Tag Archives: assignments

Your first blog post

For Friday, August 30, everyone in the class will write a brief blog post.

1) Follow the link in your email to register for the private student blog.

2) Use the “tour guide” assignment we discussed in class to write a blog post about either Meiland or Rampton and Stauber.  Before  you write, think about your online persona:  when you are writing about class materials, do you use the same style as in emails to your family? posts to Facebook? a formal essay for class?  The context here is academic.  How will you present yourself and your ideas?

3) The blog post should be 300-400 words long.  It will count toward your class participation grade (up to 10 points; see the section syllabus on grading and participation)

4) you are welcome to comment on other students’ posts if you wish.  I will consider this part of your class participation.



Since we will all be members of a learning community this semester, enthusiastic and dedicated class participation is essential.  We will discuss what makes a positive learning environment for you during the first week of class.

Daily assignments should be completed before class on the day on which they are listed on the syllabus.

My own expectations for seminar are:

  • Informed, thoughtful, and respectful engagement in discussions, group activities, and in-class writing activities on a regular basis
  • Preparation of assignments before class (including bringing issues and questions for discussion)
  • Listening and responding to the professor and the other students on a daily basis (not just talking to talk, or talking in isolation from the larger conversation)
  • Leading class discussion once during the semester
  • Attendance and participation.  More than three absences will severely affect your grade.  See the main syllabus (5.1) about unexcused absences.  See the MAKEUP section below about excused absences.
  • Responding to your fellow students Blog Posts.  These responses will count toward your Attendance and Participation grade for the course.

Some classroom conduct is disrespectful to your fellow students, because it distracts everyone in the class from the learning process.  Please turn off cellphones and other digital communications devices.  Please arrive to class on time; late arrivals are disruptive.  Students who  read the newspaper, do the crossword puzzle, Facebook or browse the web, or engage in some other such activity during class time can expect a public request in class to cease the activity, a prohibition from the use of a laptop, and/or a lower Participation and Attendance grade in the course.

I take academic integrity very seriously. Integrity means more than “not cheating.” We are a learning community, and our collective journey this semester depends upon mutual trust.  As your professor, I pledge to be honest with you, and to do everything in my power to create an environment that enables learning.  I hope that you will do the same for me as well as your peers.

Discussion Facilitation

In pairs, each student will lead class discussion once during the semester.  The goals for the discussion will be to facilitate a deeper understanding of the readings and to enable participation by all students in the class.  More instructions will be provided during the first few weeks of class.

The Discussion Facilitation will be graded and will count toward your Attendance and Participation grade for the course

Digital Literacies

This section also has a component on “digital literacies.”  We will use online and digital tools to improve our writing and communication skills.  We will have a course blog, use an online citation management system for our papers, and possibly more.  You will see Digital Literacies (DL) listed on the section schedule the first few weeks.  We may add to it as the class progresses.

Essay Deadline System

For two of the essays in this course, we will use a three-tiered deadline system.  You will see on the course schedule a Deadline A, Deadline B, and Deadline C listed for many papers.  For any given paper assignment, this is how the system works.

Deadline A:  Papers submitted by this date will receive a grade and comments. I will return the graded paper to you by Deadline B.  You may choose to revise and rewrite the paper for grade replacement.  You have until Deadline C to revise and rewrite the paper and resubmit it.  (Note: you do not have to revise and rewrite; if you choose not to revise and rewrite, the grade on the Deadline A version will be the final grade for the paper.)

Deadline B:  Papers submitted by this date will receive a grade and comments, but cannot be revised for this paper cycle.  Comments will probably be useful for your next paper, though.

Deadline C:  Papers submitted by this date will receive ONLY a grade (no comments), whether or not they are revisions of a Deadline A draft.

Credit:  David Brakke, the Ohio State University.

Policy on Make-ups, Extensions, and Late Assignments

Papers submitted late will be penalized one letter grade per 24-hour period late.  The clock starts ticking when the assignment is due.  Late penalties are calculated based on the time the paper is submitted to Sakai.  (E.g., an “A” quality paper that was due Wednesday in class but was submitted on Thursday at 9 am will receive a B; if submitted at 5 pm Thursday, it will receive a C.)  For papers, anything turned in past deadline C will be considered late.  Deadlines A & B are fixed.

Students who miss a graded in-class assignment (such as a presentation or discussion facilitation) will receive a zero for that assignment.

Extensions on assignments and rescheduling in-class presentations/discussion facilitations will be provided only in emergencies (e.g., death in the immediate family, severe illness, etc.) or unavoidable conflicts with another required university commitment (such as an athletic competition) with advance notice.  Students with an emergency should contact the professor to make alternative arrangements as soon as possible.

This course has an Absence Policy (see section 5.1 of the main syllabus): “After three unexcused absences, your final grade for the course will be lowered by one-third of a grade (i.e., from a “B+” to a “B”) for each day that you are absent from class without a valid excuse. This means that if you miss five days of class without a valid excuse, your final grade for the course will be lowered by two-thirds of a grade (i.e., from a “B+” to a  “B-”). A valid excuse for missing class will require written documentation from a person who can certify the seriousness of your illness or other misfortune. Your instructor may require some form of make-up work for participation missed during an excused absence (emphasis added).”  This make-up work is described here.

  • Students may make-up their missed participation if they have documented illnesses, required sports games/meets or other university event, or a personal or family  emergency (such as a death of a close relative). It is the professor’s discretion as to which absences can or should be made up.      
  • To make up an absence, students will provide a written analysis of the readings/websites/films for the missed day.  The response will be a minimum of one page long , typed, 12-point font, and will be submitted via email within 24 hours of the student’s return to class.  It will be evaluated for quality and will count toward missed participation that day, depending on the quality of the paper.
  • At the beginning of the semester, athletes/debaters/etc. should provide me with the dates of class to be missed due to official university activities.
  • Students who are too ill to come to class should go to health services and provide documentation with their make up assignment if they choose to make it up.
  • Students with a personal or family emergency should email me to see if the absence can be made up.
  • Lying to avoid a penalty is a violation of the Honor Code
  • Make friends: Students who miss class should get notes from a peer before coming to talk to the professor about missed material.
  • The make-up policy outlined above is designed for students who have unavoidable commitments or emergencies, which will lead to more than a week of absences.  Students with multiple absences at the beginning of the semester should not expect accommodation late in the semester.


Grading Additional Writing and Participation

Additional Writing assignments (including Blog Posts) will all be given points.  The Additional Writing grade will be given a letter grade corresponding to the percentage of points earned.

Participation has many components, including in class activity, the discussion facilitation, blog post responses, and other assignments.

40% of the participation grade will be based on in class regular class participation

20% of the participation grade will be based on the discussion facilitation

40% of the participation grade will be based on blog post responses and other assignments designated CP (Class Participation) on the course schedule.  These assignments will have points.  This part of the Participation grade will be a percentage grade:  the percentage of points earned.

Don’t forget:  Participation and the final course grade are also affected by absences.


3. Readings

The readings for the course are collected in the 2012–13 Pacific Seminar 1 anthology, which is sold in the bookstore. Additional readings that are not in the course anthology can be found on the Sakai course site. Students are expected to bring the readings to class each day.

4. Assignments

Formal Essay #1                                              20%

Formal Essay #2                                              20%

Formal Essay #3                                              20%

Additional Writing Assignments            20%

Class Participation                                         20%

4.1 Formal Essays

The course requires three formal essays between 1,300-1,400 words in length (about 5-6 pages). All essays should be in 12 point font, double-spaced, with normal margins. Each of these essays will be in response to a prompt designed and distributed by your professor. Your professor will tell you the specific due dates for your class.

In each paper, you will be required to build an argument that both analyzes relevant readings from the course anthology and offers a clear response to the question asked in the assignment prompt. The essay should be clearly structured with a thesis statement in the introduction. Any reader—say, a classmate—should be able to read the first paragraph and understand exactly what your main argument is going to be. Each paragraph should build on your thesis—explaining it, giving good reasons for your argument from the readings, and offering evidence—in other words, giving good examples to build your argument.

For further detail on what is expected, please see the grading rubric attached to this syllabus. There are also sample essays of exemplary student writing at the end of the course anthology.

All formal essays must be submitted through your section’s Sakai site, where they will be scored for originality against Turnitin.com’s anti-plagiarism database.

4.2 Additional Writing

Your professor will be assigning about 2,000 words of additional formal writing assignments beyond the three formal essays described above. This total of 2,000 words may include another large essay, short essays, reaction pieces to certain readings, formal summaries of the main arguments of articles, etc. Your professor will let you know what the requirements are for your section.

In total, all students in each section of PACS 1 will write approximately 6,000 words of formal, finished prose, although it may be distributed slightly differently from one section to another. The total amount of writing corresponds with national standards for first-semester writing courses.

4.3 Participation

Class participation is crucial to your success and the success of this course, including how much you learn and how much fun you have with your classmates. Come to class having read and/or viewed everything assigned for that day. Be prepared to ask and answer questions about the assignments, be prepared to dissect the arguments and figure out what you think about them and why you think that, and be prepared to engage in informal in-class writing about the readings if your professor builds that in as part of participation. Be prepared to consider and talk about the different kinds of works you will be exposed to: research articles, articles making a philosophical argument, stories, poems, paintings, and photographs.

“Participation” may include asking your own questions, responding to the instructor’s or fellow students’ questions and comments, contributing to group learning activities, completing in-class writing exercises, doing presentations, or participating in various other in-class activities designed by your instructor. Thus, it is more than simply talking in class each day. Class participation is an important way to develop individual critical thinking skills and to contribute to a collective learning process, which often yields greater results than studying in isolation.

Please see the grading rubric attached to this syllabus and your section syllabus for more information on the parameters, expectations, and criteria for class participation in your particular section.

4.4 Assessment

As determined by university accreditation, Pacific’s general education program must conduct assessment of its program. Your work in the course might be used for assessment purposes. Student names would be anonymous during assessment work and would not appear in any results. Thanks for your cooperation. If you do not want your work to be used for assessment purposes, please submit a written statement to the Director of General Education.

5.4 Honor Code

The Honor Code at the University of the Pacific calls upon each student to exhibit a high degree of maturity, responsibility, and personal integrity. Students are expected to:

  • Act honestly in all matters,
  • Actively encourage academic integrity,
  • Discourage any form of cheating or dishonesty by others, and
  • Inform the instructor and appropriate university administrator if she or he has a reasonable and good faith belief and substantial evidence that a violation of the Academic Honesty Policy has occurred.

Violations will be referred to and investigated by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. If a student is found responsible, it will be documented as part of her or his permanent academic record. A student may receive a range of penalties, including failure of an assignment, failure of the course, suspension, or dismissal from the University. The Academic Honesty Policy is located in Tiger Lore and online at http://www.pacific.edu/Campus-Life/Safety-and-Conduct/Student-Conduct/Tiger-Lore-Student-Handbook-.html

5.5 Students with Disabilities

If you are a student with a disability who requires accommodations, please contact the Director of the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) for information on how to obtain an Accommodations Request Letter.

3-Step Accommodation Process

  1. Student meets with the SSD Director and provides documentation and completes registration forms.
  2. Student requests accommodation(s) each semester by completing the Request for Accommodations Form.
  3. Student arranges to meet with his/her professors to discuss the accommodation(s) and to sign the Accommodation Request Letter

To ensure timeliness of services, it is preferable that you obtain the accommodation letter(s) from the Office of SSD. Depending on course and session, the wait time may be as long as 1-2 weeks or as short as 1-2 days. After the instructor receives the accommodation letter, please schedule a meeting with the instructor during office hours or some other mutually convenient time to arrange the accommodation(s).

The Office of Services for Students with Disabilities is located in the McCaffrey Center, Rm. 137. Phone: 209-946-3221. Email: ssd@pacific.edu. Online: www.pacific.edu/disabilities