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Robert Bini, English Instructor

English 87: Basic Writing Skills II Syllabus


 

Instructor: Robert Bini 

Required Textbooks:
The Delta Winds Reader: For English 87: Basic Writing Skills II by Robert Bini. Delta College, 2008. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. Doubleday Publishing, 1992.

Office Hours: Monday and Wednesday. Mountain House. 12:30—1:20.

Tuesday and Thursday. Stockton Campus Locke 415. 12:30 pm—1:20 pm, and by appointment. Friday online office hours: 9:00 am – 10:00 am. Email address: rbini@deltacollege.edu

Phone: 954-5455

Attendance:

Attendance: According to school policy, students must be dropped for missing one of the first three class sessions. Students may also be dropped when their absences become excessive. Students who accumulate more than two absences by the 9th week of the semester will be dropped from the class. Students who do not pass this course and who have not dropped this course before the “W” date will most likely receive an "F." The “W” date for this course is the ninth week of the semester. It is the individual student's responsibility to complete the paperwork to drop the course by the above deadline. It is not the teacher's responsibility.

 

 


 

 

2002 Delta Winds Cover

Catalog Statement:

This course is designed to prepare the student for English 79: Preparatory English. Emphasis is placed on writing and editing of paragraphs and short essays based on readings. Units earned in this course do not count toward an associate degree.  

Course Prerequisites:

ENG-070 Basic Writing Skills I minimum grade of “C.”

To pass English 87, students must pass the portfolio process AND must accumulate enough points from the following course components:

 

Explanation of Grading Criteria:

Participation                                               10%

In-class Summaries                                    10%

In-class Responses                                      10%

Essays                                                         40%

Quizzes                                                       10%

Handouts                                                     10%

Final Examination                                       10%

 

NOTE: This is extremely important. The above method of evaluation will be used only for students who pass the portfolio. The above method of evaluation will not be used for students who do not pass the portfolio. Students who do not pass the portfolio will not pass the course. Even if you have 700 points in the course, you will not pass the course if you do not pass the portfolio. The results of the Portfolio Reading will not be known until finals week.

 

Portfolio as Comprehensive Final Examination: The student is required to complete a portfolio containing assignments, such as an objective summary of a published essay, a subjective response of the published essay, a three-paragraph narrative essay, and a five paragraph argumentative essay. The student's portfolio will include works of multiple drafts. The student's portfolio will reflect critical thinking used to revise compositions after the student receives input from the instructor on earlier drafts. The student's portfolio will be read and evaluated in a group reading by English 87 instructors. Passing of the portfolio will be necessary to pass the course.

 

NOTE: Using cell phones and text devices is a convenient way to communicate with others and to receive emergency updates. However, these electronic devices are not welcome in this class. You know yourself better than anyone. If you anticipate using a cell phone during class this semester, please drop this class right away. There are many students who wish to enroll in this course, and there are a limited number of seats. The reasons for this class policy are based on my observations and on information provided by past students. Using cell phones distracts cell-phone users and other individuals in the classroom, and students who get distracted from the work tend to receive failing scores. Students who use electronic devices during class time will be marked absent.

 

Students with Learning Disabilities

I encourage students with disabilities, including non-visible disabilities such as chronic diseases, learning disabilities, head injury and attention deficit/hyperactive disorder, to talk with me after class or during my office hour. Any student with a documented disability needing academic adjustments or accommodations is requested to speak with the professor as soon as possible. All discussions will remain confidential. If you have not already done so, please register with the Disabled Support Programs and Services (located in the DeRicco Student Services Building). This office is responsible for coordinating accommodations and services for students with disabilities.

 

 

Goals:

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to

1. Read and comprehend essays.

2. Plan paragraphs and short essays.

3. Evaluate readings for differences in types of writing.

4. Write grammatically correct sentences.

5. Analyze the structure of an essay.

6. Develop and compose paragraphs and short essays.

7. Apply the writing process to original compositions.

8. Write summaries and responses to readings.

9. Use dictionaries.

10. Identify and use new vocabulary.

 

Writing:

1. Write in a journal to achieve fluency with the written word.

2. Write summaries of and responses to readings on different topics.

3. Write topic sentences and general sentences for paragraphs and essays.

4. Write supporting sentences using relevant examples, details, and specifics to develop points adequately.

5. Connect sentences and paragraphs with transitional words, phrases, and sentences.

6. Write organized and coherent essays using certain rhetorical methods of development, such as narration and argument.

7. Write a three-paragraph narrative essay. 

8. Write a five-paragraph argumentative essay, using reasons and examples.

9. Write reading-based compositions by writing in response to an earlier reading.

 

Methods of Evaluation:

1.Course work: The student will complete course work, such as paragraphs, essays, rewrites, midterms, and a required final examination.

 

2. Portfolio as Comprehensive Final Examination: The student is required to complete a portfolio containing assignments, such as an objective summary of a published essay, a subjective response of the published essay, a three-paragraph narrative essay, and a five paragraph argumentative essay. The student's portfolio will include works of multiple drafts. The student's portfolio will reflect critical thinking used to revise compositions after the student receives input from the instructor on earlier drafts. The student's portfolio will be read and evaluated in a group reading by English 87 instructors. Passing of the portfolio will be necessary to pass the course.

 

3. A grade of C or better in the course automatically results in Level II Composition.

 

 

COURSE COMPONENTS

 

To pass English 87, students must pass the portfolio reading AND must accumulate enough points in the following course components:

 

Participation

Participation is worth 10% of your grade. Students earn points for participation by attending class and preparing for each class by completing the readings and homework assigned.

 

Quizzes

Quizzes are worth 10% of your grade. Students earn points by showing their reading comprehension of the novel for the course. Students will identify and write about key words and phrases in Like Water for Chocolate.

 

Handouts

Handouts are worth 10% of your grade. Students earn points by following specific directions on the handouts. The handouts will cover grammar areas and sentence combining strategies.

 

In-class Summaries

In-class summaries make up 10% of your grade. Three one-paragraph objective summaries are due this semester, based on assigned Delta Winds essays. One summary is worth 20 points. The other two summaries are worth 40 points apiece. One of these will be included in the portfolio. The first draft summary should demonstrate reading comprehension.

 

In-class Responses

In-class responses count for 10% of your grade. Three one-paragraph subjective responses are due this semester, based on assigned Delta Winds essays. One response is worth 20 points. The other two responses will be worth 40 points apiece. One of these will be included in the portfolio. The first draft response should demonstrate an ability to comprehend reading material and respond appropriately to a writing prompt.

 

Essays

The two essays are worth 40% of your grade. You will be required to use narration and argumentation to write on specific topics. These essays will be included in the portfolio.

 

You can use dictionaries for your writing, but I would not recommend using them until you are finished writing a complete essay. If you have finished the main writing of your essay and you still have more time, then take out your dictionary and check for words you have in question. In general, spelling is not as critical as development of ideas and organization.

 

You will have a limited amount of time—two hours—to write the first drafts to these essays.

 

The essays will consist of two parts—the first draft and the rewrites. You will receive 0 points for completing the first draft. You will, however, receive from 128 to 200 points for completing the rewrites of the first draft. Naturally, you must complete the first draft in order to even start on the rewrite. The rewrite should be 750 words in length.

 

After you have completed the first drafts, I will read them and provide some comments for feedback. Be sure to read these comments before you begin rewriting your first draft. Highlight any words and sentences that you add in the rewrite. This way it will be very easy for you and me to notice the changes you make in your revising.

 

Make changes in the organization, in the development of your ideas, in your transitions, in your sentence variety, and in your word choice. After you receive comments, you will have one week to work on the paper, so you have time to make it look the way you want. Good writing usually takes much time and effort. Be prepared to spend considerable time revising your essay.

 

Some of you may be unclear about the meaning of revising. First of all, if you just copy the draft and do not change it, you are not revising your work. This would just be copying. Second, you may think revising means adding a new paragraph to the end of the essay. This is also not revising.

 

Revising involves making many changes throughout the essay, not just at the end. Revising requires taking a step away from your own creation to look at it critically. Try to be objective. Remember that even though an idea is clear in your own mind, it may not be clear in the reader's mind, so check every little point for clarity. And develop every point with more information than you think is necessary. In general, the more details you provide the better. When you are nearly completed with the revisions, check to be sure that you have revised the areas mentioned in the comments to your first draft. Also, edit your essays carefully for verb tenses, subject-verb agreement, and prepositions. Your final draft should have a minimum of grammar errors.

 

Final Examination

The Final Examination is worth 10% of your grade. For the final examination, you will be asked questions on Like Water for Chocolate.

 

 

RUBRIC

 

Participation

10% of total grade. 100 points possible.

For all levels, comments by all members of the class are expected to show consideration toward others and be appropriate to the course.

 

A Level=90-100 points

--The student has excellent attendance (0-1 absences).

--The student consistently prepares for class by reading and studying the reading selections and completing exercises from the text.

--The student interacts regularly with fellow students in group-work.

--Responses show careful thought and attention to the readings.

 

B Level=80-89 points

--The student has very good attendance (2 absences).

--The student frequently prepares for class by reading and studying the reading selections and completing exercises from the text.

--The student interacts with fellow students in group-work.

--Responses show considerable thought and attention to the readings.

 

C Level=70-79 points

--The student has fair attendance (3—4 absences).

--The student sometimes prepares for class by reading and studying the reading selections and completing exercises from the text.

--The student interacts with fellow students in group-work.

--Responses show thought and attention to the readings.

 

D Level=50-69 points

--The student has poor attendance (5—6 absences).

--The student rarely prepares for discussion by reading and studying the reading selections and the discussion topics from the text.

--The student seldom interacts with fellow students in group-work.

--Responses do not show thought and attention to the readings.

--Responses do not indicate an understanding of the readings and lecture of the unit.

 

F Level=0-49 points

--The student has very poor attendance (more than 6 absences).

--The student uses cell phones during class.

--The student does not prepare for discussion by reading and studying the reading selections and the discussion topics from the text.

--The student does not interact with fellow students in group-work.

--Writing activities lack careful thought and attention to the readings.

 

 

Quizzes

10% of total grade. 100 points possible.

 

Handouts

10% of total grade. 100 points possible.

 

In-class Summaries

10% of total grade. 100 points possible.

 

A Level=90—100 points

--The student summarizes the assigned essays.

--The summaries indicate a mastery of verb forms and verb tenses.

--The summaries are extremely clear.

--The summaries show an understanding of the reading passage and of the use of objective writing.

 

B Level=80—89 points

--The student summarizes the assigned essays.

--The summaries indicate a strong understanding of verb forms and verb tenses.

--The summaries are very clear.

--The summaries show an understanding of the reading passage and of the use of objective writing.

 

C Level=70—79 points

--The student summarizes the assigned essays.

--The summaries indicate an understanding of verb forms and verb tenses.

--The summaries are clear.

--The summaries show an understanding of the reading passage and of the use of objective writing.

 

D Level=60—69 points

--The student summarizes the assigned essays.

--The summaries indicate some understanding of verb forms and verb tenses.

--The summaries are not clear.

--The summaries do not show an understanding of the reading passage and of the use of objective writing.

--The number of errors distracts from the reading and understanding of the writing sample.

 

 

In-class Responses

10% of total grade. 100 points possible.

 

A Level=90—100 points

--The student responds to the assigned essays.

--The responses indicate a mastery of verb forms and verb tenses.

--The responses are extremely clear.

--The responses show an understanding of the reading passage and of the use of subjective writing.

 

B Level=80—89 points

--The student responds to the assigned essays.

--The responses indicate a strong understanding of verb forms and verb tenses.

--The responses are very clear.

--The responses show an understanding of the reading passage and of the use of subjective writing.

 

C Level=70—79 points

--The student responds to the assigned essays.

--The responses indicate an understanding of verb forms and verb tenses.

--The responses are clear.

--The responses show an understanding of the reading passage and of the use of subjective writing.

 

D Level=60—69 points

--The student responds to the assigned essays.

--The responses indicate some understanding of verb forms and verb tenses.

--The responses are not clear.

--The responses do not show an understanding of the reading passage and of the use of subjective writing.

--The number of errors distracts from the reading and understanding of the writing sample.

 

 

Essays

40% of total grade. 400 points possible.

For all levels, essays are expected to be appropriate to the course. There are two essays worth a total of 400 points. Each essay is worth a maximum of 200 points. The following criteria will be used for each essay:

 

A Level=180-200 points

--The essay is well-organized and focused on one main idea. The essay uses separate paragraphs.

--The essay is extremely clear. Varied logical transitions are used to make connections between ideas.

--The essay is developed to 750 words. The main ideas are supported with considerable length. The supporting sentences contain vivid details and examples.

--The essay reveals a mastery of verb tenses and a mastery of subject/verb agreement.

--The essay uses sentence variety. The sentences show a mastery of various, complex sentence patterns. The sentences are complete and not fragmented or run on.

--The essay addresses the writing topic. The essay shows a thorough understanding of the topic and any related reading prompt and directions.

--The essay may, but most likely does not, contain minimal errors in grammar, mechanics, and word order.

 

B Level=160-179 points

-- The essay is well-organized and focused on one main idea. The essay uses separate paragraphs.

--The essay is clear. Varied logical transitions are used to make connections between ideas.

--The essay is developed to 750 words. The main ideas are supported with considerable length. The supporting sentences contain vivid details and examples.

--The essay reveals a strong understanding of verb tenses and of subject/verb agreement.

--The essay uses sentence variety. The sentences show a strong understanding of various sentence patterns. The sentences are complete and not fragmented or run on.

--The essay addresses the writing topic. The essay shows a clear understanding of the topic and any related reading prompt and directions.

--The essay contains minimal errors in grammar, mechanics, and word order.

 

C Level=140-159 points

-- The essay is organized and focused on one main idea. The essay uses separate paragraphs.

--The essay is clear. A minimal number of logical transitions are used to make connections between ideas.

--The essay is developed. The main ideas are supported with sufficient length. The supporting sentences contain details and examples.

--The essay reveals an understanding of verb tenses and of subject/verb agreement.

--The essay uses sentence variety. The sentences show a control of various sentence patterns. The sentences are almost always complete and not fragmented or run on.

--The essay addresses the writing topic. The essay shows an understanding of the topic and any related reading prompt and directions.

--The essay may contain some errors in grammar, mechanics, and word order.

 

D Level=60-69 points

--The essay is not organized and focused on one main idea. The essay uses separate paragraphs.

--The essay is not clear. Logical transitions are not used sufficiently to make connections between ideas. Word usage is not understandable.

--The essay is not adequately developed. The main ideas are not supported with sufficient length. The supporting sentences do not contain details and examples.

--The essay reveals a lack of understanding of verb tenses and of subject/verb agreement.

--The essay does not use sentence variety. The sentences do not show a control of various sentence patterns. The sentences are not complete and are fragmented or run on.

--The essay does not address the writing topic. The essay does not show a clear understanding of the topic and any related reading prompt and directions.

--The essay contains considerable errors in grammar, mechanics, and word order.

--The number of errors distracts from the reading and understanding of the writing sample.

 

Final Exam

10% of total grade. 100 points possible.

 

 

PLAGIARISM POLICY

 

One of the most important principles of a college education is intellectual honesty. In preparing for successful careers and rewarding private lives, you should be aware that nothing is more important than establishing and maintaining your own integrity. As a student, you demonstrate integrity by doing your own work and by giving credit to others whose words, facts, or ideas help you.

 

Plagiarism is a fundamental violation of intellectual honesty. It is the act of using another writer’s words, facts, or ideas without giving credit to that writer by using proper methods of documentation. In other words, plagiarism is a form of stealing. It is a very serious intellectual crime, and it is severely punishable. A student who submits plagiarized work in a college class may receive an "F" on the plagiarized assignment and an "F" as the final grade in the course in which the assignment is submitted; furthermore, an instructor who receives a plagiarized essay may petition to have the student who submitted the essay dismissed from the college entirely, even in the middle of a semester. The result in such a case can be that a student who submits one plagiarized paper in one class loses credit for a whole semester’s work in all of his or her classes. Therefore, it is important for every student to learn to use proper documentation methods and to take very seriously the responsibility to give credit to other writers.

 

The first step in giving credit to another writer is to use quotation marks around any words, with the exception of an indented quotation, that are taken directly from another text.  Use of these quotation marks is the most basic way of telling the reader that you did not write these words yourself. For example, you might quote this sentence from Richard Rodriguez’s essay, "The Achievement of Desire": "After years spent unwilling to admit its attractions, I gestured nostalgically toward the past." If you use these words without the quotation marks, this is plagiarism. If you change a few words but keep the same idea, that is also plagiarism. For example, if the writer says, "After a period of time unwilling to admit its attractions, I thought nostalgically of the past," this is plagiarism. Changing "years" to "a period of time" and "gestured" to "thought" is not enough to be a real paraphrase. You would be relying too much on the author and not enough on yourself. Also, the idea of the nostalgic gesture to the past belongs to Rodriquez and must be credited to him.

 

A second step in giving credit to another writer is to use signal phrases, source notes, and bibliography entries to identify the source of the words, facts, or ideas that you are borrowing. A signal phrase identifies the author and/or the title within the structure of your sentence. For example, you might say,

 

Richard Rodriquez observes in "The Achievement of Desire" that he "gestured nostalgically to the past" (29).

 

In Modern Language Association (MLA) style, a source note is placed in parentheses after the borrowed words, facts, or ideas. A complete listing of the source, with the author’s full name, the title, and the date and place of publication, is included in the Works Cited page at the end of the essay. In the example cited above, the page number appears in parentheses by itself because the author’s name is already stated in the sentence; if the author’s name is not identified previously in the sentence, the quotation and source note will appear like this:

 

"After years spent unwilling to admit its attractions, I gestured nostalgically toward the past" (Rodriguez 29).

 

At the end of the essay, an entry in the Works Cited page will appear like this:

 

Rodriguez, Richard. "The Achievement of Desire." Rpt. in The Critical Reader, Thinker, and Writer. Eds. W. Ross Winterowd and Geoffrey R. Winterowd. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield, 1992. 12-32.

 

Instructors in some classes do not want students to use MLA documentation style, but it is still important for students to show where their information came from. Students should learn to use whatever documentation style the instructor requests.  Footnotes (raised numbers in your text and an explanatory note at the bottom of the page or at the end of the essay, along with a bibliography at the end of the essay) may be preferred by some instructors.

 

One mistake that student writers often make is to assume that putting a source note in parentheses after quoted words is enough to show that the words are not your own. Quotation marks and a source note are needed to give proper credit to your source. When you are quoting, you must use the exact words of the author and you must put them in quotation marks, unless you indent a long quotation, in which case the indentation replaces the quotation marks to show what you have borrowed.

 

A second mistake that student writers often make is to paraphrase too closely to the original source. If you find yourself tempted to use the words, phrases, and sentence structures of the writer from whom you are borrowing, you may find it helpful to put the source aside before you begin to paraphrase. Read a passage carefully, think about it, and then write a summary, an explanation, or an interpretation of what you have read in your own words.

 

A third mistake that is causing problems for many student writers is the assumption that information taken from online sources can be "cut and pasted" into essays without worrying about proper documentation. This assumption is completely wrong. All of the rules of documentation for standard printed sources apply to online sources as well, with the addition that you must also include documentation of the date the information was posted, the date of your access, and the electronic source path.  An example of a Works Cited entry for an online source follows:

 

Gill, Brian. Home page. 22 Apr. 2002. 28 June 2002.

< http://www.acs.ucalgary.ca/bgill >

 

There are many websites offering to supply ready-made essays for students, but the use of these essays is dishonest and a blatant form of plagiarism. Faculty members have access to sophisticated software programs that identify plagiarized passages from virtually any online source. Whenever you use online sources, take pains first to evaluate the credibility of the source, and then follow the documentation procedures outlined here to make sure that you give proper credit for any words, facts, or ideas that you have borrowed.

 

(The above statement was written by Dr. Phil Hutcheon, English Department, San Joaquin Delta College.