The Writing Center at College of San Mateo - Faculty Instructions for English 838 and 848
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The Writing Center
Faculty Instructions for English 838 and 848

What is the To Be Arranged (TBA) requirement?
The TBA is a requirement for successful completion of your students’ English 838 or 848 course. The TBA should translate into approximately sixteen hours of work for students each semester. It provides the opportunity to enrich their learning beyond the classroom, through a number of activities and materials that you choose for them. As part of their TBA, It is essential that your students come into the English 800 Center for an orientation early in the semester.

How strictly must I enforce the TBA requirement?
All English 838 and 848 faculty must enforce the TBA requirement for every student, or we will lose funding for the lab! For this reason, in your syllabus, you must stress the importance of coming to the lab AT LEAST ONCE for an orientation, an essay conference with an instructor, or another activity that you choose.

Because it is critical that faculty adhere to the state regulations in Title 5, the Dean of Language Arts will address this issue with any instructors who do not send their students to the English 800 Center. Remember that syllabi are reviewed as part of the faculty evaluation procedure.

What should I say in my course syllabus about the TBA?
Add the following paragraph to your syllabus:

To Be Arranged: For this course, the TBA provides students with the opportunity to enrich their learning beyond class time through a number of activities and materials available in the English 800 Center or through activities outside of the lab.  The English 800 Center provides support for student writing needs at many levels:  one-on-one tutoring conferences with English instructors, tutorials on specific writing and critical thinking skills (in hard copy and on the web), English and ESL reference materials, and group workshops to assist students with their writing skills. Computers with access to the World Wide Web are also available for researching, composing, and printing student essays as well as DVD and VHS equipment for viewing literature, plays and films. When the activity is completed in the English 800 Center, the staff will sign the green reporting form.

How should I decide what my students should do for the TBA?
Based on your students’ writing skills and the goals for your English 838 or 848 course, you will decide how your students should fulfill this requirement and will give each of them a green reporting form that tells them what activities they should complete during the semester. Based on the individual strengths and weaknesses in your students’ early writing or diagnostic essays, some of the activities that you assign will be different for each student.

What English 800 Center activities can I assign for the TBA?
  • You can assign an essay conference. With an appointment, lab instructors can help your students with their essays. Students are limited to three conferences per essay.
  • You can assign a critical thinking skills tutorial called Three Common Fallacies, which has been designed for English 838 or 848 students.
  • You can assign tutorials and podcasts on specific writing skills, which are available on the web. Hard copies of the tutorials are also found in the lab.
  • You can ask students to view DVDs and VHS tapes or to do readings from  books and instructional materials in the English 800 Center or Writing Center resource library.
  • You can assign two-hour ESL Grammar Workshops (if English is your student’s second language).
  • Your students can also use the computers in the English 800 Center or Quiet Room to research, write, and print their essays, with lab instructors available to answer quick questions when they get stuck.)

How much should the TBA affect my students’ course grades?
As the English 838 or 848 instructor, you will determine how the one hour by arrangement will affect your students' course grades. However, remember how important it is to enforce the TBA requirement for every student.

How do I use the reporting form?
The forms will be in your mailbox the first day of the semester. During the first week of class, please explain to your students how you want them to fulfill the TBA requirement and how it will affect their course grades. Remember that the TBA should translate into approximately sixteen hours of work for each student during the semester.
You don't need to list many activities initially; you can add activities and due dates to the reporting forms throughout the semester.

The reporting form serves as a communication between students, classroom teachers, and the English 800 Center. Students will keep their own green reporting forms throughout the semester so that you can collect them periodically if you wish. At the end of the semester, you need to collect the green reporting forms to determine what TBA activities your students have done. When you are finished with them, please remember to deposit them in the designated box in the Language Arts Division office. Information on these forms may be used to help assess the Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) for the English 800 Lab. All data are anonymous, and no student or instructor names are noted.

How will I know the amount of time that my students have spent on their TBA requirement?
Remember that it is essential that your students come into the English 800 Center at least once early in the semester. You should consider bringing your students into the English 800 Center for a brief orientation during the first weeks of the semester. Please call the center at (650) 574-6539 to schedule an orientation for your class.

Whenever they come into the English 800 Center, your students will be checking in and out on our SARS attendance program, which is on the computer at the front desk.

To receive a total of each of your students' hours, please contact an instructional aide in the English 800 Center at (650) 574-6539.

What can my students expect from a conference with an English 800 Lab instructor?
The lab instructor will spend about twenty minutes discussing your students’ essays, homework, or tutorials. The students should come prepared with questions or specific areas that they need help with. The instructor's goal is to help your students become independent editors of their own writing.

What should my students bring to their essay conferences?
  • their green reporting forms
  • the essays that they want to work on
  • their essay assignment sheets
Can my students get help with writing for other classes in the English 800 Center?
Your students can always sign up for an appointment with an English 800 Center instructor to get help with any essay (for their English class or any other course). They can also receive advice about other writing, including personal statements or work-related projects.

Where should your students go for help if the English 800 Center is closed?
Your students can go to the Writing Center to make an appointment, see an instructor, or get help with homework or a tutorial.

How can the English 800 Center help my students with residual ESL errors?
  • Each student can make regular appointments with the same ESL instructor for writing conferences throughout the semester.
  • The English 800 Center has ESL tutorials (e.g., articles, verb forms, verb tenses) and other resources available.
  • The lab also offers two-hour ESL Grammar Workshops, which can help with your students’ editing and proofreading skills.