Central New Mexico Community College
School of Adult and General Education
Department of Reading and Career Exploration

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READING & CRITICAL THINKING
3 Credit Hours, Summer 2013

Class:  RDG 0950-54, 55
CRNs 93866, 94071
Instructor:  Connie Gulick
Email: cgulick@cnm.edu
Class Location:  online
Class Hours:  online

My Schedule
Office Hours: At Main:  MW 12:45-4:00
Phone:  224-4000 x50219

Course website:  http://connie-gulick.com
Blackboard site: 
http://learn.cnm.edu

Office:  Main Campus, MS 507

Table of
Contents
for this page:

Catalog Course
Description: 

RDG 0950 - Reading and Critical Thinking, (Prerequisite: RDG 0750 or Accuplacer Reading score of 69 or equivalent)

Introduces reading required for success in college.  Students work on comprehension, problem-solving, note-taking, summarizing and computer-assisted research (3 theory hours + 1 lab hour per week)


Course
Objectives: 

At the end of this course, students will be able to do the following:

  • Demonstrate a personal study system that includes strategies for comprehension, retention, and recall; these strategies include previewing, annotating, learning academic vocabulary, note taking and organizing key information.

  • Summarize the thesis, main ideas, and major supporting details of articles and textbook chapters.

  • Apply critical reading skills to analyze and evaluate the components of an authorís argument.

  • Identify a controversial issue and find information from a variety of sources to research the issue.

  • Evaluate the credibility of sources of information.

  • Apply techniques of critical reflection to broaden and support their perspectives and integrate new knowledge.

Textbook and
Materials:

Required: 

  • Reading & Critical Thinking, Facione, ISBN-10 1-256-77962-8; ISBN-13 978-1-256-77962-9 (note:  books with these ISBNs probably have a different "author," and books with this author's name have a different ISBN.  You may use the Facione version; the only thing that's changed in the new book is the index has been corrected!)

  • pens and/or highlighters to write in your book!

  • plenty of access to a fairly up-to-date 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 projects 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, .docx 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.  I use Mozilla Firefox, which is a free browser and it works fine.  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 (.docx), Rich Text Format (.rtf), or (.pdf).  ("Notepad" is not acceptable.)
     
  • 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. 

Strongly Suggested:

  • 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.  Be sure you do a print preview and be sure the printer doesn't cut off words.  If it does, select all (Ctrl-A), copy, and paste onto a Word document and print that. 

  • 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:
 

Major Projects:

  • Argument Analysis Project 30%

  • Study Reading Project 30%

  • Critical Thinking Project 30%

Other requirements:  total average to 10% of final grade

  • Chapter Quizzes

  • Text and Subtext Activities

  • Participation and vocabulary

Anything with points attached to it can affect your grade.  However, you do have some wiggle room.  See Weekly Assessments below.

Grading:

A passing grade on ALL projects is required to pass the class A passing grade is 70% or better. Even if your average is above 70%, a score below 70% on any of the projects will give you an NC.  This means you can't blow off one project with the thought of your grades on the other two making up for it. 

 

This is a "Credit/No Credit" class.  A perfect score of 100% will not give you a different grade from a 71%.  So don't freak out if you don't always get 100% of possible points.  However, the 10%, the participation and quiz points can make a difference in your passing.  Don't blow those off, either.

 

I will be using the discussion board to go over the assignments that don't get graded.  Please, then, take advantage of the discussion board to help you improve your reading and prepare for the projects.  If I determine that you are not using the discussion board to its potential, I will start requiring assignments turned in to me so that I can grade them.

 

Final grades given are:

CR - satisfactory completion (70% or better) of all course work

NC - unsatisfactory completion (less than 70%) of course work

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 every day would be nice -- through posting on discussion boards, submitting your projects, and completing quizzes as assigned.  If you do not participate online for a full two weeks, do not expect to pass Reading 0950.  Also, I may drop you for "non-attendance."  But do not rely on my dropping you.  It is your responsibility to drop if you decide you won't be doing this class any more.  (I'd appreciate it if you let me know your decision.)

Make time for approximately 10 hours per week working on this class.  That includes "class time" and "study time."

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.   

Weekly Process
and Due Dates:

 
Begin every week by clicking on the Learning Modules button on the course menu to the left of your screen.  Then click the current week's link.  That will give you all reading and writing assignments and links.  Please do the assignments in the order they are listed in the module.  They build on each other.

Readings are necessary for you to do a good job, for example, on the discussion.  If you just jump in and respond to the discussion without having read or done previous assignments, you're wasting everyone's time!  So your first entry into the Discussion Board for each week should come through the Learning Module.  Try not to leave doing the discussions until the very end of the week.  People need a chance to look at and respond to your answers for their quality points. 

As you are reading through each chapter, there will be activity boxes where you can check your understanding of each reading.  You don't have to do the activity in each box -- I won't ask for the answers -- but it does help your reading.  The gray boxes that give Five Strategies at the end of each chapter are important.  Then there are exercises which, for the most part, we will not use.  If I want you to do any of the exercises at the end of the chapter, I will specify so.

When we begin a project, I will give you details through a link through the Learning Module.  The title of it will be all in caps.  Then a few weeks later, you will be able to submit the project through the Learning Module.  All the assignments that you submit to me (they have a special "assignments" icon and are listed in RED) are due by Sunday night at midnight.  After that, they are flagged as "late."  Please do not email or message me your assignments. 

Weekly
Assessments:

Every week that there is a chapter reading, you will have a quiz on the chapter.  You can do that any time once you've read the chapter (the quizzes will be available for only a couple of weeks after the chapter reading is assigned).  This is how I can know if you read the chapters; however, I set these quizzes to allow you to retake them, so that if you're unhappy with your score, you can go back and reread the pertinent stuff and get a better score.  The score used will be your LAST score, so second-guessing yourself is a bad idea.  (Last term, students seemed to be just guessing at the answers when they took the quiz multiple times and got worse scores each time!)

I will ask you to evaluate your performance that week through the points quizzes.  I will give you statements about each task and you choose the one that best describes your participation level.  You have one hour to complete each assessment and you get three tries if you screw up, or if you do more work later and want to come back and get points for it.  The score used is the LAST score.  (If you start a retake, but change your mind, the score will be a zero!)

Because the submitted assignments are due by midnight, Sunday, I'm giving you until the end of Monday, one day later to get the points test in.  Do this test as the last thing you do for the week.  But please don't wait until the last minute!  Murphy's law of online classes says the whole system will go bonkers just as you're finalizing everything.

To pass the course, you must earn at least 70% of the participation points available for the term, chapter and syllabus quizzes, and other minor assignments (like the Back-up Plan) .  But all in all, these points count only 10% of your total grade.

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

Please don't ask me to give you the full number of participation points for work submitted late, however worthy the reason.  These points serve as an incentive to complete assignments on time.  You will have an extra week after the due date in which you still can submit the assignment (it will be marked as "Late") and get a grade on it; you just don't get the participation points for it.

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 70% 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 70% or 100% of them.  However, earning less than 70% of these points will keep you from passing the course.  You can keep track of your 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).

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.  (Our Blackboard site is our classroom.)

If you have any concerns about your school work or other problems that are interfering with schools, the achievement coach for SAGE is Yesenia Beltran, who can help you.  Call her at 224-4286.  Or the achievement coach for Distance Learning is Michelle Renteria.  You can reach her at 224-3320.  Please take advantage of what we have to offer.

If you
need help:
Here are some ways you can get some help.
  • Assistance Centers for Education (ACE) is a tutoring site, located in the Student Resources Center (SRC) on Main Campus.  Check out the online page for more locations at other campuses.  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.
     
  • 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 Reading 0950 online.  This tutoring service is available not just for reading but for other courses you're taking, as well. 

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

     

  • If you need to talk to me, the best way is through "message," Blackboard's class mail. I'll be checking that frequently and there's no chance I'll miss it.  Don't forget to check messages frequently yourself; the present iteration of Blackboard doesn't show you if there's a message waiting. 

    If it's an emergency, you may email me at my primary CNM address --  cgulick@cnm.edu-- which I check slightly more often. However, from an outside-of-Blackboard email, you must indicate in the subject line that you're my student or I might delete your message as spam without reading it.

    You can also call me at 224-4000 x50219 and leave a message.  I'm not keen on phones, but this leaves me a voice message on email and I will get it.

    Or if it's really really an emergency, you can call me at my home 281-1768.  (No answering service.)

    I'm available in my office on CNM's Main Campus (MS 507) during my office hours (see My Schedule). Please feel free to come by and visit me.

  This page was last updated Thursday, May 16, 2013, by Connie Gulick.