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Dr. Mark Jordan ~ ENGL 2311: Technical Writing

Course Syllabus

Method of Evaluation

The grade levels I use apply in slightly different ways to both individual assignments and course grades. In the Odessa College grading system pertaining to overall course grades for this and most courses, the standard range is A ~ B ~ C ~ D ~ F, as shown below. See the Student Handbook for information on such unusual grades as "Incomplete" and others. In computing GPAs, Odessa College uses a four-point system as also shown below:

90-100 = A = 4.0 gradepoints

80- 89 = B = 3.0 gradepoints

70- 79 = C = 2.0 gradepoints (the lowest transferable course grade)

60- 69 = D = 1.0 gradepoints (a passing course grade, but usually not accepted by most colleges and universities to which you might wish to transfer)

Below 60 = F = zero gradepoints

In my evaluation of individual assignments, I use a similar range as shown above from "A" to "F," where "A" = 95, "F" = 55, and so forth. Additionally, a grade of A, B, C, or D may be shown with a minus (-) or a plus(+) with the minus equaling a "2" and the plus an "8". For example, a "B+" on an assignment equals 88 points; a "B" equals 85 points; a "B-" equals 82 points. The A, C, and D ranges work the same way. I also on some occasions may give the following grades:

Below 55 = F- (may be given when an assignment is turned in but in such a condition that even the most generous evaluation cannot justify giving even 50 out of 100 possible points; used rarely. The actual point value may range anywhere from 10 to 50 points, at my discretion.)

Zero = No points (when an assignment is not turned in at all or if the assignment has been plagiarized. Note that as shown also in my Policies section, plagiarism also carries the penalty of an "F" for the final course grade, no matter what the student's average was beforehand.

Course Requirements

  • Daily work (quiz grades, formatted outlines, and other daily assignments) will count 10% of your course grade.
  • Class participation will count 5% of your course grade. Put simply, this grade is based on your email participation (both to me and on Nicenet). The grade given will be judged on several factors chosen to reflect not only quantity of participation but quality as well. Criteria may include such factors as number of days participating, number of messages sent, amount of pertinent questions asked, amount of topics or persuasive points introduced in discussion, and general discipline, motivation, and focus demonstrated.
  • Less formal correspondence (memos, progress reports, and especially letters) will count 15% of your course grade. These single-page assignments will each tie in, when possible, in some way with one of your major assignments. Especially in the case of letters, each will need to be formatted professionally according to the several options in your text, carefully composed and proofread, signed, and either mailed or faxed. These are not inconsequential assignments, because letter-writing is a very important professional skill. Regarding email memos, I may require certain formal email in connection with some major assignment; I will identify these as being different from our frequent email intended for communication within the course, and any such formal email memos will count as part of the less formal corespondence grade, not as part of the class participation grade.
  • A process-analysis document will count 15% of the course grade. Details on this and other major assignments will appear on my Assignments page and will be discussed on Nicenet and in personal email, as needed.
  • A mechanism description document will also count 15% of the course grade.
  • A collaborative project resulting in an analytical report or other longer document will count 20% of the course grade. This sort of work provides invaluable experience in the sort of committee-type work which is commonplace in business and industry. Considering that this course typically draws many out-of-area students who would find it difficult or impossible to meet for collaborative work, what I have done in the past is to require that one or two common broad topics be shared by all, secondly that research be done collaboratively and shared under specific and fairly strict guidelines, but thirdly that the documents themselves be done individually on specific, distinct aspects of the shared common topic. Individual grades are then adjusted to consider each student's participation in the research process.
  • The final exam, also worth 20% of the course grade, will be a resume' and letter of application corresponding to one of several hypothetical hiring situations which I will supply at semester's end.

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