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Daniel T. Kline, Dept. of English, U of Alaska Anchorage
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English 111: Methods of Written Communication
1. Prerequisites 4. Texts 7. Final/Semester Grades
2. Description 5. Requirements and Policies 8. Grading Criteria/Competencies
3. Objectives 6. Grading 9. Description of Paper Grades
English 111 Writing Units, Paper Assignments, and Class Schedule
Unit 1 Unit 2 Unit 3 Unit 4 Unit 5 Unit 6

English 111 Prerequisites

You must document your placement into the course no later than the third class period in any of four ways:

  1. An Engl. 111 placement/ASSET test with an acceptable score;
  2. An acceptable SAT test score (530 verbal);
  3. An acceptable ACT test score (22 English composite);
  4. A grade record showing completion of Engl. 108 or 109.

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Description

According to the UAA Catalog, Engl. 111 provides "Instruction in composition of expository essays with emphasis on different techniques for organization and development" and requires a documented research paper. Engl. 111 is a course in college-level writing, designed to teach students to generate and develop ideas in clear, effective written English. The course focuses on writing as a process and emphasizes revision of written material based on peer (and instructor) feedback. The writing skills you will develop in this class include summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting; synthesis, analysis, critique, and argumentation; and the basic methods of library research and conventions of academic writing. Engl. 111 also reviews basic grammar, usage, punctuation, and mechanics. In other words, this means we will spend our time writing and rewriting, talking about writing, reading other people's writing, evaluating what makes good writing, and developing our own writing skills.

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Objectives

Although other specific goals and competencies are defined for each writing unit, by the end of the semester, students will be expected to understand and demonstrate:

Any student requiring individualized accommodation due to a documented ADA disability should see me during the first week of class. UAA is an equal opportunity institution.

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Texts

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Requirements and Policies

1. Writing Units: Six writing units are scheduled in Engl. 111, including a documented research paper. Since each assignment engages the three tasks of the writing process (planning, drafting, revising and editing), you will work through at least two prewriting exercises, two drafts, and several revision and/or editing exercises or worksheets, in addition to the final paper. All writing units must be completed to earn a passing grade in the course, and although a point value will be assigned to the final paper, the assignment will be penalized if required process exercises are not completed. You will also meet with me in conference 2 – 3 times during the semester. In addition, the Reading/ Writing Center (R/WC) is available for consultation on your assignments and the English Computer Classroom (ECC) will have open hours for those enrolled in English classes to work on their essays.

2. Sources: Proper use and documentation of source material is an essential skills to be mastered in this class. To facilitate good research habits, each source you use in your essays should be photocopied, clearly labeled in proper MLA bibliographical form, and paper-clipped to your final draft. In addition, you must, on the photocopy itself:

When we begin to incorporate sources into the essays, I'll provide a handout giving you an example of how I'd like this done.

3. Journal: You will keep a writing notebook throughout the term, both for writing ideas, class assignments, and journaling. The beginning of each class will be set aside for this writing, and the entries will be turned in with the process work for each writing unit.

4. Daily Work/Quizzes: Students are to keep up with daily work and to come to class prepared, particularly when rough or revised drafts are due for the group work. Daily work may be checked through pop quizzes or other assignments. A percentage of your final grade will come from these quizzes. Missed quizzes and daily assignments cannot be made up and are counted as zeros.

5. Attendance: Much of what we do in Engl. 111 cannot be learned from a book, so prompt, regular attendance is essential. A roll sheet circulated daily at the beginning of class serves as the record of attendance. Chronically late persons will be considered absent; two unexplained absences will penalize your grade; three will drop you from the course. If you miss class, you are still responsible for any work due and should check with classmates for notes and assignments.

6. Plagiarism: Using another person's ideas, phrases, words, or writings without proper documentation, including having others write for you or using undocumented library sources, will not be tolerated. Disciplinary action can range from failing the paper in question to failure in the course. See the Code of Student Conduct for details.

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Grades

Final grades will be distributed according to the following scale: A = 93-100, B = 85-92, C = 77-84, D = 70-76, E = 69 or below, in line with the UAA descriptions (A = "comprehensive mastery," B = "high level of performance," C = "satisfactory level of performance," D = "lowest passing grade," and F = "failure"). No late assignments are accepted unless prior approval has been granted. If accepted, late or incomplete drafts penalize the final draft one letter grade, and late final papers start with a "C." Letter grades, when I use them, equal the following percentages:

Grade + Letter -
A = 98 96 94
B = 92 88 86
C = 83 81 78
D = 76 74 72
E = 70 and below
NG = No Grade

In some cases, I may assign a different point value for papers that do not fit these A through F categories. See the attached handout for a description of general grading criteria; specific criteria are circulated for each assignment. Grading papers is a time consuming task, so I ask that you allow me 2 – 3 class periods to return your folders.

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Final Grades

The writing units are valued as follows:
Writing Unit Writing Task   Pt Value
Unit 1. Exposition 1 5 Paragraph Theme = 100 pts
Unit 2. Exposition 2 Writing from a Thesis = 100 pts
Unit 3. Revising and Editing Revise an earlier essay = 100 pts
Unit 4. Research Investigate a Controversy = 200 pts
Unit 5. Argumentation Argue a position = 150 pts
Unit 6: In-class Writing Final Exam = 150 pts
Total Points for Essays = 800 pts
 
Process Work (25 pts per Writing Unit) = 150 pts
Working Bibliography Exercise = 100 pts
Conferences (2 x 25 pts) = 50 pts
 
Total Points for the Semester = 1100 pts

Other Grading Concerns

(1) You will evaluate your own process work according to the thoroughness, effort, and quality of your prewriting, rough drafts, evaluation and editing exercises, etc. (2) You may withdraw from the course until the 12th week at your own discretion, but if you’re contemplating dropping the course, I ask that you see me first to see if we can work something out. (3) I give I's (incompletes) only in cases of grave personal emergencies. (4) In very rare cases, I reserve the right to assign a final grade according to a student's writing skills at the end of the course, independent of any accumulated point value. (5) If you have questions at any time about grading procedures, a grade received, or any other question in the course (particularly if you seem to be falling behind), don't suffer in silence. Let me know, and we'll talk it out.

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General Grading Criteria and Writing Competencies, English 111

Overall Content and Style Grammar and Mechanics
Clear and appropriate thesis/controlling idea Complete and grammatical sentences: no fragment, comma splices, or run-on sentences.
Clear, logical structure appropriate to the purpose of the essay (clear mode(s) of development; use of transition and coherence devices) Subject-verb agreement: verbs agree with their subjects.
Effective introductory and concluding paragraphs Pronoun usage: pronouns clear and agree with their antecedents.
Topic sentences (paragraphing around a single idea) Diction: strong verbs, concrete language, clear editing.
Unified paragraphs developed through specific examples and details Punctuation: virtually free of punctuation errors, particularly comma usage.
Awareness of audience and point of view (no shifts in person, tense, number, voice) Correct spelling: minimal typos.

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General Description of Paper Grades, English 111/Kline

A This paper fully addresses the assignment with originality and imagination; presents a clear, complex, and thought-provoking thesis; paragraphs demonstrate clear, coherent organization, fully and richly developed with relevant and even surprising details and examples; diction reveals a broad, vigorous, precise vocabulary; sentence structure is varied and interesting with a clear command of transition and coherence devices; virtually free of surface errors; demonstrates a coherent and satisfying overall structure; speaks with a clearly identifiable authorial voice with a clear grasp of audience expectations. Generally, the reader is enlightened by this carefully thought-out and prepared paper.
B This paper fully explores the complexity of the assignment; the thesis is clear and interesting; paragraphs are effectively organized and coherently developed, balancing supporting generalizations with relevant, specific details; diction is competent and appropriate; sentence structure is varied and logical; few, if any, surface errors; introduction and conclusion offer compelling views of the subject; the essay presents a clear sense of authorial voice and audience expectations. Generally, this well-organized and logically structured paper offers an interesting and readable view of the subject.
C This paper in some way grapples with the assignment; thesis may be cloudy, perfunctory, or simplistic; paragraphs show evidence of organization and transition, though paragraph development is uneven, brief, or shallow; diction is acceptable, though limited or vague; sentences are generally grammatical, though repetitive; some bothersome grammatical errors don't interfere with reading; introduction and conclusion are acceptable though uninteresting; essay has some sense of voice and audience; Generally, this essay addresses the assignment but doesn't invoke interest or invite rereading.
D This paper attempts the assignment but is unsuccessful; thesis may be underdeveloped or clichéd; paragraphs ramble and appear disorganized and underdeveloped; language is marred by flaws in diction and usage; sentences contain many awkward, vague, and ungrammatical sentences which interfere with reading; punctuation is confused and inconsistent; organization is rough, choppy, and illogical; little or no awareness of voice or audience. Generally, this essay appears to have been put together quickly and carelessly or betrays major difficulties in writing skills.
F This paper fails to do one or more of the following: address the assignment; find a thesis or controlling idea; paragraph around as single, central idea; write standard, college-level English; form grammatical sentences; punctuate correctly.
NG This grade indicates major serious flaws with the assignment, and this paper must be revised after consulting with the instructor. In that consultation, we will identify exactly what needs to be done to bring the paper to a passing level. An NG allows me to avoid a failing grade for the paper and allows the student to correct the flaw(s) in the essay. If a student chooses not to revise and turn-in an NG essay, the grade will be recorded as a zero.
Poor proofreading (spelling, typos, etc) and multiple surface errors can significantly lower your grade.

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© 1998, Daniel T. Kline. All rights reserved. Page launched on 1.1.98. Last updated on 10.03.02.