Your grades in this course are based 100% on your labor as you complete all the required activities and projects in the course and actively contribute to a supportive writing community.
Labor in This Course
In the workplace, you will be assessed by how hard you work and what you accomplish. Managers rarely give letter grades. They expect you to show up, put in your best effort, and accomplish the goals your company sets. If you do nothing or the bare minimum, you will be reprimanded or fired.
Grades in this course are based on a similar system. You earn your grade based on your labor—on the time and intensity that you put into your writing and collaboration. You are not punished for making mistakes as long as you work to improve throughout the term.
The labor in this course includes the following:
- Reading, Listening, and Viewing
You will read, listen to, and/or view texts including ebooks, websites, images, and videos. There will be explanations and how-to texts as well as examples and inspirational texts. You will also read, listen to, and/or view texts written by members of your writing group and others in the class.
You will write drafts, revisions, and updates for several major projects in this course. You will also write professional messages to one another and to me, respond to specific questions and discussions, and keep a written record of your work in the course.
- Providing & Responding to Feedback
You will provide formative feedback on the writing done by members of your writing group and others in the class. You will also receive feedback on your own writing and respond to that feedback by asking for questions or clarification and by using the feedback to improve your work.
You will review your work in the course and reflect upon how you have done and what you can do to improve further. Your reflection will consider all of the work you do in the course.
You will work with your writing group to plan your projects and keep on schedule. You will work together throughout the course, with every team member contributing equally. Your collaborative efforts will help build a supportive writing community in this course, as you help the members of your writing group and others in the class with the activities and projects in the course.
This grading system is probably not what you are used to, so I have created a separate page that explains how you should approach your work in a course where your grades are based on labor. Perhaps the most important take-away is that going through the motions won’t work. You must engage deeply in the course, working consistently to improve your writing and collaboration.
As long as you do the work that is required, you will earn a B in this course. Specifically, you must complete these requirements:
- Complete five major projects, which meet basic standards for technical writing.
- Track your work and participation in the course in a Labor Log (entered in Canvas).
- Complete weekly self-assessments that account for the work you have completed.
- Share at least one new or revised draft (with framing notes) a week with your writing group.
- Provide formative feedback weekly on the drafts that are submitted by the members of your writing group.
- Evaluate your labor in the course in a performance review, which serves as your final exam.
If you do not meet these requirements fully, you will earn a grade less than a B. How much less than a B depends upon how much less you do. You can always check with me if you fear you are not meeting the basic requirements for a B.
To earn a grade greater than a B, you must take an ongoing leadership role by helping to teach the class new things and significantly adding support to the writing community. Your contributions can be supportive actions that you design yourself (with feedback from me) or actions that come from a list of possible suggestions, such as the following:
- complete peer reviews for people not in your writing group.
- organize real-time meetings with 3–4 people to share work and provide feedback (using Slack).
- contribute and annotate infographics or readings on topics that the course is discussing.
- demonstrate how to do something with one of the tools that the class is using.
Grades higher than a B will be earned based on a traditional bell curve: Those students contributing most significantly will earn an A; those contributing least significantly will earn a B+. Note that your grade is not based on the number of contributions, but on the value of those contributions to demonstrating your leadership and adding support to the writing community.
Icons all from The Noun Project and used under a CC-BY license: Crew Working by Iris Sun. Graph showing bell distribution and graded paper by tengrrl.