Syllabus, English 109, Spring 2007

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. You won't be there, and I won't play phone tag. If you need to talk to me and I'm not in, 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. 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 Grades:


A        =        270-300

B        =         240-269

C        =        210-239

D        =         180-209

F        =      179 or below

Course Projects:


1.     13 Quizzes (5 points each)                         65

2.     31 Success Journals (5 points each)           155

3.     4 Personal Success Projects (more below) 80

        Total Possible Points                                 300

Each of these three components of your grade is explained below.

1.      Quizzes (65 Possible Points)

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, fifteen 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.

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!

2.      Success Journals (155 Possible Points)

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 at least thirty-one numbered 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 AND JOURNAL TO EVERY CLASS.

Note: First, always start a new page for each jornnal 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. The journal will also include a table of contents section, organized by each chapter of the book, listing the journal entries under each chapter by the number of the entry, by topic of the entry and by date. You may write the table of contents by hand; I suggest adding two or three blank notebook pages at the start of your journals and labeling the first page "Table of Contents."

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. Thus, all thirty-one journal entries will be worth a possible total of 155 points. 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).

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.

         IMPORTANT NOTE: All thirty-one journal entries must be completed to earn a passing grade in the course.

3.      Personal Success Projects (80 Possible Points)

You will do 4 personal success projects, each worth a total of 20 points

1. A paper on an assigned topic related to the success characteristics discussed in each chapter of the text book. You may draw liberally from your journals for the content of these essays if applicable.

2.      2. An annotated bibliography (published as a web page on the Internet) of on-line resources which will help you personally to be successful in your classes and in the rest of the areas of your life while you are a college student. (Life doens't just go away because you are taking college classes.

3.  An oral presentation in your Study Skills class or (by arrangement) in one of your other Communities of Learning classes. In this oral presentation, you will teach your classmates one of the most critical success skills you have learned from your bibliographical research. this can be a specific skill, such as identifying and correcting run-on sentences or a life skill, such as time management. Topics will be approved by the instructor based on a primary criterion: that you convince me that this is a skill which you need to research and understand deeply for you, yourself to be successful. In other words, you don't get to teach something that you're already good at; you have to research and develop a new skill. These presentations will be supported in some way by a permanent supplement: a web page, a paper handout, a poster which can remain in the classroom, a PowerPoint which can be posted on the class web site, etc. You may collaborate on these presentations if you first attain my approval to do so, so that I may facilitate the collaborative processes to ensure that each contribution is equitable.

4. A "webfolio," i.e., an on-line portfolio of at least the three other success projects. I will teach you how to make your documents and other presentations into web pages which you may post to your own ISP or to a free web page hosting service, which I will also show you how to use. These are your personal web sites, not the property or responsibility of TNCC, and no one has control over their continuation past the end of the semester but you, though I hope you will keep them active as a resource for future students as well as for other purposes which we will discuss.

Course Rules for Success

Classroom Deportment:





Work Habits:





Expectations of Instructor, agreed to by students and instructor






Schedule of Assignments

Some unannounced quizzes will be given. Others will be announced. No quizzes may be made up.

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 1-10 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 a refund: 23 January 2007

Final date to withdraw from the course: 22 March 2007

ADA Compliance: If you have any diagnosed physical or learning disabilities please se Professor Nancy Bailey 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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