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CM 220 College Composition II. Professor Natalie Leppard General Education, Composition Kaplan University. UNIT 1 SEMINAR Changing the World, One Idea at a Time. Course outcomes Syllabus information Tips for success Academic writing Writing experiences. Contact Information.

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CM 220 College Composition II

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Cm 220 college composition ii

CM 220College Composition II

Professor Natalie Leppard

General Education, Composition

Kaplan University

Unit 1 seminar changing the world one idea at a time

UNIT 1 SEMINARChanging the World, One Idea at a Time

  • Course outcomes

  • Syllabus information

  • Tips for success

  • Academic writing

  • Writing experiences

Contact information

Contact Information

  • Email:

  • E-mails: use CM 220-xx: Concern in subject line (for ex: CM 220-03 Unit 3 project question)

  • Office hours: by appointment (on AIM)

  • AIM ID: NatLeppard

  • Note: Some of you may be Professor Milstein’s or Professor Leary’s students. Their emails are:


Flex seminars

Flex seminars

Course description

Course Description

CM220 is designed to develop the writer’s skills in:

  • Research

  • Analysis of research

  • Application of critical thinking skills

  • Development of effective arguments

  • Supporting arguments with credible sources

  • APA citation

  • Collaboration

  • Prewriting, editing, and revision process

Big ideas


CM220 takes the theme of invention and the exploration of BIG IDEAS that impact the world, our communities, and our lives, while situating these themes within a persuasive writing framework. Students explore and practice several persuasive forms of writing throughout the course and examine writing as invention in various settings and situations. They will create an “appeal for change” as a final project that presents an idea and a plan for implementation. One component of the final will be a multi-modal component such as a blog, podcast, or web site that can disseminate their idea to a wide audience.

Course outcomes


  • CM220-1: Construct logical arguments

  • CM220-2: Develop strategies for effective problem solving

  • CM220-3: Conduct research to support assertions made in personal, academic, and professional situations

  • CM220-4: Articulate what constitutes effective communication in personal, professional and diverse contexts

  • CM220-5: Demonstrate effective listening strategies

Course level assessments

Course Level Assessments

  • Used by Kaplan to measure student progress

  • Helps to determine if courses are helping students fulfill course outcomes

  • Leads to needed revisions in course

  • Does not affect your grade

  • Found in grade book in units with assessed projects

  • 0: No progress

  • 1: Introductory

  • 2: Emergent

  • 3: Practiced

  • 4: Proficient

  • 5: Mastery

  • 9: Cannot be assessed (didn’t turn in assignment)

Late policies

Late Policies

  • All unit assignments (projects, quizzes, discussion, seminar, etc.) are due Tuesday by 11:59 pm ET of the unit assigned.  

  • Late assignments can be marked down one letter grade for each unit the assignment is late.  For example, if you turn in your Unit 5 project, a “B” paper with a grade of an 85%, during Unit 6, one letter grade will be deducted from it, giving you a grade of C (75%).  If you turn this project in during Unit 7, two letter grades will be deducted from it, giving you a grade of D (65%).  As you can see, it is to your benefit to submit assignments on time.

  • Late discussion posts to classmates may not receive credit as their purpose is to further the discussion and the discussion cannot be furthered after it has ended.

  • Assignments submitted more than three units late may not be accepted.

  • Unit 9 projects will not be accepted without prior approval from the instructor or an approved incomplete grade request.

Project guidelines

Project Guidelines

  • Projects due Tuesdays by 11:59PM ET

  • Use the correct unit’s dropbox to post assignments

  • Write documents in MS Word with “doc” or “docx” extension

  • Read grading rubric and project guidelines carefully!

  • Be sure to review Kaplan’s plagiarism policy (see the syllabus and the Writing Center for details)

Substantive invention lab posts will

Substantive Invention Lab Posts Will…

  • Avoid short expressions of agreement or disagreement or summaries of a classmate’s post.

  • Pose follow-up questions to issues raised by myself or other students in order to encourage further discussion.

  • Use personal experiences to illustrate your points.

  • Recommend alternative solutions to problems and offer constructive disagreement with issues raised by your peers.

  • Refer to our course readings and offer relevant parallels between those readings and our discussions.

  • Demonstrate your knowledge of the course material.

  • Stay on topic.

  • Be about 200-250 words for the main response and 100 words for responses to classmates. Requirements vary for each unit, so read instructions and review any examples carefully.

Effective seminar discussions

Effective Seminar Discussions

  • Be respectful

  • Avoid side conversations

  • Be prepared—briefly review material before class

  • Stay on topic

  • Ask questions!

Seminar 2 option

Seminar 2 Option

  • Only required if you miss the live seminar

  • Select the “seminar” tab for that unit.

  • Review the questions carefully.

  • Post a response of about 200-300 words in that seminar’s discussion thread by the end of the unit. No seminar credit will be given after a unit ends.

  • Review the archive before responding to the question(s).

Unit 1 assignments

Unit 1 Assignments

  • Introduce yourself to the class

  • Reading: Unit 1 overview; The Kaplan Guide to Successful Writing, chapters 1, 2, 3, 8, 15

  • Invention Lab: Identify a “big idea” to explore or review an existing idea from the Innovation Gallery (40 points)

  • Seminar: Introduction to course, methods of discovery, and field trip to register with the New York Times or Washington Post (10 points)

Introduce yourself

Introduce Yourself

Karl Marx (1818-1833) famously said, “The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it."

Marx’s quote about change implies that it is not enough merely to think about the world. The implication is that we also have the responsibility to change the world. Why is it our responsibility to create change in the world? What positive influence would you most like to have, and how might you go about doing that?

Also, tell the class anything that will help us to understand you, your thoughts on writing, and your goals for the future.

Invention lab

Invention Lab

What is a problem in the nation or in your community that needs changing and why? Do you have any “big ideas” for addressing this problem? This problem could be tied to your field of study or it could be something with more personal implications.

If you do not yet have a “big idea,” find one from the Inspiration Gallery to discuss for this week’s lab. Hopefully, this unit will help inspire you to find a problem that needs solving or help you brainstorm potential ideas.

Your initial post should be about 200-250 words, and your responses to two classmates should be a minimum of 100 words each. Offer suggestions regarding your classmate’s “big idea,” noting whether you think it is a solvable problem and why.

Other course assignments projects

Other Course Assignments/Projects

  • Unit 2 project: 60 points (“pitch” your idea)

  • Unit 4 quiz: ungraded (citing sources and avoiding plagiarism)

  • Unit 4 project: 100 points (primary and secondary research project)

  • Unit 6 project: 150 points (draft of persuasive essay)

  • Unit 9 project: 240 points (5-7 page revision of blueprint for progress (unit 6), letter to the editor (unit 5), and presentation of Big idea (unit 7), as well as a reflection on the student’s development of the Big Idea)

Final project


Is a portfolio consisting of revisions of the blueprint for progress that you will submit in unit 6, the letter to the editor that you will write for the unit 5 discussion, and the presentation that you will create for the unit 7 discussion. The presentation can be a blog, podcast, brochure, slide show, or one of the other multi-media forms covered in the tech labs (units 2-7) or approved by your instructor.

You will also write a reflection piece that answers the following questions in paragraph form:

  • What did you learn about yourself as a writer? As a thinker?

  • What did you learn about the process of writing?

  • What skills did you develop that might help you in the future?

  • What did you take from the larger conversation with others?

  • How did your feedback from peers and your instructor affect the revision of your blueprint, letter to the editor, and presentation?

Tips for success


  • Review the “course home” materials about the library, plagiarism, and navigating the E-college platform.

  • Review the documents posted in Doc Sharing.

  • Check e-mail and announcements frequently.

  • Communicate with me and ask questions!

  • Participate actively in the weekly discussions and seminars.

  • Read grading rubrics and assignment guidelines carefully.

Some questions to consider

Some questions to consider

  • What are differences between informative and persuasive writing?

  • What kinds of persuasion do we see and use in our daily lives?

  • How might you use persuasive writing in your professional life?

  • What are some positive (or negative) experiences you have had with writing?

  • What apprehensions do you feel about this class/final project?

Your toolbox

Your Toolbox



  • MS Word

  • Dictionary

  • Thesaurus


  • Kaplan library

  • Kaplan Writing Center (live chats, Q & A, paper review, library)

  • Google Scholar

  • Google Books

  • Free academic databases and electronic journals available on-line

  • Returns from internet searches

  • Blogs

  • Wikipedia

Advantages to writing

Advantages to Writing

  • Writing gives you time to reflect and research – shape and reshape material.

  • Writing makes communication more precise.

  • Writing provides a permanent record of thoughts, actions, and decisions.

  • Writing saves time-- we absorb information more swiftly when we read than when we hear.

What to know before you write

What to know before you write

Writing styles

Writing Styles

Levels of formality

  • Informal

  • Formal

    What are the differences in these styles and when would you use each one?

Academic discourse

Academic Discourse

“Presentation of ideas (usually in written form) in academic or scholarly contexts that exhibits conventional characteristics in form and expression -- traditionally, such communication has been objective, analytical, and expository, and has generally advanced an argument for a particular thesis -- can also refer to conventions of discourse followed within individual scholarly disciplines -- is often addressed in writing instruction for college students” (Academic Discourse, 2010).

What does this mean to you?

What qualities would this type of writing have?

What are the challenges of writing “this way”?

Discovering ideas


Where do ideas for writing come from?

  • Newspapers, magazines and journals

  • Online discussion communities

  • Current events


  • Inspiration Gallery

    What are YOUR ideas for generating ideas?

Inspiration gallery


What is Zach’s BIG IDEA? What situation is the origin for his BIG IDEA?

What are your big ideas

What are your BIG IDEAS?

Share some of the possible Big Ideas you have.

What are some local, national and global problems that you are interested in and that might be valuable to write about?

How about a new product or software, improving an existing product or concept, or possibly starting a movement or business?

Are there topics that might be problematic in any way, that might pose a challenge to the writer/audience?

Field trip

Field Trip

Register with The Washington Post or The New York Times



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