Georgia Tech Writing and Communication Program Common Policies | Fall 2013 / Spring 2014

This site identifies common policies for all Writing and Communication Program courses in English 1101 and English 1102 in the following areas:

Georgia Tech General Education Outcomes for English 1101 and English 1102

Learning Goal A1: Communication
Student will demonstrate proficiency in the process of articulating and organizing rhetorical arguments in written, oral, visual, and nonverbal modes, using concrete support and conventional language.

Learning Goal III: Critical Thinking
Student will be able to judge factual claims and theories on the basis of evidence.

Learning Goal C: Humanities, Fine Arts, And Ethics
Student will be able to describe relationships among languages, philosophies, cultures, literature, ethics, or the arts.


Learning Outcomes for English 1101 and English 1102

Outcomes by the USG Board of Regents
Outcomes by the
Council of Writing Program Administrators
Additional Expectations of the GTWCP
Critical Thinking
Critical thinking involves understanding social and cultural texts and contexts in ways that support productive communication and interaction.
·   Analyze arguments.
·   Accommodate opposing points of view.
·   Interpret inferences and develop subtleties of symbolic and indirect discourse.
·   Use writing and reading for inquiry, learning, thinking, and communicating.
·   Integrate ideas with those of others.
·   Understand relationships among language, knowledge, and power.
·   Recognize the constructedness of language and social forms.
·   Analyze and critique constructs such as race, gender, and sexuality as they appear in cultural texts.
Rhetoric focuses on available means of persuasion, considering the synergy of factors such as context, audience, purpose, role, argument, organization, design, visuals, and conventions of language.
·   Adapt communication to circumstances and audience.
·   Produce communication that is stylistically appropriate and mature.
·   Communicate in standard English for academic and professional contexts.
·   Sustain a consistent purpose and point of view.
·   Use a variety of technologies to address a range of audiences.
·   Learn common formats for different kinds of texts.
·   Develop knowledge of genre conventions ranging from structure and paragraphing to tone and mechanics.
·   Control such surface features as syntax, grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
·   Create artifacts that demonstrate the synergy of rhetorical elements.
·   Demonstrate adaptation of register, language, and conventions for specific contexts and audiences.
·   Apply strategies for communication in and across both academic disciplines and cultural contexts in the community and the workplace.
Processes for communication—for example, creating, planning, drafting, designing, rehearsing, revising, presenting, publishing—are recursive, not linear. Learning productive processes is as important as creating products.
[No USG BOR outcomes are specifically related to process.]
·   Find, evaluate, analyze, and synthesize appropriate primary and secondary sources.
·   Develop flexible strategies for generating, revising, editing, and proofreading.
·   Understand collaborative and social aspects of writing processes.
·   Critique their own and others’ works.
·   Balance the advantages of relying on others with [personal] responsibility.
·   Construct and select information based on interpretation and critique of the accuracy, bias, credibility, authority, and appropriateness of sources.
·   Compose reflections that demonstrate understanding of the elements of iterative processes, both specific to and transferable across rhetorical situations.
Modes and Media
Activities and assignments should use a variety of modes and media—written, oral, visual, electronic, and nonverbal (WOVEN)—singly and in combination. The context and culture of multimodality and multimedia are critical.
·   Interpret content of written materials on related topics from various disciplines.
·   Compose effective written materials for various academic and professional contexts.
·   Assimilate, analyze, and present a body of information in oral and written forms.
·   Communicate in various modes and media, using appropriate technology.
·   Use digital environments for drafting, reviewing, revising, editing, and sharing texts.
·   Locate, evaluate, organize, and use research material collected from electronic sources, including scholarly library databases; other official (e.g., federal) databases; and informal electronic networks and internet sources.
·   Exploit differences in rhetorical strategies and affordances available for both print and electronic composing processes and texts.
·   Create WOVEN (written, oral, visual, electronic, and nonverbal) artifacts that demonstrate interpretation, analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and judgment.
·   Demonstrate strategies for effective translation, transformation, and transference of communication across modes and media.

Evaluation Equivalencies

In this course, this is what your letter grades mean. Your instructor has the option of using +/- in grading an individual assignment; he or she will indicate the grading policy on the course syllabus. Remember that Georgia Tech does NOT use +/- for course grades.

Letter grade
(NB: Georgia Tech does NOT use +/- for course grades. Likewise, some instructors do NOT use +/-  for grading assignments. If your instructor uses +/- for grading assignments, the table shows the equivalencies.)
Numeric Equivalent
in this Class
A: 90-100
Superior performance—rhetorically, aesthetically, and technically—demonstrating advanced understanding and use of the media in particular contexts. An inventive spark and exceptional execution.
B: 80-89
Above-average, high-quality performance—rhetorically, aesthetically, and technically.
C: 70-79
Average (not inferior) performance. Competent and acceptable—rhetorically, aesthetically, and technically.
D: 60-69
Below-average performance. Less than competent — rhetorically, aesthetically, and/or technically.
F: 0-59
Unacceptable performance. Failure to meet even minimum criteria rhetorically, aesthetically, and/or technically.
0 (zero) Work not submitted

Evaluation Rubric 

Rhetorical Awareness
Response to the situation/assignment, considering elements such as purpose, audience, register, and context
Ignores two or more aspects of the situation and thus does not fulfill the task
Ignores at least one aspect of the situation and thus compromises effectiveness
Attempts to respond to all aspects of the situation, but the attempt is insufficient or inappropriate
Addresses the situation in a complete but perfunctory or predictable way
Addresses the situation completely, with unexpected insight
Addresses the situation in a complete, sophisticated manner that could advance professional discourse on the topic
Stance and Support
Argument, evidence, and analysis
Involves an unspecified or confusing argument; lacks appropriate evidence
Makes an overly general argument; has weak or contradictory evidence
Lacks a unified argument; lacks significance (“so what?”); lacks sufficient analysis
Offers a unified, significant, and common position with predictable evidence and analysis
Offers a unified, distinct position with compelling evidence and analysis
Offers an inventive, expert-like position with precise and convincing evidence and analysis
Structure and coherence, including elements such as introductions and conclusions as well as logical connections within and among paragraphs (or other meaningful chunks)
Lacks unity in constituent parts 
(such as paragraphs); fails to create coherence among constituent parts
Uses insufficient unifying statements (e.g., thesis statements, topic sentences, headings, or forecasting statements); uses few effective connections (e.g., transitions, match cuts, and hyperlinks)
Uses some effective unifying claims, but a few are unclear; makes connections weakly or inconsistently, as when claims appear as random lists or when paragraphs’ topics lack explicit ties to the thesis
States unifying claims with supporting points that relate clearly to the overall argument and employs an effective but mechanical scheme
Asserts and sustains a claim that develops progressively and adapts typical organizational schemes for the context, achieving substantive coherence
Asserts a sophisticated claim by incorporating diverse perspectives that are organized to achieve maximum coherence and momentum
Expectations for grammar, mechanics, style, citation, and genre
Involves errors that risk making the overall message distorted or incomprehensible
Involves a major pattern of errors
Involves some distracting errors
Meets expectations, with minor errors
Exceeds expectations 
in a virtually flawless manner
Manipulates expectations in ways that advance the argument
Design for Medium
Features that use affordances to enhance factors such as comprehensibility and usability
Lacks the features necessary for the genre; neglects significant affordances, such as linking on the web; uses features  that conflict with or ignore the argument
Omits some important features; involves distracting inconsistencies in features (e.g., type and headings); uses features that don’t support argument
Uses features that support with argument, but some match imprecisely with content; involves minor omissions or inconsistencies
Supports the argument with features that are generally suited to genre and content
Promotes engagement and supports the argument with features that efficiently use affordances
Persuades with careful, seamless integration of features and content and with innovative use of affordances


The Writing and Communication Program has a Program-wide attendance policy, which allows a specified number of absences without penalty, regardless of reason. After that, penalties accrue. Exceptions are allowed for Institute-approved absences (for example, those documented by the Registrar) and situations such as hospitalization or family emergencies (documented by the Office of the Dean of Students).

·  Attendance requirement. Students may miss a total of three (3) classes for T/Th, four (4) for M/W/F classes, or two (2) classes for M classes over the course of the semester without penalty.

·  Reasons for absences. The attendance policy does not make any distinction about the reasons for your absences. Only absences officially exempted by the Institute (e.g., due to participation in official GATech athletics, to religious observance, to personal or family crisis and excused by documentation from the Dean of Students) will not be counted among your allotted absences. These exemptions are difficult to get.

·  Responsibility for missed work. Students are responsible for finding out what they may have missed while absent from class and what policy the instructor has for making up missed work.

·  Absence penalties. Each additional absence after the allotted number deducts one-third of a letter grade from a student’s final grade. Missing six (6) classes in a T/Th course, eight (8) classes for a M/W/F course, or three (3) classes in a M course results in automatic failure of the class.

Students are expected to keep up with their own attendance record; see the instructor if you have a question about how many classes you have missed. The instructor’s record is the official record of your attendance in the class.


Participation in Class

The Writing and Communication Program has a Program-wide participation policy. Active participation and engagement in class are required. Students who have not done the reading and/or who do not actively participate during the class period may be penalized for lack of participation. In this class, participation counts as part of your grade.


This class does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, marital status, disability, or status as a veteran. Alternative viewpoints are welcome; however, statements that are deemed racist, sexist, homophobic, classist, or otherwise discriminatory toward others in the class or outside the class will not be tolerated.

Communication Center

Georgia Tech’s Communication Center is located in Clough Commons, Suite 447. It is an excellent resource for all students (undergraduate or graduate) who want help with a communication-related project, from their multimodal assignments for English 1101 and English 1102 to graduate school applications, from engineering and science reports to oral presentations, from storyboards for videos to poster designs, from grant proposals to job cover letters and resumes.

·  What kind of help is available? The trained professional and peer tutors in the Communication Center help all students with their written, oral, visual, electronic, and nonverbal communication in every discipline.

·  What you can expect? You can visit the center at any stage of the process for any project in any discipline. The knowledgeable and friendly professional and peer tutors are available to help you develop and revise your projects.

·  What are examples of the available help? Have a B+ on a communication project that you really want to be an A? Get some help in the Communication Center. Need help getting your team to work more effectively? Get some help in the Communication Center. Have an important oral presentation? Get some help in the Communication Center. Struggling with writing or speaking or reading? Get some help in the Communication Center.

·  What’s not available? The tutors are not available to “fix” your projects. Please do not ask the tutors to proofread or edit.  

·  What about ESL/EFL support? Additionally, the staff includes professional tutors especially trained to assist non-native speakers.  

·  How do you make an appointment? For information on making an appointment please visit this website: <>.  If you need assistance with the appointment system, you can call 404-385-3612 or stop by the center.

·  What about cost and privacy? All services are free and confidential.


Georgia Tech supports students through ADAPTS (Access Disabled Assistance Program for Tech Students). Any student who may require an accommodation for a documented disability should inform me as soon as possible or as soon as you become aware of your disability. Anyone who anticipates difficulties with the content or format of the course due to a documented disability should arrange a meeting so we can create a workable plan for your success in this course. ADAPTS serves any Georgia Tech student who has a documented, qualifying disability. Official documentation of the disability is required to determine eligibility for accommodations or adaptations that may be helpful for this course. Please make sure your instructor receives a Faculty Accommodation Letter form verifying your disability and specifying the accommodation you need. ADAPTS operates under the guidelines of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

·  Visit: Smithgall Student Services Bldg, Suite 210 on 353 Ferst Drive

·  Email:

·  Call: 404-894-2563 (V); 404-894-1664 (TDD); 404-894-9928 (fax)


Academic Misconduct

One serious kind of academic misconduct is plagiarism, which occurs when a writer, speaker, or designer deliberately uses someone else's language, ideas, images, or other original material or code without fully acknowledging its source by quotation marks as appropriate, in footnotes or endnotes, in works cited, and in other ways as appropriate (modified from WPA Statement on "Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism"). If you engage in plagiarism or any other form of academic misconduct, you will fail the assignment in which you have engaged in academic misconduct and be referred to the Office of Student Integrity, as required by Georgia Tech policy. We strongly urge you to be familiar with these Georgia Tech sites:

·  Honor Challenge —  

·  Office of Student Integrity —

·  Process for academic misconduct


Syllabus Modifications

This syllabus—especially the required reading and assignment schedule—may be modified as the semester progresses to meet course outcomes and address the needs of members of the class.


Week Preceding Final Exams (WPFE) for English 1101/English 1102

·  This course includes no quizzes or tests during the WPFE. All quizzes and tests will be graded and returned or available for review on or before the last day of class preceding final exam week.

·  No new assignments will be given in the WPFE. The only work during the WPFE is work related to the portfolio, which is on the syllabus from the beginning AND worked on during the semester before the WPFE.

·  All course work (including projects, assignments, and participation) other than the portfolio will be graded and returned or available for review on or before the last day of classes.

Reflective Portfolio

You will work on your portfolio throughout the semester and complete it during the WPFE. The portfolio will include examples of your WOVEN work products and your reflections about the processes you used to create and revise them. Your portfolio counts between 15% (minimum) and 20% (maximum) of the course grade, as indicated by your instructor.