Professional conduct

This course is part of the Professional Writing and Editing (PWE) program at WVU. The PWE program is designed to prepare students for careers as professional communicators, and for this reason many aspects of PWE courses are designed to replicate professional work experiences. All students in ENGL 303 are expected to conduct themselves like professionals both in their work as well as in their interactions with the instructor and their fellow students.

As is the case with professionals, students are expected to complete all of their assigned work and take part in all activities, to reply to course communication in a timely manner, and to respond to all course activities and assignments as they would to comparable work activities and assignments.

Social justice policy

The English Department and the Professional Writing and Editing Program support WVU’s commitment to social justice. In this course, you will work with your classmates to create a positive learning environment based on open communication and mutual respect.


The West Virginia University community is committed to creating and fostering a positive learning and working environment based on open communication, mutual respect, and inclusion. If you are a person with a disability and anticipate needing any type of accommodation in order to participate in this class, please advise me and make appropriate arrangements with the Office of Accessibility Services (293-6700). For more information on West Virginia University’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives, please see http://diversity.wvu.edu.

Work visibility

Due to the nature of the course, you will be sharing your work with your fellow classmates as part of workshops and peer review sessions. Additionally, you will share your work publicly on the Web, such as on this course site and on your personal websites.

By taking this course, you are indicating that you accept these requirements. If you have any questions or concerns about these requirements, please contact me immediately.

Online etiquette

The following policy is adapted from WVU-Parkersburg’s online etiquette policy:

Taking an online course and corresponding via the Internet presents students and educators with the task of overcoming the lack of nonverbal signals in communication. When taking a course online, it is important to exercise etiquette in order to ensure proper interaction between the students and their instructors.

The following guidelines should be followed by students participating in an online class.

  • Participate in the online environment Your classmates need to hear your voice in order to feel your presence. By actively participating in your online course, your comments and ideas contribute to the collective learning and the sense of community in each class.
  • Share tips, help others, and ask questions For many of us, taking online courses is a new experience. There are no “dumb” questions. Please share with your classmates by posting your questions—and answers to others’ questions—on the Forums or via another channel.
  • Think before you post Remember that we cannot see the smile on your face when you make a sarcastic comment or the experience your concern about an issue if you only state it in a few words. In other words, help us “see” you by explaining your ideas fully.
  • Remember a course is a course… You may be familiar with many of the previous items if you have participated in other forms of electronic communication in the past. However, Web-based courses have some added constraints not present in other arenas. Keep in mind these additional four points:
    • Remember where you are A virtual classroom is still a classroom, and comments that would be inappropriate in a traditional setting are likely to be inappropriate in a Web-based course as well. Treat your instructor and your fellow students with respect.
    • Stick to the message Contributions to a discussion should have a clear subject header, and you need to stick to the message. Don’t waste others’ time by going getting side tracked in your postings.
    • Read first, then write Don’t add your comments to a discussion before reading the comments of other students unless the assignment specifically asks you to. Doing so is tantamount to ignoring your fellow students and is rude. Comments related to the content of previous messages should be posted under them to keep related topics organized, and you should specify the person and the particular point you are following up on.

Office hours

Scheduled office hours

In-person. If you are in Morgantown, you can visit me on campus during my in-person office hours. My office is located in 231 Colson Hall and my in-person office hours will be held on Mondays from 2-3:30.

Online. I will also hold regular office hours onine using the chat and/or video features of Google Plus. Google refers to these chats as hangouts.

If you are new to Google Plus, you can find more information on how to get started with hangouts here and how to initiate a hangout here. My virtual office hours will be on Mondays from 2-3:30 and Tuesdays from 10-11:30.

Meeting outside of my scheduled office hours

If you would like to meet with me but are not free during my scheduled office hours above, please contact me directly via email and I will be happy to arrange an alternative meeting time that fits both of our schedules.


If for some reason it becomes necessary for me to cancel or reschedule either my regular office hours or a meeting with an individual student, I will notify the class or the student as soon as possible. Similarly, if it becomes necessary for you to cancel a meeting with me, you should email me to let me know about the cancellation as soon as you can.

Course communication

I will contact students in the course in two primary ways. I will initiate official communication via email to the class or individual students via my WVU email account. I will send these messages to your MIX emails. I will use the course blog to inform you of updates to the course site—such as changes to the course schedule, or additional information about assignments. You can navigate the blog using the blog link in the main navigation toolbar at the top of the page or find the most recent posts to the blog in the Course Blog section in the right sidebar.

Regularly check for communication about the course

In order to make sure you don’t miss important information, you should regularly check your MIX accounts as well as this site. An effective way to keep track of the course blog (or your classmates’ blogs) is via an RSS reader like Feedly.

Course forums

I have set up individual forums for questions related to the syllabus and the course site, general questions about WordPress and our WordPress textbook, as well for your major projects.

Unless you have a question of a personal nature, you should post all questions related to these topics to the appropriate forum. This will allow your classmates to see (and respond) to your questions, as well as to my answers, ultimately providing a general knowledge-base for issues related to the class.

As with other online forums, if you have a question related to an existing topic, you should post it as a reply to that topic, not as a new topic.

Instructor responses

My tendency in course communication initiated by students is to respond in the medium in which the message was sent. For example, if you ask me a question on the “Syllabus questions” forum, I will tend to respond to you on that forum (assuming the answer is suitable for public view); if you send me an email, I will email you back; etc.

I will do my best to respond to your messages within 24 hours during the work week (M-F); on the weekends and during breaks my responses may take longer.


Beginning on Week 2, I will provide you will weekly reports regarding your grades in your Google Drive Course folders (info here).

Unless extenuating circumstances intervene, I will provide you with grades on all of your major assignments within one week of their due date. If for some reason I am unable to grade your projects in this time frame, I will inform you of this fact as soon I am able to do so.

Technology policies

Technology skills

There are no prerequisite skills courses for ENGL 303. The course is designed to teach students how to master basic genres of multimodal communication, such as web publishing and audio/visual composition. However, the course assumes that all students have basic skills in word processing as well as in accessing and navigating the Internet.

Adopting new technologies

In this course, we will be experimenting with many different technologies for writing and reading, ranging from services like WordPress to software packages like iMovie or Windows Movie Maker to markup languages like HTML. In this course you may be introduced to a new way of communicating that you find indispensable. Alternatively, you may find yourself using technologies that you cannot imagine yourself using again outside of the course, and you may experience these technologies as being difficult or simply irritating.

That is ok.

You are not required to love the technologies we experiment with or embrace them without question. Indeed, a major theme of our readings will be questioning the impact and effects of emerging technologies on work practices and learning. What is required of you is that you approach all of our assignments with an open mind and your best effort, as a future professional experimenting with different modes of communication.

While we will have specific, detailed instruction on how to use many technologies addressed in this class, such as setting up your WordPress sites, it will not always be possible for us to cover the uses of all technologies touched on in the course. I do expect that when I introduce specific technologies in blog posts, course readings, or course videos that you will take notes so you will have a guide to follow when it comes time for you to use these technologies. However, on some occasions you will find that you need to use a technology or piece of software that is new to you but which we have not discussed together. In such a case, although I will attempt to help you as best I can, I expect that you will take the initiative to research the technology in question and master it to the best of your ability.

As experimenters, our method will be trial and error. In all cases, when faced with new tools and technologies you should expect to devote some time to experimenting with and learning these technologies, researching (or discovering) their possibilities and limitations, and, when possible, sharing what you have learned with your classmates  on the forums or your personal blogs.


While I will be available to answer your questions and help you troubleshoot technology issues, if you have a question about a particular technology you will find that, in most instances, other people have had the same question and the answer is either in our course readings or available on the Internet.

If this process does not solve your problem and you need to consult me, please remember that the more detail I have about your problem, the easier it will be for me to help you solve it. If you email me saying—

I can’t get my blog to work. Help!

—I don’t have much to go on. A better email request is

I uploaded an image to my WordPress site, but now it won’t display! Help!

Technical support

Technical support for your Mix accounts and other university technical services is provided by the IT Help Desk. They can be reached by phone at 304-293-4444, via email at oithelp@mail.wvu.edu, or online at http://oit.wvu.edu/support.

In addition to this support, all WVU students can request temporary access to the technology training materials at Lynda.com.

Submitting course work

Due to the nature of this course, all course assignments will be submitted electronically. The descriptions of each assignment will include instructions for submitting that assignment. For this reason, it is important that you carefully read all assignment descriptions and instructions. I will provide all feedback and grades for your course projects in your course folders on Google Drive.

Late work

If you cannot turn your work in by the date an assignment is due, you should discuss a make-up date with me before the due date. If you do not contact me before the time an assignment is due, the assignment will be considered late.

Major assignments—the personal website, issue/cause website, and book chapter remix—that are turned in after they are due will be penalized by ten percentage points for each calendar day they are late. Weekly forum posts, blog posts, and any other assignments listed on the course schedule will not be accepted late.

Although each situation is unique, in general a problem with technology will not be considered an acceptable excuse for late or incomplete work. If your computer malfunctions, it is your responsibility to find a different place to work. If your Internet goes out, you will need to find a different access point. And you should create multiple redundant backups of your work in case you accidentally erase, overwrite, or otherwise lose your files.

Academic integrity

The integrity of the classes offered by any academic institution solidifies the foundation of its mission and cannot be sacrificed to expediency, ignorance, or blatant fraud. Therefore, I will enforce rigorous standards of academic integrity in all aspects and assignments of this course. For the detailed policy of West Virginia University regarding the definitions of acts considered to fall under academic dishonesty and possible ensuing sanctions, please see the West Virginia University Student Conduct Code. Should you have any questions about possibly improper research citations or references, or any other activity that may be interpreted as an attempt at academic dishonesty, please see me before the assignment is due to discuss the matter.

Academic support

The following links will connect you WVU’s academic support services: