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Discussion for Lesson 1


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Module 1

1: Orientation  
2: Goals   

Module 2

  3: Euthyphro  
     4: The Library
 5: The Apology   
    6: Citation   
    7: Crito
    8: Phaedo  
    9: Exam Prep   
10: Plato Exam

Module 3

11: Research Project 
12: Research 101   
13: Books   
14: the Librarian   
15: the Web   
16: conferences  
17: Joy of Research 
18: Reasoning 

Module 4

19: Outlines 
20: Review the Plan:
21: Language 
22: Dr E's Grammar
23: Peer Review  
24: Hit Parade 

Module 5

25: About the Exam
26: Mock Final 
27: Exam Prep
28: Graduation 


The writing sample

     Student V. I was unsure at first on why this sample was important (besides being evaluated on writing skills. ) But having to write about why I am in college, and what I want in my life career and educationally, was a boost for getting in sync with the course.

     Dr. G. Say your goals every day. I'm serious. We tend to think of language as something that happens between or among people, but in fact, we spend much of our time talking to ourselves, and this private, interior language has extraordinary power over us. If we tell ourselves that we're ugly or stupid or unlikable or weak, we're very likely to convince ourselves of it and to act accordingly. . . . It's vital for all of us to listen in on what we are saying to ourselves. If the language in there isn't constructive, then we have to intervene and replace it with positive words, such as the statement of our goals or values or beliefs. Believe me, I've learned this lesson the hard way through lots of pointless, self-destructive thinking over the years; I have to set aside time every day to meditate--that is, to think good, positive, constructive thoughts so that I won't fall back into thinking the other kind. In my experience, there is no more important use of language.


     Student J. For many years I told myself that I would probably never be able to get the education that I wanted. Here I am forty-two years old and in my second semester. My two older boys are in collage and have given me alot of encouragement. It has only been within the last two years that I started to work toward this goal. I would register but by day two of classes I didn't feel as smart as any of my fellow students so I wouldn't continue. Now I believe in myself and give myself positive affirmations everyday. It works!!

     Dr. G. Much of my life I've wasted on foolish negativity, as if my job had been to see what was wrong with my situation. There's an old saying which should not be taken too seriously: "seeing is believing." The more important truth is: "believe it and you will see it."

     Student M. I think about how hard is to believe in anything since we are surrounded by people who believe only in what they see. What should we do to avoid that way of thinking?

     G.  Do you have an example?

     M. There are many examples. Believing in God and life after death is an example.

     G. Life after death is the topic in Plato's "Phaedo," so stay tuned. In that dialogue. On the day of his execution the hero Socrates tries to prove that the soul is immortal.

Classes online

     Dr. G.  I hope you're finding your way around the course. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Use the discussion areas of the course to ask a question publicly; for private communication, use your private folder in the online office hours area of the course. I log in mornings and evenings every day during the semester, so I should always have a response to you within a few hours. If you need help sooner than that, pick up the phone. 

Has anybody taken an online course before? What advice do you have about it?

      Student A.  This is my first online course. I'm open for any advice anyone has.

     G. I see that there's a quick self-test at SUNY Suffolk that tests suitability for distance learning courses. All students who have not tried an online class before may want to check out the following site:  http://www.sunysuffolk.edu/Web/VirtualCampus/primary/self-test.htm

     Student T. This will be my 5th online course and I've found that to be successful in these types of classes you really have to go into them often to check for new postings or it becomes easy to fall behind. 

     Student F. This is my first time taking online classes, and people who I asked about  it told me that is quite a lot harder than taking classes in a room, because everything is in our hands; it is our responsibility to make this work, everything depends for our comprehension and apprenticeship.

     G.  Well, I love teaching online because it doesn't waste a lot of time. I'm not driving back and forth to school, not photocopying handouts for class, not giving the same lectures or instructions over and over. All of the time savings can be put into communicating with students one-on-one or in discussions.

Not all students gravitate toward the online experience, however. Some are not particularly good readers; some learn more easily in the classroom where they can hear and see the action in the usual way. Many students are not self-disciplined enough to work on their own, and those who fall behind schedule are in big trouble because there's simply too much coursework to do.

It's good for all students to find out about online learning. If you get along in the online environment, learning opportunities of all kinds are available to you, no matter where on earth you happen to be. The mix of students from all different places, in different walks of life, also enriches the learning experience.

     Student J. This is the first time that I have taken an online course and at first found it a little complicated. But after reading the orientation it has become much clearer.

     G. I hope the organization of the course isn't too confusing. But I am always open to suggestions on how to simplify the layout. Students in fact have made some excellent recommendations in past semesters, and I have adopted a number of them. (No, not the ones that said I should remove half of the work.)  If anybody is confused by anything in the design or layout or wording of the course, I'd like to know. My goal is to make the course as good as it can be--the best English 101 anywhere!





gutchess@englishare.net                    Academic writing home page                    Gary Gutchess 2003