Dr. Dean Taciuch
George Mason University

Summer 2019

English 302: BB1 & BB3

Course Policies

Major Assignment Grading: In grading the major assignments, I use the following general criteria:

A "C" level grade denotes average college-level writing and achievement. The essay is a competent response to the assignment: it meets, to some degree, all the assignment requirements, and demonstrates that the author has put significant time and effort into communicating his/her ideas to his/her targeted audience. It has a thesis, presents some support, and moves from point to point in an orderly fashion; sentence-level errors do not significantly prevent comprehension. Essays that do not meet these criteria will not earn a "C."

A "B" level grade highlights a strong example of college writing and thinking. In addition to meeting the "C" level requirements, such an essay goes further in some way(s): it demonstrates some insight into the "gray areas" of the topic, provides original or very thorough support that is tightly woven into the overall argument, reads smoothly at both the sentence and paragraph levels, and/or exhibits a personal "voice" or style. It has few sentence-level errors.

An "A" level grade marks an essay that engages the reader in a provocative conversation. Even more than in a "B" essay, its author anticipates and responds to possible reader questions, uses a wide range of supporting evidence, engages the reader in a provocative conversation, provides unexpected insights, and/or uses language with care and facility.

"D" and "F" level essays do not meet the basic expectations of the assignment.

The Minor Assignments (Blackboard Discussions) will be graded at the end of the course, not individually. If you post to every discussion forum and regularly comment on other posts, you will receive full credit for the discussions. You should post to every discussion, and comment on other's posts when appropriate.

I calculate final grades by converting the letter grades to a 100 point scale using the following values:

A+ 97.5 – 100
A 93 – 97.4 A- 90 – 92.9
B+ 87.5 – 89.9 B 83 – 87.4 B- 80 – 82.9
C+ 77.4 – 79.9 C 73 – 77.4 C- 70 – 72.9
D 60 – 69.9 F 0 – 59.9  

Completion Policy: Students must earn a C (73%) or higher to fulfill the ENGH 302 Mason Core requirement; students must complete all major projects to earn a C (or higher).

There is a limit of three graded attempts for this course. A "W" (Withdrawal) does not count as a graded attempt. Please see AP. 1.3.4 in the University Catalog and consult with your academic advisor if you have any questions.

Late Assignments: Unless you make prior arrangements with me, late assignments will lose 5% (1/3 of a letter grade) per day. The grade penalty cannot be made up by revision. No late assignments will be accepted after July 25.

Revisions: The essays may be revised for a higher grade, but they must be substantially revised. You cannot lose a grade by revising, but a higher grade is not guaranteed. I have found that "B" papers (or higher) are often more difficult to revise, since serious revision requires thoroughly changing the essay's structure, and "B" papers usually have a fairly good structure. "C" papers (or lower) often respond more dramatically to revision, since the major changes they require are often more straightforward. I recommend revising "C" papers or lower only. If you plan to revise a "B" paper, please see me beforehand so we can discuss a revision strategy.

All revisions must be submitted within 1 week of receiving a grade on the assignment. No revisions or late assignments will be accepted after July 25.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism means using words, opinions, or information from another source without giving that source credit. Writers give credit through the use of accepted documentation styles, such as parenthetical citation, footnotes, or endnotes; a simple listing of books, articles, and websites is not sufficient.

This class will include direct instruction in strategies for handling sources as part of our curriculum. However, students in composition classes must also take responsibility for understanding and practicing the basic principles listed below.

To avoid plagiarism, meet the expectations of an Academic Audience, give their readers a chance to investigate the issue further, and make credible arguments, writers must

Writers must also include a Works Cited or References list at the end of their essay, providing full bibliographic information for every source cited in their essay.

While different disciplines may have slightly different citation styles, and different instructors may emphasize different levels of citation for different assignments, writers should always begin with these conservative practices unless they are expressly told otherwise. If student writers ever have questions about a citation practice, they should ask their instructor.

Instructors in the Composition Program support the Mason Honor Code, which requires them to report any suspected instances of plagiarism to the Mason Honor Committee. All judgments about plagiarism are made after careful review by the Honor Committee, which may issue penalties ranging from grade-deductions to course failure to expulsion from GMU.

Students with disabilities: If you are a student with a disability and you need academic accommodations, please see me and contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS). All academic accommodations must be arranged through the ODS.

GMU Nondiscrimination Policy: George Mason University is committed to providing equal opportunity and an educational and work environment free from any discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, marital status, pregnancy status, or genetic information.  George Mason University shall adhere to all applicable state and federal equal opportunity/affirmative action statutes and regulations.

GMU Email: Students must activate their Mason email account and check it regularly. For privacy reasons, all class-related emails will be sent only to students' official GMU email addresses.

Tech Policy: As this is a online section, the use of a computer is required (Windows, MacOS, Linux)

All course materials will be available via BlackBoard. Major assignments must be uploaded as file attachments (pdf, doc, docx, odf are all acceptable formats).

Class Participation: The online participation will consist of the discussion posts and feedback on Assignments.

Inclement Weather/Cancellation Policy: Since this is an online section, class cancellations are not much of an issue.

Help with the Course: Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about assignments, grades or policies. I can be reached via email, during office hours, and of course in class.

If you are having trouble with an assignment, please let me know. We can schedule a conference (in person or online). Please do not wait until the last minute to reach out. Don't procrastinate, but if you do, don't panic. If you need an extension on an assignment, let me know as soon as you can.

You should also be aware of the various resources available for writing and research help: The GMU Writing Center and the GMU Library, both of which we will be using in the class.

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