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Objectives. Writing 303 is designed to help you develop the research and writing skills necessary for work in your major field of study, and in your career. The course builds on the kind of analytic reading and writing that is the cornerstone of English 125 at York College. For this reason, English 125 (or its equivalent) is a prerequisite. We will work very hard to develop reading skills, skills in research and documentation, and a variety of writing skills important for success in both your major and your career.

Required Texts (you must bring these texts with you to class)
> Kennedy, M.L. & Smith, H. M. (Eds.). (2001). Reading and writing in the academic community (2nd ed.). New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
> Hacker, D. (2002). Research and documentation in the electronic age. (3rd ed.) Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s Press.
> A folder/binder to store written work, class notes, etc.

Attendance. Class meetings in Writing 303 are focused around peer-review of draft writing, discussions of the readings, research strategies and techniques, and important writing skills, techniques, and conventions. For this reason, you can expect a reduction in your final course grade if you miss more than four (4) classes. Four class absences should be sufficient to account for the occasional emergency (child care difficulties, illness, transportation disruption, etc.). Any student who misses more than eight (8) class meetings will fail. And since tardiness is a significant disruption to the classroom dynamic, any student more than 15 minutes late will receive a one-half (1/2) absence. Any student more than 40 minutes late for class is counted as absent for that day. Do not expect me to deviate from this policy.

Written Assignments. Writing 303 is a writing class. You will be expected to produce written work in advance of, and during, each class meeting.
> Low and Middle Stakes Assignments. Much of this regularly assigned writing will simply be marked as either completed or not completed because its purpose is to facilitate discussion, thinking, or research. Simply completing the work is enough to prepare you for class. Another significant set of these regular assignments will receive brief comments and an evaluation of satisfactory/unsatisfactory. Research progress reports are the sorts of assignments that fall into this category. You must complete at least 90% of these assignments or risk a reduction in your final grade. Additionally, failure to complete a majority of the evaluated assignments with a mark of “satisfactory” will negatively impact your final grade.
> High Stakes Assignments. There are five (5) major paper or writing assignments that weigh heavily in the calculation of your final grade. They are the Objective Synthesis, the Multiple Source Paper, the Research Proposal, the Annotated Bibliography, and the Research Paper for the course. Each of these writing assignments will go through a drafting process that includes peer-review and instructor feedback before being revised and evaluated for a grade. The low and middle stakes assignments are tailored to help you do well on these assignments.

Participation. Writing 303 is a writing class and it depends on class participation to function effectively. I cannot “lecture” on techniques for research, critical reading, thinking, and writing. These important skills can only be learned through practice and active engagement in the course. You will be well positioned to participate if you complete the research and writing assignments before coming to class, volunteer your ideas in class, and generally come to class ready to talk. Since I believe that oral communication is about as important as written communication, I will also assign individual class “presentations” over the course of the term. You must complete these presentations to receive full participation credit.

Calculation of Grade (in rough order of assignment)
10% - Objective Synthesis Assignment
10% - Multiple Source Paper
10% - Research Proposal
10% - Annotated Bibliography
40% - Final Research Paper Project (
20% - Low and Middle stakes assignments, participation, and the final exam.

Note on Late Work. Obviously, none of us plans to hand in late work. To ensure that our intentions are linked to incentives in the class, late work is significantly penalized. Low stakes and middle stakes assignments are considered “uncompleted” if not handed in on time. (This means that you are not permitted to hand them in late.) On the other hand, all drafts of the papers must be submitted. Late first, second, or third drafts are penalized by a one-half (1/2) grade reduction on the final draft grade for each class day that a draft is late. Late final drafts are penalized one full letter grade for each class day they are late. What does it mean to be “late” with an assignment? An assignment is late if it is not submitted by the end of class on the date it is due. I do accept email submissions of assignments, and won’t count a paper as late if you are absent on the due date and I have received the paper by email. But my “failure to receive” an emailed paper does not excuse your failure to submit a hard copy on the due date.

Note on Technology. This class has plenty of opportunities for you to develop competency in software and internet technologies. While I do not require you to make use of most of these opportunities, I strongly encourage you to do so. Technological competency is highly valued by employers, and employees are increasingly expected to come to the workplace with these skills. All assignments completed outside of class (including drafts) must be typed and double-spaced using a word processing program of your choosing. (York College has a new lab available to students for just this purpose.) I regularly check email, encourage you to send me your formal paper drafts as attachments, maintain a bulletin board for students to post and share low-stakes and middle-stakes writing assignments, and am open to other possibilities as well. In the first three weeks, the class will visit a computer classroom for an introduction to some of these technology-enabled features of the course.

Note on Plagiarism. In our work this term we will pay special attention to the ways research writing draws on the work of others, and to using sources effectively and appropriately. A related concern is plagiarism – using words or ideas of another person without acknowledging your debt. While the sharing and exchange of ideas are central to an intellectual and professional community, plagiarism is the theft of another person’s ideas. For this reason, plagiarism is severely penalized. Deliberate plagiarism on any assignment (low, middle, or high stakes) will result in a grade of F for the course. This F can become a permanent mark on your transcript. Please see the York College Bulletin for the College’s policy and penalties regarding plagiarism, including a statement of your rights should you be accused of plagiarism (page 29 in the 2002-2003 Edition).


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Writing 303 - TW2 - Fall 2003