Frequently Asked Questions

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If you believe your final grade is unfair, first contact your instructor, who may be able to clarify the grade or, in the case of an error, correct it. If, after talking to your instructor, you still believe the grade is unfair, you may file a grade appeal any time before midterm of the following semester. To file an appeal, submit original papers of all your major graded work and a letter stating your grounds for appeal to ISUComm Foundation Courses Office (403 Ross Hall). The Director will contact the instructor to see if additional material should accompany the appeal. The appeal will then go to members of the ISUComm Foundation Communication Committee. Your grade will be changed only if the committee recommends a higher grade.

As ISUComm continues to grow, our goal is an ambitious one. You should encounter more communication in many of your courses, not just your ISUComm Foundation Course. Not only will you be practicing communication more, but you’ll be hearing more about the hows and whys of effective communication. You should encounter much of the same terminology as well. As you take courses in your major, expect to run into some of the communication terms presented in this guide. Even if you don’t, use these terms as a way to analyze the communication situations and perform the communication tasks that you’ll be using in your career. Communication learning never ends. To be a responsible citizen in a democracy like ours requires our best communication skills. Build on what you learn here to contribute to the activities that strengthen our society.

The ISUComm Foundation Courses are designed to provide all Iowa State students with a common communication learning experience. Below are some of the general requirements for both courses in the program:

  • You will write 4,000 to 6,500 words each semester.
  • Every section will have a final exam at a time set by the ISU Registrar.
  • You will revise most of the writing you do in the course. Your instructor may ask you to hand in drafts of your paper, to do peer review exercises, to revise all or parts of your assignments after they’ve been graded, and to include annotated revisions in a communication portfolio.
  • You will be expected to attend class regularly. The work you do in class is important to your progress as a communicator. Your instructor will set an attendance policy that you’ll be expected to follow. Not following these policies may lead to your failing the course or receiving lower grades on class work.
  • You will read a number of essays during the term, and you will be expected to come prepared to discuss these essays in class. Reading is an important aspect of your ISUComm Foundation Course and you’ll receive practice in critical reading.

The 250 Test-Out exam has two parts. In the first part you'll do a rhetorical analysis of an essay (we'll give you the essay at the test-out); in the second part, you'll write an argumentative essay of your own. Below are some suggestions for preparing for these two parts of the exam. As a general preparation for the exam, you might also consult the Student Guide: English 150 and 250, which you can purchase at the University Book Store. The essays will be evaluated by the criteria explained in the Student Guide: English 150 and 250: context, sources, organization, style, and delivery. For more information click here

  • Students who are seeking a second undergraduate degree do not have to fulfill the ISUComm Foundation Courses (First-Year Composition) requirement unless their undergraduate degree was earned from an institution outside the United States or from a non-English institution in the United States. A waiver must be processed for these students.
  • Students who are in graduate school do not have to fulfill the ISUComm Foundation Courses (First-Year Composition) requirement.

Students transferring to Iowa State University with credit deficiencies in ISUComm Foundation Courses (First-Year Composition) should be advised to complete the requirements for their ISUComm Foundation Courses as soon as possible. Eleventh-hour requests for credit waivers may delay a student's graduation.

NOTE: Transfer credit must be earned from an accredited English speaking college or university in the United States.

  • Transfer students without credit for English 150 (104) or 250 (105). Students who enter Iowa State University without credit in the ISUComm Foundation Courses (First-Year Composition) will have an opportunity to earn credit for English 150 (104) if their ACT-E or SAT-V meets the placement criteria as described on the English 150 (formerly 104) Placement and Placement Assessment information page. Other transfer students are encouraged to take the English 150 (104) Placement Assessment during an orientation testing session.
  • Transfer students with only English 150 (104) credit. If the transfer students are freshmen or sophomores, they must take English 250 (105). If the students transfer in as juniors or seniors, they may take English 250 (105) or they may be able to take an advanced communication course (English 302, 305, 309, 314) if they receive written approval (waiver) from the Director of ISUComm Foundation Courses (First-Year Composition) and permission from their major department. Transfer students may also choose to take the 250 (105) Test-Out Exam.
  • Transfer students with only English 250 (105) credit. These students do not need to take English 150 (104). Instead, they will need to take an advanced communication course (English 302, 305, 309, 314). Before this is done, they must receive written approval (waiver) from the Director of ISUComm Foundation Courses (First-Year Composition) and permission from their major department. These students cannot take the English 150 (104) Placement Assessment. The English 150 (104) Placement Assessment is only for students who have been placed directly into English 150 (104) due to ACT-E/SAT-V scores or no scores at all.
  • Students who transfer Rhetoric 10:3 from the University of Iowa with a "C" or better meet the ISUComm Foundation Courses (First-Year Composition) requirement. These students will receive 3 credits of English 250U (105U) (the designated transfer credit from the University of Iowa). These students, however, will not receive credit for English 150 (104). An English waiver is not required, but the major department must document the deficiency by indicating on the degree audit that the student can graduate with 3 credits in Area 1 (Basic Education).
  • Students who transfer 2 credits of English 150 (104) and 2 credits of English 250 (105) from the PAIDIEA course from Luther College with a "C" or better meet the ISUComm Foundation Courses (First-Year Composition) requirement. An English waiver is not required, but the major department must document the deficiency by indicating on the degree audit that the student can graduate with 4 credits in Area 1 (Basic Education).
  • Transfer students with a total of 5 credits in English 150 (104) and 250 (105). Transfer students with 5 credits in English composition will have the remaining 1 credit automatically waived. These students do not need a waiver from the Director of ISUComm Foundation Courses (First-Year Composition). A student's major department must indicate the deficiency by indicating on the degree audit that the student can graduate with the 5 credits in Area 1 (Basic Education).
  • Transfer students with quarter credit. Students enrolled in schools with 9 or 10 quarter-credit English composition programs are advised to complete the full sequence at those schools before transferring to Iowa State University. Six quarter-credits transferred in ISUComm Foundation Courses (First-Year Composition) will not meet the Iowa State University requirement.
  • Transfer credit for non-composition English courses. Courses not clearly identifiable as English composition (e.g., Introduction to Literature, Humanities, Colloquia, etc.) transfer as humanities or elective credits but not as English composition credits. However, some transfer courses in various disciplines are designated as "writing intensive." Students with transfer credit in these courses should meet with the Director of ISUComm Foundation Courses (First-Year Composition) to see if credit can apply to English 150 (104) or 250 (105). When doing this, students must bring a catalog course description, syllabus, and any assignments they composed in this class.
  • Exemptions from other schools. Exemptions from Foundation Communication requirements at other schools will not be applied to the ISUComm Foundation Courses (First-Year Composition) requirement at Iowa State University unless those exemptions carry with them academic credit. However, as outlined above, this policy does not apply to students who transfer Rhetoric 10:3 from the University of Iowa.

Windows/ PC Users

Web Browser Access (e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox.)

FTP Access (with FileZilla.)

Mac/ Apple Users

Web Browser Access (e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox.)

FTP Access (with Fetch.)


When you log on and open your Novell classfiles, you'll find a folder for each class you teach; "150HE" and "250FL" for example. Inside are four folders, each with different student access privileges.

  • Admin is invisible to students, you may use it to store files you don't yet want to make accessible.
  • Announcements is a "read only" folder, meaning students can open and read files, but can't save changes or add files to this folder. [Note: Because Word files can be opened by a limited number of users at a time, you should have all students drag the file to the desktop or to their folder before opening it.]
  • Drop Box is a "write only" folder, meaning students can't open files, but they can drop files into it for secure collection of their work. Mac drop boxes are "belted" so students can't view the contents inside. Students can open Windows drop boxes, but can see no content, though instructors do. Students drag a file onto the drop box from any location they have saved it to. This is a desktop maneuver rather than a "Save As" command from a Word dialogue box.
  • Discussion is a "read/write" folder, meaning all students can both read and add material to this folder. Use it to return work or exchange drafts. Only one user at a time can open a file in Discussion. Users can drag the file to the desktop to make a copy to open. This is not a secure folder, so it's possible for a student to peek at another's work or to retrieve the wrong paper. Use it only for the short term. NOTE: If you lock a file in Discussion, it isn't really locked; any user can delete it.
  • You can make folders inside of folders. They have the same access as the parent folder in which they reside. For example, in Discussion you could create folders for groups to exchange drafts or to retrieve exercises.
  • When students log on with their own username and password [after week two] they [and only they] can see their own folder which they can "Save As" from Word or open and drag from the desktop. The student folder provides a good backup for all work.

As ISUComm continues to grow, our goal is an ambitious one. You should encounter more communication in many of your courses, not just your ISUComm Foundation Course. Not only will you be practicing communication more, but you’ll be hearing more about the hows and whys of effective communication. You should encounter much of the same terminology as well. As you take courses in your major, expect to run into some of the communication terms presented in this guide. Even if you don’t, use these terms as a way to analyze the communication situations and perform the communication tasks that you’ll be using in your career. Communication learning never ends. To be a responsible citizen in a democracy like ours requires our best communication skills. Build on what you learn here to contribute to the activities that strengthen our society.

The ISUComm Consultants program can aid departments across campus with adding to and revising the communication components of their own curricula. These consultants help instructors and departments develop communication activities and assignments that are grounded in each academic discipline's unique set of oral, written, and visual communication practices. For more information or to schedule an initial consultation feel free to contact our staff.

All Users

For Web-based access, the address to enter is http://netstorage.ait.iastate.edu.

Use just your netID and password to login [rather than "name.faculty etc."as in Novell server login].

You may encounter several secure access warning boxes; click okay to each.

To open a file,double click the file name rather than selecting "download" in the file menu.If the file opens in a Web window [thus doing strange things to formatting], select SAVE AS in the FILE menu and save as a ".doc" file.

If the file opens to a dialogue box asking whether to open or save to disk, select save to disk or "save file as" rather than searching for an application.

The interface does not allow drag and drop file transfers. To load files, under "file" select "upload file" and click "browse" then select the file from your desktop and click "open."

Windows/ PC Users

Using FileZilla

  1. Log into Sidecar (the yellow key) with your Net-ID and password.
  2. Click on File->Site Manager.
  3. Select one of the servers from the list (isua1.iastate.edu...isua5.iastate.edu) and click Connect.
  4. Your local files will be listed on the left-hand side and the files on the server will be listed on the right-hand side. To move files from your local machine to the server (and vice versa), just drag the files from one side to the other.

To use FileZilla to connect to an Iowa State file system or locker:

  1. Log into Sidecar.
  2. Click on File->Site Manager.
  3. Click on the "New Site" button and then type in a name for the connection.
  4. In the host field on the right, type in isua4.iastate.edu.
  5. In the Logon type field, make sure "Normal" is checked.
  6. In the User field, type in your Iowa State Net-ID.
  7. Click on "Advanced" button at the bottom.
  8. In the default remote directory, type in the directory where the files are stored on AFS.
    This will generally be:
    A. /afs/iastate.edu/general/lockername for personal file space
    B. /afs/iastate.edu/class/lockername for class lockers
    C. /afs/iastate.edu/private/stuorg/www/directory/ for stuorg lockers
  9. Under "Passive transfer mode settings" select "Use passive mode".
  10. Click "OK".
  11. Click "Connect".
  12. Enter in a password and click "OK". You do not have to use your real password here.
  13. Your local files will be listed on the left-hand side and the files in the locker will be listed on the right-hand side. To move files from your local machine to the server (and vice versa), just drag the files from one side to the other.

Mac/ Apple Users

Using Fetch

  1. You must have Kerberos installed on the Macintosh. Kerberos can be downloaded at: http://www.sitelicensed.iastate.edu
  2. You must have Fetch installed on the Macintosh.
  3. For instructions on how to install Fetch, view the following link: http://www.it.iastate.edu/faq/view.php?id=457

    For instructions on how to set up Fetch, view the following link: http://www.it.iastate.edu/faq/view.php?id=117

  4. Log into Kerberos with your username and password.
  5. Open Fetch and select one of the isua servers (isua.iastate.edu). Use your username and connect using 'FTP with GSSAPI' and 'Enable encryption' and select 'Connect'.
  6. Once connected it will open your default web space and you need to get to the 'stuorg' folder. Go to 'Path' at the top of the window and choose the 'iastate.edu' selection. The path to your directory should be --> /afs/iastate.edu/class/lockername

As ISUComm continues to grow, our goal is an ambitious one. You should encounter more communication in many of your courses, not just your ISUComm Foundation Course. Not only will you be practicing communication more, but you’ll be hearing more about the hows and whys of effective communication. You should encounter much of the same terminology as well. As you take courses in your major, expect to run into some of the communication terms presented in this guide. Even if you don’t, use these terms as a way to analyze the communication situations and perform the communication tasks that you’ll be using in your career. Communication learning never ends. To be a responsible citizen in a democracy like ours requires our best communication skills. Build on what you learn here to contribute to the activities that strengthen our society.

Notes:

  1. The First-Year Composition Program became the ISUComm Foundation Courses Program beginning in Fall 2007. As part of this process, English 104 and 105 have been renumbered (English 150 and 250); refocused from an emphasis on writing-only to an integration of written, oral, visual, and electronic communication (WOVE); and restructured (shifting the second course to the sophomore level).
  2. The automatic exemptions from English 104 (below) remain the same for exemptions from English 150.

Automatic Exemption from English 150 (104)

Students can be exempted from English 150 (104) and receive 3 hours of "T" credit for 150 (104) if they meet one of the following criteria AND receive a "C" or better in English 250 (105) taken at Iowa State University:

  • If using ACT-E scores: ACT-E score of 24 or higher OR ACT-E score of 23 and high school rank of at least 75% or higher.
  • If using SAT-V scores: SAT-V score of 550 or higher OR SAT-V score of 540 and high school rank of at least 75% or higher.

Students who do not have a high school rank but do have an ACT-E of 23 or SAT-V of 540 must take English 150 (104) unless they pass the English 150 (104) Placement Assessment.

This policy affects not only new students but also current students who have not yet fulfilled their ISUComm Foundation Courses (First-Year Composition) requirements.

English 150 (104) Placement Assessment

This is a test that allows students an opportunity to challenge their placement in English 150 (104) if students' ACT-E/SAT-V scores are not high enough to automatically place them in English 250 (105). Students are given 30 minutes to plan and write an essay on a prompt the ISUComm Foundation Courses Director has prepared. There is no fee to take the English 150 (104) Placement Assessment.

The English 150 (104) Placement Assessment will be administered by the Testing Office in January, March, April, May, June, August, October, and November. Students are to contact their adviser for actual dates of the English 150 (104) Placement Assessment. If a student demonstrates sufficiently high writing skills, student is placed in English 250 (105). Listed below are the skills required for such a placement.

  • Relevant examples and details to back up assertions.
  • Good organization—sense of development and generally unified paragraphs.
  • Fair command of vocabulary and sentence structure.
  • Grammar, punctuation, spelling largely correct, with some occasional problems perhaps; overall, though, correctness doesn't seriously inhibit reading.

NOTE: Students who are exempted from or who place out of English 150 (104) will receive 3 hours of "T" credit for English 150 (104) only if they take English 250 (105) at Iowa State University and receive at least a "C" in the course. English 250 (105) must normally be completed by the end of the student's sophomore year.

For additional information, students should contact their advisers.

Advanced Placement (AP) Credit for English 150 (104)

Students who earn a score of 3 or better on the Advanced Placement Exam for English Language and Composition receive credit by examination for English 150 (104).

Students who earn a score of 4 or better on the Advanced Placement Exam for English Literature and Composition receive credit by examination for English 150 (104). Students who have already placed into English 250 because of ACT-E or SAT-V scores receive 3 credits of 100 Literature.

Students do not receive credit for English 250 (105) based on Advanced Placement Exam scores.

ISUComm is Iowa State University’s communication-across-the-curriculum initiative. The goal of ISUComm is to strengthen student communication and enhance students’ critical thinking skills by creating opportunities for them to practice communication skills throughout their academic careers. While many institutions have similar outreach efforts to train and encourage faculty from all disciplines to include writing assignments in their courses, ISUComm speaks to a broader set of communication competencies. Rather than focus solely on written communication, ISUComm is contemporary and comprehensive in its emphasis on oral, visual, and electronic skills development as well.

WOVE is an acronym that stands for “written, oral, visual, and electronic” communication. More commonly referred to as “multimodal communication,” this pedagogy serves as the basis for ISUComm’s efforts toward student-centered, contemporary curriculum reform. In the new foundation courses that ISUComm has developed, ISUComm is building upon an integrated approach to writing instruction that has been underway at ISU for some time. Almost all composition classes use electronic classrooms; all teach students how to engage in small group discussions and oral critiques with peers; many sections of these courses incorporate brief oral presentations; and many of these classes now address some design aspects of written texts, such as headings and page layout. By bringing WOVE pedagogy into their classrooms, teachers provide all students with the kind of communication instruction that prepares them to communicate with expertise in multiple settings and with multiple media.

Because of changes in technology, written communication is now virtually inseparable from oral, visual, and electronic modes of communication, not just in the academy, but also in the professions, in business, and in the public sector. For example, writers of all sorts discuss their drafts with friends and colleagues; they often present their ideas orally and visually at conferences and in meetings; and they routinely add illustrations, layout devices, and visual representations of data to clarify their ideas. Most writers now do all these tasks with the help of computers; and, increasingly, they do it on the web.

And yet, despite the integrated nature of contemporary communication, many students neither grasp the fact that communication itself has changed, nor do they know how to communicate in this multimodal environment. If we are to adequately prepare our students for the challenges they will face in the academy and beyond, then it is our responsibility as teachers to acquaint them with communication practices as they actually exist. In other words, we must present writing as it is integrated with other media.