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Read each assigned piece (it is a good study technique to highlight or underline main ideas and annotate the text where you have questions and comments). When you are ready to discuss, go to the corresponding Discussion Forum and Topic.

For each of the topics/readings/prompts, you will do three postings:
1 original posting (response to the teacher’s prompt) of 7-10 thoughtful sentences. In this original posting, you must include at least one cited quotation from the assigned reading. For formatting instructions, see below.
2 replies to classmates (open their messages, read them, and click “reply”) of 3-5 sentences.
Q: Can I just reply to one person and then reply back to their reply and get full credit? In other words, can I write twice to the same person?
A: No. You must reply to at least two different classmates. While you are welcome to keep a conversation with one person going as long as you want, you must show me that you have engaged with at least two different people.
Q: If I write the specified number of sentences for postings and replies, am I going to automatically get a perfect score?
A: No. I examine the thoughtfulness and thoroughness of your posting. Just because you post a certain number of sentences you should not assume that you are getting full credit. Make a good effort!
For each reading/topic/prompt, you can earn 4 points: 2 (for your original posting) + 1 (for your reply to one classmate) + 1 (for your reply to another classmate).
Sometimes, I may divide you into groups for discussion. For some modules, then, you’ll see that you can only see and reply to the discussion postings of your group members (a small number of people). I do this because sometimes scrolling through the postings of everyone in the class can be overwhelming. Other times, I want you to be able to have the option to look at the postings of anyone in the class, so I don’t make discussion groups in those cases.
What Do I Write About in a Discussion Posting?

Do not summarize the readings. Respond thoughtfully to the prompts.
You may make statements or ask questions. Check back to see if anyone replies to you! You can reply back to them.
“I agree” or “OK” are not adequate responses.
Be polite and respectful in accordance with classroom etiquette.
Use proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation to the best of your ability. This is a classroom, not a text message!
Quotation Formatting

Use quotation marks and parenthetical citations when you quote from the readings. MLA format, the standard format for English classes, usually calls for page number citations, and we will cite page numbers when we quote from our book-length work. Example: I was sad when I read, “Enrique sinks deeper into drugs” (Nazario 38). In our 50 Essays anthology, however, the readings are short and so, to be more specific, instead of citing page numbers, we will cite paragraph numbers, as I do in my lectures. Example: E. B. White describes the lake as “constant and trustworthy” (para. 4).
Notice two things about quotations: each quotation is introduced by a phrase in my own words (you must do the same), and once you mention the author’s last name once in your posting, you need not mention it again and may proceed to use only the page or paragraph numbers in your citations.

Other people’s For example

Sherman Alexie was a Spokane Indian, who came from a poor upbringing, and was expected to be “stupid” (para. 6). Alexie’s father enjoyed books and for this reason, Alexie started reading books and taught himself to read and write. Alexie stated, “I refused to fail. I was smart. I was arrogant. I was lucky.” (para. 7). Alexie did not want to be the dumb boy he was expected to be. Through reading and writing, Alexie triumphed and became a famous writer.

Both Sherman Alexie and Malcom X taught themselves how to read and write. Alexie was able to teach himself at a young age, while Malcom X taught himself in prison as an adult. Alexie’s classmates wanted him to stay quiet in school since it was not expected for the Indian children to exceed. However, in prison, it was smiled upon when the inmates read. Overall, reading and writing saved and changed both of their lives for the better.

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Category: Sample Questions