|English Composition||Spring 2009||Palomar College|
You will send me a weekly e-mail update on your work in the class. This need not be lengthy, but you will need to submit it each week, on the day indicated in your class syllabus. The Subject line for each e-mail update should be your last name followed by "Update" followed by a comma and the number of the week. So if I submitted an update for the first week of the semester the subject line would read "Tagg Update, week 1" (without the quotation marks, of course).
Let me briefly explain why I am doing this. In the past, in this class, I have done my best to monitor whether students are keeping up and to follow up when they are falling behind. But this is a cumbersome process. And as the semester goes on, it gets easier for people to slip through the cracks. In some cases, by the time I find out that there is a problem it's too late to do anything about it or it is very hard to do anything about it.
You have a lot of freedom in this class to schedule your work when it is most convenient for you to do it. But that poses a danger. You can easily postpone your work until you have a backlog and it's hard to catch up. If I have to take the initiative to track down the students who are in trouble, it takes too long and doesn't work for everyone. Therefore, I'm going to ask you to take the initiative. ("Ask" is a little soft really; I'm going to make you.) It isn't a disaster if you are late with a reading assignment once or twice or if you delay a couple of days in posting your discussion comments. But if those things accumulate it can lead to something that is a disaster: a late working draft or essay. To prevent that, I am going to require you to keep me posted on a weekly basis as to how you are doing, what, if anything, you've gotten behind in, and when you plan to catch up. This won't take much of your time, but it will help you to keep on schedule, and it will help me to step in to help you while there is still time.
Your update for each week will have two parts.
First, report how you are doing with your work, whether you have completed or are working on the assignments for the week or whether you are behind on anything. For example, if you are current in your reading and writing, simply say "I'm up to date" or "I've completed everything due so far." If you haven't completed something that is due for the week, just report what it is and when you plan to complete it. For example, you might say something like "I haven't finished reading chapter 3 yet, so I haven't posted anything on the discussion, but I plan to catch up on Thursday." I want to know whether you are keeping up or falling behind, and in what, and when.
Second, let me know if you have any questions, comments, or problems, either with the work for the class or something else. For example, if you have a problem with your editorial group, I'd like to know about it. If you have serious difficulty with the reading assignment, to the point that you really don't know how to respond to the assignment, I'd like to know about it. If you have a change of work schedule or an illness in the family that might affect your work for class, I want to know about it. I'd also like to know if you have any ideas about the class--complaints, suggestions, or confusions--, and this would be a convenient place to put such ideas. Of course, you can send me e-mail any time with questions, ideas, or suggestions; you don't have to wait for your weekly e-mail update. Often you may have nothing to say in the way of questions or comments, and that's fine. Just say "no questions."
This weekly e-mail update is mandatory every week for everyone. Make it part of your schedule. My experience is that people who can't keep up with the weekly updates, can't keep up with the rest of the work. So I will keep a very careful record of your updates and will insist that you keep them coming. I will also try to respond to your updates if you raise questions or issues that seem to call for a response. Let me know if you have any questions.
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This page was last edited: 01/05/09