Welcome! Distance education may be a new experience for you and you may have many questions. This orientation is
intended to answer some specific questions about this course as well as many common questions about Distance education. In
addition, this orientation should help you understand if this class is right for you.
Distance Learning is a great new medium for education; however it is definitely not for everybody. Students who are
successful in distance education are independent learners with good initiative, organization and time management skills. If you
are not comfortable with computers and the internet, if you are not an independent learner, or if you simply prefer traditional,
face-to-face classes, this may not be the right class for you.
Because we don't get to meet face-to-face for class each week it is important that you know how to reach me. You can reach me
in person during my scheduled hours, by appointment or online during any online office hour (check the syllabus for days, times
and location of office hours). You can also always email me and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
This online course is focused on the development of critical thinking, critical reading and critical writing skills. The academic
(analytical, argumentative) writing is based on a variety of different texts (articles, essays, film, and a novel). The reading and
writing in the course will be coupled with outside research leading to analysis, comparison, self-reflection, and synthesis in
documented research paper.
All instruction will be delivered online. You will be expected to spend up to 12-15 hours per week on this course. This time will
be spent on readings, video lectures, online discussion, research, general assignments, essays, quizzes, projects, etc.
There will be NO on-campus meetings for this course. All of your assignments, including the major essays and final essay, will
be submitted online.
In addition to the absence of on-campus meetings, you also will not be expected to "meet" online on a specific day or at any
specific time. HOWEVER, this is NOT a self-paced class. In general, you will have 4-6 assignments per week and each
assignment will be due by a specific day and time (in general each assignment will be due by 11:55pm on the due date).
This class will utilize a combination of print and online material. Check the syllabus for required texts. Along with the required
texts, there will be online content such as readings, audio and video. In addition to the required texts and the online material,
you may also be expected to watch readily available full-length films that will NOT be provided through the class. You will need
to rent and view these films on your own within the time constraints of the assignment.
What is your drop policy?
First week Drops: Students who do not complete the first set of assignments by the date specified on the
greensheet will be dropped from the class. After that, all students are responsible for their enrollment in the course. If
you stop attending this class, YOU MUST DROP YOURSELF OR RISK RECEIVING A FAILING GRADE ON YOUR REPORT CARD. The
college does not allow "W" grades at the end of the quarter, and if you do not drop before the final withdrawal date, you will
receive a letter grade in this class. NO EXCEPTIONS. INSTRUCTOR IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR DROPPING YOU. YOU ARE.
Do I need to know a lot about using a computer?
Not necessarily, but you should be comfortable and competent on a computer and familiar with the web. You will need to be able
to access the Catalyst website, upload and download information, surf the web, etc.
Do I need to own a computer?
Not necessarily, but you do need to have consistent access to a computer with a reliable internet connection. If you do not own
or have access to a computer off campus, computers are available on campus in the Library West Computer Lab, the Library, and
the Advance Technologies Center. You do need an email address so that you can communicate with me and I can communicate
with you. Free email accounts are available from several internet sources, such as Yahoo, Hotmail and Google.
Do I need any special computer programs for this class?
Yes. I will be using iTunes U to provide lecture and instruction videos. Because of that, you will need to have iTunes installed on
your computer to access this content (this can be downloaded free at http://www.apple.com/itunes/download/). You do not
need an iPod; you simply need the free iTunes music player.
Outside of this, you do not need anything special, but you do need some basic programs and general familiarity with them.
You will need a word processing program (i.e. Word, Works, WordPerfect, etc.), Adobe Acrobat Reader (you probably have it
already, but it can be downloaded at http://get.adobe.com/reader/), and an audio/video player (RealPlayer, QuickTime, Windows
Media Player, iTunes, etc.)
How often will I need to logon to the Catalyst Website?
In reality, you only need to access the site to do the work. As I mentioned, you will have about 4-6 assignments per week,
and each assignment will be viewed on the site and then uploaded onto the site to be graded. There will inevitably be
unexpected changes, corrections, additions etc. to the online work, however, you do not need to check the site every day for this.
In general, I will post this information on the site. Once posted, an email will be sent to your email address. Once posted, it is
your responsibility to know that information. So, although you do not necessarily have to check the website each day for
changes, you should check your email at least 1-2 times per day.
Do I need specific editions of texts indicated on the syllabus, or can I use a different edition?
In all instruction and discussion, I will be using the sections, page numbers and information from the specific texts and editions
indicated on the syllabus. Feel free to get the text anywhere, but it is in your best interest to get the specific texts and editions
indicated on the syllabus.
Be prepared to spend a minimum of 12-15 hours per week using and studying the course materials.