Arab Open University
Tutor Marked Assignment (TMA)
FACULTY OF LANGUAGE STUDIES
EL117 TMA COVER FORM (2012/2013)
Course Title: Course Code:
Student Name: Student ID:
Section Number:: Tutor Name:
to TMA STUDENT MARK
10% For content and organization : a max of 10 marks Marks deducted for lang. & communication errors: a maximum of 3 marks Earned Mark
Notes on plagiarism:
A. According to the Arab Open University By-laws, “the following acts represent cases of cheating and plagiarism:
Verbatim copying of printed material and submitting them as part of TMAs without proper academic acknowledgement and documentation.
Verbatim copying of material from the Internet, including tables and graphics.
Copying other students’ notes or reports.
Using paid or unpaid material prepared for the student by individuals or firms.
B. Penalties for plagiarism ranges from failure in the TMA to expulsion from the university.
Declaration: I hereby declare that the submitted TMA is my own work and I have not copied any other person’s work or plagiarized in any other form as specified above.
TMA feedback: (PT3)
EL117: Academic Writing
TMA: 2nd Semester 2012 - 2013
TMA: 10 points
[Prepared by Course Chair: Dr. Manar Shalaby]
Proposed word length: 600-800 words.
Write on ONE only of the following topics:
A. Write a five-paragraph argumentative essay on the following topic:
In twenty years’ time, most learning will be online. The Internet will replace the classroom. Explain why you agree or disagree with this prediction.
B. Write a five-paragraph cause and effect essay on the following topic:
Explain the major reasons for the high dropout rate in college.
• Use at least two sources; the Internet, news articles, interviews, etc. to help you in providing facts, definitions, examples, statistics, etc. that could support your essay.
• Write an outline for your essay and upload it alongside your essay. You will be partly evaluated on the organization of the outline and how closely it is followed in writing your essay. (2 marks)
Begin by reading the topic prompt carefully and then write down your ideas on a piece of paper as a sort of free writing activity. You may need to brainstorm your ideas individually or in the class as a class activity. (Thinking about the topic).
Read at least two sources/references to get more ideas about the topic you are re******ing. While reading, write relevant vocabulary items that can help you in enriching your vocabulary. You may be guided by the word categorizing chart on page 92. (Reading about the topic)
Summarize and paraphrase the relevant points to your essay from the two texts you have read. You may quote some ideas but use quotation marks and in-text citation.
Use the MLA style referencing format in your in-text citations and end-text references. See the following cites to help you in your referencing:
Write an outline for your essay, guided by the format introduced in the book:
Unit 3: Cause and Effect Essays, pp. 84-85; or
Unit 4: Argumentative essays pp. 96-97
Use your brainstorming notes, reading notes and outline to write your first draft on a separate piece of paper.
Edit your essay by first checking the content, eliminating irrelevant ideas, adding more support information and examples, etc. Use the Editor’s Checklist in the book to help you (p. 85 and p. 103).
After fixing your content, proofread your essay for language and mechanics errors. Make sure you use the suitable connectors to help you to form links and make your essay more coherent. Make use of the checklists on p. 79 and p. 108.
Rewrite the whole essay, type it, and then upload it on the LMS before the deadline to check the turnitin similarity percentage, and then do the necessary modifications.
NOTE: Evidence of consulting e-library sources will be an added asset.
The following are guidelines on plagiarism:
If you submit an assignment that contains work other than yours without acknowledging your sources, you are committing plagiarism. This might occur when:
• Using a sentence or phrase that you have come across
• Copying word-for-word directly from a text
• Paraphrasing the words from the text very closely
• Using text downloaded from the Internet
• Borrowing statistics or assembled fact from another person or source
• Copying or downloading figures, photographs, pictures or diagrams without acknowledging your sources
• Copying from the notes or essays of a fellow student
(Slightly adapted from OU document on quoting versus plagiarism)
It is important to remember that plagiarism is strictly barred and would be subject to punitive action by the Arab Open University.
This assignment will help students achieve the learning outcomes expected from this course. It will give them the chance to exercise several of the skills they acquired throughout the course, like practicing process writing skills that help them produce an academic essay, mainly, thinking about the topic, brainstorming, reading about the topic, outlining, drafting, editing for content, proofreading for language and mechanics errors, and rewriting. This assignment will also introduce some re****** skills, i.e. ******ing for relevant references on the topic, writing in-text citations and end-text references, paraphrasing and summarizing. The students will also be evaluated on their ability to produce mature ideas, and writing a well-organized logically developed essay; in relation to organization, paragraph structure and essay structure. The students are expected to produce an essay that demonstrates adequate grammar control and mechanics, show evidence of editing and use varied vocabulary items relevant to the topic they are writing on.
EL117 TMA Grading Rubric
The TMA is marked as follows:
ITEM Allocated marks
1. Essay outline 2 marks
2. Essay content (mature ideas, supporting details: examples, de******ion, comparison, statistics, quotations, etc) 3 marks
3. Organization (introduction, body, conclusion) 1 mark
Grammar: sentence structure, verb form, tenses, etc.
Mechanics: punctuation, spelling, etc. 3 marks
5. Sources (at least 2 references with correct in-text and end-text referencing format) 1mark
TOTAL 10 MARKS
The following grid is used in deducting marks, when grading TMAs, MTAs, and FEs, on the basis of language use and organisation
LANGUAGE & ORGANIZATION Deduction
3rd level courses 1st & 2nd level courses
- Has an introduction defining plan of essay.
- Body divided into several paragraphs.
- Conclusion which directly relates arguments to topic.
- Evidence that essay has been edited.
- Wide range of specialized terminology.
- Error-free grammar & register, mechanics, etc. - No deduction - No deduction
- Clear organization, with good introduction and conclusion.
- Body divided into several paragraphs
- Demonstrates extensive grammar control and mechanics: correct spelling, proper punctuation, correct sentences, with occasional/sporadic grammar mistakes (e.g., phrasal verbs, relative clauses).
- Evidence of editing
- Terminology specialized but less varied. - Deduct 30% of deduction allowed:
- Introduction and/or conclusion short but still satisfactory.
- Some evidence of editing.
- Less grammar control than above: (e.g., wrong use of prepositions, verb tenses).
- Some non-recurrent problems in mechanics of writing
- Average range of specialized terminology. - Deduct 50% of deduction allowed
- Introduction and/or conclusion short and slightly confused, but acceptable, with body still fair.
- No evidence of editing: some grammatical and other recurrent types of errors that impede communication (e.g., verb forms, auxiliary verbs, passive structures, subject-verb agreement).
- Recurrent errors of spelling and punctuation
- Poor formatting
- Below average range of specialized terminology. - Deduct 80% of deduction allowed
- No introduction and /or conclusion.
- Body badly organized or irrelevant.
- No editing whatsoever
- Poor grammar control (extremely limited range of grammar & register, very basic, recurrent, and varied grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors of all types).
- No formatting
- Limited or not specialized range of terminology. - Deduct 100% of deduction allowed
Creating a high-grade Tutor Marked Assignment (TMA) that you can be proud of is not an easy task. When I first started with the Open University I was guilty of making some basic errors before I accepted the fact that I was going wrong and it was time I formed a clear idea of the fundamentals components that make up a successful TMA essay. I’m sure that you love the hyperbolic title of this post. Seven tips towards an “amazing” TMA. Not an average one or a good one, or even an excellent one, these tips will hopefully lead you to an amazing end product. Seriously though, I have written about these nuggets because I believe they are very important.
Each TMA is different and the questions will demand a specific approach, argument or research point but these 7 hacks are applicable to 99% of the TMAs you will attempt during your studies. I didn’t start off as a Grade A star student and my early endeavours with the Open University were difficult as I struggled to find my groove. But gradually my marks and confidence improved as I worked out strategies to help me tackle each assignment. Here are some of the basics I learned:
1) Get started and keep working
Procrastination can be an absolute killer. When there’s a tough TMA to be completed we can suddenly find ourselves grouting the bathroom tiles or cleaning out behind the washing machine and generally doing anything and everything to avoid getting down and dirty with an impending essay. Sitting in front of the computer with a blank Microsoft Word document open, cursor blinking furiously back at us can be intimidating. Don’t let it be – just write. Scribble down your name, the essay title, thoughts on the essay, initial ideas, anything related that comes into your head. This “freewriting” can help loosen you up and remove the curse of the blank page. Hey presto the document isn’t blank anymore and you’ve started your essay!
2) Read the Question and Answer it
You’ll be surprised how often this is overlooked. Each question needs an answer and no matter how well you write, how well you research or argue your case the question needs an answer. Some TMAs get no answer and just end up as a ramble (oops, you should see my earlier attempts!) some are just regurgitated ideas and information on a page while others might answer a question but, sadly, not the question. First things first, read the question. Then, if need be, scrawl down a rough answer and later use bullet points to elaborate on it. Be explicit about what you’re attempting if you have to but make sure the question is answered.
3) Do your research
One thing that I learned from years in the journalism trade was to cross-check dates, times and stats. This might sound simple but do not leave these things to chance or rely on pulling them off the top of your head. Academic requirements will mean that any argument or theory will need to be explained correctly and cited so make sure you research it properly. Who did what, who said what, what was said – quote it and cite it but make sure it makes sense and is accurate. Research during an essay is an ongoing process and does not start and end at any point during the TMA. As you’re writing you will find yourself jumping across books or reputable websites trying to back something up or disprove it. The ability to engage in good research is a vital skill for Open University students.
4) Nail your argument and conclude
Following on a bit from number two here but answering the question and producing a strong conclusion or summation of the main points are interlinked. Of course there will be a few bits in the middle to worry about but coming to a conclusion is extremely important as is making an overall case for your argument. Don’t forget to also take into account counter arguments to show you are comparing and contrasting viewpoints and balancing the TMA.
5) Give it a thorough edit
Make sure you have adhered to any style guides or especially the accompanying notes and cut out any irrelevant material or chunks of filler that do not add to the argument or flow. Check paragraphs are well structured, balanced and hold together in the greater context of the TMA, i.e. by furthering the argument, adding an element, explaining it and wrapping it up before moving on.
Proofreading your document is a must, to catch all of those niggly typos, punctuation drops, spelling mistakes, citation errors and other things that you will find within. Everybody approaches things differently but I prefer to write everything down, assemble it into some sort of order and edit at the end rather than going along. Editing constantly and finely while the TMA is in progress could stifle or halt that progression.
6) Do your best and don’t plagiarise
It goes without saying that passing off somebody else’s work as your own is a big no-no. Plagiarising is not only an unethical practise but it could likely see you not only getting stripped of marks but kicked off a course altogether. Taking on board concepts and ideas and trying to present them in our own words can be a tough task but it is wholly necessary. The easy nature of cut and paste on a computer can make it extremely tempting to grab a chunk of text and put it in to the essay but it is not worth it.
7) Embrace feedback and learn from it
Whenever I received an email saying that my TMAs had been marked I had a feeling of excitement mixed with trepidation. Even though I was glad to see that it had been read and rated and I was clear to move on to the next piece or work, I was fearing the result and its critique. As my studies continued my mind-set began to evolve. I became excited by feedback, eager to learn from it, implement it into my next essay and show that I had taken it seriously. PT3 forms can be our friend. Use their constructive nature to right wrongs and show your tutor next time that you have learned from the feedback and can move on. Even though marks and grades are important don’t focus too heavily on them either way and work on eliminating any negative patterns that may be creeping into your TMAs. Here is a page from the Open University website that helps further with managing feedback.
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