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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

For general questions about the platform, please consult the searchable edX Help Center. Please check this page periodically for updates as new questions are asked and answered.

Is this a paced course or a self-paced course?

This run of Write101x is paced. This means that content will be released to you at the start of each week. Additionally, some assignments will have due dates that occur before the end of the course, and all assignments must be completed by the course close date. To view all due dates for the course, view the Assignment Due Dates calendar.

What do I do if the online activities don’t work?

When accessing the course materials and attempting activities, please use the Google Chrome browser whenever you can. If you are still experiencing repeated and specific technical problems, contact edX directly for support using the 'Help tab' located at the top left of your screen.

Can I download the videos?

Yes. Please do and share them with others.

Can I download the subtitle/captions text from the videos?

Yes. Under each video, you should see a box that says 'Download transcript'. This allows you to download the subtitle text as an .srt file or .txt file. Choose the version you would like and then click 'Download transcript' for it to begin downloading. You can also copy/paste the transcript that appears to the right of the video when you have the transcript button selected within edX.

What if I don’t have time to go to other sources when I need to expand on the video material?

You’ll have to wait until you do. All our material, except for the discussion board, will be archived after the course has finished, so you can access it later. If you expect that an injection of grammar in half an hour of watching the videos each week will transfer itself to your writing, you are expecting the impossible, unless, of course, you are doing this course because you are already knowledgeable and skilled. You may have noticed on the discussion board that students are making comments like ‘I thought I knew a lot about writing, but I’ve learnt some fantastic new strategies’. The course resources each week could take hours to investigate and the people who painstakingly go through the transcripts, go to recommended websites, and follow up the resources each week will gain substantial benefit from this course.

How is the course assessed?

Throughout this course, you will need to both watch or read the weekly lectures and complete the associated activities to familiarise yourself with the core material. The assessment for Write101x comprises taking the weekly quizzes (70%), and completing three writing assignments assessed by your peers (30%). The passing grade for this course is an overall mark of 50% or higher. To find out more about the writing assignments, please click on the 'Writing Assignment Information' section of the course.

When are the assignments due?

All of the assignments (weekly quizzes, the post course survey, and peer assessment) must be completed by the end of the course, which is 26 September 2016 at 23:30 UTC (to find out the day/time where you are, see time zone converter). Please note, however, that the peer assessment will have additional due dates for submission of your writing and for completing of the peer review. To find out more about the writing assignments, please click on the 'Writing Assignment Information' section of the course.

How can I check my current grade in the course?

The easiest way to see your current mark in the course is by visiting the Progress tab found at the top of every page. When you visit that tab, you will see a chart at the top of the page that shows your progress in all graded assignments in the course. You will also see a vertical listing of all of the sections of the course, activities and graded assignments. Items labelled as Practice Scores do not count toward your final grade in the course, but they do give you opportunity to practise and apply what you've learned in lectures. Items that do contribute to your final mark in the course are labelled as Problem Scores and have a due date within the vertical list on the page. (North American students will notice that we are using Australian/British spelling, as in 'labelled' and 'practise'. American English spells 'practice' with a 'c' whether it's a noun or a verb. Australian/British English uses 'c' when it's a noun and 's' when it's a verb.)

Why do we have only one chance to do the quizzes?

Remember that you have until the end of the course to submit your answers for all of the quizzes, and that you can save your answers and come back to them later before finally submitting. We recommend making sure that you are 100% confident about the topic before taking the quizzes. You can do this by reading the material in the course reader, engaging with fellow students about grammar topics in the discussion board, and taking notes and re-listening to the lectures.

Do some questions have more than one correct answer?

Yes, and these are not put in simply to trick you. We put these questions in as we often point out during lectures how more than one answer can be grammatically sound in a given sentence context. These questions are also a good example of just how a slight grammar change can impact the meaning of a sentence.

How should I mark the writing assignments?

Firstly, it is important to be objective and fair: use the rubric to guide both the mark that you assign and the feedback that you provide. If you decide to mark down a peer's writing assignment, you should clearly explain why you have deducted marks according to the material that we cover in this course (you can use terminology from the rubric as a guide). If you are ever in doubt about what grade level to award someone, it is better to mark up than down.

How can my peers adequately assess my writing?

Peer assessment isn’t a perfect process, but it is a valuable one. In the real world, your writing will likely be read by individuals from a variety of educational and cultural backgrounds. Be patient with your feedback. You may not agree with every comment or assessment that your peers make, but you can learn a lot about how different people read and understand your writing.

How can I support those who are struggling to express themselves in English?

English is a difficult language to learn, let alone master. Non-native English speakers who attempt this course and actively participate on the discussion board and in blog assessment should be commended for their effort and bravery. Support other students who are struggling to express themselves in English by writing as clearly as you can. Try to focus on the content of a student’s writing rather than on the surface grammatical errors. Offer tips or corrections by modelling the structure or principle or by focusing on the most basic or frequent error, rather than overwhelming the writer with a barrage of corrections. Above all, be patient. We’re all in this together.

What do I do if I spot what I think may be an error in the content?

If you spot an error, please let us know via the discussion board. Be sure to title the thread specifically about the error that you wish to discuss/enquire about. It would also be helpful if you included ‘staff’ somewhere in the title, too. We can then fix up any errors as soon as possible (or perhaps explain why a perceived error is not an actual error in this case). Thank you for your attentiveness.

Why are the videos so short, so packed with information, and move so fast?

For many students, accessing longer videos might be prohibitively expensive, time-consuming, or wasteful (where individuals cannot exceed a certain data allowance on an Internet plan, for example). English grammar and style naturally encompass many complex principles and ideas. The lectures in this course are intended to give students an overview of core material, which they can then follow up at their leisure or interest. Remember that you can pause or replay the videos as many times as you like, and view the videos with subtitles by clicking the ‘CC’ button in the bottom right of the window. (You may also copy and paste this text to read through later.) We recommend that you watch the videos with pencil in hand. Take note of any terms or concepts that are unfamiliar, confusing, or otherwise interesting to you. Many of the concepts that we highlight are worthy of following up in greater detail. The Internet is packed with excellent information and advice about grammar and style, so be sure to check out the course resources and suggested readings that we post every week.

Why are you not giving us strategies for enhancing our writing?

We are! All our material is packed with strategies. If you absorb and then apply all the principles that we present each week, you will be well on the way to becoming a confident and competent writer. It takes work on your part to capitalise on all the work that we’ve done on our part. Remember the writing-thinking-learning connection in week 1? It’s hard to get good in a hurry, but, the harder you try, the quicker (more quickly) you’ll get good.

What do I get at the end of the course to acknowledge that I have completed it successfully?

For this course, edX provides two options for registration: Verified and Audit. A verified certificate of achievement shows that you have successfully completed your edX course and verifies your identity through your photo and ID. Verified certificates are available for a fee that varies by course. The fee for a Write101x verified certificate is $99 USD. If you started out auditing the course but wish to upgrade to a verified certificate, simply click the ‘Upgrade to Verified’ button visible on your dashboard.

Why does edX allow so many students to enrol?

The acronym ‘MOOC’ stands for ‘Massive Open Online Course’. A MOOC aims to offer quality education to as many students as possible — regardless of their age, their gender, their physical ability, or their cultural, educational, or financial background — in an open-access format. As well as including traditional educational resources, MOOCs capitalise on the flexibility of the Internet, incorporating multimedia lectures and activities. MOOCs also encourage democratic interaction among staff and students. edX believes in presenting higher education online, offering opportunity to ‘anyone who wants to achieve, thrive, and grow’. As such, a MOOC such as Write101x does not exclude any students from participating and welcomes and encourages all participants who wish to learn more about grammar and style in English writing.

Can I still upgrade to a verified certificate?

The last date to choose a verified certificate is 12 September. If you wish to upgrade to a verified certificate, simply click the ‘Upgrade to Verified' button visible on your dashboard.

Where do I submit my peer-assessed writing assignment/blog post?

There are three peer-assessed writing assignments throughout the course. The assignments can be found in the Writing Assignments section of the course. They will not be visible at the beginning of the course. Writing Assignment 1 will open at the beginning of Week 3, Writing Assignment 2 will open at the beginning of Week 5, and Writing Assignment 3 will open at the beginning of Week 7. Because these assignments contribute to your mark in the course, each has a blue box and pencil icon along with a due date for that assignment in the left menu for each week. The edX platform does not allow us to show multiple due dates in that menu; therefore, the date will change as each step of the process is completed. To view all due dates for the course, see the Assignment Due Dates calendar.

When does the course end?

The last day of Write101x is 26 September 2016 at 23:30 UTC. Discussions will no longer be monitored as closely at that time.