English 28 – Fall 2008

Professor Jessica Mintz

Welcome English 28 students.  I invite you to enjoy a new learning experience as we journey through this online course.  Our focus will be on language – how to use it, read, it, analyze it, write it, and hopefully, come to a greater understanding of its power and influence in all that we do. 
In this English 28 class you will practice writing paragraphs and short essays.  You will be introduced to the critical reading of non-fiction prose.  If you already enjoy language, hopefully you will gain an even deeper appreciation of its exciting possibilities.  If you are less than excited about the English language, maybe this is your opportunity to be open-minded. 
If you have taken an online class before, then you know how it works.  Your understanding that the entire class is conducted without actually meeting face-to-face, that we have ‘discussions’ online, that assignments are submitted online (NOT via email), that the technology is durable, exciting, and flexible, is clear. 
But for those of you who have never taken an online class before, the idea that we never sit in a classroom together, that you never see me ‘lecture’ at the front of the room, that no paragraphs or essays or assignments are actually ‘handed’ over to me, may all seem like a foreign concept.  I suppose it’s like explaining an ipod to someone from the 19th century: “Yeah, it’s this little 3 inch plastic rectangle that holds hundreds of songs that you select by tapping the screen with your finger and then you listen through a head set.”  
Have no fear!  If you can navigate through this ‘Welcome Letter,’ visit the Virtual Valley site on the LAVC homepage, find your username and password, take a quiz on the VV site to determine if you’re ready for an online class (and you succeed), then you are good to go! 
Remember, whether you’re an online class pro or a relative beginner, please read this entire letter to understand some specifics of the class.  Also, make sure you purchase the required textbook before the class begins.
To start, you will want to know the structure of the class:

  1. The class is entirely on-line – there are no required on-campus meetings.
  1. The class will begin September 2th through the ETUDES-NG website.  The website and information on how to determine your username and password can be found at: http://www.lavc.edu/virtualvalley/loggingonline.htm.
  2. This class will travel at the same pace as the in-person classroom sections. To keep up with the class and important announcements and discussions, you will need to log on regularly, if only for a short time to check in.   
  3. An online class can be both challenging and exciting.  You need to have and make the time to complete all the assignments, participate in discussions, and be open-minded to learning.  You also need to be self-motivated and self-disciplined to succeed.  If you want to determine if an online class is really for you, take the quizzes at: http://www.lavc.edu/virtualvalley/areyouready2.htm.

Next, here’s what you need for an online class:

  1. Make sure that you have easy and reliable internet access.
  2. Check to make sure that your computer system is adequate, that you have all the needed software and that your cache settings are correct (http://www.lavc.edu/virtualvalley/whatyouneed.htm and http://www.lavc.edu/Distance/etudes_login_tips.htm).
  3. Have a back-up computer (know the computer lab locations on campus) in case of problems. Technical difficulties will not be an acceptable excuse for late or missed work.
  4. Have a working email address that you check regularly.
  5. Log on at least once before September 7th.  If you have not logged on by then, I will drop you from the class as a “no show”).

And finally, roll up your sleeves, watch your posture, set your hands to the keyboard and have a great time in the class.  Here’s how you begin once the class opens on Sept. 2th:

  1. Review all announcements
  2. Read the syllabus
  3. Review the class schedule
  4. Familiarize yourself with the modules (which contain the online lectures and important information)
  5. Review any open assignments

Required Textbook:  You are required to purchase the textbook before the class begins.   The book is available at the LAVC Bookstore, online through the LAVC Bookstore, or online through a vendor of your choice (for example, Amazon.com).
Wordsmith: A Guide to Paragraphs and Short Essay (Third Edition) by Pamela Arlow
[Pearson/Prentice Hall Publishers, 2007; ISBN (0-13-194985-3)]
My hope is that you learn from this course, enjoy the experience, and have fun in the process.  See you online!
Professor Jessica Mintz
Email: mintzjl@lavc.edu
Phone: 818.947.2427