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Course Grades Posted

Course Grades Posted published on

I have finished grading the finals and submitted course grades in HokieSpa. I made some setting changes in Canvas so that your grade shows appropriately:

  • I set the Final Exam as equal to 100% of the Course Grade.
    Why? Since you have argued for your course grade in the Final, the letter grade there is your letter grade in the course.
  • I changed the grade scheme for the Course Grade to Virginia Tech’s default grade scale (no rounding). 
    Why? To export your grades from Canvas so that I can import them to HokieSpa, I needed to set them to use the same grade scale that is used in HokieSpa.

Thanks for your hard work this semester. Good luck with your future studies and careers.

Unsubscribing from the Course Website and Twitter Updates

If you subscribed to the course website at the beginning of the term, you probably want to unsubscribe now. Look for an unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email message that you get from the course website.

If you were following the course Twitter account (@HokieTengrrl), just go the the page in Twitter and click the Unfollow button.

I have archived the Facebook group, so you should receive no more updates from it. If you prefer, you can also Leave the Group.


Grades on Genre Analysis Reports

Grades on Genre Analysis Reports published on

I have graded all the genre analysis reports. In this post, I’ll comment on how you all did and how to proceed with your final exam. Please read the information carefully.

Overall Feedback for the Class

Generally, everyone did a well on the Genre Analysis Reports. Many of you reported that you learned valuable information that you could use in the workplace. Reports tended to use appropriate headings to structure the documents well.

Some Weaknesses in the Genre Analysis Reports

  • Poor proofreading. In longer documents, the little things sometimes slide; but they are still very important. Remember that even in long documents you need to run the spellchecker and pay attention to the squiggly lines that tell you when something is wrong.
  • Inconsistency. Another issue in longer documents is ensuring that you use the same form for your key words. Quite a few reports had errors with how the name of the kind of writing the authors explored named. In one sentence, for instance, I might see RFPs while the next expressed it as RFP’s. Remember that your terms should match.
  • Required content missing. The other error I saw repeatedly related to missing content. The assignment required specific sections and three examples. The weekly post on December 4 even reminded you to “Ensure you include all the required sections and information, listed in Step 4 of the assignment.” Remember that in the workplace, failing to include the listed information can cost you a bid or grant. Be sure to pay attention to instructions.

Addressing the Genre Activity Report in Your Final

Unfortunately, classes are over, and there is no time left in the schedule for revision at this point. Because I must turn my attention to grading the final exams, there simply isn’t time to grade revisions of the Genre Analysis Report as well.

So What Do You Do if Your Genre Activity Report Earned an Incomplete?

  1. Take a deep breath. You are not doomed. You are in the same kind of situation as someone in the workplace who didn’t win a bid or lost a client. There’s still hope.
  2. Turn your attention to your final exam. As you explain the grade that you deserve in the course, explain what happened with your Genre Activity Report. Account for what went wrong, and convince me that you’ll deal with such situations in the future.
  3. Do not stress yourself about the “bell curve.” Let me try to be a bit more transparent. There are always some students who are exemplary. The idea of the curve is only to ensure that exemplary students earn higher grades than those who just meet the requirements. That may be a tough standard, but I think it’s fair. In truth, I do not plot out all the numbers in some beautiful graph; but I do pay attention to students who have gone above and beyond the norm.
  4. Focus on making your final exam persuasive by using these tips:
    1. Pay attention to the advice in the #TuesdayTutorial: Determining Your Course Grade.
    2. Use what you know about document design. Remember the value of chunking information, using information-rich headings, and making your document easy to navigate. Don’t make me (your audience) search for information. Use document design strategies that show me where everything is.
    3. Consider adding tables or graphs that support your argument. Be sure that any graphics you include add to the content. Don’t toss in clipart or other graphics just as decorations. Be sure your graphics help you make your point.
    4. Provide concrete data on your performance. Use numbers, facts, and even quotations from your work or feedback. Show me how you have done in the course. Make everything completely obvious.
    5. Remember to spellcheck and proofread. It’s important to your argument that your document is polished and professional. Errors will make your point less persuasive.


#WednesdayWrite: Advice to Future Students

#WednesdayWrite: Advice to Future Students published on

If you are lucky, when you begin a new job, you will find a continuity folder on the desk or on the computer to help you complete your work. The exact name of this folder will depend on your workplace. It can be called a continuity folder, binder, portfolio, or book; standard (or standing) operating procedures; or a transition book.

Inside this folder, you will find documents and information that will help you complete your work. The contents can include:

  • mission statements and goals
  • position responsibilities
  • system and social media login information
  • advice and tips
  • schedules, timelines, and calendars
  • instructions, protocols, and procedures
  • templates and examples
  • checklists
  • budget and funding information
  • inspection reports
  • organization charts and info on personnel

You will use this folder to guide your daily work, and one of your on-going tasks will be to keep the contents of the folder current. In the event that you are not available, the person filling in for you will use the folder to determine what to do and how to do it. When you move to another position, the next person in the position will use the information that you leave in the folder.

The Writing Activity

If you were contributing to a Continuity Folder for students taking this course in the future, what would you include and why? You can share the advice you would include in the folder, or you can describe whatever you would add to the folder. You are not limited to a single thing. If you want to mention more than one item or piece of advice, that’s fine.


Optional Transcript Activities All Taken

Optional Transcript Activities All Taken published on

All of the transcript options for the term have already been spoken for, so there are no more opportunities available.

I have received email messages from a number of you asking to claim opportunities this week, so I wanted to let everyone know the status.


#TuesdayTutorial: Determining Your Course Grade

#TuesdayTutorial: Determining Your Course Grade published on

In your final exam, you will write a self-evaluation that tells me what grade you deserve in the course. In the workplace, this process would be similar to asking for a raise or some additional perk during your annual review.

You’ll determine the course grade you deserve by returning to the syllabus and requirements page on this site. First, remember that your grades in this course are based 100% on the labor you actively contributed to building and supporting the writing community and the labor you put into completing all the activities and projects in the course. In your final exam, you will present the details on what you have done and avoid making excuses or telling “sob stories.”

Remember that the Grades in Canvas are only a summary of the work that you completed (or did not complete). Your grade is based on your work as outlined on the requirements page.

To Earn a B

Paper Graded BYou must have completed the following activities in order to earn a B or higher in this course:

To Earn a Grade Lower than a B

If you did not complete all of the activities in the section above, your grade will be lower than a B. Discuss the required work that you did complete, explaining how much of it your completed. You can also refer to any work that you did beyond the basic requirements.

In your final exam, tell me what grade you deserve in the course (B-, C+, D, etc.), using the information from your performance evaluation to support your argument.

To Earn a Grade Higher than a B

Paper Graded AYou must have taken an ongoing leadership role by helping to teach the class new things and significantly adding support to the writing community.

Your contributions may have been supportive actions that you designed yourself (with feedback from me) or actions that came from a list of possible suggestions.

Be sure to talk about consistency. Your argument is stronger if you demonstrate that you consistently worked toward your goal during the entire term.

Grades higher than a B are earned based on a traditional bell curve: Those students who contributed most significantly will earn an A; those who contributed 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.

As of 12/02, the highest number of comments by a person is 54. The lowest number is 1.

Number of comments versus number of commenters in that range

 FAQ for Grades in the Course

If you are looking for… Look here…
The basic requirements for grades in the course Requirements Page
Options for earning a grade higher than a B Section on higher grades on the Requirements Page
Information on the check and X marks in Canvas Grades Completes vs. Incompletes section on How Canvas Grades Work Page
How to tell how you’re doing in the course How to Tell How You’re Doing section on the How Canvas Grades Work Page
The reason Canvas isn’t tracking your course grade What Is Tracked in Canvas Grades on the How Canvas Grades Work Page
Details on how to make your case for a grade in the course Final Exam Page


Writing Your Final Exam

Writing Your Final Exam published on

This is the post for the week of December 11, 2017.

Calendar for the Rest of the Term

All submissions due by 11:59 PM.

Date What’s Going On?
12/11 Grace period for 12/08 Labor Log ends
12/13 Grace period for Genre Analysis Report ends
12/14 SPOT Responses due
12/18 Final Exam due (no grace period)

meme of lolcat evaluating humanReadings for the Week

Tasks for the Remainder of the Term

  1. By 11:59PM on Monday, December 11, write your 12/08 Labor Log in Canvas, if you are using the grace period.
  2. By 11:59PM on Wednesday, December 13, submit your project in the Genre Analysis Report assignment in Canvas if you are using the grace period.
  3. By 11:59PM on Thursday, December 14, complete your SPOT survey. Use the advice on the #WednesdayWrite: SPOT Evaluations.
  4. By 11:59PM on Monday, December 18, submit your final exam in the Final Exam: Performance Review assignment in Canvas. There is no grace period on the Final Exam. If you do not submit your exam on time (or do not submit it at all), your grade in the course will be lowered.


#WeekendWatch: Final Exam Resources

#WeekendWatch: Final Exam Resources published on Login Help videos are free to Virginia Tech students with your VT.EDU login. Start at the VT.EDU login page to access these resources.

Our #WeekendWatch is a little different this week. Specifically, it’s longer than usual, with a lot of options for you to choose among. Let me explain. Since we only have a few days left in the term, I want to share all the resources that you can use as you work on your final exam. That way, any of you with the time to work ahead can do so.

I created a playlist Final Exam Resources on Performance Reviews, comprised of three short courses, 31 videos total. If you watched everything, it would take 1h 21m (but I really don’t expect you to watch every minute of every video).

Here is the table of contents for each of the courses (copied directly from Watch the parts that you have questions about as you work on your final.

Course: Preparing for Your Review (14m35s)

  • Introduction (1m8s)
    • Welcome (1m8s)
  • Review Preparation (11m44s)
    • Preparing for your review (2m1s)
    • Sharing your work (4m55s)
    • Self-evaluations and final preparation (4m48s)
  • Conclusion
    • Next steps (1m43s)

Course: Building Self-Confidence (21m 27s)

  • Introduction (1m0s)
    • Building Confidence (1m0s)
  • Steps to Building Your Confidence (19m14s)
    • Owning where you are and where you want to be (2m 33s)
    • Dealing with the past (2m41s)
    • Helping and volunteering (1m31s)
    • Setting achievable goals before stretch goals (2m1s)
    • Removing negativity (2m7s)
    • Visualizing success (1m57s)
    • Planning for failure (1m43s)
    • Assessing your progress (1m36s)
    • Accelerating the process (1m57s)
    • Celebrating you (1m13s)
  • Conclusion (1m13s)
    • Final Thoughts (1m13s)

Course: Enhancing Your Productivity (45m 37s)

  • Introduction (3m10s)
    • Welcome (2m28s)
    • Using the exercise files (42s)
  • Your Most Valuable Activities (14m42s)
    • What makes you irreplaceable? (2m47s)
    • Discovering your most valuable activities (4m18s)
    • Avoiding the least-valuable-activity trap (3m21s)
    • Focusing with the Order of Offloading (4m16s)
  • Building Up Coworkers (9m 31s)
    • `Offering assistance (2m 43s)
    • Identifying coworkers’ most valuable activities (3m11s)
    • Creating a plan of improvement (3m37s)
  • Having Focus (17m15s)
    • Managing your time (3m2s)
    • Eliminating external distractions (5m24s)
    • Eliminating internal distractions (5m28s)
    • Maintaining a long-term focus on your career (3m21s)
  • Conclusion (59s)
    • Final thoughts (59s)


Note: These videos have closed captioning, so they do not need transcript.


#FridayFact: Polished, Professional Documents Matter

#FridayFact: Polished, Professional Documents Matter published on

If you want to make a good impression, you need to make sure that your documents are polished and professional, with every element right where readers expect it. Think about how you prepare for a job interview. You wear specific kinds of clothes. You carry specific accessories, depending upon your field. You make sure that you look polished, not wrinkly. Everything is exactly right and just as the interviewer expects it. Nothing is missing.

By analogy, the documents that you write need to have the same polished, professional appearance. Everything needs to be in its place, just were the reader expects it. Nothing is missing. As you work on your Genre Analysis Report, review the components that make up the front and back matter for your report in this University of Minnesota video (4m35s):


Note: This video has closed captioning, so it does not need a transcript.


#InfographicInspiration: The Workplace Is Tired of Exclamation Points!!!

#InfographicInspiration: The Workplace Is Tired of Exclamation Points!!! published on

Admittedly, I am guilty of using too many exclamation points in my emails and texts, but I do try to avoid them in what I write in the workplace. It turns out that is the right choice, according to the Business Insider article Stop Using Exclamation Points At Work!

The article ends with the flowchart shown below, which suggests that most of the time, you should not use exclamation points. It’s a fun flowchart—though perhaps not the acadmic study. Even so, it’s a good reminder and a nice distraction for these last days of class.

Should I Use an Exclamation Mark? from Hubspot


Note: This infographic needs a text-based transcript. See the Optional Accessibility Transcript Activity for more details.


#WednesdayWrite: SPOT Evaluations

#WednesdayWrite: SPOT Evaluations published on

Course Evaluation Day. Finally I Have My Revenge!Our #WednesdayWrite is a little different this week. It’s that time of the semester when all your teachers beg you to complete the SPOT survey, and I want to tell you a little bit about how we use your feedback in my department.

What We Do With Your Comments

I use your feedback to figure out if the course is giving you what you need. I take your suggestions into account as I set up my classes in the future.

My department uses your feedback as part of the system that is used to evaluate how well I am doing as your teacher. Both the survey answers and the comments that you make are read by others in the department to provide annual review feedback to me each year. Most (but not all) departments on campus use a similar system.

What I Would Love to Hear

Here are some things you can write about as you respond to your SPOT survey for this class:

  • Give concrete details. Use a specific example or two to help me understand your comments. Instead of saying, “This class taught me a lot,” say what the class taught you a lot about; or instead of saying, “I wish this class covered more,” say what kinds of things you wish the class had covered.
  • Think of your feedback as continuing the conversation. You have been sharing resources on Facebook and adding comments on the course blog. Adding comments on the SPOT evaluation is just another way to continue telling me about what you are learning and thinking about the course. I am really interested in hearing what you have to say. Just be honest, and tell me what you think.
  • Let me know how you feel about the course policies. I care a lot about making the course fair for everyone. I know you all have other classes and obligations, so I have tried to set up the course in a way that makes it fair and easy for everyone to do well. That is why I have the grace period and the infinite revision system, for instance. Did these policies seem fair to your? Do you have suggestions? Let me know.

And Now Your #WednesdayWrite…

  • Remember that your feedback is anonymous and that I will not see it until AFTER course grades have been submitted, so there is no way that your feedback can influence your grade.
  • You can include completion of the SPOT survey as evidence of your work to earn a grade higher than B. State that you completed the survey in your final. Include a screenshot if you have one as evidence. If you don’t, no worries. All work in this course is covered by the Honor Code, so lying about the survey would be a violation.
  • Once you have completed your SPOT survey, add a comment here that says, “Done.” That’s all you have to say today. Feel free to say more if you want.


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