Course Delivery & Attendance:  This class is conducted online.

“Classroom” Protocol: For this online course, Sakai is our “classroom.” Please refer to the Sakai tutorial video embedded on our course homepage for a detailed screencast on how this course will run via Sakai, which tools you will need, and how to use those tools.

Attendance: In an online learning environment, “attendance” is measured by your PRESENCE on the site as well as your CONTRIBUTIONS to the site. The importance of regular logins and active participation cannot be overstated. I will gauge your participation by regular, on-time forum postings and responses, as well as contributions to peer review. If you’ve never taken an online class before, “hanging out” on Sakai will take some getting used to, and it will be easy to forget about the course from time to time. I strongly recommend that you log onto our Sakai site daily to stay updated on announcements, schedule changes, etc. Please refer to Home for details on how and when you will be expected to contribute.

Definition of “absence” in our online class: Failure to post an acceptable assignment before a due date on Sakai results in an absence. “Acceptable” means all components of your work are complete and follow instructions.

NOTE: online classes are not suited for all learning styles. If you think you will have trouble keeping up with the schedule on your own, please consider switching to a face-to-face section. This class requires a lot of individual accountability and motivation to keep up with assignment deadlines. Getting behind will make life a little more difficult than it needs to be.

Course Schedule: Course assignments (which will include readings, forum postings and responses, etc.) will be posted by 12:01am on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays of each week. Your deadline to respond to these assignments will be the following Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:55pm, giving you at least 48 hours to complete most assignments. The way you spend the time between assignment releases and due dates is up to you, but I recommend writing (drafting or revising) daily in order to establish a good working habit. Likewise, I recommend logging on to the Sakai homepage daily in order to stay caught up on any new announcements.

Deadlines  and Due Dates: Assignments will be submitted on Sakai and are due on the dates/times specified on the Course Schedule. No exceptions. Reading responses/small assignments posted on Forums after the due date will not receive credit. Major projects submitted late are automatically given half credit. Once during the semester, you may submit one of the four major projects up to one week late without a grade penalty; however, I may not have time to offer comments or revision suggestions. After the one-week grace period following the due date, your work is considered late and will receive half credit.

Don’t wait until the last minute to submit. If you attempt a submission too close to the deadline, any technical problems with your computer or your Internet connection may lead to missing the deadline. You must complete all five major projects to pass the course.

Technical problems: While these do occur either at home or from an on-campus connection, they are usually not valid reasons for failing to fulfill the requirements for attendance on that day.  Students are responsible for allocating enough time to complete online assignments, and they should include the possibility of technical “glitches.”  Thus students need to allow enough time to try again later or to travel to a campus computer lab or alternative place to complete the assignment and therefore avoid an absence for the day. Exceptions may be made by the instructor in the event of widespread computer viruses or some other large-scale event affecting URI’s computer network, but exceptions will not be made for routine computer problems.

NOTE: One of the wonderful things about online class is that it continues in inclement weather! Therefore, readings, assignments, and draft due dates remain as scheduled.

Courtesy in an Online Class: Be professional and courteous when using Messages, Discussions, Forums, and Chat tools on Sakai.

Practice good “netiquette.” In any social interaction, certain rules of etiquette are expected and contribute to more enjoyable and productive communication. The following tips for interacting online in e-mail and/or Discussion Board messages are adapted from guidelines originally compiled by Chuq Von Rospach and Gene Spafford:

  1. Remember that the person receiving your message is someone like you, someone who deserves and appreciates courtesy and respect.
  2. Be brief.  Succinct, thoughtful messages have the greatest impact.
  3. Your messages reflect on YOU. Take time to make sure that you’re proud of their form and content.
  4. Use descriptive subject headings in e-mail messages.
  5. Think about your audience and the relevance of your messages.
  6. Be careful with humor and sarcasm; without the voice inflections and body language of face-to-face communication, Internet messages can be easily misinterpreted.
  7. When making follow-up comments, summarize the parts of the message to which you are responding.
  8. Avoid repeating what has already been said. Needless repetition is ineffective communication.
  9. Cite appropriate references whenever using someone else’s ideas, thoughts, or words.

Academic Honesty:  You need to understand plagiarism and its consequences.  Please consult the URI Student Handbook about academic honesty and related issues.  The penalty for plagiarism is a zero for the assignment and a report to your academic dean, who has the option to fail you for the course; in addition, the charge of academic dishonesty will go on your record in the Office of Student Life. Instructors may require a paper to be rewritten, with or without credit, separately from or for the portfolio. Many online resources offer extensive help on matters of plagiarism and how to acknowledge source material.  If you need more help understanding when to cite something or how to make clear your references, PLEASE ASK.

Note on Access:  Any student with a documented disability is welcome to contact the instructor early in the semester so that reasonable accommodations may be worked out to support his or her success in this writing course.  Please also contact Disability Services for Students, Office of Student Life, 330 Memorial Union, 874-2098.

Final Exams:  There is no final exam or exam meeting for this course.


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