Comp @ CSULA
Overview of Instructional Practices
Preparing a Syllabus
Student Attendance Policy
The University Writing Center
Assessing Students' Writing Skills Early
Scheduling Office Hours
Managing Student Enrollment
Recommended Policies on Student Papers
Duplicating Instructional Materials
Using Other Departmental Resources
Students' Evaluation of Teaching
All courses in the writing program ask students to develop
thinking and reasoning abilities and to learn rhetorical strategies for
communicating effectively in writing. The curriculum offers a developmental
sequence that moves from reflection to analysis and interpretation and from
topics drawn from personal experience or observation to ideas and issues drawn
from texts and a world outside students' immediate experience. Although not all
students take all four composition courses offered by the department, many do,
because of the requirements of EO 665.
Classes are based on the premise that writing is a craft
that can be taught and are structured around the principle that the best writing
evolves over time, developing through careful consideration of a topic, formal
or informal collaboration during the writing process, and multiple drafts which
are revised in response to various types of feedback. In all courses, the
program's instructional practices are highly interactive, with both students and
instructors actively engaged throughout the entire writing process: discovering
a thesis; critically reading and discussing texts; and drafting, revising, and
editing essays. Frequent use of small groups for prewriting activities and peer
evaluation helps engage students actively in the learning process.
Research indicates that students who read extensively have
a more extensive vocabulary, use more varied sentence structures, and have a
better grasp of the conventions and genres of written language than students who
have read very little. Since most Cal State LA students have not read widely or
regularly, whatever we do to encourage them to read regularly will assist them
in their academic and intellectual development. In addition, college-level
writing almost always requires that students respond critically to texts, so
composition instruction needs to help students learn strategies for reading and
responding to texts.
In English 095, texts are used to help students generate
ideas for writing and to help them find events in their personal experience or
observations that they can relate to and reflect on. In addition, students are
introduced to strategies for critically reading texts. In English 096, the
emphasis on critical reading is increased, and students must specifically relate
texts to their personal experience and analyze their experience with reference
to a text. Some 095 and 096 instructors also require students to read one
full-length book as a way of encouraging more extensive reading. In both English
101 and 102, students "read to write," and assignments ask them to
interpret and analyze texts. English 102 students read more challenging texts
than 101 students, write analytic essays using several texts related to a topic
or theme, and engage in individual research to find their own sources on a
Invention and revision are key elements of the writing
process, and Cal State LA students need extensive help and guidance during these
phases of writing. They benefit from prewriting activities and discussions that
help them read critically, identify issues, discuss alternative points of view,
and establish or formulate a thesis. They also need to learn to revise at the
global level (content, development, and organization) as well as at the sentence
level in response to feedback from instructors and peers. Given the time
constraints of the quarter system, students may be completing final revisions on
one paper while engaged in prewriting/invention activities for the next essay.
The Composition Committee maintains a list of recommended
texts. (The list of recommended texts is included on the resources page for each
composition course.) Copies of books on the recommended list are usually
available for examination in the department office. If not, it is possible to
review a book's table of contents on publishers' websites.
The list is not
intended to be all-inclusive, but instead suggests titles that have an
appropriate content and approach for the curriculum of each course. Faculty are
asked to choose their texts from the list of recommended texts. Faculty who
would like to use a text that is not listed are asked to submit with their book
orders a description of the text(s) they would like to use along with a brief
rationale for their choices.
wish to create course readers can do so through the CSULA Book Store or one of
the commercial publishers who offer such services. In addition, it is now
possible to put articles on electronic reserve in the library. Students can
access, download, and print electronic reserve articles using campus or their
home computers: this method is usually the most economical for students since
they can avoid having to pay copyright fees and copying fees associated with
Textbook order forms are available from Yolanda Galvan, the
department secretary. Instructors should select texts as early as possible to
ensure their arrival in the bookstore. In cases where instructors are hired too
late to order texts, the Composition Coordinator in consultation with the
Composition Committee may select texts for those sections.
As textbook costs can be a considerable burden for
students, instructors are encouraged to choose texts that are reasonably priced.
Many popular readers, rhetorics, and grammar guides are also available in
lower-cost concise or compact editions that may be just as useful to students.
Instructors are also encouraged to consider using the library's electronic
reserve system as an alternative to course packets.
Instructors can obtain desk copies by contacting the
publisher's representative. Generally, instructors will be asked to mail or fax
a request on department letterhead with appropriate course information and have
the text sent to the school. Telephone numbers of major publishers are available
in the department office. Instructors who do not receive their desk copies
before classes begin can buy a copy of their text at the Cal State LA Book Store
and return it for full credit once the desk copy arrives. Be sure to keep your
receipt and ask the cashier to write "desk copy" on the receipt at the
time you purchase the book.
Preparing a Syllabus (back
University policy requires all faculty to provide students
with a written syllabus that contains all of the information listed below and to
turn in a file copy of the syllabus to the department office. Students must receive this
syllabus no later than the second class meeting. However, we strongly encourage
all composition instructors to have their written syllabus ready for the first
Instructor's name, office location, telephone extension, and
General course description including course prerequisites, if any
Requirements: policies and procedures (attendance, assignments,
readings) and basis for evaluation (number of essays, portfolios, homework
assignments, reading assignments, class participation, etc.)
Grading system and its relation to achievement of the requirements
Topical outline of course (due dates of essays, assigned readings,
Date and time of final examination (English 095 and 096
instructors should list the due date of the portfolio and the date of the final
in-class essay. English 102 instructors should list the date of the final essay
or portfolio, if assigned.)
Click on the links below to view sample syllabi for composition courses.
ENGL 095 Sample Syllabus
ENGL 096 Sample Syllabus
ENGL 101 Sample Syllabus
ENGL 102 Sample Syllabus
Student Attendance Policy (back
The English Department's attendance policy states that any
student who misses 20% of the scheduled class sessions may fail the course. In a
10-week quarter, there are 20 class sessions; this means that students are in
danger of failing once they have missed four classes. This attendance
requirement should be stated clearly in your syllabus. Although you may not
enforce it rigorously in cases where there are extenuating circumstances, it
demonstrates the importance of regular attendance and gives you the option of
giving students a grade of No Credit if they miss a significant number of
University Writing Center (back
Cal State LA provides tutorial help for students free of
charge at the University Writing Center, Library South, Room 2098. The center is
open Monday-Thursday from 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., Friday from 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.,
and Saturday from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Any Cal State LA student can use this
valuable resource, but composition students are particularly encouraged to take
advantage of the assistance available.
The Writing Center is particularly helpful for students who
would benefit from greater individualized assistance than can be offered in a
classroom setting. Instructors should try to identify such students early in the
quarter and encourage them to work regularly with a tutor throughout the
Students whose EPT score is only a few points below the
cutoff for English 101 are allowed to enroll in 101 rather than 096 if they
enroll concurrently in English 100 (Supplemental Writing Practice), a one-unit
adjunct course taught through the Writing Center. In English 100, groups of 5-8
students will meet weekly with a Writing Center tutor for a 75-minute session
that provides supplemental instruction.
Assessing Students' Writing Skills Early (back
Assessing students' writing skills at the beginning of the
quarter provides a rough idea of the strengths and weaknesses of individual
students as well as of a class as a whole. Instructors are encouraged to assign
a brief diagnostic essayÂfor example, a 30-minute in-class or take-home essay
in response to a promptÂduring the first or second class meeting. Many faculty
feel that these essays allow them to get to know their students, fine-tune their
teaching according to the needs of a particular class, and identify students who
might benefit from extra assistance in the Writing Center.
Scheduling Office Hours (back
According to university policy, faculty must schedule 1
hour and 20 minutes of office hours weekly for each course they teach.
Instructors who teach two classes, therefore, would need to schedule 2 hours and
40 minutes of office hours, and instructors who teach three classes would need
to schedule 4 hours.
Faculty should schedule office hours at times convenient to
themselves, their students, and their department. Faculty should make every
attempt to hold office hours in their assigned offices.
Managing Student Enrollment (back
To control the number of students in each composition
section, the English Department has developed a set of specific registration
procedures for the Drop/Add period. You will receive detailed instructions on
these procedures prior to the first day of classes. Please follow them carefully
so that we can accommodate as many students as possible while maintaining class
sizes appropriate for writing instruction.
The English Department sets pre-enrollment in English 095
and 096 at 20 students and at 27 students in English 101 and 102. The target
enrollment is 20 for 095 and 096 and 25 for 101 and 102. Instructors should
refuse to add students above 20 in English 095 and 096 and above 27 in 101 and
102 because to do so will compromise the quality of instruction for the students
Instructors need to take an active role in ensuring that
students who are added during the Drop/Add period officially enroll through STAR
(Student Telephone Assisted Registration) or online through GET (Golden Eagle
Territory) after they have given students permission to add the course.
Especially in the fall quarter, students are inexperienced in dealing with
university procedures and may not understand that they must enroll through STAR
or GET to be officially added to your class. You will receive updated class
rosters after the first week of classes to assist you in monitoring enrollment.
It is essential that you identify non-enrolled students and make sure they are
officially enrolled. Please follow instructions included with the registration
Recommended Policies on Student Papers (back
Faculty are encouraged to develop their own policies on late papers and their
own procedures for returning papers, subject to the considerations listed below.
Students who are absent on the day that assigned papers are
due may turn the paper in to your mailbox in the department office. Staff
members will not stamp papers to indicate the time or date when papers are
turned in. Unless you are ill on a day when a paper is due, do not ask an entire
class to turn in a set of papers to your box in the department office. It
creates too much traffic, confusion, and work for the staff.
Return all papers to students during class sessions.
Students who are absent must pick their papers up in class after they return or
during your office hours. Please do not leave papers for students to pick up
outside your office or in the department office.
If English 101 or 102 students want to pick up papers
turned in at the end of the quarter, they will need to see their instructors
during office hours sometime the next quarter. As an alternative, students can
give instructors a self-addressed, stamped manila envelope at the end of the
quarter, and their final papers can be mailed.
English 095 and 096 portfolios are not returned to students
but are kept on file in the department for one year and stored in file cabinets
in the department storage room.
Duplicating Instructional Materials (back
The department has two copy machines, a Canon copier and a
risograph machine, to support instruction. They may be used to copy class
handouts, activities, short supplementary readings, etc. They should not be used
to create classroom sets of readings that, in effect, constitute a course packet
of readings. Not only have recent court decisions ruled that such packets are
illegal unless instructors obtain permission from copyright holders, but the
department budget will not cover such copying. To encourage balanced usage and
keep copying costs to a minimum, the department has established the following
Use the Canon copier when you have 10 or fewer pages to copy. Ask one of the
office staff if you need help in using it. Each faculty member is assigned an
individual copy code and allocated a set number of copies per quarter, depending
upon their total enrollment. You must key in your personal code number before
copying, and the machine records an ongoing tally of your usage.
Risograph Machine: The
risograph is a fast and efficient machine and more cost-effective than the
copier. Use it when you need to make 10 copies or more of each page you are
copying. Jeanne Gee or the Composition Coordinator will provide instruction in
using the risograph.
Faculty should expect to do most of their own copying. However, at certain times
the staff can do copying if they are given several days. There is no drop-off
copying service until the end of the Drop/Add period each quarter because of the
many other demands on staff time during Drop/Add.
Using Other Departmental Resources (back
VCR: A number of
rooms in King Hall are equipped with VCRs and DVD players. In addition, the
English Department has two VCRs, both stored in the department. To use one for
your class, sign up in advance with Yolanda Galvan. Instructors are responsible
for transporting the VCR to their classroom and for returning it to the
appropriate location. However, students are usually willing to assist in this
task if you need assistance.
Computer Lab: The
English Department Computer Lab is located in KHB 3007. It was upgraded in
Spring 2005 and has 30 Dell (IBM compatible) computers. Microsoft Word is
available on all machines, and there is access to all library databases and the
Internet. Sign up with Yolanda Galvan to reserve the room for use with your
Literacy: The Library offers instructors training sessions for their
students in conducting research online, using electronic databases, and
evaluating information found on the web; staff are eager to work with
composition faculty. Contact Catherine Haras, Information
Literacy Coordinator, at 343-5168 or [email protected]
for further information.
One-Time Change of Location: If your class is meeting somewhere other than
your regularly assigned room for any reason, please notify the departmental
office. Some students will not remember where they are supposed to be and will
come to the department asking for help. It's also a good idea to post a notice
of the temporary location on your classroom door to guide students.
Permanent Change of
Classroom: If your class is scheduled in a "problem" classroom and
you would like to change to a different room, ask Yolanda Galvan to request
another classroom. Sometimes classes are canceled, and rooms become available at
the beginning of the quarter. Be aware, however, that there may be no other
space available at the time your class meets. In this case, you will have to
remain in the room for the remainder of the quarter.
If you are ill and cannot attend class, call the department
office so that we can notify the students of your absence. If you cancel a class
to substitute an alternative activity (i.e., library research, individual
conferences for the entire class, etc.), you should also notify the office so
they can inform lost or confused students.
Even the best instructor will occasionally find that a
student has plagiarized a paper. While student plagiarism cannot be completely
avoided, instructors can reduce its occurrence by explaining the university's
academic honesty policy, instructing students in the difference between
acceptable paraphrasing and plagiarism, and by carefully choosing assignment
topics. For further resources, contact Lise Buranen in the University Writing
Center, and consult the following:
here to view the definition of plagiarism found in the Faculty Handbook.
here to view the university's academic honesty policy.
Click here to view a PDF version of the university's academic honesty policy.
Students' Evaluation of Teaching (back
University policy requires all lecturers to administer
Student Opinion Surveys in all their classes every quarter that they teach.
These are part of each lecturer's permanent file and must be considered in the
yearly evaluation of lecturers. Be sure to set aside 20 minutes during the ninth
or tenth week to administer the questionnaires. Follow the directions provided.
All grades are submitted online using the Cal State LA
student information system known as GET (Golden Eagle Territory). All continuing
instructors have already received an ID number and instructions for grading
online. New instructors will receive their ID and instructions during their
first quarter of employment. After completing the grade roster and before
submitting the grades, instructors must make a copy of their grade roster for
the department. Turn copies in to Jeanne Gee.
It is against university policy to post grades even if
students' CIN or some other means of anonymous identification is used. If
students want to know their grade before it is available on the university
system, they must give instructors a self-addressed post card.
There is one general meeting for all composition faculty
each year. This is held during the fall quarter on the first or second Friday
after classes begin. It is usually scheduled to meet from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. At
the conclusion of the meeting, the chair meets with the composition faculty to
review the university's evaluation procedures for part-time lecturers.