CO150: College Composition
Fall 1998

Professor: Mike Palmquist
Office: 312 Eddy Hall
Phone: 491-7253
Email Address:
Office hours: Tuesdays, 1:30 - 3:30, and by appointment

Course Readings

Course Description

This course is designed to introduce you to and prepare you for the types of writing you may be asked to produce in college. As an introductory course, your writing will be evaluated on how well it meets the standards of college writing. In this course, the type of writing we will focus on will include personal essays, summaries of and responses to texts, syntheses of texts written by several authors, analyses of the rhetorical conventions of texts, and original arguments.

In evaluating your work, I will focus on how well your writing conforms to the conventions of each type of writing. I will also focus on your ability to write clearly and to conform to the norms of standard written English.

All class sessions will be held in the Eddy Hall, Room 2 computer classroom. A large part of those sessions will involve writing on the computer. As a result, this class will tend to be much more like a workshop than a traditional lecture class.


This is a limited add/drop course. If you are planning to drop this course, you must do so by Thursday, August 27th. I realize that we will have met only once prior to that time. If you have questions or concerns about the course that may lead you to consider dropping it, please speak with me as soon as you can.

Our Auditors: During the semester, other instructors may observe this class. This arrangement is part of our instructor training program. If you have any concerns about this arrangement, please speak with me about them.


Your course grade will be based on the quality of your written work, on the quality of your class participation (including attendance), and on your performance on the various class exercises and out-of-class assignments you are asked to complete during the semester. The course grade will be calculated as follows:

    Unit One: Examining the Functions of Language

  1. Personal Essay: 5%
  2. Response Essay: 10%
  3. Inquiry Essay: 15%
  4. Unit Two: Analyzing the Language of Texts in an Academic Discipline

  5. Text Analysis Report: 10%
  6. Unit Three: Formulating a Written Argument

  7. Arguing Essay Proposal Packet: 10%
  8. Arguing Essay Brief: 5%
  9. Arguing Essay: 20%
  10. Final Exam: 5%
  11. Homework and In-Class Work: 20%

Plus/Minus Grading: This class uses plus/minus grading.

Attendance Policy: Because of the small size of this class and the extent to which we will use collaborative activities during class sessions, regular attendance by members of the class is important. To encourage your attendance, I will record attendance. If you accumulate more than three absences during Unit I, I will reduce your grade for the Inquiry Essay by one letter grade per each additional absence. If you accumulate more than three absences during Units II and III, I will reduce your grade for the Arguing Essay by one letter grade per each additional absence.


Plagiarism is the dishonest use of someone elseís thoughts or words. Itís cheating. Plagiarism can vary from submitting someone elseís paper as your own, to "borrowing" a nice sounding phrase, to using a source without citing it correctly, to "padding" a bibliography by making up sources or including sources you didnít use in your research. Whenever you use a general concept or idea, quotation, statistic, fact, illustration, or phrase that was not your own without giving proper credit to the author, you are plagiarizing.

Plagiarism constitutes academic dishonesty and will be treated as such. If you fail to do your own work in this class, you have failed to meet the requirements of the course. Depending on the degree of plagiarism, the penalties range from failure of an individual paper to failure of the course to expulsion from the University.

Policies and Requirements

  1. Paper Format: All papers must be printed in a legible font using a laser printer or an ink-jet printer. (If you have a dot matrix printer that can produce acceptable/readable output, thatís fine too.)
  2. Three-Ring Binder: Please bring a three-ring binder to class. I will ask you to keep all of your written work in this binder.
  3. Late Papers: If you submit a paper late, it will be penalized. However, should you find it impossible to meet the due date for an assignment, please contact me prior to the due date so that we can arrange a new due date. Papers submitted on revised due dates will not be considered to be late.
  4. Attendance: Please attend all days on which we will be conducting peer-review workshops. If you choose to be absent on a day that we are conducting a peer-review workshop, you will be penalized not only for missing that dayís in-class assignment(s), but also for missing a workshop day. The penalty will affect your grade on the essay for which we are conducting the workshop.
  5. Backup Copies of Your Work: You will be responsible for making multiple copies of all the work you do in this class. You should bring two high density, PC formatted, 3.5-inch floppy diskettes to each class session. These diskettes will be used to make copies of the work you produce during each class session and to make copies of your major essays. You should be aware that, although the files you save on your network drive are backed up each evening, files have been known to become corrupted, lost, stolen, destroyed, deleted, hacked, flayed, and/or infected.
  6. Computers in Our Classroom: We will be doing a great deal of work on computers during class. If you have a strong aversion to computers, please see me so that we can work out an alternative to taking this section of CO150. I will expect those of you who choose to remain in this section to be willing to work on the computers in this room.
  7. Home Computers: If you have a computer at home or that you use on a regular basis, you will be expected to learn how to translate the file format for the word processing program you use on that computer so that you can work on your files both in this room and on your home computer. If you have any questions about how to do this, please talk with me.
  8. Open-Door Policy: If you have questions or concerns about this class, please contact me. If my office hours are inconvenient, I'm happy to set up meetings with you that better fit your schedule. Or stop by -- I'm in my office quite often. I'm also available on email.

Course Resources

The Writing Center: I encourage all students to use the Writing Center, located in Eddy Hall Room 6. The tutors in the Writing Center are available to help you with your writing, to provide feedback on your work as it progresses, or simply to talk with you about ideas you have for a paper. Although the Writing Center tutors do not proofread papers, they are quite happy to work with you to improve your proofreading and editing skills. If you bring one of our assignments to the Writing Center, be prepared to talk about the assignment (you'll find the assignment sheets on the Web and I'll also hand them out in class) and the thinking you've done so far about the paper. The Writing Center is a superb resource -- you'll certainly benefit as a writer and as a student if you make regular use of its services.

The Writing Center: Located at on the Web, the Writing Center is an internationally known (and used) site for writing and speaking instruction. The Writing Center offers a wealth of resources that can help you improve as a writer, including the course page for this class. Be sure to check it out, not just this semester, but in other semesters during your time at the University.