Syllabus, English 109, Fall 2009

Rick Dollieslager, Asst. Professor of English

Office: Templin Hall 874 Phone: 825-3543



Office Hours:

Contacting me: Use email or stop past my office. Please do not call me on the phone and leave a message for me to call you back unless you leave your cell phone number. Experience tells me that, if I call your home number, you won't be there. If you need to talk to me and I'm not in, it is best to call back during my office hours.



My goal in this course is to offer you one of the most valuable learning experiences of your entire life. And I need your full cooperation to make it work!

Course Purpose: This is a conceptually based master learner course designed to facilitate your understanding of learning development and how learning is influenced by early developmental, school, and socialization factors.  A major goal of the course is to help students understand their roles as constructors of knowledge and to gain an enhanced appreciation of the diverse ways of learning, and of integrating and applying what is learned.  The course is designed to help you create greater success in college and in life. In the coming weeks, you will learn many proven strategies for creating greater academic, professional, and personal success. We will use guided journal writings to explore these strategies, and as a bonus, you will learn to express yourself more effectively in writing. You may never again have an opportunity quite like this one to discover how to create a rich, personally fulfilling life and how to reach those life goals by becoming more successful academically. I urge you to make the most of this extraordinary opportunity! If you do, you will not only improve your grades but will dramatically change the outcome of your life—for the better!

Course Objectives: In this course, you will learn how to...

1.      Take charge of your life. You will learn how to take greater personal responsibility, gaining more control over the outcomes that you create both in college and in life.

2.      Increase self-motivation. You will learn to create greater inner motivation by discovering your own personally meaningful goals and dreams.

3.      Improve personal self-management. You will learn numerous strategies for taking control of your time and energy, allowing you to move more effectively and efficiently toward the accomplishment of your goals and dreams.

4.      Develop interdependence and collaborative skills . You will learn how to develop mutually supportive relationships with people who will help you achieve your goals and dreams as you assist them to achieve theirs.

5.      Increase self-awareness. You will learn how to understand and revise your self-defeating patterns of behavior, thought, and emotion as well as your unconscious limiting beliefs.

6.      Maximize your learning. You will discover the natural process of effective learning and understand how to apply that process according to your individual learning style preference. This knowledge will enable you not only to get better grades in college but also to be a more effective lifelong learner.

7.      Develop emotional intelligence. You will learn effective strategies for managing your emotional life, decreasing stress and distress while increasing your inner sense of well-being.

8.      Raise your self-esteem. You will learn how to develop self-acceptance, self-confidence, self-respect, self-love, and unconditional self-worth.

9.      Write more effectively. You will learn how to improve your writing skills through the extensive writing practice offered by your guided journal entries.

10.    Improve creative and critical thinking skills. You will learn how to enhance the thinking skills essential for analyzing and solving problems in your academic, professional, and personal lives.

11.    Master effective study skills. You will learn how to raise your grades in college by improving essential skills like reading, note taking, memorizing, studying, and test taking.

12.    Manage your money. You will learn helpful techniques for increasing your income (including gaining more financial aid for college) and decreasing your expenses.

Method: By reading On Course (our textbook), you'll learn empowering strategies that have helped others create great success. By keeping a guided journal, you'll discover how to apply these success strategies to achieve your own goals and dreams. By participating in class activities and focused conversations, and by completing a course project, you will further improve your ability to stay on course to your success. Once you make these new strategies your own through application, you'll have the ability to dramatically improve the outcome of your life-academically, professionally, and personally.

Course Projects:

Weekly Quizzes (5 points each)

Success Journals (5 points each)

Three (four, time permitting) Personal Success Projects (20-25 points each)


This is a course for students who wish to be successful in college and in life. One of the most important factors of success in any endeavor is consistent and active participation. To encourage and reward your preparation for active participation at every class, unannounced quizzes on the readings will be given. If you have read the assignment and completed your journal entry, you should have no trouble earning the maximum points (5) for each quiz. No quiz may be made up later. You have to attend class and participate in order to reap the benefits.

Great success is created one small step at a time. Each time that you earn your quiz points you take an important step toward your success in this course ... and in life!

Success Journals

Your SUCCESS JOURNAL provides an opportunity to explore your thoughts and feelings as you experiment with the success strategies presented in On Course. By carefully examining each strategy in your journal, you will discover which ones will assist you to create a rich, personally fulfilling life. Although I will be collecting your journals and looking through them, write your journal for yourself, not for me. Your journal entries will occasionally be read by your classmates.

Journal Writings: During this semester, you will write journal entries from our textbook and a few additional readings. These entries will be written outside of class. Additionally, you will write occasional lettered journal entries based on class exercises. These entries will be written in class. At various times you will have an opportunity to read a journal entry to one or more classmates. THEREFORE, PLEASE BRING YOUR TEXTBOOK, JOURNAL, AND STORAGE MEDIA TO EVERY CLASS.

Note: First, always start a new page for each jorunal entry. You may write your journal entries by hand--as long as they are legible to me when I collect them for reading--or you may write your journal on a computer. In either case, make sure each journal entry is labeled at the top with the date and the journal number. Whether you use lined notebook paper with pre-punched holes or you type and print the pages and use a 3-hole punch on the individual sheets of paper, these pages will be organized neatly into a three-hole tabbed folder. This requirement will assure that none of your entries gets lost. At the end of this semester, you will have your entire journal to keep for years to come. Many students come to regard their personal journal as one of their most valued possessions.

Journal Evaluations: I will collect your journals weekly or bi-weekly and return them to you at the next meeting of the class, unless other arrangements must be made. It is not my intention to read every journal entry you write. Instead, I will look through your journal book to verify the completion of each assignment and to give credit for a job well done. I read occasional journal entries to get a sense of the issues you are working on. With this knowledge I can be of greater assistance to you this semester.

If you want my comment on a specific part of your journal, simply turn down the corner of the appropriate page. On that page, write a note about the response you desire from me.

Privacy: Occasionally you may write a journal entry that you wish to keep private. If so, simply fold the appropriate pages over and staple them closed at the top and bottom. You have my word that I will respect your privacy. I do reserve the right to confirm that there is, in fact, writing on these pages. You may lock up to three journal entries; more than that will require my permission. Locked journals will be given scores equal to the average score of all other journals.

Journal Points: Each journal entry will be awarded up to 5 points, and you will write nearly 30 journal entries. A journal entry will be awarded the maximum of 5 points if it fulfills the following two criteria:

         1. The entry is complete (all steps in the directions have been responded to), and

         2. The entry is written with high standards (an obvious attempt has been made to dive deep), and you have generated at least 250 of your own words in response.


Grammar, spelling, and punctuation will NOT be factors in awarding points in this journal. You are free to express yourself without concern for standard English conventions.

Personal Success Projects

You will do at least 3 personal success projects, each worth 20 to 25 points.

Course Rules for Success

Students’ expectations of self and colleagues collected in class, via email, and from hard copy submissions. We will fill in the three sections of the syllabus below by agreement after reading Chapter I.

Classroom Deportment

Work Habits

Students’ expectations of instructor

Schedule of Assignments

No quizzes may be made up late, so plan to attend class regularly

The assignments below reflect a general outline for the projects, readings, and due dates. The weekly schedule and the specific daily agenda will be published on the class web page. Bring your textbook and journal to every class.

Weeks 2-10 Reading the On Course text book and writing in the journals. There are nine chapters in this short, 250-page book, so we will read and write the journals on approximately one chapter per week. Journals will be collected weekly, so you must keep current with your reading and your journaling in order to be successful. During this span of time we will also be developing successful study and test-taking skills from the text and from on-line research.

Weeks 11-16 We will work primarily on our independent success projects and teach each other success skills through our oral presentations.

Last date to withdraw with any refund: 8 September 2009

Final date to withdraw from the course: 23 October 2009

ADA Compliance: If you have any diagnosed physical or learning disabilities please see Professor Richard Hurst in the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (Hastings Hall, room 323) to register for support services or accomodations covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Link to On Course pre-semester self-assessment.

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