August 2010 Archives

Assigned Text:

SFW 3-4

In-class Activity

Discuss P1

In-class Activity

Grammar Pre-test

Required -- SF Writer (bundled with "MyCompLab")

This test will earn you a full 5 marks (out of 100 for the whole course), just for taking it. This is the "before" test; at the end of the term you'll take another test, and you'll see how far you've come.

Don't worry about studying for this test. You will reflect on the results, and use them to help prepare a study plan for the rest of the term.

Due Today:

MyCompLab Passkey

You will need your MyCompLab passkey for today's class. The passkey is available from the SHU bookstore, in a package that you get when you purchase the textbook, SF Writer. (Or, you can buy it directly from
Due Today:

P0: An iPad Campus

This assignment is a practice exercise, designed to make sure that you know how to find, complete, and submit a paragraph assignment. You'll also get a chance to see how I will evaluate your work (even though I won't record this grade -- it's just for your benefit).
  • Length: 200 words (not counting the title block)
  • Format:
    • One paragraph (with a topic sentence, supporting sentences, and a conclusion that does more than just summarize/repeat)
    • MLA Style (see the model in section 27c of the SF Writer; or, download this word processor file: MLA Template.doc and use it to format all your papers in this class.
  • Topic: What is it like to be part of an iPad campus? (There is no "right" or "wrong" answer.)
  • Focus: Develop a single idea in depth, rather than a list of loosely-related ideas.
  • Point value: None. (This is purely for practice.)
  • Submit: upload to You will need to register for a (free) account, and sign in to our class, using the following course ID and password:
    • Course ID: 3420045
    • Password "rewriting"
  • Due: 11am, Thursday, 26 Aug.
Evaluation Rubric
100 Excellent Good Acceptable Attempted Unacceptable
20 18.5 15 12 8
Length Within 5% Within 10% Within 15% Within 25% 25-50%
MLA format Perfect MLA style headings and layout MLA headings, with trivial layout lapses Mostly follows MLA layout and headings Some attempt at MLA layout and headings MLA formatting not present
Punctuation & Words Perfect Minor issues don't impact main ideas Some errors, ideas mostly unaffected Some accuracy at the punct & word level Significant errors damage flow of ideas
Phrases & Sentences Perfect A few minor issues, but all ideas are clear Some errors, but ideas are mostly clear Some attempt at accuracy in sentence phrasing Significant errors damage flow of ideas
Focus A single idea, with apt details that offer depth A single idea,  explored with relevant detail A single idea,  connected to useful detail Some attempt to relate detail to main idea Several ideas compete for central focus

"Can You Just Tell Us What You Want?"
Okay.  I want...
  • you to dive in, sleeves rolled up and eyes open. Writing is not like arithmetic or spelling, where you can stop once you've found "the right answer."  Every thing that has been written, and every person who writes, can improve.
  • you to take your first step towards reaching your true potential, not just as a writer, but as a thinker, a problem-solver, and the future of our civilization.
  • you to understand I'm not looking for a specific answer, or any specific approach.
  • you to use any tone you want -- funny or fearful; factual or philosophical.
  • you to be honest. You won't get more points for expressing an opinion that I happen to hold, or fewer points for disagreeing with me.
  • you not to waste words. (Don't repeat the question, as in "If I had to describe what it was like to be on an an iPad campus, I would have to say..."  The paragraph you submit should just dive into the answer.)
  • you to write a single, 200-word paragraph (not a 3-page essay, and not a list of bullet points).
    • As you can see from the rubric, writing anywhere from 170 to 230 words is considered "Acceptable."
    • Don't pad. You'll get a much better grade if you first write more than 200 words, and then trim the excess words, to fit your ideas into a tighter package.

Assigned Text:

SF Writer: CH 1 & 2

  • In order to help you with the writing assignment that is also due today, and to prepare you to participate in the class discussion we will have today, read chapters 1-2 in SF Writer before you come to class.
A bright high school student who shows up without causing trouble, completes all the assigned worksheets, and crams before exams can generally expect four years of decent grades.  College raises the bar.

The key to academic achievement is time-management.

The students at the top of the class get there because they plan weeks ahead, consistently budgeting time for serious, concentrated work.

In-class Activity

Informal Reflection

In-class Activity

Peer Introductions

Welcome to LA 100, "Basic Composition." The course website is

The official version of the syllabus is always the online version (though I will notify you in advance of any significant changes).

Homework for Thursday:
  • In order to learn about college writing, to help you with the writing assignment due Thursday, and to prepare you to participate in a class discussion on Thursday, read chapters 1-2 in SF Writer.
  • Writing a polished paragraph, about 200 words, on the topic I'll introduce shortly.  The  revision is due the next time the class meets. In the future you will upload your submissions before class, but for now, just bring an electronic copy to class. (This is assignment P1, which we'll talk about shortly.)
  • In order to be ready to take the pretest during class next Tuesday, purchase the MyCompLab access code. (It comes bundled with the SF Writer at the bookstore.)
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