Prerequisite Skills

Computer skills needed to succeed in this course:

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You will find possession of the following skills and attitudes to be helpful when participating in an online class:




Frequently Asked Questions

How does this online class differ that the traditional on-campus class?

All of the content you will learn in this class is the same online as it is in the classroom. Some of the ways this class differs from the traditional classroom are:


What is Moodle?
WebCT/Blackboard is a comprehensive Course Management System that delivers online courses. The system not only contains the lessons, or "lectures," but also communication tools like the discussion boards and chat rooms.

Do I have to come on campus?
No campus visits are required.

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How does this class work?
Students will be able to view a list of activities that are due each week--readings in the textbook, online discussion activities, online chats, writing in a journal, etc. Throughout the term, students will write a total of 3-5 formal, academic, research-based essays in the class. The essays will all be about  3000-4000 words in length. You will also be required to revise the essays and respond to a variety of informal writing assignments on the discussion boards and in chat sessions.  

Is online learning right for me?
Online learning isn't for everybody. The following describes the type of student who is likely to be successful in an online course:

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Is an online class the same as a self-paced class?

Answer: No. While some online classes are similar to independent study, most online classes are NOT self-paced classes. The due dates for documents and class participation reflect those of a "regular" on-site class. Homework, other activities, and online class participation must be completed by specific dates and times. 

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How much time do I have to spend online?

You should plan to spend at least the same amount of time you would spend on a face-to-face class.


Do I have to log on to class at a particular time?

No. You will have deadlines by which to post your homework, but when you complete that work (2 am or 4:30 PM or any other time) is up to you. This is an intensive class so you should complete your work on a daily basis to avoid being overburdened at the end of the week. If you have a problem, contact the instructor or use the discussion bulletin board to try to get assistance from other students in the class. If you leave work to the last minute and then run into trouble, you'll end up completing your work late or maybe not at all.

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Where do we meet for class?

We don't really "meet" in a physical face-to-face (F2F) sense. Instead, we'll interact regularly through the class website. You will simply login to the class site. We'll communicate with each other using several web-based bulletin boards and email.

Is taking a class online easier than a "regular" class?

No. The course content that you face in an online class usually is identical to that of an on-site class on the same topic. Some people think the workload is even more demanding than a regular F2F class in that you have to be a self-directed learner, stay motivated and remain current in your work for the class.  It has been shown that the most successful online students tend to share the following characteristics:

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What Internet skills would be helpful in an online class?

The most successful students have the following Internet skills:

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Is this Your First Online Class?

If this is your first online class, take a look at these online resources that will help you know what to expect, and how to communicate in the online course environment.

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Advice from former Online Students

English 1A online is a much different experience than a traditional face-to-face class. To help you determine whether online learning is right for you, consider what previous online students had to say:

        I think the online class is suited for only certain types of students.  Here is some advice for students considering an online class.  First, you have to be organized.  If you cannot keep track of all the assignments, deadlines and procedures, you will fall behind quickly.  Second, you must be able to handle all correspondence in writing.  It is a very different learning environment when you cannot talk directly to the instructor or your peers.  You will quickly learn how much you were dependent on visual and verbal signals when communicating with someone in person.  Thirdly, you will need to know how to navigate a computer and the Internet.  Also, if you "hunt and peck" when you type it may be a bit frustrating trying to keep up with your work.

Now for some tips to help make to transition to an online class a smooth one:

    1. Check the message board every day, sometimes twice a day.  About one third of the way into the semester the messages start to pile up.
    2. Allow extra time for assignments.  Remember that everything is in writing and it takes longer than talking.
    3. Save all messages and backup them up in case of technical problems.
    4. Allow for response time when sending email.  Do not wait until the last minute to ask a question.


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I'm so glad this class is almost over.  I don't mean that a reflection on the content, but the time commitment.  The content was great, but the aspect that surprised me most is the amount of time I had to dedicate to this class. It was much more than I had anticipated.  


Before I started, I thought an on-line class would be good – because I would be at home with the family.  While that was true, I was glued to the computer most all the time.   I did like the on-line environment though and would take more on-line classes as available.  However, I feel an in class course of  this type would help me to know I was on the right track more.  In person discussions and interactions would have been very helpful at times.  For me, discussion boards did not take the place of that in person interaction  with the instructor and peers.  


The class has helped  me to be a better writer and that is the ultimate goal. I appreciate the support and guidance of the instructor. I knew that you were only a mouse click away.  The web site layout is very good, the lessons, and assignment lists was a very good thing.  That one place to find out all I needed to do that week was a great addition. 

                                                                                                                                                                -- Jeff 

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My greatest surprise with this class was the amount of work, but after getting into a routine, it came much easier.  After getting into a routine and realizing how much time I would spend actually being at class for a  traditional English class, and on homework, I know that  the time invested is probably about the same.  


The best thing about this class is that I could do it anytime I wanted and I didn't have to find a sitter for my son so that I could go to class.  I also really enjoyed the discussions and looked forward to reading everyone's replies. My greatest disappointment was that I had a harder time learning in an on-line environment.  I think I am a person who learns easier face-to-face.  


I think the class is very well organized and was still amazed at how you could teach us and I never even met you.  But, I found it difficult not being able to just show you my paper and ask questions every class session. . . . Overall this class has been a great and very unique experience.  For students thinking about taking an on-line class, I would just warn them that they must be very organized!  One thing that kept me organized was writing all the due dates, discussions, etc., on a calendar and keeping next to the computer.  I needed something concrete and real (not on the internet) that I could refer to and it really helped. 

                                                                                                                                                            -S.S. 

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       Taking this online English class wasn't exactly what I  expected it to be. I thought taking it online would allow me more time to keep up with my other classes. My greatest surprise is how time consuming it turned out to be. I found myself on my computer anytime I had free time. I didn't have much experience with the internet, so the first few weeks were difficult. . . . The only advice I would give to another student about to take an online class is to be prepared  to spend more time than expected on the computer and have a little online experience. Overall I found this class to be a great learning experience. I have grown as a writer and plan to improve even more in English 1B. I couldn't have done it without the help of Prof. Kelly.                                                                                                                                                                   -Justin 

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  My greatest surprise was the amount of work. But as I adjusted to the class the overwhelming feeling subsided and I got a handle on things. My any disappointment was missing some of those Noon deadlines. Those were a pain. Having an online class real showed me that I am capable of managing my time out side of a class. But in the future I will only take face-to-face classes.


 I like being around people and being able to ask questions and share ideas with others.  . . . The advice I would give a student considering an Internet class would have  to be Don’t (just kidding). They need to be very self disciplined and be able to manage their time wisely. This class is demanding and it needs your undivided attention everyday, not three times a week. The assignments need to be completed a week or so before the due date. Do not fall behind. Read those chapters carefully because the quizzes might be opened book but  they are not easy.  Also beware that our wonderful  Professor is a tough grader.  Thank you Prof. Kelly.

                                                                                                                                                    -Holly

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Although I have enjoyed the class I do think it is now easier to go to the college.  I had problems participating  because of my schedule, and I believe I lost points for that.  I did really good in my last English class; I am not doing so well in this one.  I think [the instructor] did a good job though of making it less confusing.  The way we took the tests were good also.  Mostly I just did not realize that you basically had to be on line more than one day per week.  I took this class this way because I could go on when I wanted to and it turned out that there were certain times that I should have been on line.  I will learn for next time though.

I did enjoy this and will take other classes this way in the future.
                                                                                                                                                     -Cindy 

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        When I signed up for English 1A online I wasn't sure what to expect.  I thought it was going to be easier than a regular class and I thought that the workload was going to be a lot less.  I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  I figured since it was online that I would have to put in effort [but] I didn't think it took this much effort.

      The benefit of taking this class was that I am a parent of two small children and it was nice because I was able to be mom during the day and when the kids went to bed, I could go online and do my work then.  I really liked having the freedom I wasn't tied to one single time and day.  I also liked the fact that when we had chat sessions they were at night many times after 8 pm, which helped with my schedule.

      The downfall to this class is that it is easy to miss something or to get behind if you don't check your e-mails and go to the discussion and assignment board everyday.  The thing that I found frustrating was that if you are a visual person and need things to be shown to you this class is hard.  There were a couple of times where I needed to actually see someone show me how to do it.  That is the one good thing about having an actual class is the one on one with the actual teacher.  I can say this: whenever there was an e-mail sent or a question asked I was always met with a quick response and that is something that I really appreciated.

      The advice that I would give it ALWAYS CHECK YOUR E-MAILS AND THE DISCUSSION BOARD EVERYDAY!!!!!  If you don’t you will definitely find your self behind in the class. Also do your assignments or at least start working them when you get them, do not wait until the last minute.  One of the first assignments I waited until the last minute to do and as it turned out it was harder than I thought.   One thing that I did not realize until the end was to use the resources that are available to you.  Like the writing center and the chat sessions, they will be very beneficial to you.  Well I am glad it is over, it has been a wonderful experience but I am glad it is done.  Thank you and Good Luck.
                                                                                                                                                     -Debra 

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The greatest surprise of this course was probably the workload. Doing 3 whole research papers in one short 

semester is a lot of work in itself, along with the  numerous quizzes, discussions, responding, reading, etc. 

However, I learned a lot as a reader and writer as well as gained strength in my writing skills. 


The greatest disappointment would have to be the 3 research papers of course. It was a big adjustment for me since I was only 

used to doing one big research paper in an entire school year during high school. Learning in an online 

environment is the best for me. I always learn a lot more content in less time by myself. I have been 

self-taught with computers and doing English, geology, psychology, and economics online has allowed me to put 

my visual-learning sense to full potential. 


The instructor should not change anything about this course I think, because everything flowed smoothly, assignments were easy to keep track of on a weekly basis, and turning in the assignments was also easy. However, I do have a suggestion for students out there. Students 

should have an organizer of some sort. My organizer was an excel spreadsheet that listed the assignments for 

classes and deadline dates. This is something that I really wish I did throughout high school because it 

helps me stay on top of assignments very easily. 


I think the instructor should continue teaching online courses and also persuade other teachers to jump on the boat. There are lots of students out there who could really use the convenience, experience, and fun learning that online classes have to offer. My advice to other 

students who are thinking of taking an online course is to prepare for more time-consuming work. Students also 

need to be aware that more attention and effort needs to be put into an online course. The benefits though, 

outweigh the drawbacks when it comes to online courses.                                                            

                                                                                                                                                                            -Jeff 

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        I can't believe how hard this semester was for me.  This class taught me so much and I do not think 

that I will ever forget this experience of taking an Internet class.  I now know what has to be done to 

succeed in an Internet class.  It really is a lot more work than a regular class and with children and a 

husband at home it was even more difficult.  


If there is anything that I could say to future Internet students is to make sure that they can set apart time everyday to sit down in front of the computer without interruptions.  They have to just let those in the family know that this time is just like being in a classroom 

and not to disturb them.  This was my greatest frustration this semester.  My family just did not see the importance so it was harder for me than going to school and being away from them and concentrating on what I needed to do.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      -Rhonda 

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The expectations that I had for this class could not have been further from the way the class really was. When I first heard that online classes were available, I thought that they would be a snap, so I enrolled. The slacker in me was shell-shocked after the first couple of weeks in the class.

       I had the idea that because of the fact that there was no face-to-face interaction the workload would less than a traditional class setting. The amount of work that was handed out was not more than a traditional class setting, just spread out more evenly within the week. With a regular class setting, class sessions would be two to three times per week, for about one to two hours. With the online class, the lack of structured set times that the whole class could meet, were replaced with the ability to reach the teacher via e-mail, discussion boards, private chat rooms for the class, and the phone. The writing center was also a resource that is a valuable tool that can be used. The workload is spread out so that you have
to go online just about everyday, for about 20 minutes, making the both styles of class settings equal in regards to time consumption.

         I would advise going online everyday, using all the resources available, and staying up with class assignments. This class is not for the procrastinator. There is more responsibility left on the student, so self-discipline is key to succeeding in the online education environment. I took this class with somebody that I know (my fiancee) and it helped me a lot because we pushed each other with meeting assignment deadlines. Teaming up with somebody in the class, or taking the class with somebody that you know would certainly help.
                                                                                                                                                                                         -Reuben 

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    Upon entering this English 1A course in all honestly I thought it was going to be a breeze.  Being able to complete my English 1A class in the privacy of my own home, relaxing and not stressing a bit, at what time I would check in and do my assignments.  Wow, was I in for a surprise!

    Within a one week's time I would have to check into the class web-site about every other day, and I would spend roughly 45 min-1hour reading over my material.  I did dedicate myself to do my class work weekly within the period of 3-4 hours and 1 hour for reading.   During this semester I experienced some technical difficulties which dealt with my Internet Browser through AOL.  AOL didn’t support the Java script needed for the class, so I accessed the class website through Internet Explorer.

    Some of the valuable habits that kept me well organized throughout the semester had to be printing out the assignment sheets.  Although at times I thought to myself, “wow, this is a lot of ink I’m using”; it all paid off in the long run.  Some of the most unexpected parts of  the class was working in peer groups.  In a traditional class I felt very hesitant in getting together in groups.  But here on the online class I felt very at ease, maybe because I wasn’t face to face with my peers.

     Overall, I came into this class assuming that it would be “easier” and it was to my benefits that it would work around my schedule.  It had its advantages as well as its disadvantages but Ms. Kelly made it worth while.
She was very helpful in many ways.  Helping me with technical problems, assisting me with any questions regarding assignments as well as developing our papers.  The writing center also helped with weekly assignments.
                                                                                                                                            -Stephanie 

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This class was absolutely a surprise for me. I did not expect it to be soooo difficult. I write the longest, most detailed letters than anyone I know, so I thought writing would be a breeze. Unfortunately, because of that I didn't put much into the class in the beginning. And it was reflected in my grades on my first essays. As you so nicely pointed out, writing for English is much more structured and more difficult than all those other classes that I received rave reviews in for my other papers.  


It also took me a long time to get used to the on-line environment. At times because of my style of writing, I worried that other students would think I was stating things in a sarcastic or mean way. (Because in writing there tone of voice can easily be misinterpreted.) So if anything  seemed harsh fellow students, I'm sorry, I really am a nice person. ;-). I also missed being able to listen to the comments of others rather than reading them. I guess I am more of an audio learner than visual.  


My biggest downfalls that made this type of environment very difficult is that I am a procrastinator and unorganized. I had to really push myself the last couple of weeks to keep on track. I really wish I had been more serious in the beginning. . . . I also wish there were more chat sessions. . . . In the end, when I was less stressed about all my other classes, I felt that on-line wasn't as bad an experience as I originally thought.                                                                                                                                                              -A.S.

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First, I would like to say that this class was very time consuming. "It equals the time spent in a hard science class." That is the downfall of the class that I first noticed. This online English course is very demanding. It requires a strong commitment from the student. Not only does the student have to commit at least 9 hrs a week to the class but they also have to participate in peer reviews. These peer reviews are either easy or difficult. It depends on the author's writing ability. If the author has bad grammar, or worse, bad grammar and coherence, you will definitely have a challenging time.

      Second, you must periodically check into the online class. I visited the site at least 3 times a week. Some weeks you have to visit the class more often because some or all of the students in your group post their work assignments late. If this happens, you feel obligated to return because you don't want it to have a negative impact on your grades (ie. amount of posts on the discussion board). Another downfall of the class is that you will definitely change groups throughout the course because a lot of student will drop. They think that this is an easier alternative to a regular class setting but, in fact, it is a lot more challenging.

      One of the benefits of the class is the comfort zone. This class is very flexible with your schedule. Of course, keep in mind that it is still VERY  time consuming. Another benefit of an online english course is not having to personally visit the writing center. This is a great plus. You still do get personalized attention. However, you must understand that the students in the writing center will be first served. For instance, I submitted my first research paper draft to the writing center for review and guess what happened? I never received a review. Hence, I did receive a courtesy notice that the writing center was bombarded by students needing assistance.
                                                                                                                                                        -Steve


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Last Update: 1/6/2011