Required Graded Work and Basic Requirements

Course grade =      

12.5% research project, logic quiz, and in-class essay on Barber: these are weighted equally at 4.16% each, not enough to seriously damage your final grade, enough to give it a slight boost if you so well, and enough to hold your attention.

12.5% class participation, offering astute revision advice, taking revision advice with discretion, grace, and enthusiasm: class attendance means being a citizen who helps the community build knowledge, but there are all kinds of participation styles.  If you are naturally shy, exert yourself when writing comments for peer editing exercises or working in small groups.

50% second-revision grades (Cases 1-4): at 12.5% each, these are fairly serious factors in estimating the quality of your work for class.  The cases grow more complex as the semester progresses, but your writing skills and what you know about case analysis, document format, etc. should be growing just as fast.  Your grades may "plateau" rather than rising in an elegant upward curve, and you might even slip back if you seriously misjudge your work's readiness on a later case.  I will give you all the help I can in the rough draft conferences, and you are encouraged to make extensive use of the Writing Center tutors throughout the composing process.  Those tutors are your best allies if you are intent on nothing but success.  I also recognize that some people only break through to full awareness of what the course is teaching in the last weeks of the semester--freshman year is tough and you have other courses on your mind.  That's why so much is riding on the final portfolio, to balance out the wrong moves you may have made on the way, and to show me what you can produce when you are writing your very best.

25% Final Portfolio: due in the last week of class, this paper must be based on one of the four case study papers we have developed together.  The grade for this paper will be based on the degree to which it meets the College Writing Proficiency criteria other than those in the independent research section which pertain to English 105.  I expect the entire paper to have undergone a substantial revision.  This includes the paper's title, introduction, paragraph construction and arrangement and transition, and conclusion, plus the evidence and reasoning. 

        If you believe your college-level research skills and your ability to use scholarly sources can meet the College Writing Proficiency criteria, the paper you revise for the Final Portfolio gives you an opportunity to prove yourself by elevating the level of your thesis support to include primarily scholarly sources and to exclude any sources which would not be appropriate in an academic paper written for your intended major.

 Attendance:  Attendance and active class participation is  required.  You must be able to present and develop your analyses  orally to succeed in college, and speaking is  essential to learning new thinking/writing skills.  Especially,  discussion reveals what your audience thinks about your analysis. More than three un-excused  absences will lower your final grade 1/3 per absence.  Written excuses must conform to those listed in the Student Handbook (e.g., Health Center note,  written confirmation of death in family, etc.).

Document Delivery:  If you are certain that you have mastered the college's Internet and email systems, and that you can deliver a paper by the due date in a form that will open on my computer using MS-Word for Windows XP with no format problems, you can email me papers as attached files.  Otherwise, bring them to class as hard-copy printouts.  If you cannot email the papers and will miss class due to illness or some other reason the college will accept, call me and arrange to have a friend deliver the paper in a printed form.  Do not simply drop the paper in my mailbox or slide it under my door without telling me you are going to do so.  You are responsible for insuring that the paper is safely delivered into my hands or to a site we mutually agree upon.  If I do not find it where you say you put it, that becomes your problem.  Print and save copies of your paper as you write so that you can reconstruct it in the event of a computer emergency.  Research suggests that inexperienced writers revise better if they edit on hard-copy printouts rather than editing continuously online, and an edited piece of paper cannot "crash."  If you must edit online, set your software program's "Autosave" feature to the fastest possible setting (usually a save every minute).  In MS-Word, search the "Tools" menu for "Options," "Save," "Save Autorecover" and select the one minute option.  Ordinarily, unless the college's computer networks suffer a catastrophic event, any computer related problems are your problem.  They do not constitute an excuse for missing work any more than a manual typewriter's being stolen would have worked for your grandparents' teachers.  This is the college's way of preparing you for the "real world" where failure to produce a document on time can lead to firing, loss of a contract, or even being arrested.

Plagiarism:  Plagiarism happens when writers do not respect their own rights to invent, to own, and to distribute intellectual property, but instead take the intellectual property of others without proper acknowledgement and hope to pass it off as their own.  There are two main types, and they are treated very differently in English 104.  Please read carefully this explanation.

        Plagiarism can be relatively "innocent" when a first-semester freshman does it unintentionally because s/he knows no better (see below). During the early weeks of the semester, I will teach students how adult professionals feel about ownership of intellectual property, and how they defend their own while protecting the intellectual property of others.  In this period, I will concentrate on teaching students to recover from their mistakes, as long as they were mistakes, and it is easy for a professional to tell the difference. 

        Plagiarism also can be overtly criminal, and that type will be punished according to the Academic Honor Code starting with the first week of school, including a report to the Honor Board, a full hearing of the evidence, and an appropriate sentence passed upon the offender.  Intentional, deceptive, "criminal" plagiarism is the self-aware theft of others ideas and/or exact words with the intention of getting credit for them in one's own work.  This can include, but is not limited to, overt theft of other students' academic writing in paper or electronic form, copying or purchase of papers from Internet "cheat" sites, and "patchwork" or "mosaic" copying from Internet or published sources to produce a paper that steals from so many sources that its perpetrator hopes not to be caught stealing from any one source.

        Criminal plagiarism easily can be detected because of it leaves evidence of its overt intentions and it always results in writing which differs in "voice" from original writing by its "author."  Internet plagiarism is the easiest to detect, but even laborious recopying.  Even extensive paraphrase of printed sources still contains logic and concepts its copyist cannot explain or reasonably lay claim to "own," and this is how it is detected.  Intentional violations of Goucher's Academic Honor Code will be reported to the Honor Board for action.

        If you find yourself swamped with work amid conflicting deadlines for other courses and/or experiencing a severe social or medical crisis which is keeping you from writing, negotiate with me.  Of course I will demand some writing from you as evidence of your good faith, but we can develop a plan to finish what is due in good time.  Above all, do not succumb to the belief that I could mistake another's prose or another's thinking for yours.  Goucher composition classes are small, and I develop all assignments in successive drafts, so I will know your writing and its underlying habits of mind intimately even before the first graded assignment.

        Especially in the first year of college, most plagiarism is accidental in the sense that students do not intend to break a serious convention of academic life when they commit it.  Most American college freshmen do not recognize plagiarism when they see it in others' work, and many have been trained to plagiarize in high school because their instructors required the use of sources without teaching the techniques of paraphrase or summary, or how to document sources properly.  Some high-school teachers even order students to cut and paste information from others' web sites and to turn it in as they own.  I will work with you this semester to undo that damage.  For now, take the "Paraphrase-Plagiarism Risk Quiz" to test your own ability to spot the most common form of plagiarism in college-level writing.  If you don't score well or are at all confused by it, please talk with me and let me explain the conventions of intellectual property.