ENGL 1101/Fall 2023/Requirements

From Gerald R. Lucas
Requirement %[1]
Discussion 30%
Essays 60%[2]
Exam 10%[2]

This course is composed of three general requirements: a discussion forum, four formal essays, and a final exam. Four formal essays will constitute the bulk of your grade. The discussion forum will take place on Packback, will be on-going throughout the semester, will require regular contributions, and may be comprised of various assignments, like library and writing center visits. Since this is a writing course, daily practice is crucial to your success and will be calculated into your grade. A final exam will address the course reading and test the students’ ability to write about these texts.



Each lesson has students discussing assigned readings on Packback. This forum is a written class discussion that encourages interaction about the course materials. These posts should be focused, interpretive, and supported by primary and secondary texts. Discussion posts should show what you’re reading and thinking about in relation to the course content—it is a place to share and develop ideas about the texts. You will discuss to every text you read, the minimum required response per week is three: one question and two response posts. See the Packback below.


Students will complete four, formal, out-of-class essays based on four different journal entries (see “Essays” tab above for specific essay assignments and directions). These essays must be formatted according to MLA style (see your handbook or MLA Style). Since this is a writing class, essays will be count for over half of your final grade. Two aspects of essays are critical in the grading process: medium and content. Always proofread any writing before submission. All essays will be written on and submitted via Deep Dives in Packback (see below).

Final Exam

The final examination[2] is a two-hour essay written in response to class readings. This exam will be a comparative essay that asks students to analyze similar elements, like a theme or style, in at least two essays that were assigned this semester. Students will be given a choice of at least two topics based on these readings. Students will write on one of these options. The final exam essay should reflect knowledge of the readings, but mere summary of the readings will not be acceptable.

Required Materials

Our introduction to college writing this semester requires:

  • Lucas, Gerald R. (2023). From Reading to Writing: An ENGL 1101 Coursebook. GRLucas.net. (Available free.)
  • Robinson, Michelle Bachelor; Jerskey, Maria (2021). Writing Guide with Handbook. OpenStax. (Available free.)
  • PDF essays. See Schedule for specific assignments. Password is on D2L.
  • A Packback account. This account will cost you, but since I’m not requiring that you purchase a textbook, this expense should not be too burdensome.


The Packback Questions platform will be used for online discussion about assigned readings and essay writing and submission. A Packback subscription is a requirement of this course.


Packback Questions is an online community where you can ask open-ended questions to build on top of what we are covering in class and relate topics to real-world applications. There will be a Tuesday at 11:59PM EST deadline for submissions. You are not required to post every week, but for every text we study (see Schedule).

In order to receive full credit, you should submit the following minimum requirements[3] per each deadline period:

  • One (1) open-ended Question every week with a minimum Curiosity Score of 70, worth 33.33% of each assignment grade
  • Two (2) Responses every week with a minimum Curiosity Score of 70, worth 66.67% of each assignment grade

Deep Dives

Packback Deep Dives will be used to assess independent research skills and improve academic communication through formal, long-form essays. While completing the summative writing prompts on Deep Dives, you will interact with a Research Assistant that will help you gather your notes and cite your sources, and Digital Writing Assistant for in-the-moment feedback and guidance on your writing.

How to Register on Packback

Within the first two days of class, you should receive an invitation to join Packback. If you sign up for the class later, you will need to register for Packback by following these instructions.

  • Create an account by navigating to the Packback website and clicking “Sign up for an Account.”[4]
  • Then enter our class community’s lookup key into the “Looking to join a community you don't see here?” section in Packback at the bottom of the homepage.
     note: Community Lookup Key: 18652ea6-0d1f-425b-bc03-b92361c0f540
  • Follow the instructions on your screen to finish your registration.

How to Get Help for Packback

If you have any questions or concerns about Packback throughout the semester, please read their FAQ. If you need more help, contact their customer support team directly at help@packback.co. For a brief introduction to Packback Questions and why we are using it in class, watch this video.


  1. This is the general percentage breakdown for these requirements. As I use a point system for evaluation, the percentages are just an estimate.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Required by departmental policy.
  3. Of course, those who post more quality responses—especially on texts we cover over more than a week—will score higher. A-students do more than the minimum, right?
  4. If you already have an account on Packback you can log in with your credentials.
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