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What COCC300 Students Are Like

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As a group COCC300 students surprisingly resemble COCC150 students. We need to emphasize at the outset and reiterate throughout the semester how much work this course is; the students don't expect to do so much work in a core course. We need to teach our students how to conduct effective workshops. A full, or nearly full, class period devoted to discussing, modeling, and practicing workshops is well worth the time it takes from other activities. Moreover, those of us who optimistically believed our students would see the value of coming to class and volunteer to be there have needed to return to strong attendance policies. And we have all found ourselves spending much more time than we had planned on building critical reading skills at the beginning of the course.

On the other hand, COCC300 students are typically further along in their majors than are COCC150 students. Most of your students will be juniors or seniors. Consequently, we have found that when we capitalize on our students' knowledge by constructing assignments that ask them to explore topics in their disciplines, (some of) the students demonstrate in their essays the level of thoughtful and complex analysis and/or synthesis we only hope for in COCC150.

After the freshman year, students also talk! Every class is, of course, different, but on the whole we think it safe to say that COCC300 discussions are easier to get going, more fruitful, and often a pleasure to participate in. Enjoy! But a word of warning: while our students have consistently impressed us with their verbal skills, their writing skills have very often lagged behind. Therefore, we heartily recommend collecting a piece of writing immediately and spending a significant amount of time with critical reading skills early in the semester.

In the end, it isn't really that that the individual COCC300 student is different in nature from the COCC150 student; you may well recognize his or her good and bad habits and be pleasantly surprised at students' willingness to interact with each other and you. Rather, the greatest distinction between teaching the two classes seems to be a very real difference in the students as groups of writers: COCC300 students bring with them an astounding diversity of writing abilities.