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Policy Statement - Sample 3

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Writing Arguments (CO300) Spring 1995, Section 2
Instructor: Marisa Harper
Writing Center: 105 Voc. Ed.
Office Hrs: By appointment

Required Texts: The Aims of Argument: A Rhetoric and Reader by Timothy W. Crusius and Carol E. Channell
--Various readings and activities on Reserve in the library
Recommended: A good dictionary and thesaurus

Course Description: C0250 focuses on reading and writing a range of arguments appropriate for academic and general audiences. This course offers students many opportunities both to read and analyze varieties of arguments on controversial issues. Our general topic for the semester is Media and "American" Culture. Students will complete a carefully sequenced series of assignments that will include summarizing, synthesizing, evaluating, and crafting arguments, many of which will be based on library and field research. The class is a demanding one--it requires 6-7 papers, almost daily reading and shorter writing assignments, as well as regular attendance. As we will focus often on discussion and debate-type forums, this class also requires active participation by each and every class member, at all class meetings.

Attendance: Since we not only write extensively in class but also discuss, workshop, and revise each other's essays, regular attendance is a must. You have 2 "freebies," no questions asked. Absences #3 - #4 will result in unfavorable consequences in the final grade for the course. After that, your grade will be lowered one letter grade per absence.

Workshops are mandatory! You must be present and prepared on each given workshop day. If not, the grade on the next paper or portfolio will be reduced by one letter grade.

Grading: Portfolio Grading - The first half of the semester (roughly) you will be working on a portfolio. A second portfolio will be due at the end of the semester. Your portfolio is a presentation of all your work, with emphasis on your best work thus far. Excellent organizational skills are a must for this type of evaluation for keeping track of and assembling your work for portfolio presentation, as well as self-discipline to keep up with the sequence of assignments, even though some may not be collected until you turn in your portfolio. Portfolios that do not have drafts included and do not show that the writer has been revising papers throughout the semester will be rewarded with an 'F.' Each paper included in the portfolio must have been workshopped in class and the workshop sheet included within the portfolio.

Portfolio I will be collected around midterm and will consist of 8-10 final draft pages comprising 3-4 papers. Portfolio 2 will be due 1-2 weeks before finals week and will consist of 10-12 final draft pages comprising 2 papers. Drafts of all essays must be submitted with each portfolio. I want to be able to track the excellent progress each student is making in their writing abilities and to see how well each of you is honing your writing skills. A "Works Cited" (and possibly a "Works Consulted") page must accompany each paper in each portfolio, as well as photocopies of each source that you use. Please submit your portfolio papers in a pocket folder for evaluation. The grading breakdown is as follows:

Portfolio 1 - 25%
Portfolio 2 - 40%
Class Participation and Final Exam - 15%
"Process" (daily assignments, intervention drafts, work leading, up to Portfolio, non-Portfolio papers) - 20%

No late papers will be accepted. Papers are late if a complete draft is not presented for the workshop on that paper or on a mandatory Intervention Draft due date. You will be allowed one extension per semester. To receive an extension, you must consult with your instructor before the due date. Extensions will not be granted at the class when work is due.

Intervention Drafts: From time to time I will ask you to submit a draft-in-progress for me to comment on. When I read these drafts I will suggest possible revisions for a couple of elements-- the most important--that you need to work on; I won't comment on every possible problem in the paper. Please remember that my comments are suggestions and not prescriptions. You must revise for other problems or weaknesses that I may not have commented on.

Even though I will comment on drafts, and as a class we will have regular in-class workshops during which your classmates will also comment on your papers, remember that you are responsible for and in control of your writing. You should take my comments and those of your peers into account, but don't expect them to do all of your rewriting for you. Use these opportunities to the fullest, as they afford you numerous times to revise and strengthen papers before you turn them in for a final grade.

Failure to turn in drafts-in-progress when collected for mandatory turn-ins will result in the lowering of the portfolio grade. There will be other times which will be optional that I will look at your drafts and comment if you choose.

Process: This includes Intervention Drafts, all work/research compiled for each paper, and "daily assignments." These assignments will consist of comments on essays, freewriting activities surrounding issues related to our topic, and other assignments. Some will be done in-class, some as homework. I will collect some homework assignments randomly to enter into your grade; otherwise, you will be given a cumulative "process" grade for each portfolio. Save all your work and include everything in your portfolio, even computer research printouts and in-class freewriting. (The only things you need not include are handouts I have given you). In- and out-of-class assignments will improve your writing by not only giving you more reading and writing experience but also by helping you generate topics and supporting ideas for your papers.

Plagiarism: Lifting or borrowing from other sources without acknowledging them will result in a failing course grade and possible expulsion by the university.

Computer Assisted Writing Lab: You will have access to computers in Eddy 300. Word Perfect, e-mail, etc. is available there for your use. Stop by to find out their new spring hours.

Need help with your writing? The Writing Center in Eddy Hall Room 6 (in the basement, north side) has a friendly and helpful staff to assist you in smoothing out trouble spots in your papers. Be sure to bring specific questions to the Writing Center, e.g., "Does my essay (or thesis) have a sharp focus?" "How could I develop this idea more fully?" However, the staff is instructed not to serve as proofreaders for you; that is entirely your responsibility. Also, the staff will not guesstimate your grade on any given assignment.

Concerns: Please come and see me with any problems you have or anxieties you may feel. Remember there is no such thing as a dumb question--only those unasked are dumb. Take care of small concerns and confusions early before they turn into major difficulties. You may reach me at my office voice mail or by leaving a message on e-mail (my address is Mharper@English@LiberalArts), and I will get back to you quickly.

If you have a learning disability or suspect that you may, please let me know so that I may assist you in finding the resources you need.

Have a fantastic semester!