Writing Center & English 800 Center at College of San Mateo - Faculty Instructions for ESL 400
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November 12 - January 21
Fall 2014 Final Exams
December 13-19
Fall 2014 official grades
available on WebSMART

Wednesday, December 31
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Writing Center & English 800 Center
Faculty Instructions for ESL 400

What is the To Be Arranged (TBA) requirement?
The TBA is a requirement for successful completion of your students' ESL 400 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 Writing Center for an orientation early in the semester.

How strictly must I enforce the TBA requirement?
All faculty must enforce the TBA requirement for every student, or we will lose funding for the center! For this reason, in your syllabus, you must stress the importance of coming to the center 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 Writing 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 Writing Center or through activities outside of the center.  The Writing 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 Writing Center, the staff will sign the pink reporting form.

How should I decide what my students should do for the TBA?
Based on your students' writing skills and the goals for the course, you will decide how your students should fulfill this requirement and will give each of them a pink 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 Writing Center activities can I assign for the TBA?
  • You can assign an essay conference. With an appointment, center instructors can help your students with their essays. Students are limited to three conferences per essay.
  • You can ask students to view DVDs and VHS tapes or to do readings from  books and instructional materials in the Writing Center resource library.
  • You can assign online library tutorials on research and documentation. Your students can access them in the Quiet Room or from home. (Your students can also use the computers in the Quiet Room to research, write, and print their essays, with center instructors available to answer quick questions when they get stuck.)
  • You can assign ESL tutorials, which are available in hard copy in the center.
  • You can assign two-hour ESL Grammar Workshops that can help your students' editing and proofreading skills.
How much should the TBA affect my students' course grades?
As the ESL 400 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. Some of these activities may involve working in the Writing Center, and some may not involve the Writing Center at all.

The reporting form serves as a communication between students, classroom teachers, and the Writing Center. Students will keep their own pink 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 pink reporting forms to determine what HBA 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 Writing Center. 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 Writing Center at least once early in the semester. You should consider bringing your students into the Writing Center for a brief orientation during the first weeks of the semester. Please call the center at (650) 574-6436 to schedule an orientation for your class.

Whenever they come into the Writing 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 Writing Center at (650) 574-6436.

What can my students expect from a conference with a Writing Center instructor?
The center 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 pink reporting forms
  • the essays that they want to work on
  • their essay assignment sheets
How can the Writing Center help my students with ESL errors?
Each student can make regular appointments with the same ESL instructor for writing conferences throughout the semester.

The Writing Center has ESL tutorials (e.g., articles, verb forms, verb tenses) and other resources available.

The center also offers two-hour ESL Grammar Workshops, which can help with your students' editing and proofreading skills.