If you remain enrolled in this course, you agree to these course policies:
All students must meet the following technology requirements:
- Activated TORO email account
- Regular, reliable access to a computer with these features:
- High-speed Internet connection
- Microsoft Office
- Internet explorer (e.g., Safari, Chrome, Firefox)
- Working knowledge of Blackboard features including:
- Locating ENG 110 course content
- Participating in discussion forums
- Submitting assignments
- Viewing course grades
- Accessing graded assignments and feedback
- Using tools such as the Journal and Blackboard IM, Collaboration, and Email
Computers are available on a limited basis on main campus at the Student Success Center, Academic Complex, and Library; and on San Luis campus at the Learning Center. The Marine Corps Air Station library (for those with access) and the Yuma and San Luis public libraries and also have computer labs. Please check with these facilities for availability and hours of operation.
Students are expected to have a working knowledge of Blackboard; therefore, I do not teach Blackboard in this course. If you encounter a technical issue, please notify me, and then contact the following support services on campus:
- TORO account help: Computer Lab in Academic Complex (AC building) 928-344-7796
- Blackboard helpline: 928-317-6278
- Additionally, Blackboard & TORO tutorials are located in the Distance Education section of the AWC website.
Voicemails & emails left before 4:00 PM Monday-Friday will be returned the same day. Messages left after 4:00 PM will be returned the following weekday, and messages after 4:00 PM Friday will be returned the following Monday.
Although this course doesn’t meet face-to-face, you have a variety of communication tools at your disposal, including phone, email, Skype, and IM Chat in Blackboard. To schedule a Skype or IM session, send me an email that includes a few date and time options that work best for you.
Communication Best Practices. Full-time faculty members teach over 100 students each semester, so at the start of the course, you’re flying under the radar — pretty much anonymous to your instructor, particularly in an online class. Once you email or call your instructor, however, you make your first impression with them — and it will be a lasting one! Here are some tips to help you make a favorable first impression and establish a successful professional relationship with your instructor.
Phone Calls. Formulate your thoughts before you make the call: consider sketching an outline or bullet points, and write down your questions so you don’t forget them. If emotions are high, give yourself a cooling off period before making the call; a cooler head will allow you to see a more balanced perspective and maintain your sense of professionalism. When leaving a voicemail, speak clearly and succinctly. Always include the following information:
- Your first and last name
- Your phone number and best times to reach you
- Your course and section
- The reason for your call
Emails. To make sure your first impression is a good one, craft your emails thoughtfully:
- Always use your TORO email when communicating with professors. Never use your personal email.
- Consider the subject line as the title of an essay. Succinctly state the topic & focus of your email; never leave the subject line empty.
- Start with a salutation/greeting: “Dear Professor xxx” Make sure you spell your instructor’s name correctly!
- In the first line of your message, formally introduce yourself with your first and last name your course and section number. Don’t forget the section number in case the professor teaches more than one section of the course.
- In 1 or 2 paragraphs, give a thorough/detailed explanation of your question or concern. Be sure to explain the work you’ve already done to resolve this issue or question, such as reading course materials and contacting a classmate. Instructors appreciate knowing that you try to resolve the issue on your own first before coming to them for help.
- Consider your tone. Your instructor is not your arch nemesis, nor are they your drinking buddy. Use a tone that is formal and respectful. Consider the old expression, “You catch more flys with honey than vinegar.”
- Always use spell-check and proofread your email before you send it. One mistake isn’t a big deal — no one’s perfect! But for an English instructor in particular, it’s very unimpressive to receive an email riddled with spelling, grammar and punctuation errors.
- Finally, include a closing in your email, such as “Kind regards, (insert your name)” or “Sincerely,”
Remember: Once you email or call an instructor, you’re no longer anonymous: you’re on their radar! A well crafted email or voicemail will make a very positive first impression that always works in your favor.
AWC Policy: “Any student participating in acts of academic dishonesty — including, but not limited to, copying the work of other students, using unauthorized ‘crib notes’, plagiarism, stealing tests, or forging an instructor’s signature — will be subject to the procedures and consequences outlined in AWC’s Student Code of Conduct.” In our course, the first instance of plagiarism will result in a 0/F and require a student and instructor conference; the second offense will be reported directly to the college.
In the article, “Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism: The WPA Statement on Best Practices,” the Council of Writing Program Administrators defines plagiarism as the following:
In an instructional setting, plagiarism occurs when a writer deliberately uses someone else’s language, ideas, or other original (not common-knowledge) material without acknowledging its source. This definition applies to texts published in print or on-line, to manuscripts, and to the work of other student writers. Most current discussions of plagiarism fail to distinguish between (1) submitting someone else’s text as one’s own or attempting to blur the line between one’s own ideas or words and those borrowed from another source, and (2) carelessly or inadequately citing ideas and words borrowed from another source.
Whether intentional or accidental, taking someone else’s ideas and using them as your own — through a direct quote, summary or paraphrase — is an act of plagiarism. To read more about how to avoid plagiarism, please take a few minutes to read the WPA article. Also refer to the Appendix in your Technical Communication textbook and review this resource by Purdue Owl: Avoiding Plagiarism.
Submitting & Returning Student Work
Unless otherwise stated, all student work will be submitted in Blackboard. The typical return time for assignments is 3 to 5 business days, and major projects will be returned in 7 to 10 business days. Assignments and major projects will adhere to prescribed style and submission guidelines, and work that does not reflect these guidelines will be be returned ungraded.
Feedback is included with returned assignments and projects. However, you are strongly encouraged to schedule an appointment with the instructor to discuss your work and receive detailed feedback.
I recognize that life is unpredictable, and if you experience an emergency that prevents you from submitting work on time, please demonstrate your professionalism by contacting me in a timely manner to discuss the situation. In the technical and professional writing field, submitting work late is an unacceptable practice, and employees who repeatedly miss deadlines are eventually fired. In an effort to reflect a professional environment, late work in our course will be penalized at a rate of 10% per day.
Final note: All course work must be in the instructor’s possession no later than December 11, 2015.
Americans with Disabilities Act Accommodations
Arizona Western College provides academic accommodations to students with disabilities through AccessABILITY Resource Services (ARS). ARS provides reasonable and appropriate accommodations to students who have documented disabilities. It is the responsibility of the student to make the ARS Coordinator aware of the need for accommodations in the classroom prior to the beginning of the semester. Students should follow up with their instructors once the semester begins. To make an appointment call the ARS front desk at (928) 344-7674 or ARS Coordinator at (928) 344-7629, in the College Community Center (3C) building, next to Advising.
Participation & Classroom Citizenship
Situated cognition theory contends that learning occurs when the learner engages in the practices of a community — practices that are mutually constituted by the members of that community. This semester, you will become members of the ENG 110 distance-learning community. Through your own thinking, writing, and participation, you will contribute much of the material that shapes the course. Your participation in this community, therefore, is critical to the success of your own learning as well as that of your classmates. Plan to log in to our Blackboard course at least four days each week to ensure you remain engaged in discussions and projects, and aware of any changes to the course.
Additionally, it is your responsibility to help foster a community of mutual respect so that all participants can explore and discuss ideas freely without fear of recrimination. While disagreement is valuable to our culture of learning, as it challenges us to consider alternative ideas and more deeply question or reaffirm our own practices and beliefs, you must always respond respectfully and professionally. There is zero tolerance for close-mindedness, intimidation, or bullying. As a community of learners, you should consider yourselves colleagues and teammates in this academic endeavor. Through your support of one another, you will embark on a much richer, more meaningful learning experience.
(The following students’ and instructors’ rights and powers is adapted from Guiseppe Ghetto’s PWR 393: Technical Writing syllabus.)
Students’ Rights and Powers
- Right To Be Confused: Any student or group of students, having found themselves confused to the point that they are unable to complete any assignment or procedure having to do with the class, may contact the instructor to talk about receiving an extension on the assignment. However, continually asking for extensions may result in the teacher suggesting specific changes to the way the student engages the class, and if such changes are not enacted, the teacher then has the right not to discuss extensions on future assignments. If the entire class finds themselves confused on an assignment, the same rules apply: if the class chooses to do this consistently the day an assignment is due, future extensions might not be granted.
- Right To Suggest Changes to Class: if perceiving a problem with the class, any student or group of students may raise the problem in the “Course Cafe” discussion forum or may elect a class member to raise the problem. Any student or group of students choosing to do this, however, also has to present a possible solution to the problem that provides a specific remedy. This may also be done via email.
- Right To Ask Questions: about any aspect of the class including homework, assignments, due dates, etc., at any time and especially by Skype or IM chat appointment or via e-mail, and to have them answered in a satisfactory manner. Questions may be asked for any reason including but not limited to purposes of clarification, discussion, further explanation, etc., and must be answered by the instructor in a timely matter.
- Right To Contest Mutual Understanding Agreement: This right is linked to the teacher’s right #3 below, which states that the teacher has the right to assume mutual understanding/agreement if students do not proactively express otherwise. The student, then, has the right to contest this, or to point out that he/she does not understand or agree with what the instructor has just said by proactively communicating this in the Course Cafe, by email, Skype or IM Chat.
- Right To Point Out to Teacher if you feel he is in violation of any class policy detailed in the syllabus, including this one (in a polite and tactful way).
Teacher’s Rights and Powers
- Right To Make Changes, alterations and additions to/subtractions from the overall class, including: readings, assignments, due dates, etc. after first notifying and checking in with the class and hearing any oppositional viewpoints to the proposed changes.
- Right To Call for Discussion of or if There Are any Questions in the Course Cafe in regards to a certain problem, idea, concept, etc. that concerns the content or overall structure of the class.
- Right To Assume Mutual Understanding/Agreement with the ideas and information shared by the instructor. This right will usually be enacted after right #2 is exercised. For example, if the instructor asks if the class is understanding the content being presented or if the class agrees with a change made to the class and no one says anything, then the instructor reserves the right to assume that he is being understood/agreed with. This, of course, goes hand in hand with student right #4 above.
- Right To Veto Suggested Changes to Class: Instructor has the right to veto, meaning not accept, any student or group of students’ suggested changes to the class, but in doing so he must cite instructor research, teaching experience, or some other factor (such as discussion with a colleague) as the reasons for his veto.
- Right to Point Out to any student or group of students that the teacher feels they are in violation of this policy and to suggest changes in behavior (in a polite and tactful way).
AWC Attendance & Withdrawal Policies
If a student is unable to attend the course or must drop the course for any reason, it will be the responsibility of the student to withdraw from the course. Students who are not attending as of the 45th day of the course may be withdrawn by the instructor. If the student does not withdraw from the course and fails to complete the requirements of the course, the student will receive a failing grade.
Arizona Western College students are expected to attend every class session in which they are enrolled. To comply with Federal Financial Aid regulations (34 CFR 668.21), Arizona Western College (AWC) has established an Attendance Verification process for “No Show” reporting during the first 10 days of each semester. Students who have enrolled but have never attended class may be issued a “No Show” (NS) grade by the professor or instructor and receive a final grade of “NS” on their official academic record. An NS grade may result in a student losing their federal financial aid. For online classes, student attendance in an online class is defined as the following (FSA Handbook, 2012, 5-90): Submitting an academic assignment Taking an exam, an interactive tutorial or computer-assisted instruction Attending a study group that is assigned by the school Participating in an online discussion about academic matters Initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a question about the academic subject studied in the course
Please also review AWC’s Student Responsibilities.