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Communication Skills 1

COURSE GUIDE Term 1 AY 2015-2016

September November 2015

Communication Skills 1 is a course designed to develop and reinforce your reading and writing
skills in the English language. It aims to help you review the writing process and to introduce
you to different modes of paragraph development.
At the end of the term, you should be able to:

read passages/selections in English from different disciplines that serve as models of

paragraph development
write clear, coherent, and effective paragraphs in English for academic purposes
write clear, coherent, and effective compositions in English, using a variety of modes
develop critical thinking by analysing texts structurally and contextually

The course is divided into three main parts: Narration, Description, and Exposition. These are the
main modes of paragraph development you will be learning to use in your own writing. These
modes are further subdivided into sub-topics: steps in the writing process, word choice,
grammar, mechanics and passage reviews.
Below is a quick overview of the main topics for each week.


College Reading and Writing and the Varieties of English

Writing Effective Paragraphs
A. Principles of Writing Effective Paragraphs
1. The topic sentence and Supporting details
2. Characteristics of Effective Paragraphs
B. Guidelines in writing effective paragraphs
Introduction to Narration
Introduction to Description
Introduction to Exposition
A. Comparison and Contrast
B. Classification
C. Cause and Effect
D. Definition

Adapted from Prof. Ana Katrina T. Marcial

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E. Other forms of Exposition

We will study these topics according to modules, where you will find study guides with a set of
readings, exercises, and other supplementary resources. In these study guides, you will
encounter four sections:
1. Introduction
Before using the resources and doing the activities for each topic, read the introduction sections
first to get an overview of the topic or have an idea what the rest of the discussion and exercises
will address.
2. Objectives
Use the objectives as your guide to find out what you have to achieve at the end of each module.
You may also use these as one of your bases to assess whether you learned or not.
3. Activities and Resources
The details of what you have to do specifically will be enumerated under this section. Follow the
instructions sequentially, or do the ones that you feel you need to prioritize mostly.
You will also see the resources to consult and click as you do each activity in this section. Each
resource is described briefly, so you will have an idea what to expect. Follow the instructions
detailed in the activities section of each guide to know when each resource may be needed.
Be guided by the icons below as you go over the different sections.
4. Materials
As previously mentioned, the materials are divided into several modules, which will be uploaded
in the course site. We will use some resources in previous COMM 1 classes developed by Mrs.
Armida B. Mabitad-Azada and Ms. Rapunzel Tomacder, senior lecturers at the Faculty of
Education, UP Open University. You will be asked to read and use other resources as well. All
these resources will come in the form of Module Study Guides. Kindly make sure you
download, read, and understand the discussions before you do any of the activities for the week.
Throughout the term, you may use the following resources as well to guide you further:
Strunk, W. and White, E.B.. The Elements of Style. Available at
Moxley, J. Using Academic Language. Available at
OER Africa. Resource on writing what you know. Available for download at
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Schall, J. Style for Students Online. Pennsylvania State University. Available at

Study Schedule
Look at the schedule for the first two weeks in the table below. Follow this schedule as you go
about each week of the term. A detailed schedule for Weeks 2-10 will be uploaded in the course
site as a separate file.
Just in case, changes or adjustments which will be made in any of the items in the study schedule
will be announced at least two weeks before the original schedule through our course site. Its
best that you check the course site at least twice a week (once to check for updates,
announcements, and summary of tasks for the week; and another for submission of your work).

Week 1
Sept. 05 11

Main Activity/ Task


1. Download and read all files in

the Course Package: this course
guide and the assignment guides.
2. Wait and get a copy of the rest
of the weekly guides and
readings which we will use for
each week from Weeks 2-12 (to
be uploaded on or before Sept
3. Familiarize yourself with the
sections of the course site. 4.
Post your entry in the Selfintroductions forum (see
reminders column for details).
5. Brace yourself for a term full
of reading and writing activities.
Look at this as an opportunity to
learn and re-learn some basic
principles of academic writing.
6. Read the Study guide for
Module 1: College reading and
writing and the varieties of

Adapted from Prof. Ana Katrina T. Marcial

In 150-300 words, write a short

essay presenting the following
information about yourself:
1. Your updated email address
(preferably your UPOU email
2. Academic and work background
(whether fresh from high school,
from another CU, from another
university, working abroad, extent
of work experience, etc.)
3. Prior experiences with writing in
English (in any form).
4. Your attitude towards reading,
and the kind of reading and reading
materials you actually enjoy.
5. Your honest reason why you
chose the DE setting. 6. Your selfdeclared goal/s in relation to
COMM 1, considering what youve
read in the course guide and
assignment guides.
Ideally, you should post your selfintroduction within Week 1, or until
Week 2, since this is the levelling
off part.
Read Module 1.
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Week 2
Sept. 12 18

Follow the discussions in the

Study Guide for Module 1:
College Reading and Writing
and the Varieties of English
1. Read Handout 1.
2. Watch the short interview
with Prof. David Crystal titled
Which English?
3. Read Dennis Barons essay
titled Why do academics
continue to insist on proper
English? 4. Read Harold
Blooms Why Read?

Answer the short quiz about the

interview with Prof. Crystal and
Barons essay to be made available
in the course site.
Share your insights on Blooms
article in the forum, Why should we
read? Post your entry on or before
Sept. 16.

Course Requirements and Grading System

Major Requirements
To pass the course, you must:

participate in asynchronous online discussion forums (15%)

answer exercises in the course site (15%)
submit two writing assignments (45%)
take and pass the final examination (25%)

Requirement Details and Submission deadlines

Discussion Forums and Exercises
There will be three discussion forums for this course (marked DF1, DF2, and DF 3) and each
forum is usually open for only one week from its first posting, so try to follow our study
schedule faithfully if you do not want to miss your chance to participate in a forum. Although, in
the case of small blessings, the forums might stay open for two weeks tops.
Your participation in the discussion forums (DFs) will be evaluated based on your meaningful
answers to the questions and your relevant contributions and reactions to your classmates
answers as well (see Grading system and Assessment guide for the details on how your posts will
be evaluated). Specifically, you are expected to
1) demonstrate a basic understanding (comprehension level) of the module content;

Adapted from Prof. Ana Katrina T. Marcial

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2) develop a deeper understanding of the topics through a collaborative exploration of ideas,

reflection, analysis, application, and synthesis. Questions for each forum will be posted on the
forum space in the course site.
Read the questions and other instructions carefully and then do the following:

Post a contribution or response to the forum question/s within the first 5 days allotted to
the forum.
Read and respond to the ideas posted by your classmates

Aside from the DFs, you will have to answer exercises occasionally during the term. You will
be notified whether an exercise made available in the course site is graded and will make up 15%
of your final grade or just a practice exercise, so please take note.

There are two major assignments that you have to submit for this course. The details of each
assignment are discussed in the Assignment guide files.
Assignment 1: A narrative-descriptive essay is due on October 18, 2015
Assignment 2: An expository essay is due on November 10, 2015.
You will have to accomplish all assignments independently.
Final Exam
The details of the final exam (an objective type of test reviewing all the principles you have
supposedly learned throughout the term) will be announced two weeks before the exam date.

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Grade Equivalent

UP Grade


Important notes:
The self-assessment questions (SAQs) and activities in the modules/ study guides are intended
for self-reflection and self-study and you do not have to share your answers in the discussion
forums except where and when it would be appropriate to do so (i.e. when relevant to the
discussion forum questions).
Late submissions for the assignments may only be accepted when you have a valid excuse for
missing the deadline (such as being sickin which youll have to present a proper medical
certificate; being on a rather long, unavoidable, and scheduled business trip where you have no
internet access, etc.). However, there will be a 2-point deduction for each day that the
submission gets late.
If your final class standing is 60% and above, but you lack a major requirement, you will be
given an incomplete standing, EXT, as your final grade. For those who are graduating this
current term, receiving such grade could potentially mean youll be extended from your program
as youll have to complete your standing by submitting whatever missing requirement you have
and get a final grade. Further instructions regarding this will be provided towards the end of the

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Assessment Plan for the DFs

Your entries for each forum will be assessed according to the following rubrics.
Assessment Guide for Participation in the Online Discussion Forums (based on the scoring
guide for discussion forums prepared by Prof. Patricia Arinto, Dean FEd)

Forum: _______________________
Name of student: _______________

Professors comments



Forum Content
A. Points or insights from the
assigned readings are reflected in
the post.

B. Points from other relevant

materials and/ or personal
experiences are incorporated in the

C. The post stimulates further

relevant discussion.

In this part (I), your forum

entry will be assessed based
on how well you understand
the resources and apply the

Manner of posting (delivery)

A. There are at least two
contributions to the forum (the first
is to share ones response and views
about the topic and the second is to
react on other peoples response in
a professional and purely academic

Part II.A of your post depends

on your active participation in
reading other students entry
and commenting on the merit
of their posts in relation to
your understanding of the

B. The student responds promptly

to forum posts.

Part II.B is concerned with


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C. The student makes few

grammatical errors that do not
distract from the message.

D. The student expresses ideas

concisely and clearly.

Parts II.C-D are all about how

you write what you write.

A. The student shows a clear effort
to consider varied viewpoints and
integrate others posts or resources
in own work whenever relevant.

B. The student attempts to move the

discussion forward through logical
and relevant responses expressed




Part III.A is still concerned

with how you acknowledge
your sources when you post.
Part III.B is about how polite
you post and comment in
others posts.

Important Reminders
Please download and print this course guide, read it carefully (several times if needed), and post
it where you can readily refer to it. Do not ask the FIC or the Tutor questions that are already
answered or explained in the course guide and even in the course site.
1. All course discussions and submissions will be conducted at the course site. Log in to the
course site at least twice a week to keep yourself updated with important announcements,
discussions, and other class activities, including new readings or new learning activities. Check
the Announcements box every time you log in.
2. Aside from the FIC, the tutor will also monitor and facilitate the discussion forums, and will
check the drafts of your written assignments.
3. All class discussions are academic discussions, so relevant academic conventions apply.
a) Write clearly, following the conventions of written English. Please refrain from using
abbreviations and acronyms unless these are introduced in the readings. SMS language is
absolutely prohibited.

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b) Respond to discussion questions thoughtfully, clearly, and concisely. Avoid merely agreeing
or disagreeing to the course readings or modules. Base your responses on empirical evidence,
such as the course readings. Do not post uninformed opinions.
c) Read contributions made by your classmates and respond thoughtfully, appropriately, and
courteously. Be polite or civil when arguing a point. Do not be rude and do not make remarks
that may be construed as a personal attack. Refer to ideas/statements, not the person.
Remember that the objective of debate and argument in higher education is to collaboratively
produce a conclusion more plausible than the ones we started with. It is not for winning over
your opponents.
d) Do not post lengthy contributions. Be clear what your main point is and express it as concisely
as possible.
e) Avoid jokes or humorous statements in text that may be misunderstood by your classmates,
and ask only questions that sincerely interest you. Other netiquette guideline can be found at
f) Protect your privacy. Ponder before you post. If you wish to share something private, do it by
email or private chat.
4. Acknowledge the source/s of any piece of information that you will cite in your posts and
submissions. Paraphrase accordingly, but remember that even paraphrased information should
be referenced. Use the APA style when citing sources. Plagiarism will not be tolerated in our
class and is guaranteed to have serious repercussions. Include a list of references at the end of
your posts and assignment. See Purdue Universitys Online Writing Lab available at
5. Remember that our term only lasts for ten weeks (nine, if we will not count the adjustment
days at the beginning of the term and the preparation towards the end of the term, as the final
exam draws near), so you are highly encouraged to follow the study schedule, read in advance,
and anticipate possible conflicts for you to make the necessary adjustments. For example, if you
will be traveling within the term, prepare well in advance any assignment that may be due within
the period of your travel. Keep within deadlines and never ask for an exemption from a required
task. Inform the FIC in advance about any unavoidable delays or absences or silences of
more than a weeks duration. Please manage your time wisely.
6. Note that MyPortal is a virtual learning environment, not a social networking site. On your
MyPortal user profile page, post a recent photo of yourself that will enable your FIC, tutor, and
fellow students to identify you.

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File names
Make sure that all your word documents are saved as Word 97-2003 documents (.doc). Do not
submit a pdf file unless instructed to do so.
For an assignment: Read the guidelines for each assignment on the Assignment guide to be
Contact information of the Faculty-in-charge FIC)
The primary means of communication is the messaging feature of MyPortal. If you have not
received any response within the next three days, forward your inquiry these email addresses and
In any case, a forum for your inquiries or clarifications regarding the course and some aspects of
the course site may be posted in the forum, Course-related concerns. This way, other students
may also benefit from reading about your clarifications. Use this forum section to assist your
classmates as well (in case you know the answer to his/ her concerns).

Adapted from Prof. Ana Katrina T. Marcial

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