Sample Introduction to Course

Welcome to our online Writing 102 course! We hope you’re ready for an engaging, rewarding online learning experience with plenty of reading, thinking, and writing.

Completing the following steps will get you ready to begin.

Step 1 – Become Familiar with our Online Learning Environment

Your first step is to become familiar with our class website and the learning tools. You may be wondering: Where do I go first? How do I navigate? If this is your first online learning class, or if you’ve completed many online classes, please begin by exploring and becoming familiar with our class set-up. Every online course is organized a bit differently and getting a feel requires taking some time clicking around to understand how everything is laid out.

Tools and Resources for Activities and Communication

We’ll be making use of the following tools and resources. During the first week of class, become familiar with all of them.

Find the following resources:

  1. Content: You will access unit and module overviews, assignment instructions, and course readings through the Content area. To get there, click the “Content” link in the top navigation or use the Content panel in the left on the class home page. Begin every unit and module by reading the unit or module overview in Content. Check there for the the instructions for the activities and for readings.
  2. Calendar: Your due dates will be listed in the calendar, along with links to activities, assignments, and materials. The calendar can be exported to google or any i-Cal compatible calendar.
  3. Class email: Learn to retrieve and send email through the class email system. Your instructor may often communicate with you through class email.
  4. Discussions: Find the discussion page and learn how to post. You will complete two discussion activities for each module.
  5. Assignments: You will be submitting the initial and revised drafts of your essays through the Assignments tool.

Step 2 – Gain an Overview of Our Course

After you’ve become familiar with our course tools and learning environment, you’re ready for the overview of our class activities.

We will complete three main units:

  • Unit 1: Close Reading
  • Unit 2: Definition Argument
  • Unit 3: Research Essay

Through the modules in each of these units, you will complete activities that follow this basic pattern:

  1. Reading for ideas and inspiration
  2. Drafting an essay
  3. Revising the essay, after receiving feedback from the instructor and classmates

Reading Strands

The readings in each unit are organized into three thematic strands:

  1. The Power of One
  2. Live Deliberately
  3. Identity Shifts

You choose which strand to read. You don’t have to read from the same strand in every unit: you can mix and match. On the other hand, if you find a theme that resonates with you, you are welcome to stick with that strand throughout the course.

Discussions

Each module includes two discussion activities so that you can explore, develop, and share ideas and insights while you are working on the unit projects. Most of the discussion activities serve as prewriting for the essay you will write in that unit. For each discussion activity, you’re required to post your discussion and reply to at least one other student’s post.

The Three Essays

You will complete the three major writing assignments, one in each unit: a close-reading paper (literary interpretation/analysis) in Unit 1, a definition argument in Unit 2, and a research-based argument (which consists of an annotated bibliography and final essay) in Unit 3. Information and instructions are available in the module overviews, accessed through Content.

For each essay, you will submit an initial draft, receive feedback on your draft from your instructor and a few classmates, and revise your essay, submitting the evaluation draft.

You will also be providing feedback to at least two classmates for each essay draft.

A Few Notes Regarding the Readings

You are not required to purchase a textbook for this online section of WRT 102. Readings are provided electronically. These readings are from credible online sources and contain rich content related directly to WRT 102 objectives. This content also reflects what you would find in a required textbook for WRT 102. The main online sources for this content are as follows:

  • Open Educational Resources (OER): Through Creative Commons licensing and works in the public domain, an abundance of rich materials and diverse literature are available. We make extensive use of OER in this course.
  • Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Excelsior College: This extensive writing-related resource is a favorite for students and writers and contains a wealth of information on writing concepts and strategies. To access this resource now, click the following title to open Excelsior College’s OWL in a new browser window: Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Excelsior College
  • Writing Commons: This extensive resource offers peer-reviewed content for college students and faculty. To access this resource now, click the following title to open the Writing Commons in a new browser window: Writing Commons
  • Oregon Writes Open Writing Text: This resource is a compilation of various open educational articles focusing on college-level writing. To access this resource now, click the following title to open the Oregon Writes Open Writing Text in a new browser window: Oregon Writes Open Writing Text
  • Writer’s Handbook: Writer’s Handbook is a textbook that covers all aspects of college writing from invention to editing. Originally published by Flat Earth Publishing, it is now available online: Writer’s Handbook

We link to the specific readings from the individual module pages. These resources are free and easy-to-access, and as you gain experience using them, you will likely find yourself visiting them on your own for guidance with various tasks and projects, even ones that extend outside of WRT 102.

Syllabus and Schedule of Work

Read through the Syllabus to become familiar with the course expectations and requirements. The syllabus serves as an educational contract between you and your instructor.

Take a look at the Schedule of Work to review the assignment due dates. While due dates are also listed on the Calendar, you may want to print the Schedule of Work and post it where you can refer to it easily. Keeping up with the schedule is important if you want to succeed in this course.

Step 3 – Complete these Discussion Posts

Before you begin Unit 1, participate in the following two discussions:

Discussion 1A:

Post an introduction to yourself. If you’d like, you might include information about what you’re looking forward to in this class, what you’re studying, and how writing and reading fit into your professional, personal, and academic lives. You’re welcome to include one or two fun or unusual things about yourself, too!

Reply to at least one other student’s introduction.

Discussion 1B:

What are your goals as a writer and reader? Identify at least three goals that you have for yourself in this class. Consider how the writing, reading, thinking, research, and communicating skills you will be working on might contribute to your life personally, academically, and professionally. Then, set at least three goals and share them here.

Reply to at least one other student’s post.

What’s Next?

After you’ve completed these four steps, you are ready to begin Unit 1!

Welcome again to online Writing 102! Let’s get to work!