Central New Mexico Community College
Educational and Career Advancement
Introductory English and ESL

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ESSAY WRITING
Spring 2008

Classes:  ENG 0950-51 and 0950-53 
Instructor:  Connie Gulick
Email:  cgulick@cnm.edu
My Schedule

 
Office Hours:  MW 12:30-2:30,
TR 1:30-2:30

Phone:  281-1768

Course website:  http://planet.cnm.edu/cgulick
Blackboard site:  http://elearning.cnm.edu
Office:  CNM Main Campus, Max Salazar, Rm. 507


Table of Contents for this page:
 

Catalog Course Description: 

(Prerequisite: ENG 0750 or equivalent)  Prepares students for first-year college composition by providing practice of the rhetorical and grammatical skills necessary to write purposeful, reader-centered essays.  Covers effective use of a writing process in out-of-class essays and in timed, in-class situations.  Incorporates readings for discussion of ideas and for information to be used in studentsí writing. (45 theory hours + 15 lab hours per term)

Course Objectives:  By the end of the semester, as an English 0950 student, you will be able to . . .
  • demonstrate effective use of a writing process in essays both with and without a limit of the amount of time spent on them.
  • demonstrate an ability to understand readings and to use ideas or information from these readings within your own writing.
  • write an essay that . . .
    • has a clear main idea that focuses the essay and is meaningful to the readers;
    • develops the main idea with adequate, specific, and logical support that makes an impact on the reader;
    • reflects choices based on your consideration for the readers' knowledge level, experience, opinion, and interests;
    • takes the reader from one idea to another and organizes the ideas both within and between paragraphs;
    • communicates -- with reasonable correctness -- in standard written English.

Required Textbook and Materials:
  • Models for Writers:  Short Essays for Composition, 9th Edition, by Alfred Rosa and Paul Eschholz (Bedford/St. Martins, 2007).
     
  • You must have plenty of access to a fairly new computer -- a PC or Mac -- and the Internet.  Your internet access speed needs to be at least 56K.  If you have computer problems during the term, you can take advantage of CNM's open computer labs to keep from getting behind.  All the essays will be word processed.  Mac users:  you will need to be able to (1) open PC files, and (2) convert your files to a PC-compatible format (either .doc Word files or .rtf Rich Text Format).
     
  • Computer software:  1.  You need a web browser to get around on the internet and to use Blackboard.  The browser that works best with Blackboard is Microsoft's Internet Explorer.  However, I use Mozilla Firefox, which is a free browser.  And 2.  word processing software.  If you don't have MS Word, you need another application that will allow you to open the Word files as well as let you save your documents as Word (.doc) or Rich Text Format (.rtf).  If you have MS Vista (Word 2007) you will need to save your essays in Word 2003 format so that I and other students can read them.
     
  • Computer skills:  You need to be comfortable using computers and word-processing software, and finding information on the Internet.  If you've taken keyboarding, great!  If not, it doesn't matter as long as you can type reasonably fast.  Without these minimal computer skills, you will find that you must spend many more hours per week on this course on top of the hours required to complete weekly assignments.  In addition, you will have to complete a two-hour timed essay in CNM's Testing/Assessment Center on Main Campus.  If you are a slow typist, you may have a problem completing this timed-writing.
     
  • A 3-ring binder, 5-6 tabbed dividers, 14 numbered dividers, three-hole punch, and access to a printer so you can print out instructions to follow as you are working on your computer.  THIS is how you can organize the printouts.  I don't grade you on your notebook, but this has been a major factor in the success of my online students.

 

 
Course Requirements: 

 

You will write a minimum of five full essays using multiple drafts, revise all of them, and turn in a portfolio of three of your best works.  In addition, you will be writing several "mini-essays" to be posted on the discussion board.  Your Portfolio will be graded only if you complete all minimum course requirements satisfactorily.  This means . . .
  1. you have completed all five essays,
  2. out of five essays, at least three essays must receive a score of a 4 or above.  (If you receive a 3 or below on any of your essays, you must revise it and submit it within one week to get a better score.  Submitting it late will get you a zero.  However, you have a chance to redeem yourself by revising it immediately for a better grade.)  And
  3. you have a 75% or better on participation and quizzes.  Part of your participation will be submitting a peer response to two students for each essay.  That means a total of 10 peer responses.  The discussion board postings and self-evaluations and anything with points attached to it can affect your grade.

Grading: All final drafts of the essays will receive a number grade from 0 to 6. 
  • 6 -- excellent essay; improvement still useful, possibly needed; revision of sentence style, organization, or minor editing may be needed.
  • 5 -- fine essay; definitely needs revision, beefing up examples, cutting wordiness, some editing.
  • 4 -- okay essay; may need more development, definitely needs careful revision and editing, may not be on a level to pass to English 101.
  • 3 -- struggling essay; needs substantial improvement in the right direction, like a clear main idea and/or better and more support; needs thorough editing.
  • 2 -- extremely weak essay, contains major sentence level errors, wanders, is confusing.
  • 1 -- did not deal with the assignment; needs to be tossed and the whole thing written over.
  • 0 -- more than one week later than the due date.  Must be revised quickly for a better grade.

The grades on this scale are not meant to be equivalent to traditional letter grades in any way, and you are advised not to interpret them as such.  Instead, the scale roughly denotes the amount of revision work required if the essay is to meet the course objectives.

Other English 0950 teachers, not I, will grade your portfolio of your three best essays.  They will assign a grade of pass or fail to the portfolio, which then determines your final grade for the course (which is a pass/fail class.)

Attendance: The particular hour and day you "attend" isn't so important, but you must attend regularly.  I expect you to show participation at least three times a week -- though preferably every day -- through posting on discussion boards, submitting your essays, reviewing the essays of the other students, and completing quizzes as assigned.  If you do not participate online for a full two weeks, do not expect to pass English 0950.  Also, I may drop you for "non-attendance."

Sometimes students expect that taking an online class allows them to "disappear" for a week or so, and they can take a vacation.  Unfortunately, this class doesn't work that way.  We have so much to accomplish that you need to deal with taking a vacation the same way you would if you were in a class-room class; that is, plan ahead, talk with me, get your work in early -- and even then, you might check in once or twice while on vacation.   

Certain assignments have participation points attached to them.  These points are given to encourage students to complete these assignments ON TIME.  For example, giving peer responses and publishing essays on time earn points because when these assignments are completed after the due dates, they can affect the ability of the other students to complete their assignments on time.  Other students are dependant on you to complete your assigned task ON TIME.  To get credit for points you've earned during a particular week, submit a Points Assessment on or before Monday, the day after the last day of our academic week.  To be eligible to pass the course, you must earn at least 75% of the participation points available for the term.

NOTE:  Claiming more points than you have earned will result in loss of ALL points for that week.  I will audit individual Points Assessments randomly throughout the term.

Please don't ask me to give you the full number of points for work submitted late, however worthy the reason.  The points serve as an incentive to complete assignments on time.

If some personal emergency or work situation prevents you from completing all the Discussion Board postings for a week, don't stress.  Keep in mind that you need only 75% of the total number of points available in order to be eligible to pass the course.  That means that you don't have to earn all the points available to you; you have some "wiggle room."  Participation points won't improve your grade, whether you earn 75% or 100% of them.  However, earning less than 75% of these points will keep you from passing the course.  You can keep track of your participation points in Blackboard's My Grades.

 

Policies:

Accommodation:
If there is any student in this class who has special needs because of learning disabilities or other disabilities, please discuss your needs with your instructor or contact Special Services (Main 224-3259, JMMC 224-5946).

If you have any concerns about your school work or other problems that are interfering with schools, our school ECA has achievement coaches, Ann Lynn Hall and Rhoda Strode, to help you.  You can call them at 224-4285 or 224-4286.  Please take advantage of what we have to offer.

Civility Policy:
Students are expected to contribute to a classroom environment that is respectful and conducive to learning. Inappropriate behavior in the classroom may result in a request to leave class. 

Discrimination Policy:
I will not tolerate any language within this course that excludes or disparages people because of their race, skin color, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, or political preference.  Please be sensitive to how your language may be perceived by your classmates because of these differences. 

Academic Dishonesty Policy:
I expect you to complete your course work with honest and integrity.  If I find any evidence of academic dishonesty, which includes cheating on a test, or helping other students cheat, plagiarism, falsification, fabrication, unauthorized collaboration, or submitting a piece of work from another course for credit, I will have to report it to the dean.  For more information on this, please read the Codes and Policies section of the CNM Course Catalog.  

 
If you need help:
Here are some ways you can get some help.
  • To Contact Me:  Once you've gained access into Blackboard, please use Blackboard's Class Mail to email me.  I will respond to your email in 48-72 hours.  I may respond sooner than this, but I can't guarantee it.  You students who plan to do most of your course work during the weekends should read the Weekly Learning Maps and assignments well ahead of time so that, if you have any questions, you can email me before the weekend.  If you can't get in touch with me, email your fellow students in Blackboard for information. 
     
  • My Office Hours:  I am almost always available during my office hours to help students with their assignments.  If my office hours do not fit your schedule, please email me to arrange for an appointment.  My office is on Main Campus, Max Salazar, Room 507.
     
  • Embanet Help Line:  For problems with Blackboard, such as the Discussion Board, uploading files into your assignments, etc. --  Embanet has a support center specifically for CNM students.  Or you can call the 24-hour Blackboard Embanet helpline at 1-888-560-4927.  Or call CNM's technical help line at 224-HELP.  (Use this number to find out if the Blackboard server is down.)

Important note:  Problems with a home computer or internet access are not an excuse for late assignments.  Such problems should be expected to occur at some time during the semester, so you need to have an alternate plan in order to complete the assignments on time.  One possibility is to use CNM's computer labs or use a family member's or a friend's computer in a pinch.

  • SmarThinking online writing help is available free to all students taking English 0950 online.  This tutoring service is available not just for English but for other courses you're taking, as well.  Students in past online English 0950 courses have told me that the SmarThinking tutors -- most of whom are current or past English instructors -- gave them useful help with their essays.

When you get there, you need to enter your Username and Password.  For SmarThinking,
Username: your complete CNM email address
Password: cnm (lowercase)
 

  • The Writing/Reading Assistance Center (WRAC) is located in the East Atrium, 1st floor, Jeanette Stromberg on the Main Campus, and in J-110 on Montoya Campus.  Tutors in the WRAC are available to help students one-to-one, and it offers a variety of useful handouts that you can download.  I strongly encourage you to take advantage of this free service, especially if you're having problems with your essays assignments.
     
  • Online Writing Lab (OWL):  The WRAC tutors also can give you online tutoring and essay help.

 

 

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This page last updated, Tuesday, May 18, 2010, by Connie Gulick.