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I. Ten General Survival Tips: (Good for nearly any class)

(1) In the paraphrased words of Ben Franklin: "We must hang together, or assuredly we will hang separately." Fellow classmates are a student's greatest resource. Trade phone numbers with at least three other students in the class. If you miss a class, make arrangements with them to get copies of assignments or handouts you may have missed. If you know you will miss a class, have them turn in assignments for you, or else finish the work early, so you can submit it to me during the previous class.

(2) Make backup copies of everything. I do not want to hear that the computer ate your essay. Assume that one of your regular assignments is to duplicate your essay on a separate computer disk or make a xerox copy of the paper before you submit it to me. Assume that one of your regular assignments is to keep an archived copy of any papers I return to you in case there is any confusion about the grade on that assignment.

(3) Become familiar with an e-mail program. If you are new to e-mail, I am familiar with Pine, Mail, Outlook Express, and Carson-Newman's webmail, and I may be able to answer your questions concerning them. I am less familiar with Eudora and other programs.

(4) Keep copies of all the e-mail exchanges in class. If your server is set up to delete old messages after a set period of time, use a program like Fetch to retrieve the messages onto a 3.5-inch computer disk, or save them to a disk as you read and send them. Students in composition classes may be required to submit hard copies of them in their portfolio.

(5) Set up appointments or conferences with me early in the term to discuss your papers. If you do not understand one of my comments, come see me. While there is little time to deal with each essay's content or grammar in the classroom itself, I am more than happy to discuss these in my office. Besides any mandatory conferences to discuss a paper, it is also a good idea to stop by for suggestions on other papers in progress. You can also download a list of the abbreviations I use for marking papers here. This is a crude PDF image and won't be terribly legible on a computer screen, but if you print it out it should be quite readable.

(6) Please bring the textbook for that day's reading and your course packet with you to class. We won't use these materials everyday, but there will come times when I will refer you to a specific passage in an essay or a specific handout in the course packet.

(7) When I return papers, quizzes, or other assignments to you, do not throw them away. Keep them until you confirm your final grade in the course, so if for some reason a correction needs to be made, you will have the record of both doing the work and receiving the grade. When the teacher returns a paper to you, do not simply check your grade and then chuck the paper in the nearest trash can. The teacher expects you to go through the paper and read the comments so you can improve on the next essay or assignment. It is particularly unwise to annoy teachers in this manner because it leaves them with the impression that the student either (a) does not care about improvement or learning or (b) even worse, is contemptuous of the teacher's advice. Neither possibility creates a good impression.

(8) Take ten minutes to familiarize yourself with all your textbooks. Skim the table of contents, the glossaries, the chapter headings, etc. Often, they include useful resources you never learn about if you only read the assigned sections.

(9) You are not limited to reading only the assigned materials. No matter what subject the class might be discussing, you can take control of your own education by taking the time to peruse a few encyclopedia articles, websites, or other resources to learn more about it. Yes, this task takes time; yes, you are busy already, but you should never let college interfere with your education.

(10) "Dew knot trussed yore spell-chequere, ass u ken sea hear." Instead, arrange to proofread each other's papers before submitting them to the cruel, cruel hands of your teacher.


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Copyright Dr. L. Kip Wheeler 1998-2017. Permission is granted for non-profit, educational, and student reproduction. Last updated January 5, 2017. Contact: kwheeler@cn.edu Please e-mail corrections, suggestions, or comments to help me improve this site. Click here for credits, thanks, and additional copyright information.