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Course Grades Posted

Course Grades Posted published on

I have finished grading the finals and submitted course grades in HokieSpa. I made some setting changes in Canvas so that your grade shows appropriately:

  • I set the Final Exam as equal to 100% of the Course Grade.
    Why? Since you have argued for your course grade in the Final, the letter grade there is your letter grade in the course.
  • I changed the grade scheme for the Course Grade to Virginia Tech’s default grade scale (no rounding). 
    Why? To export your grades from Canvas so that I can import them to HokieSpa, I needed to set them to use the same grade scale that is used in HokieSpa.

Thanks for your hard work this semester. Good luck with your future studies and careers.

Unsubscribing from the Course Website and Twitter Updates

If you subscribed to the course website at the beginning of the term, you probably want to unsubscribe now. Look for an unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email message that you get from the course website.

If you were following the course Twitter account (@HokieTengrrl), just go the the page in Twitter and click the Unfollow button.

I have archived the Facebook group, so you should receive no more updates from it. If you prefer, you can also Leave the Group.


Grades on Genre Analysis Reports

Grades on Genre Analysis Reports published on

I have graded all the genre analysis reports. In this post, I’ll comment on how you all did and how to proceed with your final exam. Please read the information carefully.

Overall Feedback for the Class

Generally, everyone did a well on the Genre Analysis Reports. Many of you reported that you learned valuable information that you could use in the workplace. Reports tended to use appropriate headings to structure the documents well.

Some Weaknesses in the Genre Analysis Reports

  • Poor proofreading. In longer documents, the little things sometimes slide; but they are still very important. Remember that even in long documents you need to run the spellchecker and pay attention to the squiggly lines that tell you when something is wrong.
  • Inconsistency. Another issue in longer documents is ensuring that you use the same form for your key words. Quite a few reports had errors with how the name of the kind of writing the authors explored named. In one sentence, for instance, I might see RFPs while the next expressed it as RFP’s. Remember that your terms should match.
  • Required content missing. The other error I saw repeatedly related to missing content. The assignment required specific sections and three examples. The weekly post on December 4 even reminded you to “Ensure you include all the required sections and information, listed in Step 4 of the assignment.” Remember that in the workplace, failing to include the listed information can cost you a bid or grant. Be sure to pay attention to instructions.

Addressing the Genre Activity Report in Your Final

Unfortunately, classes are over, and there is no time left in the schedule for revision at this point. Because I must turn my attention to grading the final exams, there simply isn’t time to grade revisions of the Genre Analysis Report as well.

So What Do You Do if Your Genre Activity Report Earned an Incomplete?

  1. Take a deep breath. You are not doomed. You are in the same kind of situation as someone in the workplace who didn’t win a bid or lost a client. There’s still hope.
  2. Turn your attention to your final exam. As you explain the grade that you deserve in the course, explain what happened with your Genre Activity Report. Account for what went wrong, and convince me that you’ll deal with such situations in the future.
  3. Do not stress yourself about the “bell curve.” Let me try to be a bit more transparent. There are always some students who are exemplary. The idea of the curve is only to ensure that exemplary students earn higher grades than those who just meet the requirements. That may be a tough standard, but I think it’s fair. In truth, I do not plot out all the numbers in some beautiful graph; but I do pay attention to students who have gone above and beyond the norm.
  4. Focus on making your final exam persuasive by using these tips:
    1. Pay attention to the advice in the #TuesdayTutorial: Determining Your Course Grade.
    2. Use what you know about document design. Remember the value of chunking information, using information-rich headings, and making your document easy to navigate. Don’t make me (your audience) search for information. Use document design strategies that show me where everything is.
    3. Consider adding tables or graphs that support your argument. Be sure that any graphics you include add to the content. Don’t toss in clipart or other graphics just as decorations. Be sure your graphics help you make your point.
    4. Provide concrete data on your performance. Use numbers, facts, and even quotations from your work or feedback. Show me how you have done in the course. Make everything completely obvious.
    5. Remember to spellcheck and proofread. It’s important to your argument that your document is polished and professional. Errors will make your point less persuasive.


Optional Transcript Activities All Taken

Optional Transcript Activities All Taken published on

All of the transcript options for the term have already been spoken for, so there are no more opportunities available.

I have received email messages from a number of you asking to claim opportunities this week, so I wanted to let everyone know the status.


Survey on Online & Hybrid Courses

Survey on Online & Hybrid Courses published on

I am passing along a request to participate in a survey that focuses on how you prepare for and participate in online courses, like this one. Please consider completing the survey to add your voice to the study.

Details on the Survey

Online writing instruction experts, in conjunction with specialists at Mac​m​illan ​Learning, are researching student preparation, access, and learning in fully online and hybrid writing courses.

To assist us with our research, we need students’ perspectives in online and hybrid writing classes!

Please complete this survey.

Completing the online survey should take no more than 10-15 minutes.

This study has been approved by the IRB at Western Carolina University. For questions about this study, please contact Diane Martinez at

If you have questions or concerns about your treatment as a participant in this study, you may contact the Western Carolina University Institutional Review Board through the Office of Research Administration by calling 828-227-7212 or emailing

Thank you for your help with our research!

​Student survey researchers and consultants​

Diane Martinez, Western Carolina University
Suzanne Chouljian, Mac​m​illan ​Learning
Heidi Skurat Harris, University of Arkansas, Little Rock
Beth Hewett, University of Arkansas, Little Rock
Mahli Mechenbier, Kent State University
Lisa Meloncon, University of South Florida
Sushil Oswal, University of Washington, Tacoma
Leah Rang, Mac​m​illan ​Learning
Karita dos Santos, Mac​m​illan ​Learning
Kirk St. Amant, Louisiana Tech University


Due Date Changes

Due Date Changes published on

Due dates are closer than they appear by Wesley Fryer on Flickr, used under a CC-BY-SA license.I recently learned that according to the Faculty Handbook 9.6.1, “instructors should not schedule major assignments or tests for the last three calendar days of scheduled classes or reading day. Students should be allowed time to prepare for their final exams and benefit from feedback on material relevant to exams.”

To comply with this rule, I need to change the due date for your Genre Analysis Report, as shown below:

  • 12/1 (Fri): Post a draft of your report for peer review.
  • 12/5 (Tue): Provide feedback to everyone in your group.
  • 12/8 (Fri): Submit your Genre Analysis Report (the due date).
  • 12/13 (Wed): Submit your Genre Analysis Report, if you are using the grace period.

All the dates have to move back a bit to make the due date occur BEFORE the last three calendar days of scheduled classes. Note, however, that I am NOT moving the end of the grace period, which remains at 11:59PM on the last day of classes.

If this change throws your world into chaos, let me know and we’ll figure something out. My hope is that since you can still turn in your report on the original due date, everything will be okay.


Photo credit: Due dates are closer than they appear by Wesley Fryer on Flickr, used under a CC-BY-SA license.


Professional Bio Rubric Added

Professional Bio Rubric Added published on

I added a basic rubric to the professional bio to speed up the grading process. Rather than having to write out comments, I can just click whether you met (or didn’t meet) the requirements for the project.

The characteristics in the rubric came directly from Step 4 of the assignment.

Nothing about how your work is graded changes. Your bio is still either complete or incomplete. If it’s incomplete, you can revise until you meet all the characteristics. Because of the way rubrics work in Canvas, I had to assign a value to each criteria. These numbers are just how Canvas works. Your grade will either be 100 or 0. If it’s 0, all you have to do is revise.


Extended Grace Period for This Week’s Labor Log

Extended Grace Period for This Week’s Labor Log published on

I have extended the grace period for the Labor Log due on Friday, September 29, by one day. The grace period now ends at 11:59PM on Tuesday, October 3.

Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) begins at sundown on Friday and lasts until nightfall on Saturday. I know that some of you may be traveling home to mark the holiday with family or participating in special events here in town. As a result, I wanted to give anyone who needs it extra time so that the assignment does not interfere with your religious holiday.

If you need more than one day, please email me to arrange what you need.


An Extension & A Clarification

An Extension & A Clarification published on

Extension on Group Discussion

Orange Extension cord, in a coil on the ground. Mostly Circular by Roger H. Goun on Flickr, used under a CC-BY 2.0 license.I’ve noticed a lot of you struggling to collaborate on the activity to discuss writing in the workplace with your Writing Group in Discussions in Canvas. I have extended the open date for the activity to Saturday, September 9.

Take advantage of the readings assigned this week on collaborating as a group and this page on “Problems associated with group work,” which Riley shared in our Facebook group.

Clarification On Transcripts for Videos and Infographics

We only need transcripts for videos and infographics that do not already have an option for those who need them. I want to clarify how to tell when we need a transcript so you don’t have to guess.

For videos, check whether the video has closed captioning. On YouTube, you click on the CC button on the lower right, shown in the image below:

Closed Caption button on YouTube

If there is a separate transcript for a video, you will usually find a link to it in the YouTube Notes or on the page on our site that shows the video.

For infographics, look for an associated page that includes the information from the image in text. For instance, the infographics that I have made, like How to Succeed in This Online Course, are published on a page that includes (and expands) on the details in the image.


Photo credit: Mostly Circular by Roger H. Goun on Flickr, used under a CC-BY 2.0 license.


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