Womens Studies 150-83, Swift-Kramer

Fall 2010 WS150-83 Welcome Letter - Team Bb@WPUNJ

Welcome to WS150-83
Fall 2010

Women's & Gender Studies' Racism/Sexism in the US

Orientational Quotes:
"I think that I have an interesting perspective. I think I belong to the 'have nots' and the 'haves' at the same time, which made me want harmony and peace. I think what stops that from happening is seeing ourselves as separate from others."
- Model and former Ugandan refugee Kiara Kabukuru, in http://www.modelinia.com/videos/get-to-know---kiara-kabukuru/168
"I often hear terms like 'culturally disadvantaged' or 'culturally deprived,' 'dominant culture' or 'sub-culture.' These are arrogant terms because everyone has a culture, including a people with two warring souls. Culture is lifestyle; it represents the what and how of everything you do."
- Jawanza Kunjufu in Countering the Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys Vol. II, African American Images, 1986 p. 14

First Things First:
I will teach this course exclusively online! If you have problems using Blackboard, you must go to the Atrium ASAP during business hours and ask a student technician to help you. If you have trouble with your email account, you must call the help desk at 973-720-HELP. Any academic problems that come up should be handled via email, though you can leave or have someone leave a voicemail message for me if any emergency arises during the final week of the course. Don't wait until the course starts to try to learn Word or Blackboard or how to type, etc.!
The campus bookstore can dropship the one textbook (The Matrix Reader: Examining the Dynamics of Oppression and Privilege, Ferber, et al eds., McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2008, ISBN 007340411X / 9780073404110) for this course through the mail; however this book is now available to buy or rent in paperback, and also in digital format. You can order from the university's bookstore by fax, phone or online, see http://www.bkstr.com/Home/10001-10151-1?demoKey=d for details. I always order 20-25 used copies from them per section. If you order from anywhere else you risk getting your book late, or getting the wrong book! I will put a copy of the book on reserve at Cheng Library if I can get one, but it may have to be available for all sections that require the same textbook, so don't rely on it being available on demand!
This course is taught online, but not just email-only or Website-only. It is a combination of both email and the Web!
You will need to go to directly to http://bb.wpunj.edu/ to access your course in Blackboard by the official first day of the semester (09/01). You need to go to http://student.wpunj.edu/ to access your student email account in Outlook. You'll need *both* email and the Web to complete this course! (Going through AOL and/or WPConnect can cause delays and interruptions!)

Course Structure & Schedule:
The course will be automatically opened on 09/01.
A Log is a short paper (generally not more than 2 doublespaced pages) that will answer one question about all the assigned readings (6 per theme) from the textbook for a given theme, in order to show you understand concepts that are fundamental to this course. (If you want to vent, you can make it longer, as long as you don't forget to answer the question for each article!) There are four required logs in all.
A Forum is on the course site's Discussion Board. There are four required forums per semester. Each will have its own assigned reading and its own deadline. You will be required to post at least twice in each forum for a minimum total of 10 sentences of your own original (meaning, not including any quote from another writer!) writing. You will see a post from me in each forum, which you can refer to for information and as a model. If you skip a forum, that's not "showing up" for class, which means you will get an F for that theme even if you get a good grade on your log for the same theme. Think about what that means, how it looks, and what it will do to your course grade before you sit out a forum!
The Research Project will be done in four required assignments, spread out during the semester. You should have your choice of three, and those choices will be made available by the end of the orientation period.
The Review Q&A test will be 5 questions; you will have one as a "midterm" and another as a "final." The questions will be more short and technical than the 4 log questions. The review tests are "open book" and due via email to me by their individual deadlines. Pages must be cited to count for grade credit, even if you paraphrase or if the article is only one page long (unless the question concerns one of my online lectures)! The questions will be released a week or two before the deadline, and there will be no other homework due during that period.

Logs and forums are two different things: Your "reader response" logs must be sent to me directly, while your forum posts will be made in Blackboard for the whole class to read and respond to in turn. Your project assignments and your ten-question review Q&As will be sent to me directly via email.
Grades: Standards for letter grades and grounds for failure for any assignment, theme or the course as a whole will be all spelled out in the syllabus, which will be posted in the course site. I will not start grading until the course begins and not start releasing assignment grades until a week after the first homework deadline.
Course Grading: The average of your four theme grades (each averaged from your log and forum post grades) will count for 1/3 of your course grade, but all four logs must be handed in for you to pass the course. The research project will count for your 1/3 of your course grade, but must be completed for you to pass the course. The review Q&As will count for 1/3 of your course grade.

What You'll See on Blackboard by 09/01:
I will post a copy of this welcome letter in the Announcements section, my vitae (aka my resume or faculty profile), plus I will open the orientational forum. By the end of the orientation period, you will see the full syllabus, plus a "tip sheet" for accessing Blackboard and using its features. I will post my lectures, as well as the reading and writing assignments with complete directions and deadlines. The four required forums will appear throughout the semester according to the schedule in the syllabus. I won't be testing you on the founding documents of the course, but if you don't read the Welcome Letter, the Syllabus, the Tip Sheet and the Orientation Lecture, you could find yourself in the middle of a trainwreck as soon as the first homework assignments are due. You will need to 1) read the material that's intended to answer all possible questions; 2) ask me, the Help Desk, Team Bb or the student techs at the Atrium any new questions if you have them; 3) get used to navigating Blackboard; and 4) buy, rent or access a printed or electronic copy of the textbook.

Your Technical Prerequisites:
You will need to meet certain hardware and software minimum requirements (meaning a trial version of Word that will expire halfway through the semester is not enough). Even if you don't have a computer of your own, you will need *reliable access* to a computer, and some acquaintance with email, sending attachments, Web-based forums, and basic Internet research (news and Web search engines, accessing online readings posted by the Library, etc.). You need to know how to read and follow *written* directions, be able to do offline and online research independently, and know how to budget your time and mental energy.
"Introductory" doesn't mean easy and "online" doesn't mean automatic. An online class is more flexible but it is not always more convenient. It is up to you to figure out if you can handle the technical requirements and meet weekly deadlines.
This online course will not allow you to lower your academic standards or be lax in your time management skills. Expect to spend a few hours on reading and writing assignments *per week* during the theme periods of the semester. I try to schedule light workloads during the first and last couple weeks of the semester and around breaks.
If you do not acclimate yourself to the course by the time you need to start handing in written homework, you will need to contact the Academic Support Center. As they state: "At the Academic Support Center, students receive one-on-one tutoring assistance for numerous lower-level and upper-level courses, as well as for basic skills math and reading courses. Workshops designed to help students develop effective study skills and strategies are frequently offered. From the Center's lab, students may access network computer facilities. Study groups, and exam review sessions are also available." However, if you don't have time to get help taking this course if you need it, then you really have no time for this course!

Blackboard has its own form to fill out if you can't access the course, and that's linked from the http://bb.wpunj.edu/ front page in addition to various help files of interest to new and returning online students. Go to http://bb.wpunj.edu/ and check out the Student links on Blackboard's front page. They show you how to log on; there are directions on how to look up your user name and how to use email and the assignments function; plus a breakdown of common problems and a link to the form to fill out to report problems.

How to Access Blackboard:
To log on to Bb point your web browser to http://bb.wpunj.edu and click the Login button in the upper left. Then enter your username and password in the spaces provided and click login again -- you'll find your course Bb sites listed on the right.
Some things to be aware of as you work with Blackboard:
You probably won't find all your courses listed; the only ones that will appear are those that have been activated by the professor teaching the course. Professors who don't use Blackboard will not activate their courses.
Your username is comprised of your lastname and firstinitial, usually appended with a numeral. If you don't know your WPUNJ system username password you can use the Username lookup link at http://bb.wpunj.edu , or go to it directly at:
If you are already logged in to the WPUNJ system through WPConnect you won't have to re-enter your username and password -- just click the first login button.

WPUNJ Student Email:
To access WPUNJ Student Email point your web browser to http://wpconnect.wpunj.edu, enter your username and password, then select the Mail tab. If you are logging on for the first time you'll be asked to set your time zone and language. (Blackboard courses will use student email; third-party email addresses will not work on Bb!)

"See" you all sooner than you think!
Women's & Gender Studies