English 1302 Online Orientation English 1302 PRN / Skrabanek


English 1302 PRN Online Orientation

Welcome to the start of a new semester and your English 1302 PRN course. English 1302 is a continuation of English 1301, with emphasis on referential-interpretive analysis of readings in short fiction. Students will use literary elements to interpret short fiction. You will cover the same material that you would in a traditional classroom. This online class is designed to add flexibility to your schedule.

You will read material from a required textbook, as well as online. Remember that the online documents and textbook readings replace classroom lectures. You are responsible for studying the recommended materials. Many of my online assignment notes and samples have specific information that allows you to complete particular assignments more easily. These materials should be studied carefully.

The assignments and quizzes have scheduled due dates. The reading quizzes are available for a limited time. There are also penalties for submitting assignments late. Read about submitting work late in the Course Guidelines document or the Schedule and Assignments document.

Remember the first day of a course when you have to find a chair, your roost for the rest of the semester? Once you find a seat, you get acquainted with your surroundings and your classmates. Then your instructor drones on for what seems like hours. Well, this Online Orientation document will seem like that, especially the boring part. Keep in mind, though, you have signed up for an online course. The information in this document is what I would talk about in an introductory class meeting, and you don't even have to take notes. But you do have to read the documents. Online courses are often harder than classroom courses because in an online course you gain all of your information about the course by reading, not by listening.

Blackboard is a learning environment you will use for most of your course functions.
In Blackboard, you will: All documents available on my ACC web site are also available in Blackboard.

Log in to Blackboard here.

Click here for the Blackboard Student Support page. On this page, you can learn how to log in to Blackboard.
Click here to learn how to use Blackboard.

Course Prerequisites
State Withdrawal Policy for New College Students
book What You Should Know About the Course
How to Pass the Course
What You Should Know About the Instructor
How I Conduct This Course
How to Approach the Course
Online Grammar Handbook
Handy Links
What Is Education?
Online Learning
Technology Requirements
Course Websites
Helpful Hints for Online Success
Tips on Completing This Course
Orientation Quiz


BE AWARE: To gain credit for this course, you must have successfully completed English 1301 at ACC or its equivalent at another college or university with a grade of C or higher. If your proof of prerequisite is not available in ACC records, you must present a transcript or grade report showing your successful completion of Composition I with a grade of C or higher. In other words, a grade of D or below in Composition I is not an acceptable prerequisite. If you know you don't have the required prerequisite, don't enroll or withdraw and get your money back.

I will try to contact you via Blackboard Messages if I cannot find proof of prerequisite for you in ACC records, so check your messages regularly. You can submit your proof of prerequisite to me in person, to my mailbox in Rio Grande Room 204, by U.S. mail, or by ACC intercampus mail. I will also accept scanned or photographed copies submitted as a jpg file attachment to a Blackboard Message or an email. If I do not receive your proof of prerequisite by 9 pm September 11, I will stop grading your work until I do receive your proof of prerequisite.

Contact addresses are available by clicking here. You can also have a clerk place your proof of prerequisite in my campus mailbox at RGC. You can also present the proof to me personally during my advertised office hours.

To get credit for orientation, you must read through the following information in this document. Next, study the Course Guidelines document, review the Schedule and Assignments document, and then complete the Orientation Quiz under the Quizzes button in Blackboard. You must score 70% or better on the Orientation Quiz to continue in the course. You can retake the Orientation Quiz if necessary.

The most important documents in this course are Schedule and Assignments, Course Guidelines, and the assignment lectures. These documents are also available at my ACC webpage. Click on your section-synonym number when you get there: http://www.austincc.edu/dws

State Withdrawal Policy for New College Students

Students may withdraw from one or more courses prior to the withdrawal deadline by submitting a request form to Admissions and Records. Withdrawal deadlines are published in the academic calendar or in the Schedule and Assignment Due Dates document in this course. Withdrawal courses appear on the student's record with a grade of W. Until a student is officially withdrawn, the student remains on the class roll and may receive a grade of F for the course. Students are responsible for being aware of their status in a course.

Students are also responsible for understanding the impact withdrawing from a course may have on their financial aid, veterans' benefits, international student status, and academic standing. Students are urged to consult with an advisor or their instructor before making schedule changes.

According to Texas state law, students enrolling for the first time in fall 2007 or later at any Texas college or university may not withdraw (receive a W) from more than six courses during their undergraduate college career. Some exemptions for good cause could allow a student to withdraw from a course without having it count toward this limit. Students should select courses carefully and contact an advisor or counselor for assistance.

Be aware that I withdraw students for lack of progress. This course has submission and completion deadlines. You need to meet those deadlines if you do not want to be withdrawn from the course.

What You Should Know About the Course

Do not think that this online course will be an easy version of the classroom English 1302 course. It will not. If anything, it will be harder. Students in online courses must read the documents an instructor would otherwise deliver in classroom lectures. In a classroom section of English 1302, you would be scheduled to attend for over 40 hours. Figure that about 75% of the time you would receive pertinent information in classroom lectures. So, you should plan on spending at least 30 hours studying course materials for this online section--about 3-4 hours per week. That time does not include your time spent writing or revising assignments. If you cannot spend the noted time on this course, or you cannot submit assignments on time, or you do not like to read, then my online section of English 1302 is probably not for you.

This course deals with the analysis of short fiction. In this course, you will learn about seven elements that make up a short story. You will use these elements to analyze what an author has done in a story. You will then write analytical essays about your conclusions.

My expectations are:

My goal is to provide you with the information and guidance to allow you to write competent college-level analytical essays.

Your goals should be:

How to Pass the Course

What You Should Know About the Instructor

I taught my first English Composition course in 1974, and I have been teaching online courses exclusively for the last ten or so years. I attended Lee College, a junior college, for my first two years. I received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Houston in 1974 and a Master of Arts from UH in 1976. I also did supplemental graduate work at Trinity College, Oxford University, England. I have been teaching English courses at ACC since 1978. I generally teach English 1301 and English 1302, though I did teach sophomore courses in the past.

I would probably be considered a "hard" teacher. I require careful attention to details and adherence to course and assignment guidelines. I also expect students to read the course documents. Too many students seem to think they can submit anything and have it accepted just because they submit it. If you have such an attitude, please leave it at the door because it won't work here. I may be hard, but I am also fair. To be fair, I try to apply course guidelines equally. To be fair, I grade submissions based on the quality of the work, not on the circumstances surrounding the submissions. I can understand students' stresses and strains of everyday life, but they are not criteria I use to grade your work.

My communication style has been called everything from friendly and humorous to curt, gruff, or rude. I don't think I'm rude, rather frank and straighforward. Don't expect me to coddle you or beg you to do your work. If you don't do your work up to par, I will certainly let you know, and I seldom mince words. If you regard a straightforward assessment of your performance--good or bad--as rude, you might want to consider taking the course from another instructor.

How I Conduct This Course

You have enrolled in an online course. In a classroom setting, I would deliver most of the important information in lectures. In this online course, though, you must read the numerous course documents to gain the information necessary to succeed in the course. These documents are all posted online. If you have limited Internet access, this course is probably not for you.

If you don't read the course documents and follow directions carefully, likely you will have to revise some of the assignments. Some students seem to think that I am picking on them if I make them revise, sometimes more than once. Keep in mind that any revision I require means extra work for me, so why would I want to create more work for me? My job is to certify to ACC that you have acquired and can demonstrate certain specified skills. If you don't display those skills, I can't pass you. Again, it's the job you hired me to do when you enrolled in and paid for this course. So, if I make you revise, it's not because I want to torment you or make extra work for myself. I'm just doing my job. And all I have to gain is your success.

I favor equal work for equal grades. All English 1302 courses require the same amount of work. Some students seem to think that I will grade work turned in late in the semester less diligently than work turned in on time--simply because time is running out in the semester. If anything, the opposite is true. Work that has taken longer to finish than the prescribed due date should be able to stand up to greater scrutiny. So don't expect any favors if you wait until the end of the semester to try to turn in the bulk of your coursework. (If you do wait until the end, you will probably already have disqualified yourself from writing the C exam because of late submission penalties.)

Many students also believe that assignments in this course or in college in general are useless in real life. Sometimes those beliefs are correct. However, in this course I stress certain skills that are applicable in the workplace--following directions, attention to details, time and task management. You should also acquire certain critical thinking skills that will help you succeed in college. So, if you pay attention to what you are supposed to do in this course, you might actually gain some things that will help you later in life.

According to Samuel Johnson, "Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it." This course will gauge what information you know and what information you can find.

How to Approach the Course

To be successful in this course, you must acquaint yourself with the online environment quickly, then complete the work in an efficient and punctual manner. These steps outline a viable approach to the course.

1. Get acquainted with Blackboard. You will use Blackboard to send messages and coursework submissions to me. I will use Blackboard to return your coursework and leave messages for you. Log in to Blackboard on a regular basis to check for announcements for the whole class or to participate in the Discussion Board. Read about How to Use Blackboard at this link.

2. The basic course documents--Schedule and Assignments, Course Guidelines, etc.--are available at my ACC home page: http://www.austincc.edu/dws. I recommend that you print out these documents for easy access. Be aware, though, that full requirements for assignments are in the assignment lectures. Be sure you visit the online assignment lecture to learn more about completing the assignment successfully. Other documents available at my ACC home page or by links can be printed out at your discretion.

3. Read the Orientation materials, especially the Schedule and Assignments document and the Course Guidelines document, and complete the Orientation Quiz in Blackboard.

4. Check the Schedule and Assignments document often for due dates for assignments. Be aware of deadlines.

5. Remember that another qualification for the C exam is accumulating points in the Reading Quizzes. To qualify for the C exam, you must gain 40 cumulative points in the six Reading Quizzes. To qualify for the B and A exams, you must gain 45 cumulative points in the six Reading Quizzes.

6. Do the required work conscientiously and punctually. There can be significant penalties for late submissions of coursework. Read about submitting work late in the Course Guidelines document or the Schedule and Assignments document.

Online Grammar Handbook

The Online Grammar Handbook is meant as a review of grammar and a guide to the writing problems you may encounter in your college essays. It includes details on the short essay and grammatical errors. I will often refer you to a particular section of this handbook for details on a grammar error you have committed in your analysis. You should give the Handbook a visit.

Click here for the Online Grammar Handbook.

Handy Links

Many of the links pertinent to this course and the assignments are located in one convenient place. Included are links for ACC services available to students, ACC Library services, writing and grammar information, and specific course and assignment information.

Click here for the Handy Links page.

What Is Education?

The word education, in its base form, comes from the Latin educere, "to lead forth," and is related to educe, "to bring out (as something latent)," and also to deduce and seduce (both meaning "to lead away"). The suggestion is that education is not a putting in, with a subsequent regurgitation, but a leading out of something already present. This course will focus less on my putting in information and more on your active participation. You will be expected to complete assignments in which you may need to learn new techniques to do the work. If you are not willing to make that effort, this course is not for you.

Education, in a sense, is learning what you don't have to know--not college preparation for a job, but perhaps why a bride wears a veil at a wedding or why people wear black clothes at funerals, both good topics for a research paper.

According to T.H. Huxley: "Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not."

And more important, I think, is the belief of Sydney J. Harris: "The primary purpose of ... education is to make one's mind a pleasant place in which to spend one's time."

Online Learning

Online courses require a new sort of commitment on the part of the student. Because online courses provide very limited live contact with the instructor, you as the student must take on the responsibility of ensuring that you explore and study the various lessons and lectures associated with each assignment. So, if you do not have the appropriate motivation and time-management skills required in this online learning environment, perhaps you should consider switching to a traditional classroom setting. Otherwise, rev up your hard drive, and let's get moving.

The minimum requirements for students to participate in an online course are:

This course proceeds according to a schedule, but there are no "live" classes for you to attend. Instead, most all lectures, coursework, assignments, questions, and discussions take place at your convenience--online. Except for turning in assignments when they're due, your schedule is totally up to you. (I have been told that the peak usage of the Blackboard site occurs around 2 in the morning.)

This course has a modular structure. Due dates for assignments are clearly indicated in the Schedule and Assignments document, so you know from the beginning of the semester exactly what is expected of you. As a result, you can easily stay on track. The course is designed to give you ample time to complete your work. However, if you can complete an assignment BEFORE it is due, feel free to submit it early. This course is not really self-paced. Assignments have specific due dates and penalties for late submissions. And remember, the course lasts only 11 weeks.

Technology Requirements

You are expected to have a basic knowledge of your computer operating system and software tools such as a word processor, Email, a Web browser, and search engines. You will be required to use your computer and the Internet to complete many of the assignments, and most of your work will be delivered by using the Submissions button in Blackboard. You must know how to save and attach files and how to upload and download attached files. If you are not comfortable or competent using these tools, you should consider switching to a traditional classroom setting.

You will be using Blackboard for most of your communication and coursework delivery needs. The Submissions button and the Messages feature are two Blackboard components you may use extensively in this course.

There may be times you will need a working Email address. You should have your own personal Email address, preferably not a shared one. ACC now offers free Email accounts for ACC students. Read about student Email at this link:


Or click here to sign up for a free account from these Email providers:

Microsoft Hotmail at: http://hotmail.com

Yahoo Mail at: http://mail.yahoo.com

Google Gmail at: http://mail.google.com/mail/help/open.html

Software Requirements

  • A word processing program that can produce double-spaced papers and save them in Rich Text Format (rtf) or Microsoft Word (doc) or (docx) format.
  • Web Browser: A recent version of Firefox or Internet Explorer. Chrome, Safari, Opera, and other browsers may work, too, but I have not tested them. Your Web browser must be capable of sending and receiving attached files.
  • Access to Email may be needed at times.

    (You may need the program below for activities on other sites.)

  • Adobe Acrobat: Click here for free download now!

    Course Websites

    This course is primarily web-based. The Blackboard web site has a straightforward design that makes it easily navigable. You should visit Blackboard on a regular basis to check my announcements, submit or retrieve coursework, check for messages, or participate in the Discussion Board.

    I also maintain an ACC web page outside of Blackboard that contains most of the course documents. My web page does not require a login. It is available at http://www.austincc.edu/dws.
    (Click on the link for your section.)

    Please click on all the links below and review the information thoroughly.

    1. Getting Started with Blackboard

    Click and review the Blackboard introduction link above. Then log in to the Blackboard site. You should bookmark the Blackboard login page.

    As soon as you log in to Blackboard, you will be taken to your personal home page. Find the list of Blackboard courses in which you are enrolled. Click on English Composition.

    **Click here for more information on How to Use Blackboard, or look under the Orientation button in Blackboard. In this document, you will find useful instructions on using some of the features of Blackboard, especially the Submissions procedures, Messages, and the Discussion Board.

    Spend time familiarizing yourself with the Blackboard site. Click all the buttons on the left side of the screen and check out the various features of the course. For example:

    To continue with the orientation, review each of these documents under the Orientation, Course Guidelines, and Schedule and Assignments buttons in Blackboard. You can also go directly to each document on my ACC web site by clicking on the title.

    hayden 2. How To Use Blackboard
    Here you will find useful instructions on using some of the features of Blackboard, especially the Submissions procedures, Messages, and the Discussion Board.

    3. Contact Information
    Here you will find various ways to contact me or to send me your coursework.

    4. Schedule and Assignments
    The Schedule and Assignments document lists the due dates for core assignments and quizzes you must complete in this course. Links to assignment lectures and assignment requirement are given. You can also find End-of-Semester details here.

    5. Course Guidelines
    Here you will find a description of the course goals and objectives, required materials, and general requirements and activities. This document also details how business will be conducted in this course. How to make a grade, the grading process, paper formats and naming, and paper delivery policies are discussed here. This document is a must-read if you intend to succeed in this course. This document is available under the Course Guidelines button.

    6. English 1302 Department Syllabus
    General departmental course requirements are discussed here.

    Helpful Hints for Online Success

    1. Visit Blackboard regularly. You are responsible for my announcements or messages to you posted there. You will also use Blackboard to submit your coursework. Take the Reading Quizzes in Blackboard.

    2. Follow the Schedule and submit your work on time.

    3. Start to organize yourself early. You might want to print important information (Schedule and Assignments, Course Guidelines, Assignment Lectures, etc.). Remember, though, that assignments may contain links to supplementary information, so visit the correct Assignment Lecture as you prepare each assignment.

    4. Try to do most of your work offline. It is difficult to read long documents from a computer screen, so try to print the online lectures you have been assigned and read them offline. Printing the documents also allows you to take notes and mark up the pages. You should also bookmark the online resources on your computer's web browser for future reference.

    5. You will find many of the course documents in printer-friendly format on my ACC home page (Be sure to click on your section number.):

    6. Let me know if you are having problems. If you are having technical difficulties or problems understanding something about the course, do not hesitate to contact me. Also, if you don't understand something, chances are several people have the same question, so leave me a message or post your question to the Open Forum or Help! forum in the Discussion Board in Blackboard. And remember, I am available to meet you for a conference. Call or visit during my office hours, which are advertised under the Faculty Information button or at this link.

    NOTE: I don't check voice mail very often, so your best chances of getting a quick response from me are by using Blackboard Messages or Email.

    Tips on Completing This Course

    So you've read all this information, of course, and you wonder what you really need to do to pass this course. Students who abide by the following five tenets will get along fine in this course.

    1. Follow directions. Read the assignments and lectures carefully, and follow directions. Simple enough. If you don't follow directions, you will get to do the same work over and again until you do follow directions.

    2. I reward concern for the assignment and care in doing it. You may not like the assignment, but be assured it is for your own good (which I believe is what they say just before the spanking, isn't it?). Pay attention to details. Study the samples. Be consistent. I am not impressed by carelessness, thoughtlessness, and lack of concern for the assignment directions. Careless or shoddy work will only delay your progress.

    ginsberg 3. Pace yourself. Do not expect me to accept a large number of assignments at once from you and then grade them immediately--won't happen. Recall the lesson of Aesop's fable "The Tortoise and the Hare": slow and steady wins the race.

    4. Persevere. If you complete your assignments in a timely fashion and accumulate the required number of points in the Reading Quizzes, you should be able to complete the course handily.

    5. Don't be afraid to ask questions or request help. Use Blackboard Messages, Email, or the Discussion Board. These will be your main base for contact with me or your classmates. Other students or I will likely be able to resolve your problems.

    Orientation Quiz
    To get credit for orientation, once you have read all the information above and studied the corresponding links, you must complete the Orientation Quiz satisfactorily. You must score 70% or better on the Orientation Quiz to continue in the course. You may retake this quiz if necessary. The Orientation Quiz is located under the Quizzes button in Blackboard.

    Site maintained by D. W. Skrabanek
    English/Austin Community College
    Last update: August 2014