May 17, 2021
Tips for Success
These tips are based on my experiences with student difficulties last semester. You might also have a look at “How to Do Well in My Class.”
Practice Practice Practice
Work a bit every day. Skills that you will be learning in this course will be new to many of you, and they will require consistent practice for you to develop literacy. Only by reinforcing what you learn on a daily basis will they become less confusing. In many ways, writing or digital media is like programming: not only are we writers, but we also must use some code in order to present our writing for our users. This requires consistent practice. Work a little bit every day.
Putting off assignments until the last minute is the best way to make this class confusing and difficult. Only by starting early and working consistently will you be able to complete the daily work and projects effectively. I have taught this course for many years, so believe me when I say: procrastination is the best way to failure. Work ahead when possible and submit all work early or on-time.
I will look for a consistent record of work in my final evaluations. Any work skipped will count against this assessment. I look for engagement, so be sure you try to do all assignments to the best of your ability. Be like Nike: Just Do It. This is especially true for your project work: have a consistent and regular log of user contributions on both project platforms (Go to your user page, click “User contributions” under the Tools menu). If you miss an assignment—it happens to everyone—complete it anyway. You might send me a polite email explaining the circumstances and asking if I would accept it late.
Read carefully and fully. Do not skim materials; read the materials. Take notes. Turn off distractions. Again, students who do not read carefully or completely will struggle throughout the semester. I will not waste your time with unnecessary reading, so be sure you spend the necessary time to read everything completely. Begin with all of the sections of this syllabus; read every section complete, not just the content browser. You will be amazed how careful, complete reading will help to dispel the fog of confusion.
There is no way my instructions can, will, or should cover every contingency. Sometimes, they are purposely vague to give you the opportunity to make your own choices. Take these opportunities and use your best professional mindset to make the most logical choices on which to proceed. Be bold.
When sending email, please use the MGA email system. Include all the necessary information, especially what course you are in. Write in complete sentences and be polite and considerate. Be sure your request is clear and is reflected in the subject. I respond very well and quite quickly (usually within minutes during the week) to all complete and polite communication. Be sure you breathe and think before sending any email in frustration.
You will get confused and frustrated. Just remember to breathe. I am here to help, so if you cannot find an answer to your question in the assigned reading, reach out to me with a polite email. Nothing here is life-or-death. We can work out all issues. Just remember to breathe.