ETAP 655L: Perspectives on Teaching Composition in the Secondary School
Spring, 2008
Grading and Other Course Policies









Grades in this course will break down as follows:

Two Major Writing Assignments 35%
Summary/Response Paper 25%
Participation 10%
Unit Plan 30%


Your learning and that of your classmates in this course will depend upon your genuine and consistent participation in course discussions and activities, including the writing and roundtable groups as well as online discussions that we may have on BLS (Blackboard Learning System). We will use the BLS discussion board primarily as a way to distribute and comment on course assignments as well as to extend class discussions, when appropriate. You should log into our course BLS site regularly (at least once each week) to keep abreast of ongoing discussions, to read and respond to the summary/response papers posted for that week, and to read course announcements. Each student is expected to participate regularly in the online discussions of the writing and roundtable groups to which he or she is assigned; in general, acceptable participation amounts to approximately one contribution to the BLS discussions each week. Grading for this component of the course will be based on the extent of your participation: if you participate according to these guidelines, you'll receive full credit for this portion of your grade for the course; if you participate haphazardly or not at all, or if you fail to post responses to your classmates' summary/response paper drafts, your grade will be adjusted accordingly.


It should be obvious that attendance in a course such as this is essential. There is simply no way to reproduce our in-class activities and discussions or the roundtable and writing group discussions, which are central to the learning you will do in this course. Equally as important is the community we create in this course, which requires everyone's participation. My own views about writing put a premium on the role of the classroom community in teaching writing; my attendance policy arises from these views. Accordingly, if you miss more than one class during the semester without prior approval, your grade may be adversely affected. Missing more than two classes may result in a failing grade.

Additional Course Policies

  1. In this course, we will address a number of complex and often controversial issues, about which individuals may have deeply felt opinions and beliefs. Disagreements are inevitable, but disrespect and animosity are not. Part of our challenge in this course--as in almost any course--is to contribute to the creation of a workable community of professionals who can engage one another respectfully and genuinely. Everyone in the class is expected to hold himself or herself to high standards of professional conduct characterized by tolerance and respect.

  2. Plagiarism is unequivocally unacceptable. Please familiarize yourself with the University policies on plagiarism. In particular, you should review the University's standards for academic integrity for graduate students and understand the potential penalties for violating these standards. I never expect to encounter plagiarism in a course such as this, but if you do plagiarize in this course, you may fail the course and be subject to University disciplinary procedures.

  3. Incompletes will be considered as a grade for this course only in the event of unusual circumstances, such as serious illness or a family crisis.

  4. Please turn off cell phones during class meetings.

  5. Reasonable accommodations will be provided for students with documented physical, sensory, systemic, cognitive, learning and psychiatric disabilities.  If you believe you have a disability requiring accommodation in this class, please notify the Director of Disabled Student Services (Campus Center 137, 442-5490).  That office will provide the course instructor with verification of your disability, and will recommend appropriate accommodations.

  6. If you have any questions, problems, or concerns about the course during the semester, please see your instructor so that we can address them.