December 04, 2006

Wrap-up and Goodbye

Informal Reflections

How far have we come, and how did we get here?

Final Self-Assessment Revision

Writing Workshop

Focus on structuring analysis, using evidence from your compositions.

Peer Review

Final Self-Assessment Draft

November 27, 2006


Writing Workshop

Focus on Final Self-Assessment Paper

Grammar Review

Writing Workshop

Subject TBA

Par 12 Revision.

November 20, 2006

Thanksgiving Break

Thanksgiving Break

Essay 3 Revision

Course Evaluation

Par 12 Peer Review

Par 12 Draft.

November 13, 2006

Par 12 Prewriting.


I'll say more about this later. I think you'll like it.

Writing Workshop

Focus on Essay 3

Par 10 Revision

Writing Workshop

Subject TBA

Essay 3 Peer Review

Essay 3 Draft

Writing Workshop

Subject TBA

Par 10 Draft

Should be a playable game by now.

November 06, 2006

Writing Workshop

Subject TBA

Par 11 Revision

Interactive fiction workshop.

I'll show you how to turn your concept into a playable computer game. Trust me -- you can do this.

Par 11 Draft

Advice to a youngster.

As with all paragraph assignments, rather than offering a list of interesting observations, stick to a single topic, and develop it.

No class.

Instructor will be attending a conference at Seton Hill. Assignments will still be due and work should progress normally.

October 30, 2006

Paper 9 Revision

Interactive fiction workshop.

Par 10 Prewriting.

Write and/or sketch out the first few moments of your own interactive fiction game.

Intro to interactive fiction.

Interactive fiction (IF) is a word-based computer game that was popular in the 1980s.

Writing Workshop

Subject TBA

Par 9 Draft

Something I learned from another class.

October 23, 2006

Essay 3 Prewriting

Topic: your choice.

All I ask is that you check with me in advance, so we can both agree on what to expect. You don't have to finalize your topic today, just give it some good thought.

Par 8 Revision

Study Plan Checkpoint

How are you doing on your individual study plan? Reread your proposal, and come to class prepared to discuss and write about it.

Par 8 Peer Review

Par 8 Draft

Par 7 Revision

October 16, 2006

Par 7 Peer Review

Complete this outside of class time.

Par 8 Prewriting Workshop

Informative hypertext.

Use hyperlinks to help you say something you want to say.

Par 7 Draft

Par 6 Revision

Fall Break

October 09, 2006

Hypertext workshop.

Basic introduction.

Not computer science -- just another kind of writing. How do links affect thought? What makes links effective?

Essay 2 Revision

Par 6 Peer Review

Par 6 Draft

Essay 2 Revision Workshop

Par 5 Revision

October 02, 2006

Par 6 Prewriting

im me ru u LOL

Online identity… online language… online culture. Focus on some specific issue and present a fresh, creative view of it. (Please don't just repeat arguments that you can find on any discussion board… let your special knoweldge or experience shed new light

Essay 2 Peer Review

Essay 2 Draft

Par 5 Peer Review

Par 5 Draft

Dealing with stress productively.

Writing Workshop

Subject TBA

Essay 2 Prewriting

Par 4 Revision

September 25, 2006

Essay 1 Revision

Writing Workshop

Subject TBA

Par 4 Peer Review

Par 4 Draft

Your individual study plan -- a contract that describes your college writing goals, and the methods you will take to achieve them.

Essay 1 Peer Review

Essay 1 Draft

September 18, 2006

Par 3 Revision

Essay 1 Peer Review

Writing Workshop

Subject TBA

Essay 1 Prewriting

Essay 1 Brainstorm

Independence and Responsibility

Par 3 Peer Review

Par 3 Draft

Why is our textbook, Keys for Writers, organized the way it is?

September 11, 2006

Consultations -- no class

Writing Workshop

Sentences, cohesion, other issues that arise from Par 1.

Par 2 Revision

Discuss Par 1

Informal discussion about what you learned from Par 1.

September 04, 2006

Consultations -- no class

The first of the scheduled individual conferences will take place during class time.

Par 1 Revision

Online at, submit a thorough revision of your Par 1 draft. Due 15 min before class is scheduled to start.

Opening Liturgy/Book Discussion

Writing Center Visit

Conference Sign-Up

Schedule an individual conference with the instructor.

Par 2 Draft

Reflect on your pre-test results,

Labor Day

August 28, 2006

Diagnostic Pre-Test

You get full credit (5% of course grade) simply for competing the assignment. Do your best, but don't fret over this. It's just supposed to help us focus our efforts over the semester.

Revision Workshop

Revision is "seeing again" -- it involves rethinking the whole document in order to make it better on every level. We will trade Par 1 drafts and practice giving each other constructive feedback.

Par 1 Draft

Collect your "college writing" thoughts into a 200-word, well-ordered paragraph. Have an electronic copy available.

Intro to Online Tool

EduSpace is the online environment where we'll be completing online grammar exercises. is where we'll be doing peer review.

Par 1 Prewriting

What do you think of when you hear the term "college writing"?

Welcome and Overview

August 19, 2006

6. Assignments

Pre-Test/Diagnostic for Grammar and Writing Skills
(Full credit given for on-time completion of test)
Post-Test for Grammar and Writing Skills10%
Average of all graded grammar exercises10%
Paragraph-length essays (1-2 per week)25%
Three short (2-3 page) essays with revisions
Worth 5%, 10%, and 10%
Attendance and Participation15%
Final self-assessment paper10%

Grading Scale

Continue reading "6. Assignments" »

5.5 Important Statements

Disability Statement
If you have a disability that requires instructor consideration please contact the Director of Disability Services at 724-838-4295. It is recommended that this be accomplished by the second week of class.

If you need accommodations for successful participation in class activities prior to your appointment at the Disability Services Office, you should offer information in writing that includes suggestions for assistance in participating in and completing class assignments. It is not necessary to disclose the nature of your disability.

Academic Honesty and Ethical Conduct

Seton Hill University expects that all its students will practice academic honesty and ethical conduct.

The University regards plagiarism, cheating on examinations, falsification of papers, non-sanctioned collaboration, and misuse of library material, computer material, or any other material, published or unpublished, as violations of academic honesty. Violators of the code may expect disciplinary sanctions, which are discussed in the Seton Hill University Catalog, page 30, Code of Academic Conduct.

Many of your college assignments will involve quoting from or responding to other people's words and ideas. However, using those words or ideas without properly citing them, or resubmitting your own work for a different class, constitutes plagiarism.

Paraphrasing the thoughts or written work of another without reference -- even with permission from the source -- is also plagiarism.

Helpful information is available at What It Is and How to Recognize and Avoid It.

Any plagiarism on a draft will result in a zero as the final grade on that assignment. Any plagiarism or cheating on an informal essay, paragraph, or grammar exercise will also result in a zero.

5.4 Texts

Raimes, Ann. Keys for Writers, Fourth Edition. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2005.

Note: This text will be bundled with a CD that includes a searchable online handbook and a passkey for the WriteSpace Online Writing Environment, which includes web-based writing tutorials, exercises, quizzes, assignments, and essay models.

5.3 Submissions

Most homework will be submitted in electronic form to While it will be possible to submit papers after the due date, you may miss out on the opportunity to receive feedback from your peers on late papers, and I may not have time to write detailed comments on your paper.

Any assignments turned in late (draft, informal writing, or revision) without prior permission from the instructor will have the final grade reduced by one third of a letter grade per day that the assignment is late, with weekends counting as two days.

Most classwork will be done on computer. During class, be sure to have electronic access to all your drafts (via a portable drive, on the university's server, or in copies that you e-mail to yourself).

Note: If you ever feel you want more rapid or more detailed feedback on an assignment, make an appointment with me, and I will gladly go over the work with you in detail, regardless of whether it was late or on time.

5.2 Participation

Students are expected to contribute actively to a positive classroom environment.

Common sense and common courtesy dictates that frequent absences, late arrivals and early departures, use of telephones or headphones, forgetting required materials, rudeness, hostility, or inattentiveness will impact your participation grade. (I'll give you a warning first.)

Those who participate above and beyond the call of duty will receive a bonus.

5.1 Attendance and Participation

Students are expected to attend every class. (See Seton Hill University Catalog, p. 28-29, “Class Attendance” and “Excused Absences”.) One absence is permitted without penalty; each subsequent unexcused absence reduces the final grade by one third of a letter grade.

Students who miss class, for whatever reason, are still responsible for the material covered (and activities completed, handouts distributed, etc.) during the class period. Excused absences do not bring automatic extensions.

Students are expected to bring the assigned texts and materials to class, and to participate in class discussion. Serious and thoughtful participation is necessary for effective learning and for an excellent participation grade.

Because a large percentage of your course grade depends on regular completion of routine weekly writing activities, falling behind or procrastinating can lead to big trouble.

If you are absent from class without a documented excuse, on a day when a major assignment is due -- perhaps because you stayed up all night working on the assignment were too tired to attend class -- the assignment that is due will be counted an extra day late. (I'd prefer that you go to bed without finishing the paper, come to class so you don't fall farther behind, and then turn in the paper a little late.)

5.1.1. Emergency Absences

Those who miss class due to an unplanned emergency should submit an “Absence Form,” with proper documentation, as soon as possible.
For each class that you miss, download the word processor version of my “Absence Form” (available at It's a short form that will help us both determine whether or what kind of make-up assignments would be appropriate. (I ask that you resist the impulse to ask me to e-mail you a summary of what you missed. I welcome the chance to help you get caught up, but please consult the syllabus and a classmate's notes first, and then bring any specific questions to me.) For some classroom activities, such as listening to peer oral presentations, there may be no appropriate make-up assignment. (See 5.2 Participation.)

5.1.2. Scheduled Absences
Those who miss class due to a scheduled activity should plan to complete all make-up assignments before the missed class. This means that you must submit an acceptable “Absence Form.”

If there is insufficient time for us to agree upon an acceptable suggestion for making up missed work, or if an approved make-up assignment is unsatisfactory, then I may record the absence as unexcused.

5. Course Requirements

The class format will be discussion with some lecture. Your job is not to write down and memorize everything I say in class (or what says online) and then pour it all out during the exam. Instead, you will be asked to present your own original thoughts, and back them up with specific evidence from the literary works and from scholarly studies of those works.

I will often send out bulk e-mails to the address on file for you in the J-Web system. If you check a different address more regularly, please use SHU's e-mail forwarding service so that you don't miss important updates.

4. Course Objectives

At the end of this course, you should be able to

  1. Create individualized writing learning plans based on the results of diagnostic tests and in consultation with instructor.
  2. Practice grammar skills (those applicable to the individual student) through frequent electronic and written exercises, with feedback and explanation, both in and out of class.
  3. Practice the grammar skills learned in exercises by focusing on these issues in the composition, revision, and editing phases of the writing process.
  4. Develop sustainable main ideas for paragraphs and short essays.
  5. Compose grammatically correct (free of both syntax issues and surface errors) sentences in paragraph-length writing assignments.
  6. Practice writing process skills such as prewriting, free writing, brainstorming, listing, outlining, mapping, zero drafting, drafting, revising, proofreading, and copyediting
  7. Plan, write, and revise several types of short essays.

3. Course Description

From the Shared Syllabus:

Basic Composition teaches students basic writing skills necessary for college success, including grammar and composition. Students will practice sentence construction (in the context of short writing assignments), paragraph construction, and the organization of ideas. Students will build on these basic skills by planning, writing, and revising short essays and experiencing writing as a multi-step process. The course also teaches several types of, purposes of, and audiences for general essays.

2. Instructor

Dennis G. Jerz (
403 St. Joseph, Box 461
Phone: 724-830-1909 (but I'd prefer that you e-mail)

Office Visits: I usually leave my door open. If you should happen to drop by when my door is closed, please come back later or send me an e-mail.

Office Hours: Tue 1pm; Wed 1pm; Thu 10am; and by appointment.

Occasionally I step out of my office briefly to run errands during my scheduled office hours. When I do, I usually leave a note on my door. If my light is still on, then I'm probably not far away.

1. Where and When

Section ?:Mon, Wed, Fri12:00 -- 12:50
Section 7:Tu, Th11:00 -- 12:15

See daily course outline.


Dennis G. Jerz

Course Overview

Welcome to LA 100, "Basic Composition."

The course website is located at I will update the online syllabus periodically, so the printout I gave you is only for your convenience today. The offical version of the syllabus is the online version (though I will notify you in advance of any significant changes).

The course website is shared by two different sections, one with a MWF schedule and one with a TuTh schedule. Bear that in mind if you post a comment asking me what's due "tomorrow." The content will be the same in both sections, but during the week the sections will fall out of sync.

Paragraph 1
On the first day of classes, we'll get started with an informal writing exercise. (I'll announce the topic in class.) Your first homework assignment will be to revise your informal in-class writing into a polished paragraph, due the next time the class meets.

Par 1 Draft Due:

MWF section: Aug 30
TuTh section: Aug 31

WordPress Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux