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Welcome to the course! The most important thing you can do in this course is to participate fully. Participating fully means much more than just attending class and doing the assignments. It also means actively putting your mind, heart, and will into learning in this classroom. It means talking, listening, responding, thinking beyond the text, and being interactive with the instructor and other students. It means that for this part of your grade, even if you find the assignments easy, you still won't get a good grade unless you learn and participate beyond what you know now. It also means that if you have difficulty doing the assignments, you can still get a good, strong grade in participation just for working hard, learning a lot, asking questions, and seeking help.
Your participation/improvement is worth 50 points. There are a total of 200+ points possible in the course: attendance, 50 pts.; weekly papers, 100 pts.; and participation/improvement, 50 pts. Extra credit--mainly for attendance but also for Draft 4 extra bibliography sources that are quoted--also is possible. See the "Grading" page in this Web site for more details. Also, typically, I give an A+ (50 points) for participation/improvement automatically to the person who goes to the Writing Center the most for tutoring.
The best way to figure your total points for participation/improvement at any given time is to add up your points (or X's; 1 X = 1 point) for attendance and weekly papers (homework). You can find out how many X's you have for these on the Attendance sheet and the Weekly Papers sheet that are passed around each week. Once you have those X's added up, then add 1/3 more points for participation/improvement. For example, if you have 40 points for weekly papers and 80 points for attendance, that would be 120 points. One-third more (or 40) would give you a total of 160 points (which is equal to a low B). For more details, see the "Grading" page. When you find your total X's this way, you are creating only an average grade for participation/improvement. It can be much higher--or much lower--depending on your behavior and work in this class.
If you want your attendance & participation grade to go up more, you'll need to engage in most of these behaviors in some way, or in several of them quite strongly:
- Participate very verbally by talking in class and in your small-group sessions and class trips, and/or in seeking me out for questions and help before/after class, in my office, or by emailing or telephoning me.
- Get several hours of tutoring help from tutors or me when you are revising and editing your Final Project Paper. (More time counts for more credit--in fact, traditionally, I usually give the person with the most tutoring hours at the tutoring centers an automatic "A" for Participation.) I will give you some report forms for your tutors to fill out, so that you can return them to me for tutoring credit.
- Show significant extra effort on assignments--by extra length of writing or, clear for me to see, extra time.
- Attend the individual consultations between you and me that are planned as part of this course, or otherwise get help from me when you need it in my office.
- Demonstrate significant attention to and good attitude about learning--not just to me but also to others in our class.
Can your participation grade go lower? Yes. You can do the following to keep it low or make it lower:
- keep quiet in class (offer few, poor, or overly short or overly simple answers and responses),
- avoid me,
- avoid tutoring assistance,
- avoid individual consultations,
- be negative or cynical about learning or about other students,
- leave work unfinished,
- have poor attendance, and/or
- get a "C" or lower for your weekly papers.
I enjoy teaching a lot, and I want everyone to enjoy their learning as much as possible, too. If you are having some kind of significant problem that keeps you from learning, I hope you will come talk to me about it so that together we can seek a possible solution. Anything you tell me in this regard cannot be reported to other teachers without your permission, and I also would never tell other students in any way that would personally identify you. I've had students tell me quite a bit over the years--a wide variety of sorrows, problems, joys, and many other things--and my normal policy is to keep everything I hear to myself, even if minor laws have been broken or past mental or physical health compromised. I only reserve the right to seek help from a counselor or dean if I am strongly concerned about your future health and safety or that of others around you, or if I believe that a really major legal problem may exist. If you are worried about what I do or do not keep to myself, ask me more about this before speaking to me of your problems. Otherwise, I hope you will feel free to talk with me about problems that may keep you from learning.
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A Table for Estimating Your Participation
To figure your participation, please see the table called "Step 2, Participation" in the "Grading page."
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Talking as an Academic Community
Required reading: Developing an academic community--and maintaining a positive, balanced, objective tone in class, emails, bulletin boards, and other communication--is very important. To see more details about this, please go to "Talking as an Academic Community."
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Most recent update of this page: 12-27-05[Richard.Jewell.net/1114/_includeBottomBar.htm]