PAS 1010  LD18  26281                                            Dr. Melinda G. Kramer

Principles & Strategies of Successful Learning         Office: Marlboro 3078

Fall 2010                                                                     Phone: 301-322-0578

Monday and Wednesday 11:00 – 12:15 p.m.          Email:

TZ 106 (classroom)                                                    Office hours: MW 10:30 – 11:00 a.m.


Required textbooks: The Confident Student, by Carol C. Kanar. Seventh Edition, Wadsworth Cengage Learning, Boston: 2011.  ISBN#1-4390-8251-0

The Confident Student PGCC Workbook, by Carol Hopper, et al. Custom Edition, Wadsworth Cengage Learning, Boston: 2011.  ISBN# 1111700745

Supplemental reading and exercises will be assigned periodically at the discretion of the instructor. If you do not have a good, fairly recent dictionary, you should buy one.


Class Meeting Dates/Assignments/Chapters to Read



Aug. 30

Introduction: course description, syllabus review

Survival Kit: Things you need to know right now! (handout)


Icebreaker challenge: who has a free period when you do?

Sept. 1

Are you ready for college? Mind and eyes wide open?


Take-Home Assignment #1 given.

Walking tour assignments given.

Due: Kanar Chapter 1

Sept. 6



Sept. 8

Campus walking tour with team reports.

Meet outside Marlboro 3076. Be on time.


Last day to drop a class with refund.

Sept. 13

Learning styles and personality inventory.


Due: Chapter 2

Due: Take-Home Assignment #1


Sept. 15    

Chapt. 2 continued.


Chapt. 2 quiz in class

Sept. 20 

Critical and creative thinking.

Take-Home Assignment #2 given


Due: Chapter 3

Sept. 22    

Critical thinking continued.

What is metacognition? What is analysis?


Chapt. 3 quiz in class

Sept. 27   

Critical and Creative Thinking: problem solving, decision making, strategic planning

Due: Chapter 4

Due: Take-Home Assignment #2


Sept. 29    


Exam #1 in class (Chapts. 1-4)


Oct. 4  

Listening and note taking


Due: Chapter 5


Oct. 6

Listening and note taking exercise.

Deborah Tannen video: “That’s Not What I Meant!”


Oct. 11

Time management and scheduling


Take-Home Assignment #3 given

Weekly template assigned.

Due: Chapter 6


Oct. 13  

Time management and procrastination


Due: Weekly template.


Oct. 18    

Active reading; text marking


Due : Chapter 7

Oct. 20

Reading and summarizing exercises.


Due: Take-Home Assignment #3


Oct. 25    

Attention and memory: how memory works


Due: Chapter 8

Oct. 27   

Overcoming distractions

Take-Home Assignment #4 given


Chapt. 8 quiz in class

Nov. 1


Exam  #2 in class (Chapts. 5-8)


Nov. 3  

Studying effectively for different disciplines


Due: Chapter 9


Nov. 8  

Studying effectively: understanding graphics


Due: Take-Home Assignment #4


Nov. 10     

Using textbooks effectively


Due: Chapter 10


Chapt. 10 quiz in class


Nov. 15  

Studying for tests


Take-Home Assignment #5 given

Due: Chapter 11

Nov. 17

Studying for tests continued


Chapt. 11 quiz in class

Nov. 19: last day to withdraw from 15-week classes.

Nov. 22   

Communication skills


Oral presentation topics assigned.


Nov. 24

NO CLASS (Thanksgiving break)



Nov. 29   

Communication skills; research and writing


Due: Chapter 12

Due: Take-Home Assignment #5


Registration for Intersession and Spring classes begins.

Dec. 1    

Health and well-being


Oral presentations: Chapter 13



Dec. 6

Careers; Finances


Oral presentations: Chapter 14


Dec. 8

Semester wrap-up



Exam #3 in class (Chapts. 9-14)

FRIDAY, Dec. 10


Last class and final exam

11 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.




Happy Holidays!


The Learning Outcomes for PAS 1010

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:


·         Identify particular sets of critical thinking and academic survival skills and apply these skills to solve problems in a variety of academic and personal situations;

·         Identify their preferred learning style and select learning strategies suitable to that learning style;

·         Compare and contrast their modalities of learning styles with professors’ teaching and presentation styles and adjust personal learning style accordingly;

·         Identify and use metacognitive strategies;

·         Use campus resources effectively;

·         Use library services and resources in completing classroom assignments;

·         Analyze career options and academic majors and develop personal goals and action steps for achieving them; and

·         Explain college policies on academic dishonesty and disruptive behavior.


If you do the assignments successfully, attend class, and apply critical thinking skills to the material covered in both, you should achieve the course outcomes.



Types of Assignments You Can Expect in This Course

·         Reading and discussion – regular reading of the textbook chapters and occasional additional handouts.  You will need to keep up with the reading assignments in order to complete the course successfully.  Each class will depend heavily on discussion, which depends on your participation, which in turn depends on your having read the material for that class.

·         Group activities and projects – collaboration in pairs, quads, or larger groups.  Cooperative group work is excellent preparation for other college courses and for the types of team assignments employers are likely to give you on the job.

·         Quizzes – usually in class.  Quizzes tell me whether you are reading and understanding the material.  You can expect a quiz every week or so.

·         Minute papers – written in class.  These are usually unannounced. You will write for about five minutes in response to a prompt about something you have read or we have discussed in class.  All minute papers will be collected, and you will receive feedback.

·         Take-home assignments – usually individual assignments.  There are five of these spread throughout the semester.  They are writing assignments and may require a bit research to complete.  You will receive detailed assignment sheets for each of these.  In addition to oral briefings that you may be asked to give as part of homework or group work, there is an oral presentation due near the end of the semester.  You will also receive detailed instructions about this assignment.

·         Exams – spaced throughout the semester.  There will be three segment exams during the semester, each testing the material since the previous exam.  There will be a final exam that is cumulative, covering the entire course.  It will be given during finals week.


Presentation of Assignments

·         All assignments written out of class must be typed, double-spaced, to be accepted.

·         All assignments must have your name, the course name and section number, the name of the assignment, my name, and the date on them.  Use a cover page to present this information.

·         All assignments must be complete, following the directions given.

·         All assignments will be graded not only for their content and completeness but also for their correctness of grammar, spelling, punctuation, and clarity of thought.  Poor or sloppy writing skills can result in the loss of points.


Rules of the Road: Class Policies



class involvement and participation  (10 points)                     10%    

in-class oral presentation   (10 points)                         10%    

take-home assignments   (5 x 5 points each)                           25%

quizzes   (5 x 1 point each)                                                       5%

segment exams  (3 x 10 points each)                                      30%

cumulative final exam (1 x 20 points)                         20%

course total:  100 possible points                                            100%


Grade ranges:   100 – 90 = A

                           89 – 80 = B

                           79 – 70 = C

                           69 – 60 = D

                           59 -    0 = F


Assignments lose a letter grade for each class they are late.  Unless you have made prior arrangements with me, assignments more than two classes late will fail.  Assignments containing deliberate or inadvertent plagiarism or cheating will fail, and a charge will sent to the Vice President for Student Affairs for action.  See the college Student Handbook for details.


Owl Mail (PGCC email)

You must activate and regularly check your PGCC student email account – Owl Mail.  I will send email messages regarding this class to that email address only.  If you email me, I will respond to you only via your Owl Mail email address. Think of Owl Mail as your business email address – for college business with faculty, staff, and other students.  Any other email addresses you may have are for your personal business.



I do not differentiate between “excused” and “unexcused” absences.  You are allowed three absences without penalty; I do not wish to see a note from a doctor or anyone else.  Like sick leave at work, after your three absences are gone I will begin deducting points from your grade.  If you miss 25% percent or more of our class meetings, I can fail you for the course.  If you know you are going to be absent, tell me ahead of time if possible.  You are responsible for finding out from a classmate what you missed (make friends; exchange phone numbers and email addresses).  Repeated tardiness will be figured as appropriate fractions of absences. Take care of restroom stops and phone calls between classes.  Except for personal emergencies, you may not arrive late or leave prior to the end of a class session.  Contact me if you have an emergency.


Q Grades

If you stop attending during the first 20 percent of the course, or attend only a few times, you will be assigned a Q grade, and administrative withdrawal.  The Q grade is a final grade and cannot not be replaced with a different grade later. Once a Q is assigned, you cannot return to class or turn in assignments.  You are no longer enrolled in the class. Although a Q grade will not impact your GPA, a Q on your record will likely decrease your chances of financial aid awards.


Classroom Decorum

No cell phones, PDAs, pagers, iPods, or earphones, please.  Turn them off and put them away -- out of sight and out of touch.  After the first warning, if I see your cell phone out again, I will deduct 25 points from your total grade. You may not leave the classroom to answer a call.  No food of any kind.  You may bring beverages (be neat). 


I expect courteous and respectful behavior toward everyone in the class.  Questions, relevant comments, and alternative points of view are encouraged and will be treated with respect by all.  However, side conversations and chatter are discourteous, disruptive, and should be avoided.  Anyone who disrupts class a second time after being warned once can expect to receive a Charge of Student Disruption with commensurate penalties.  For a complete explanation of the Prince George’s Community College Code of Conduct, see the 2010-2011 Student Handbook.



If you have a documented cognitive or physical disability that requires accommodation, please see me and provide a copy of your Student/Faculty Accommodation Form. Students requiring academic accommodations must contact the Disability Support Services Office to receive documentation.


Important Dates

Log in to myPGCC from or from for updates and announcements.


No classes – College closed – Labor Day

Saturday-Monday, September 4-6

Last day to drop a class with refund

Wednesday, September 8

Last day to change from “credit to audit” or “audit to credit” for full-semester classes

Friday, September 24

Last day to withdraw from first half-semester classes

Wednesday, October 6

Begin registration for Intersession 2011

Monday, October 25

No classes – College Enrichment Day for faculty/staff

Tuesday, October 26

Last day to withdraw from full semester classes

Friday, November 19

No classes – Start of Thanksgiving Break

Wednesday, November 24

No classes – College closed – Thanksgiving Break

Thursday-Sunday, November 25-28

Last day to withdraw from second half-semester classes

Monday, November 30

Advance registration for spring 2011


November 22-December 1

Begin open registration for spring 2011

Thursday, December 2

Final exam period/last week of fall 2010 classes

Friday-Thursday, December 10-16

Registration for Intersession ends. Spring in-person registration closes. Registration resumes Monday, January 5.

Friday, December 17

College Closed – Winter Break

Saturday-Sunday, December 19-January 4

Spring 2011 classes begin

Monday, January 24


Delayed College Openings

When the college announces a delayed opening, all classes with at least 45 minutes of class time remaining at the time of the opening will be held.  For example, in the event of a 10 a.m. opening, a 9:30-10:45 a.m. class will be held.  This procedure applies to all credit classes.  To sign up for text alerts such as school closings and delays, log in to myPGCC from or from and click on Owl Alert Notification System on the Bookmarks tab.  Owl Alert is the college’s instant messaging and email notification system.


Success at Prince George’s Community College is yours to earn.  Go for it!