Category: Announcements (Page 1 of 6)

Grades, Spring 2021 Registration, and Questions Students Often Ask on the Last Day of Class

You did it! You completed your first college semester. We began this work together on a hot August day, and now we end on the day of the year’s first snowstorm. You all hung in there and worked hard. You are on the verge of being able to take a few weeks away from thinking about classes. As you are first semester students, you may be wondering… what next? Here are a few answers to questions first semester students often ask me on the last day of class:


When will I get my course grade?

I’ll grade work for all of my classes in the upcoming week. You will see your assignment grades in My Grades. After I have graded assignments, I will tabulate final grades. Course grades are due from all instructors on or before Dec. 27. I will email the class when I have posted the grades, which you should see on CUNYfirst. You also have grades  for individual assignments on Blackboard in My Grades.

How will you tabulate the course grade?

I have provided this information throughout the semester, but if you are just thinking of this now, it means you are a totally normal first semester student! For this reason, I’m providing links to the earlier posts and materials:

On the first To_Do List, you received course syllabus as an FAQ list. See the question about grades:

You also received a reminder of this information in November:

Here also is the grading breakdown from that same syllabus provided at the beginning of the semester and all above materials:

  • Unit 1 Assignment, Educational Narrative: 10%
  • Unit 2 Assignment, Annotated Bibliography: 20%
  • Unit 3 Assignment, Exploring a New Genre: 20%
  • Final Portfolio Reflection: (forthcoming during finals week) 10%
  • Homework/Participation Activities: 40%

As you continue on in your college career, it will make more sense to you why all of that dense information you get at the beginning of the semester on the syllabus is important. Everything adds up over the course of a semester and becomes that grade on your transcript.

Credit/No Credit Option

You all have received information from the school on this policy. Here is a link to the school page with information. I highly advise you to read through the whole page if you are considering this option:

According to this website as of Dec. 17, 2020:

  • You can “opt-in” beginning Dec. 23.
  • The last day to choose this option is January 13.

This is a new policy. Please keep double-checking dates and other information on the registrar’s page.

Can I email you?

Of course! You can always email me:

When should I register for spring 2021 classes? What comes after this?

Register as soon as you can! You have to register yourself, but you should contact your advisor for help. Go onto “DegreeWorks” on CUNY for your degree audit. ENG 1121 is the next level of English Composition. You should also consider Creative Writing classes to meet your Creative Expression requirements either this semester or the following semester! I teach this course often and would like to see any of you there.

Just a tip, many students start their World Languages requirement their second semester of college because you have to complete three consecutive semesters of World Languages.

Information on DegreeWorks is on the bottom of this page:

Information on Schedule Builder, a helpful digital tool, is here:

Information for Financial Aid is here. Again, the contact information is near the bottom. Scroll down if you need it:

How can I keep improving my writing over the break?

I’m always impressed by students who ask this. The simple answer is: read.

  • Activate your student New York Times subscription and read every day. Find a section you like. Read the sports section. The news section. The movie section. The business and investing section. Read about city politics. Read about national and world politics. Read about education or health and wellness. All of these categories have their own section. Read what interests you every day for a while. Consistency is key to reading with the goal of becoming a better writer.
  • Try not to get lost in visual media (video games, TV, movies, etc.). While these forms have their merits, to improve writing you need to read and think about the written word.
  • Read novels. Read magazines. Keep reading about your research topic.
  • If you know the textbooks  or materials your courses are using in Spring 2021, start reading them. Good students often do this.

Keep a journal! Here a couple of resources for journaling. There are many out there:

What are you teaching next semester?

When students ask me this, I’m never sure if they want to take my class or avoid my class! 🙂

Either way, I’m teaching two sections of ENG 1141 (ENG 1141-OL06 and ENG 1141-OL07) in the spring. ENG 1141 is an Introduction to Creative Writing class. The pre-requisite is ENG 1101, so you could certainly take it!

The sections I’m teaching in Spring 2021 are already full, but you could put yourself on the waitlist. Or….wait until Fall 2021. (Truly, Fall 2021 will come faster than you think).  I’d be happy to see any of you again.

Good-bye! Good luck! Stay healthy! Stay in touch!

Take care, everyone. I’ve been teaching a while, but this semester, with all of its challenges and strangeness will be one I will remember. You are an impressive bunch of first semester students. I can’t wait to see where you all  go!

Video Presentation and Tips for the Final Reflection Essay

In response to your questions, I’ve made another video focusing on the Final Reflection essay. The video covers in this order:

  • Expectations and instructions for the final reflection
  • how to upload the essay (and the revisions you may be working on) onto the Blackboard site.
  • Note: you can’t see the grading rubric with the screen share in the video, so I loaded it as a pdf on the bottom of this post.

In brief, this essay should be around 1000 words. You should answer the three questions that are detailed in the Final Portfolio Assignment already on the OpenLab:

  1. What have you learned about yourself as a reader, writer and scholar this term?
  2. How will you use what you have learned this term and transfer that knowledge to other writing situations—either in college or within your community?
  3. As evidence to back up your points, you must use at least three quotes from your own writing this semester in your reflection.

On the assignment Final Portfolio Assignment page,  there are additional brainstorming questions to get you started.


The Dec. 3 video on the assignment, if you want that as well: Video Presentation: Final Portfolio and Reflection

Grading Rubric:

Download (PDF, 42KB)

Thursday, Dec. 10: Reading Day

  1. Because you are first semester students, you may be wondering, what is Reading Day? It’s a day of no classes and time for you to catch up on work in your classes. We have them when the Academic Calendar allows for it. For this reason, we have no To-Do List or Participation Activities for today, Dec. 10.. However, you are still working on your Final Portfolio and Reflection Assignment. Here are few reminders for our class:
  2. If you haven’t done so yet, please email me your Game Plan. This is the Participation Activity from our last class session. Find it at the bottom of the Dec. 8 To-Do List. 
  3. You should be starting your Final Reflection (a 1000 word essay) for your Final Portfolio Assignment. This will be uploaded to Blackboard in the Assignments folder under: Unit 4: Final Reflection. If you haven’t started, use the list of questions in the Final Reflection Assignment and watch the video presentation provided last week: Video Presentation: Final Portfolio and Reflection
  4. Remember, the Final Portfolio is a chance to revise or turn in late any of our previous Unit Assignments. and potentially get a higher grade. There is also an Extra Credit Opportunity for Participation Credits. 
  5. We’ve also had posts about the grading breakdown of the course. Here is one if you need to review: 
  6. Email with questions or come to office hours! Hang in there everyone and good luck with finishing all of your courses.

Questions about our class? Email me anytime at: 

We can also meet online for office hour on Zoom.
Today’s office hour ZOOM Link:


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