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Study Skills for College Success

Spring 2010 Syllabus
Section: 001
Instructor: Sally Zirkle
Contact information:; 972-883-6734
Office Location & Hours: CN 1.126; T & R, 3 p.m. – 4 p.m., or by appointment

Required Materials:
Downing, Skip, (2008). On Course: Strategies for Creating Success in College and in
Life, 5th ed. Wadsworth, CENGAGE Learning, Boston. (Note: you may also use the 6th
edition of this textbook if it is available.)
One success or motivational book of personal choice
One 3-ring binder (1”-2”) and loose leaf notebook paper
UTD student email account

Recommended Materials:
Outside success textbooks and resources for in-class discussion
Books or articles you have found to be insightful regarding college and life success skills

Course Description and Learning Objectives:

DRDG D194 is a required course for students who have not successfully completed the RHET
1101 graduation requirement. It is designed to help students further develop critical reading,
writing, and thinking skills to enhance academic and work performance. Strategies will be
presented for successful time management, note taking, test taking, library research techniques,
as well as motivation, personal responsibility, and strengthening one’s academic self-concept.

At the end of this course, students should be able to:

Recognize areas of personal academic challenge
Identify strategies to help develop skills relevant to college and life success
Critically think about important academic skills in relation to personal performance
Describe in a teaching format, strategies and processes for academic success
Specify several academic and personal goals and the steps necessary to achieve them
Share insights gained from reading a popular book on the subject of success or
Course Requirements and Grading

Class Attendance 300 points

Success Journal Entries 200 points
College Performance Assessment 100 points
Oral Presentation: Expert College Advice 150 points
Finding Your Personal Inspiration 100 points
Academic Goal Challenge 150 points
Personal Goals: Reflection and Planning 100 points

Total 1100 points

1100 A+ 847 – 879 C+

1023– 1099 A 803–846 C
990 – 1022 A- 770– 802 C-
957– 989 B+ 737 – 769 D+
913 –956 B 693 – 736 D
880 –912 B- 660–692 D-
Below 660 F

Class Policies

Cell phones must be turned off or to vibrate and are not to be answered or used for text
messaging during class time.
Unless otherwise noted, laptops are NOT necessary for taking notes in class and should not
be opened at any time.
Food and drink should be kept to a minimum and put away once class begins
Arriving late is disruptive to class activities and may affect your attendance and participation
grade. If you have a legitimate reason for being late, please inform your instructor ahead of
time or immediately after class.

Class Attendance (300 points)

This is a discussion-based class that involves collaborative learning and interactive activities in
order to explore a variety of topics relative to a successful experience in college and in your
larger life. It is critical that you come to class and take part in activities and discussion,
contributing to the class dynamics. Class attendance is therefore a large portion of your course

For an excused absence, you must adhere to the following:

All students participating on UTD competitive teams (athletic and intellectual) must bring an
official Intercollegiate Competition Memo signed by John Jackson prior to any sanctioned
absences. Students must inform the instructor of the impending absence at least 2 weeks
prior to the absence. If this does not occur, it is at the instructor’s discretion to excuse or not
excuse the absence.
Students observing a holy day must inform the instructor before the class day to be missed.

Success Journal Entries (200 points)

You will be required to write a minimum of ten (10) journal entries from exercises outlined in
the On Course textbook, including at least one entry from each chapter. These entries will be
written in your Study Skills course 3-ring notebook binder, which I will collect periodically
during the semester. I will read and comment on your journal entries. Each journal entry is
worth twenty (20) points. As you are assigned chapters from the textbook, decide which journal
entries you wish to complete in that chapter and write your entry immediately after reading that
WITH YOU EVERY TIME. I will not credit journal points if you do not have your journal
with you on the days I collect them. Maximum points will be awarded to journal entries which
are complete (i.e., all exercise directions have been followed) and where an obvious attempt has
been made to gain insight and personal value from “diving deep” into the journal topic.
Penmanship should be clear and legible. Also, although it will not be graded in these journals,
please practice college-level language, grammar and punctuation.

College Performance Assessment (100 points)

You will write a minimum four (4) page paper about your life as a college student thus far,
considering choices you have made in the past and how they have affected you in college and in
life. Discuss what you wish to achieve with your major and career, examining your experiences
in the past semester(s) and noting what you would change (or not change) as you continue down
this path of learning. Your paper should be thoughtful, introspective and honest.

Oral Presentation: Expert College Advice (150 points)

You will prepare a five (5) minute presentation about something you consider yourself to be an
academic expert in, such as test taking, note taking, time management, study tips, etc. You
should glean this knowledge from both your own experience and from the outside resource(s)
you have chosen to research. Share your knowledge with our class in a prepared, practiced
presentation. The grading rubric for this assignment will be discussed in class.

Finding Your Personal Inspiration (100 points)

You will also have the opportunity to select and read at least one book of your choosing on the
subject of success or motivation. You will share and discuss this book with your classmates.
Books acceptable for this assignment will be discussed and decided upon in class.

Academic Goal Challenge (150 points)

You will identify several ways in which you may expand your individual comfort zone. This
will help you grow in your life experiences and enable you to successfully achieve your goals.
You will choose an instructor-approved personal academic endeavor which may result in a
successful conclusion (or possible failure), and attempt this venture.

Write a minimum five (5) page paper, expressing the thoughts and experiences leading up to this
change and your conclusions about the experience itself. NOTE: a full 25 points awarded this
paper is contingent upon making and attending at least one appointment with a writing tutor in
the UTD Writing Center (CN 1.126) for assistance with this assignment.

Personal Goals: Reflection and Planning (100 points)

You will write a minimum four (4) page paper about what you have learned in this course and
where you would like to go from here, both academically and in your life. This paper will focus
on the eight success-oriented principles as described in our course text.

Written Assignment Format

All assignments are due on the specified due date – NO LATE WORK WILL BE
ACCEPTED! Also, unless otherwise stated, all work must exhibit the following format:

A coherent format that addresses all required elements of the assignment.

Typed, double spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font with one-inch margins.
Students should include their name, section number, and date on all work.
Papers should be free of typos, spelling, grammatical, and formatting errors.
Vocabulary should reflect that of a college student, and writing style should be mature and
cognizant of the intended audience.
A stapled hard copy of each paper assignment must be submitted in class on the due date.
No electronic papers will be accepted.

Failure to adhere to any of the above will result in:

A 10 % deduction for incorrect format.
A 5 % deduction for multiple typos, spelling and grammatical errors.
A 5 % deduction for poor language use and/or a disrespectful voice in the paper.
No points for work turned in after the specified due date.

All homework, papers, and journal entries are to be individual efforts. You are not to
collaborate with other students, or to discuss assignment solutions with other students
prior to submission. Copying of homework, written passages, or exams, in whole or in part,
from other students or from assignments from previous semesters will be considered to be
an act of scholastic dishonesty.
If you experience any problems with your UTD account you may send
an email to: or call the UTD Computer Helpdesk at

The University of Texas System and The University of Texas at Dallas

have rules and regulations for the orderly and efficient conduct of their
business. It is the responsibility of each student and each student
organization to be knowledgeable about the rules and regulations
which govern student conduct and activities. General information on
student conduct and discipline is contained in the UTD printed
publication, A to Z Guide, which is provided to all registered students
each academic year.

The University of Texas at Dallas administers student discipline within

the procedures of recognized and established due process. Procedures
are defined and described in the Rules and Regulations, Series 50000,
Board of Regents, The University of Texas System, and in Title V,
Rules on Student Services and Activities of the university’s Handbook
Conduct and
of Operating Procedures. Copies of these rules and regulations are
available to students in the Office of the Dean of Students, where staff
members are available to assist students in interpreting the rules and
regulations (SU 1.602, 972/883-6391) and online at

A student at the university neither loses the rights nor escapes the
responsibilities of citizenship. He or she is expected to obey federal,
state, and local laws as well as the Regents’ Rules, university
regulations, and administrative rules. Students are subject to discipline
for violating the standards of conduct whether such conduct takes place
on or off campus, or whether civil or criminal penalties are also
imposed for such conduct.

The faculty expects from its students a high level of responsibility and
academic honesty. Because the value of an academic degree depends
upon the absolute integrity of the work done by the student for that
degree, it is imperative that a student demonstrate a high standard of
individual honor in his or her scholastic work.

Scholastic Dishonesty, any student who commits an act of scholastic

dishonesty is subject to discipline. Scholastic dishonesty includes but
is not limited to cheating, plagiarism, collusion, the submission for
credit of any work or materials that are attributable in whole or in part
to another person, taking an examination for another person, any act
designed to give unfair advantage to a student or the attempt to commit
such acts.

Plagiarism, especially from the web, from portions of papers for other
classes, and from any other source is unacceptable and will be dealt
with under the university’s policy on plagiarism (see general catalog
for details).
The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code)
governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of
copyrighted materials, including music and software. Copying,
displaying, reproducing, or distributing copyrighted works may
infringe the copyright owner’s rights and such infringement is subject
to appropriate disciplinary action as well as criminal penalties provided
by federal law. Usage of such material is only appropriate when that
usage constitutes “fair use” under the Copyright Act. As a UT Dallas
student, you are required to follow the institution’s copyright policy
(Policy Memorandum 84-I.3-46). For more information about the fair
use exemption, see

The University of Texas at Dallas recognizes the value and efficiency

of communication between faculty/staff and students through
electronic mail. At the same time, email raises some issues concerning
security and the identity of each individual in an email exchange. The
university encourages all official student email correspondence be sent
only to a student’s U.T. Dallas email address and that faculty and staff
Email Use consider email from students official only if it originates from a UTD
student account. This allows the university to maintain a high degree of
confidence in the identity of all individual corresponding and the
security of the transmitted information. UTD furnishes each student
with a free email account that is to be used in all communication with
university personnel. The Department of Information Resources at U.T.
Dallas provides a method for students to have their U.T. Dallas mail
forwarded to other accounts.

The administration of this institution has set deadlines for withdrawal

of any college-level courses. These dates and times are published in
that semester's course catalog. Administration procedures must be
followed. It is the student's responsibility to handle withdrawal
from Class
requirements from any class. In other words, I cannot drop or withdraw
any student. You must do the proper paperwork to ensure that you will
not receive a final grade of "F" in a course if you choose not to attend
the class once you are enrolled.

Procedures for student grievances are found in Title V, Rules on

Student Services and Activities, of the university’s Handbook of
Operating Procedures.

In attempting to resolve any student grievance regarding grades,

evaluations, or other fulfillments of academic responsibility, it is the
obligation of the student first to make a serious effort to resolve the
matter with the instructor, supervisor, administrator, or committee with
whom the grievance originates (hereafter called “the respondent”).
Individual faculty members retain primary responsibility for assigning
grades and evaluations. If the matter cannot be resolved at that level,
the grievance must be submitted in writing to the respondent with a
copy of the respondent’s School Dean. If the matter is not resolved by
the written response provided by the respondent, the student may
submit a written appeal to the School Dean. If the grievance is not
resolved by the School Dean’s decision, the student may make a
written appeal to the Dean of Graduate or Undergraduate Education,
and the deal will appoint and convene an Academic Appeals Panel.
The decision of the Academic Appeals Panel is final. The results of the
academic appeals process will be distributed to all involved parties.

Copies of these rules and regulations are available to students in the

Office of the Dean of Students, where staff members are available to
assist students in interpreting the rules and regulations.

As per university policy, incomplete grades will be granted only for

work unavoidably missed at the semester’s end and only if 70% of the
course work has been completed. An incomplete grade must be
resolved within eight (8) weeks from the first day of the subsequent
long semester. If the required work to complete the course and to
remove the incomplete grade is not submitted by the specified
deadline, the incomplete grade is changed automatically to a grade of

The goal of Disability Services is to provide students with disabilities

educational opportunities equal to those of their non-disabled peers.
Disability Services is located in room 1.610 in the Student Union.
Office hours are Monday and Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.;
Tuesday and Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; and Friday, 8:30 a.m.
to 5:30 p.m.

The contact information for the Office of Disability Services is:

The University of Texas at Dallas, SU 22
PO Box 830688
Richardson, Texas 75083-0688
(972) 883-2098 (voice or TTY)
Services If you anticipate issues related to the format or requirements of this
course, please meet with the Coordinator of Disability Services. The
Coordinator is available to discuss ways to ensure your full
participation in the course. If you determine that formal, disability-
related accommodations are necessary, it is very important that you be
registered with Disability Services to notify them of your eligibility for
reasonable accommodations. Disability Services can then plan how
best to coordinate your accommodations.

It is the student’s responsibility to notify his or her professors of the

need for such an accommodation. Disability Services provides
students with letters to present to faculty members to verify that the
student has a disability and needs accommodations. Individuals
requiring special accommodation should contact the professor after
class or during office hours.
Religious Holy The University of Texas at Dallas will excuse a student from class or
Days other required activities for the travel to and observance of a religious
holy day for a religion whose places of worship are exempt from
property tax under Section 11.20, Tax Code, Texas Code Annotated.
The student is encouraged to notify the instructor or activity sponsor as
soon as possible regarding the absence, preferably in advance of the
assignment. The student, so excused, will be allowed to take the exam
or complete the assignment within a reasonable time after the absence:
a period equal to the length of the absence, up to a maximum of one
week. A student who notifies the instructor and completes any missed
exam or assignment may not be penalized for the absence. A student
who fails to complete the exam or assignment within the prescribed
period may receive a failing grade for that exam or assignment.

If a student or an instructor disagrees about the nature of the absence

[i.e., for the purpose of observing a religious holy day] or if there is
similar disagreement about whether the student has been given a
reasonable time to complete any missed assignments or examinations,
either the student or the instructor may request a ruling from the chief
executive officer of the institution, or his or her designee. The chief
executive officer or designee must take into account the legislative
intent of TEC 51.911(b), and the student and instructor will abide by
the decision of the chief executive officer or designee.
Course Schedule (T, R)


T, 12 Getting What You Want While Getting What You Need

Course structure discussion and syllabus overview
R, 14 “What Am I Doing Here?”
College Performance Assessment paper assignment discussion
T, 19 TBA
R, 21 Introduction to On Course textbook, The Eight OC Principles, Self Assessment Quiz
T, 26 DUE: Read and journal Chapter 1; class discussion
R, 28 DUE: College Performance Assessment paper
DUE: Read and journal Chapter 2
Strategy #1: Personal Responsibility discussion


T, 2 The Importance of Public Speaking & Elements of a Good Oral Presentation

Expert College Advice assignment discussion
R, 4 DUE: Read and journal Chapter 3
Strategy #2: Self-motivation discussion
T, 9 Test Taking and Exam Appraisal
R, 11 DUE: Read and journal Chapter 4
Strategy #3: Self-management discussion
T, 16 Develop rubric for Expert College Advice presentation
R, 18 DUE: Read and journal Chapter 5
Strategy #4: Interdependence discussion
T, 23 Effective Writing
R, 25 DUE: Oral Presentations: Expert College Advice


T, 2 DUE: Read and journal Chapter 6

Strategy #5: Self-awareness discussion
R, 4 Leaping Ahead
Academic Goal Challenge paper assignment discussion
T, 9 DUE: Read and journal Chapter 7
Strategy #6: Lifelong Learning discussion
R, 11 Reading Texts
T, 16 NO Class – Spring Break
R, 18 NO Class – Spring Break
T, 23 DUE: Finding Your Personal Inspiration book reviews
R, 25 (Cont) Finding Your Personal Inspiration book reviews
T, 30 Note Taking

R, 1 DUE: Academic Goal Challenge paper

How to Study
T, 6 DUE: Read and journal Chapter 8
Strategy #7: Emotional Intelligence discussion
R, 8 Memory Techniques
T, 13 “Where Am I Going From Here?”
Personal Goals: Reflection and Planning paper assignment discussion
R, 15 DUE: Read and journal Chapter 9
Strategy #8: Belief in Yourself discussion
T, 20 Organizational Skills
R, 22 TBA
T, 27 Money Management
R, 29 DUE: Personal Goals: Reflection and Planning paper
Class Celebration!


TBA = To Be Announced

Revised: 2/10/09
These descriptions and timelines are subject to change at the discretion of the Professor.