Spring 99

English 302 - Section N15 - Advanced Composition for Science Majors
  Computer-mediated Distance Learning Section

"Clickable" index for major course components

English Department at George Mason University
Meetings in person:   4:30 pm - 7:10:00 pm Robinson Hall A, Rm 105 - Fairfax Campus 
      Dates : Tues, Jan 26; Thurs, Jan 28 ; Thurs, May 6 and final exam date. 
Professor Virginia Montecino Major Assignments and due dates | Grading Criteria
Email me at: montecin@gmu.edu Day-by-day Schedule
Office: Robinson A - Rm 405 B ; Phone 703-993-4318  Required texts
Office hours: Tu, Th - 12:00 - 1:00 Participation expectationsClass discussion
Course Goals | Course Overview and Expectations Honor Code and Plagiarism Statement
Some Major Course Resources
 Townhall  | Townhall Instructions | How-to Technology Guides
Copyright and the Internet | STAR  | How to Create a Web page | Research Guides
Web Site Evaluation Guidelines Prof M's Resources  |  Student Web Guide
This syllabus is designed to be read online to link to important course components.
Spring 99 - English 302 - Section N15 - for Science Majors
  Computer-mediated Distance Learning Section
Virginia Montecino
Email: montecin@gmu.edu
Office hours:  Tu, Th - 12:15 - 1:15

Course goals:

  • further develop your analytical thinking skills and writing skills
  • help you become more aware of and more fully develop your own approach to the writing process, including attention to revision
  • develop a sense of audience
  • use writing as a way of clarifying thinking and becoming a more informed reader
  • expand your awareness of yourself as a person and as a writer
  • write effective, correct and interesting prose
  • stretch your boundaries - risking to try new approaches, new perspectives
  • work cooperatively with others on group projects and becoming an adept responder to others' writing.
  • use computers to research information in your major via the Internet and electronic databases; read and critique online readings; conduct our primary class "business;" share writing and "talk" to each other via computer-mediated communication
  • become familiar with the writing in your major by analyzing various writings in your field of study
  • become Internet literate and create a Web page.
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Overview and Expectations: This class is a lot of work and can also be a lot of fun. A composition class lends itself well to computer-mediated communication. I am convinced that a community of writers connected via computer-mediated communication can have a rewarding and exciting learning experience. Electronic correspondence is a hybrid of verbal communication and written communication, so in our Web-based discussions and in our private class e-mail we will be communicating through writing - perfect for a composition class. You will also share your writing with each other (peer response to drafts is required).  I hope all of you will be well-versed enough in publishing on the Web so that all class work can be posted on your student Web pages.  As a last resort we can share your work via attached files in e-mail. Flexibility and self-discipline will be the key to a successful experience. In this distance learning section we will meet for the first two classes in a computer lab on campus and once at the end of the semester (unless you are a non local student) We will NOT meet regularly in a traditional classroom.

This is a writing intensive, research intensive advanced writing course. If you have not taken courses in your major you will not be ready to take this class. You will be picking subjects in your major to write about; therefore, not having some background in your major will be a decided disadvantage.

This class will not be less work than a traditional class, and will require a great deal of self-discipline to keep on schedule. But the good news is you have more flexibility about when to do your work and when to meet electronically with your writing response groups and with me.  Feel free to confer with me about your work, electronically or in person (by appointment).

I will not accept work for which I have not seen the "footprints" during the class. This means that your work must go through the peer review process, then must be commented on by me. If your work is turned in past the deadline for submission to me, I must still see your work-in-progress, but feel no obligation to comment on it. I must okay the topics for your work - all work must be current - not work previously done for other classes.

Discussion mediums: We will meet regularly via our Web-based discussion forum (which will weigh heavily in your participation grade). Private e-mail will be used for housekeeping, and other messages not appropriate to broadcast in a public forum. Please observe etiquette and good manners in discussions. Tone and intent are harder to get across in electronic mediums. I expect correspondence and Web-based material to conform to "good taste." Good taste, I agree, may be relative, but we can have a discussion about this and argue the point if the need arises. I certainly don't want to restrict discussion. There is a place for us to have fun in our discussions and explore "sticky" issues, without violating etiquette or violating university computing policy. Course material posted on your Web pages should also follow "good taste" guidelines and observe copyright rules. Bottom line is I get to set the limits for my class. This issue rarely has to be addressed - a tribute to the caliber of students in this course.

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Participation: Since this class is a writing/learning community, attendance and participation expectations are high. You will be assigned to groups and are expected to promptly respond to your group members' drafts of all writing assignments and group projects. You will also be expected to engage regularly in computer-mediated discussions; submit drafts and final versions of your work on time; ; actively and regularly participate in the group Web Project; respond to my e-mail messages asking for updates on your progress with your work; and respond to your group members e-mail. I will not accept drafts of assignments for which there is no evidence that they were first submitted to your group members for comments. We will establish criteria for peer responses and appropriate types of responses, based on the goals of the assignments. You will post contributions to Townhall discussions. Various discussions/postings will be established throughout the semester. You will evaluate your group members' performance at the end of the semester - for my eyes only. It is also important for class members who are more technologically oriented to be willing to share their expertise with the rest of us. A community balances strengths and weaknesses to help all members do their best.

Sending your course work to me and your peer response group: Your papers and drafts will be posted on your Web page. If you run into problems you can temporarily submit via email. You should have a copy of all of your course work (on disk and in print). If your work gets "lost, I am not responsible. Be sure you have a copy on disk and in print to resubmit. Don't wait until the last minute. You will be liable if you post someone else's work on your Web page without his or her permission.  Observe copyright rules for Web material.

I really enjoy teaching this class and hope you find it a rewarding, challenging experience.

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Course Texts:
Metaphors in Various Disciplines; Research Writing Style Guides ; Help with Writing Research Papers , How-to Guides for Computer Technology ; Strunk's The Elements of Style; The Net:User Guidelines and Netiquette Resources for research in various disciplines; Avoiding Plagiarism; Copyright and the Internet; Guidelines for Evaluating Web Sites. Some of your assignments also have links to on-line readings. Some readings are in the day-by-day schedule. 

Class discussion: We will engage in in-class and online discussion. Much of our discussion will take place online in Townhall (http://townhall.gmu.edu) (in asynchronous and synchronous settings). See instructions for registering for and using Townhall (http://mason.gmu.edu/~montecin/townhall.htm). This is our meeting place in Townhall. After you register, you will still need to log on each time with your password.. Don't forget to log off when you are through so someone else doesn't enter our meeting place under your name. We will also in real time chat.

  Major Assignments
Percent of grade
draft due for
peer response 
revised final 
version due
1. Essay on Metaphors in Your Major
2. Group Project Proposal
one per group
3. Proposal for Research Paper
4. Writing Culture in your major
5. Research Paper
6. Group Project 
progress report
Participation Grade (class discussion, peer response,  group work, etc)
All work must be the student's own effort.  See the the GMU honor code.  See these guidelines to avoid plagiarism.
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Grading Criteria:
A - excellent work, complete, focused, clear, easily understood, fulfills assignment criteria, error free, clean copy
B - very good  work, clear, focused, easily understood, fulfills criteria, may have some minor errors, needs some additional work
C - good work, fulfills criteria, may need clarification of ideas, may lack supporting detail, needs fuller discussion, needs proofreading
D - needs extensive revision, difficult to follow, errors in mechanics, lacks focus or clear organization, shows lack of audience
F - fails to fulfill assignment criteria, needs significant expansion and/or revision, contains numerous mechanical errors

Class Schedule - subject to change, if necessary, to achieve learning objectives.
Meetings in person:
4:30 pm - 7:10:00 pm Robinson Hall A, Rm 105 - Fairfax Campus
Dates : Tues, Jan 26; Thurs, Jan 28 ; Thurs, May 6 and final exam date.

After the first two meetings we follow a Tuesday schedule, except for the final class on Thursday May 6.  This means that assignments and class discussion over the Internet should be submitted by the Tuesday due date for that assignment.  Since Internet traffic is often slow, it is your responsibility to see that you don't wait until the last minute to submit work and engage in the Web-based discussions. All class discussions will not be listed in this schedule. Some of the discussions will come out of our experiences as the class progresses.

Tues Jan 26 - first class (see time and place above) - Discuss syllabus, and assignments.  Register on Townhall - Web-based discussion group - and post welcome messages. Discuss culture of the computer-mediated writing classroom, review technology, form virtual peer response groups. Begin class discussion on Metaphors. Explain Assignment# 1 - composition on Metaphors. Post to "Welcome" discussion on Townhall- class discussion meeting place.

Thurs Jan 28 - Continue discussion on metaphors. Review technology. Create web pages.

[Mon Feb 01- Last Day to Drop with no tuition liability]

Tues Feb 02 - Work on  Web pages.  Respond to my test on sending attachments via e-mail. Post to Web Forum discussion on metaphors.
Work on Metaphor paper

[Mon Feb 08 - Last Day to Add Classes]

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Tues Feb 09 - Draft of Assignment # 1 - Metaphor Paper - due for posting to Web page for peer response. Read Assignment # 2 - Group Internet Project [The Group Internet Project is an activity you will work on throughout the semester. Join Townhall group discussion on Group Project.

Tues Feb 16 - Post Group Project Proposal on Web page.

Tues Feb 23- Metaphor paper due. Begin work on Writing Culture Assignment  collecting documents for your analysis of writing in your field.

[Fri Feb 26- Last Day to Drop without dean's permission]

Tues Mar 02 - Post Research Paper Proposal

Tues Mar 09 -  Post on Townhall your individual progress reports on your Group Project.

[ Mar 15 - Mar 21 - Spring Recess]

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Tues Mar 23 - Progress Report on Group Project

Tues Mar 30 - Draft of Writing Culture Assignment due for peer response group.

Tues Apr 06 - Writing Culture Assignment due

Tues Apr 13- Submit Research Paper Draft for peer response group.

Tues Apr 20- Research Paper due.

Tues Apr 27- Post Group Project on Web

Thurs May 06 - 04:30 - 7:10 - Real time Presentation of Group Projects (for local students) .

[May 10 - 11 - Reading Days]

Tues, May 11 - 4:30 - 7:10 - EXAM DATE

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Virginia Montecino | montecin@gmu.edu