q: What is the maximum bonus points I can earn?
A: There is no maximum. Some students last semester earned close to 200. Some earned none or very
few yet still earned a high final grade.
Q: How come we can turn in only 2 Bonus Point opportunities in a week?
A: I dont want people disappearing and then doing a big chunk of the course at the end. Plus, it would
not be fair to those with very busy schedules who dont have time to do a lot of extra work in one or
two weeks.

the Emp
din yers
is p or 1 st cause port
o or
com ar em f term at
ca t
planned maximum
es tion
io n

Grading Scale
Grading Scale 1040 points is the total

or higher A
900-949 A
850-899 B+
800-849 B
750-799 B
700-749 C+
600-699 C
500-599 C
450-499 D
449 or lower fails
Changes to this scale will be announced and posted. Students
can check total points at any time in the Grade Center. You
never lose points once you earn them. Skipping an assignment is
fine if you are happy with your point total.

Where & When to turn in


Rough & final drafts of essays are due

on Sundays at 11PM (unless
announced otherwise). Bad day for
you? Give yourself an earlier deadline.
Ill score your work earlier.

Post rough drafts in the Discussion

Forum. Turn in final drafts through the
Final Work Here folder in Learning
Content. E-mail is the backup turn in.

Late Policy
Late essays lose up to 10 points and generally will not be
accepted more than one week late. Communicate if you
have to turn an essay in late. Stay engaged. You could miss
one whole essay and still receive an A or B in the course. If
you fall down, get up; come back to the table; communicate.
Why this late policy?
To be fair to those who manage to make the due date
To challenge you to have high standards
To coach you to be a writer who makes deadlines
To invite you to make your college career a high priority!

If you have to turn an essay

in late

Dont panic! The late penalty is only 10 points, or

less than 1% of the overall semester grade.
Do get moving! Essays are not accepted more than
one week late. If more than a week late, just move
on to the next one.
If you have to quit on an essay, dont quit on the
course! The 4 essays are very different. One may
be hard for you, the next easier. They do not get
harder as we go.
You could miss a whole essay and still earn an A or
B. There are many ways to earn points. Dont quit.

A bit more about the late policy

I know students sometimes procrastinate (I do), and
that they have busy lives. I also know emergencies
sometimes get in the way of meeting a due date. This
policy isnt meant to judge you. If you are so busy or so
in crisis that you must skip an essay or have a down
week, keep communicating, dont isolate. In this short
semester, more than one down week will cause you to
drop behind and feel confused and frustrated.
The essays we write are college level essays; they
take time. Start early. Turn in the rough drafts. I read
them and let you know if youre headed in the right
direction. Dont think somethings wrong with you if it
is hard. Walk away and come back, talk to other
students, ask questions. Anyone who keeps trying can
do well in this course.

You just cant beat

the person who wont give up
Babe Ruth
Bonus point opportunity 1: Send me a Dont Quit type
quote, with a story of a time in your life when you or
someone you know didnt quit. Up to 20 bonus. Please
let me know if I can share it with the class or not.
Bonus point opportunity 2: Say why you think this quote
is true OR untrue, with an example to support your case.
Turn in by e-mail. Bonus point opportunities are usually
turned in by e-mail, and the quality of your e-mail adds
to the points.

E-mail details
Ill get to know your writing through your
essays. Ill get to know you through your forum
posts & e-mails.
This is a writing class. Take care with words.
Think about your tone. Revise before you send.
To help me keep track of what you send, use a
clear subject line such as Question, Bonus point
I will lose a few emails. My apologies in
advance. Its fine to send a follow-up e-mail
after a few days if you have not received a
response. Texts and calls are okay too.

Forum Posting
To earn the 20 weekly points, aim for 3-4 posts totaling about 1,000 words. Posts can vary
in length. Post as early in the week as you can and come back to see what others have
written. Finish by Sunday 11 PM. Good rule, if you come to the course for anything, post

Posts should be interactive:


directly on assigned reading. If you didnt read it

dont post like you did, but do read & discuss others posts
Quote the reading and other students posts
Give examples from the reading and your life
Connect someones post to the reading, your life, world
Compare and contrast posts
Point out a theme running through the posts that week
Ask questions of the other students
Answer questions
Use peoples names

Do you dislike
discussions forums?
I know some people have many on-line
courses and so are required to do a ton of
posting. If you have had bad experiences
or just feel forum-fatigue, give my forum
a chance. Its different. If you still feel
like its not useful to you, just busy work,
and youre faking it, call or email me.
Well try something else. 518/364-6813,

Forum posting continued

Posts should be respectful:

Be respectful in what you write and how you react to what others
write. I read/skim all posts. Personal attacks will lose the
attacker all the points for that week. Anyone showing continued
disrespect will be dropped from the course.
Be respectful in how you write. That is, be clear and readable.
Casual is fine for the forum, and some text-type shortcuts are
okay, but the forum is our classroom. Your words are your
If you are a weak typist/speller, type posts in MS Word first to get
spelling help. If you are an ESL student, do your best to be clear.
Note that you can edit or delete your own posts. If you write fast
in response to another post, great. But know that you can go
back later to correct and clarify.
E-mail me if you feel attacked, insulted or undermined. Our
readings will generate lively discussions. Disagreement is fine;
disrespect is not.

Forum Workshopping
For each essay, we read and comment on
each others rough drafts. You wont grade:
youll react to the style and ideas. Youll help
the writer know whats working, whats funny,
whats confusing, what makes you want to
know more. Youll be a real-life reader, an
audience the most valuable thing to a writer.
Writing & reading other students rough
drafts is very helpful. You get to see how
everyone else is handling the essay. You might
find out your work is actually better than you
thought. Its fun and interesting.
Note: I often give extra points for active

Response Journals
Up to 20 points each post for a max of 200
Do one post per week on the assigned
reading. 2 catch-up posts accepted in any
one week
Learn and hone skills needed in the essays
Other students cannot see journal posts
We rotate through 4 types of responses

React and evaluate

Quote and interpret the quote
Compare and contrast
Analyze a literary element (plot, character, tone, style

Imitate & Create Blogs

a self-paced

part of the course

Up to 20 points each post for a total max of 100

points (less than 10% of the overall grade)
Do about 5 posts in the semester self paced. Up
to 2 catch-up posts can be done any week
Try out creative writing. Creative options to
choose from each week
Other students can see blog posts (commenting
optional and not expected/required)

Note: Interested students can double-down on the blog. How? Move up to 100 points
from another part of the course to the blog. E-mail for details.

Mid-term and final

there is no mid-term
& no final


My teaching approach
I revise the course regularly based on student
feedback, to make it:
Interesting & Enriching
Fair & Bias-free
Challenging but Supportive
Useful to you in your career and life goals
I respect my students. You work hard, often working
one or two jobs while raising families and taking
heavy course loads. Im here for you not you for me. I
take pride in my work.

Quotes from past course


One of the best Professors I worked with.

Great course, great Professor and overall experience. Professor Gordon is very organized and does
an excellent job at making this course productive and fun!
Professor Gordon was a really creative and helpful educator this semester and I would definitely
take her class again. I had her last semester and it was because she was so easy to talk to and
really opened up discussions so that it had practical connections to the material we were learning
as well as fun engagement activities to keep ourselves interested in the topics. I loved the variety
of different writing assignments because we were able to use many of the skills we learned this
semester. She was great at grading things on time and giving feedback through all stages of the
learning process from rough drafts to final papers and I really appreciate that because it allows
me to see that my hard work is not going unnoticed.
SUPERB is how I would describe Prof. Gordon. She was always available to answer questions and
she was constantly online reviewing and commenting on the students' posts. What I most
appreciate is that Prof. Gordon selected a variety of literary types for this course which made the
course very interesting. She also helped us to engage in thought provocating discussions about the
pieces we were working on. In doing so, we were able to better learn the material. Quite frankly, I
yawned when I selected this course. I thought for sure it would be boring and the material would
be redundant. As it turned out, of all the courses I took this semester, I enjoyed this one the most.
Loved having this course with Prof Gordon you can tell she really loves what she does and cares
about her students!
Professor Gordon is very timely and committed to her course and did an outstanding job guiding
me throughout this course. She participated in every single discussion numerous times. I have not
had such a wonderful instructor or experience in an online course like I did with Professor

These are highlights from the syllabus

presented in a way that I hope is
Low stress

Send questions and comments any

time to
or 518/364-6813.
I do not mind texts

Lets have an awesome semester!