Dr. Dean Taciuch
George Mason University

Fall 2007

English 101: MT7 & MT9

Course Description

All students in these sections of English 101 (MT 7 and MT9) are also enrolled in the relevant sections of IT 103, as part of the Mason Topics Information Society program. Students in this program will work on projects in both English and IT. For example, discussion topics in the English class will become presentation topics in the IT class.


Berners-Lee, Tim. Weaving the Web. Harper/Collins. ISBN-10: 006251587X ISBN-13: 978-0062515872. Paperback $15.00

Hacker, Diana. Writer's Reference. 6th edition. Bedford.
ISBN-10: 0312465319 ISBN-13: 978-0312465315.
Comb-Bound $53.95

Prices as of August 15, 2007. If you are charged more at the bookstore, let me know.

Online Exercises for the handbook

Many of the assignments in this class are linked in some way to the IT 103 class.

IT 103 Presentations:

During the first week, students will write a short exploratory paper on their assigned IT 103 Presentation topic. In addition, each IT 103 group will write a Position Paper which will be the basis for your IT 103 presentation. The Position paper will be graded ion the English class; the Powerpoint presentation will be graded in the IT class.
Topic Exploratory Paper: 10%
Position Paper: 15%

After the IT 103 presentations, students will be required to submit a short response paper in English 101. These responses will be due on Tuesdays. In the IT 103 course, students will post a summary of their response on the IT 103 WebCT site by Wednesday.
Weekly presentation responses: 15%

IT 103 Project:

As part of the website project for IT 103, students will write a short (5 page) research paper for English 101. The research paper topics will not be assigned, but must be approved by both the English and IT instructors. We will read Tim Berners-Lee's Weaving the Web, a book on the creation of the WWW, which should provide ample topics for the research project.
Research Paper: 15%
Annotated Bibliography: 10%

Movie Night and Field Trips

As part of the Mason Topics Program, we have arranged for several out-of-class events. The first will be a showing of the 1998 film Enemy of the State. We are also arranging tours of the Micron chip plant in Manassas and the NRO in Chantilly. Students will write an essay-review of the 1998 film, considering whether the film's topics are more or less relevant today than in 1998. Students will also write a short report on the field trips,
Enemy of the State Paper: 10%
Field trip paper: 10%

Handbook Exercises

The only unlinked assignments in the English class will be exercises from The Writer's Reference. Most of these will be online exercises, although some will be in-class.
Exercises: 15%

Online Exercises are available on the Bedford website. You will need to register; make sure you enter my email (dtaciuch@gmu.edu) as the Instructor email so I can check your scores.



Grades on the linked assignments are always independent. I do not compare grades with the IT instructors, and they do not compare grades with me. As an English professor, I will look for clear and concise writing with plenty of examples, strong organization, a clear and well-supported thesis, and few if any grammatical errors.

Each paper will receive a letter grade. An "A" paper has a strong thesis, clear organization and focus, very good support, and very few if any grammatical errors. A "B" paper has a good thesis, good organization and focus, good support and examples, and a few grammatical errors. A "C" paper may have a weaker thesis, some organizational problems (though still an identifiable organization and focus), some support (though it could use more), and some (though not too many) grammatical errors. A "D" paper may have problems with its thesis or organization, may lack focus and support, or may have serious grammatical errors. An "F" paper has serious problems in more than two of these areas.

The weekly discussion responses will not receive letter grades, but will be marked as outstanding, acceptable, or unacceptable. "Acceptable" grades on all twelve responses will be an A. Some "outstanding" responses will raise this to A+, and missed or "unacceptable" responses will lower the grade.

The exercises will receive percentage grades, which can be converted to letter grades using the following scale:

A+ 100  
A 95 C+ 78
A- 90 C 75
B+ 88 C- 70
B 85 D 65
B- 80 F below 60

I calculate final grades by converting the letter grades to a 100 point scale using the same values.

The University translates letter grades into 4-point GPA values:

A+ 4.00 B- 2.67 C- 1.67
A 4.00 B 3.00 D 1.00
A- 3.67 C+ 2.33 F 0.00
B+ 3.33 C 2.00  

(please note that A+ and A have equivalent point values.)


Course Policies

Late Assignments: Unless you make prior arrangements with me, late papers will lose one letter grade per day. The lost grades cannot be made up by revision.

Revisions: A revision is a thorough reworking of a paper; it is not merely correcting spelling and grammar errors (that"s proofreading, and it won't result in a higher grade, since I assume you proofread before you turn in a paper). Generally, "B" papers are more difficult to revise; they are already better than average, and revising means changing them substantively. There is always a risk that the changes may result in a weaker paper, but I will not penalize anyone for revising (you won't drop below the original grade on a revision). I recommend revising papers with a "C" or lower, since these papers usually have more serious problems which respond better to the thoroughness of the revision process.

The weekly discussions, exercises, and the final field trip report cannot be revised. Also, please note that the revisions affect the grade in the English class only.

All revisions must be submitted by Nov 29.

: "Plagiarism means using the exact words, opinions, or factual information from another person without giving the person credit. Writers give credit through accepted documentation styles, such as parenthetical citation, footnotes or endnotes; a simple listing of books and articles is not sufficient. Plagiarism is the equivalent of intellectual robbery and cannot be tolerated in an academic setting" (Department of English Guidebook). I will report any suspected cases of plagiarism to the Honors Committee.

Attendance: I will not take attendance, but it is not possible to do well in this course without regular attendance. In class assignments make up part of your grade. Class discussions of the texts are necessary for the papers, exercises, and the research project. Topics will develop from the class discussions.

Course Schedule


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Course Schedule