MSM 601: NUTS AND BOLTS
How to Contact Me:
I have set up a special account for this class: firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also reach me at 303-628-7364 (w) or 303-922-6042 (h). My fax number at work is 303-534-2771. I am in the Rocky Mountain time zone. My mailing address is Nancy McLeod Carter, 2930 S. Utica St., Denver CO 80236-2107.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have, especially if they pertain more to you individually than to the class as a whole. My customary response time is within 24 hours of your posting. I will let you know of any exceptions to this time frame. If I have to travel, I will notify you as to when I will return. If, while away, I have email access, I’ll be in touch with little or no interruption.
I’ll make a special effort to be available for email or phone discussions at home from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. MST, on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Virus Protection: This is important to the health of your computer and to our mutual mental well-being.
To ensure that you have current ant-virus protection software, please email me the following information ASAP as an attachment: your full name, email address, and the name and version of your current protective software.
The assignments for each week (Monday morning to Sunday night, although I won’t check for them until first thing on Monday morning) will be posted no later than the Friday before. They may even be up before then, so check each week’s assignments in the Forum and also refer to the schedule of major assignments I’ve also attached as part of these preliminary postings.
Expected Level of Work and Formatting:
Please send your papers to me double-spaced, free of spelling errors and written according to APA guidelines. I realize that the vagaries of APA can be difficult to master, and I am not grading you on them, but do the best you can. I also recommend five practices of good writing:
Be clear. Use titles, headings and subheadings if they will help guide the reader through your narrative. Citations and reference lists are a must if you’re drawing on sources other than your own opinions. Ask yourself if someone unfamiliar with the subject matter could quickly grasp what you’re getting at.
Be concise. Resist the urge to pontificate, and use a fifty-cent word only when a nickel one won’t do. (Two of my personal pet peeves are “numerous” for “many” and “utilize” for “use”.) Try to imagine that Messrs. Strunk and White are peering over your shoulder. If you don’t own a copy of their timeless work, The Elements of Style, I encourage you to borrow or buy one. Hodges’ Harbrace Handbook, 14th edition, is another good basic resource.
Be cogent. Give the reader strong evidence that you have given thought to your subject, synthesized the material you’ve read and attempted to present your findings in a coherent, sound manner. Make no assumption that, just because it makes sense to you, it makes sense to your reader.
Be compelling. All the facts in the world cannot overcome a lack of conviction. Writing from the heart involves risk but doing so will add a richness of spirit that draws your reader in.
Be complete. Before hitting that “Send” button, check your work to ensure that you have completed the assignment within the maximum number of pages allowed, and that you have included all necessary attachments. Using “spellcheck” is no guarantee against errors. It’s always a good idea to ask someone else to proofread your paper. Grovel if you must.
I have Microsoft Word on both my home and work computers. If you are not using Word, please save your assignments as .rtf documents before attaching them to an email transmission.
When you send in your assignments, please name them as follows:
For example, Nancy Carter is in MSM601 XP40 and is submitting the Week 1 assignment on transitions. The file would be called cartern_601xp40_wk1_transitions.doc. if she were using Word or .rtf if she were using another software and had to save it as a Rich Text File.
My commitment to you is to turn around your papers as quickly as possible. As a rule, I’ll return your graded assignment to you before you submit the next assignment.
Please have all assignments turned in by the day listed. There is no specific time given, for the practical reason that we may well be in different time zones. If, however, the due date is a Monday, I expect to find your submitted assignment waiting for me bright and early (8:00 a.m. MST) on Monday morning when I check my email. If you cannot make a due date, please notify me beforehand to avoid a penalty and to discuss a reasonable expectation for the submission of your assignment.
To better understand how your written assignments are graded, please click on the "Study Guide" section of
your course web site, then on "Tips & Guidelines", then on "Writing Guidelines". Please read this before
submitting your first paper in Week One.
Also attached among these preliminary postings is the Grading Criteria and Point Breakdown for this course. Please review it and email me if you have questions or concerns. If you would like a mid-point grade emailed to me, you must submit a request to me via email no later than the end of the third week.
APA In A Nutshell:
If you have not purchased an APA Publication Manual, 5th edition, please do so at once. All papers will be
written according to these guidelines, although you will not be graded on them. Pay particular attention to the following sections and//or pages:
1.06: Title Page
1.07: Abstract - read this carefully. An abstract is NOT an introduction. It's a summary of the paper itself
without definitions of topics, opinions or conclusions. Forget the other stuff in this section - it pertains to
experiments and studies - and go directly to:
3.30-3.31: Headings - these will come into play in the longer papers for this course. The only ones we're going
to worry about in 601 are for a one-, two- or three-level heading paper. Just remember that for a
one-level heading paper, use Level One; for two levels of headings, use Levels One and Three; for a three-level
heading paper, use Levels One, Three and Four. Don't ask me why; it's just the way the APA gods want it. Appease them.
4.01 Reference List
Chapter 5, Sections 5.02-5.13, 5.15-5.19 and Figure 5.1
on pp. 306-320.
Remember that an APA paper includes a title page, an abstract page, however many pages of text are assigned
(2, 3-5, 4-6, etc) and a reference page.
One final tip: When inserting your page headers, use the insert function in your word processing software. DO
NOT INSERT THEM MANUALLY AT THE TOP OF EACH PAGE. Trust me on this.
Before starting on each week's assignments, always check my posting under that week's section in the Forum. I
have made several changes to the course module, so before you waste time on assignments I have modified or deleted, check in first. It will save both of us much hair-pulling and gnashing of teeth.
As I mentioned in my introduction, my role as the course facilitator is less that of a “sage on the stage” than a “guide on the side”, particularly in forum discussions. Your role is to communicate with me and with each other, but dialogue should flow mostly between students. I’ll contribute where helpful or necessary and usually check the discussion every night during the week. Our common goal is to create a mutual sense of commitment to, and ownership of, the learning process. To better accomplish this, I propose the following guidelines:
A Final Note:
I have tried to include everything you will need to know to be successful in this course. If I have omitted anything, please feel free to write me a note or give me a call. I look forward to meeting each of you and to a satisfying learning experience for us all. As you begin the MSM journey, I wish you the best and leave you with this thought:
“You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.” Alan Alda