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LS 941C - Effective Essay Writing - Syllabus

West Valley College
Instructor: Colson


Required Course Materials:
Text: College Writing Skills 6th edition by John Langan
Class Binder; Paperback or Electronic Dictionary
Course Description: This course is designed to assist you in improving your skills in written expression. The course will address essay development and organization, and to a lesser degree, sentence structure. Specific emphasis will be given to the types of writing required of college students in English 1A.
Grading: Credit/No Credit. Credit is based on:
1. completion of homework assignments and class participation;
2. completion of assigned essays; and
3. performance on the midterm and final.
Total Possible Points: 600

The final is mandatory; Nonattendance at the final exam constitutes no credit for the semester.
An average score of 70% or better in the above areas will be required to pass this course with a Credit grade.

Attendance Policy: Regular attendance, punctuality and class participation are essential to your success in this class. Any absence will affect your grade. Excessive absence (more than 4 absences) and tardiness will be considered grounds for being dropped from the class.
Homework/Make-Up Policy: Unless otherwise indicated, homework assignments are awarded one point when completed on time. You are responsible for making up any work missed or material covered during an absence. Please contact a classmate to find out what homework or written work has been assigned. If absent, hand in homework corrected within one week. The homework answer key is located in the classroom. Late homework for any other reason than absence will not beaccepted. Tests must be made up on the students' own time. Contact the instructor to arrange a make-up time.
Student Conduct: Refer to the West Valley College Student Conduct Code in the Catalog or Student Handbook
Accommodations for Disabilities: West Valley College makes reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities. College materials will be available in alternate formats (Braille, audio, electronic format, or large print) upon request. Please contact the Disability and Educational Support Program at (408) 741-2010 (voice) or (408) 741-2658 (TTY) for assistance.
Written Assignments:
You will write a total of four (4) essays over the course of the semester. Your first draft is considered a homework assignment worth five homework points. Late first drafts (not due to absence) will not receive homework credit. The final draft will be graded and will count towards your essay grade. Late final drafts (not due to absence) will be downgraded five points for each class meeting they are late.
All drafts must be word processed. Computers for student use are located in the DESP High Tech Lab, the WVC Technology Center and the Library.
Small Writing Groups/Peer Review:
Your first essay will be assigned during the third week of the semester. First, we will meet in the DESP computer lab to prewrite using outlining software and Microsoft Word. The first draft will be due the following class meeting at which time the class will break into small writing groups facilitated by the instructor or an assistant. The purpose of the small writing groups is to read each essay and positively critique its unity, support, coherence and sentence structure. Students will receive concrete suggestions for improving their papers, and will also develop skill in editing as the semester progresses. The final essay is due the next week.
Grammar Presentation:
Each student will be assigned an area of grammar from the textbook and will prepare a presentation that provides the class practice in this area. This assignment is worth ten points and will count towards your homework grade.
Extra Credit:
Periodically there will be quizzes or optional assignments which will receive extra credit points. Five extra credit points will also be awarded for bringing sufficient copies of rough drafts to each peer review. Extra credit points are ìbankedî and added to the point total at the end of the semester.