English Department: General Education Courses

Online Writing Classes

For the convenience of our students, the HPU English department offers sections of both WRI 1100 and WRI 1200 online.

Is an online writing class for you?

Taking a course online can be necessary if you are not physically present on Oahu or if work or other conflicts prevent you from taking one of the many face-to-face classes. Some students thrive in the online environment, participating actively in discussion forums or chats, learning readily from the instructor's written feedback, and enjoying the freedom to work on the course at any time of the day or night.  But online learnng is not a good fit for everyone and a face-to-face learning environment can be a particularly helpful structure for writing students.  Writing workshops, in which you share your work with others and receive immediate verbal feedback, are often more helpful than online asychronous versions of the same thing.  In a traditional class you can ask questions during class and get immediate responses.  It's easy to have a quick conference with your instructor before or after class.  Students who attend class, assuming they are paying attention, will be present for discussions of assignments and sample papers. An online instructor will provide versions of these items, but the student will have to follow through in reading the material and viewing  any powerpoint, podcast, or video lectures that the instructor provides. If you skip over these resources and just start writing your papers, you are likely to run into the same difficulties as someone who was absent for the class sessions where an assignment was introduced.  Only you can determine if you are the kind of student who will diligently make use of all the learning resources provided in the online course rather than ignoring them. While online students can still attend physical office hours and go to the tutoring center, they are less likely to do so than face-to-face students, and these one-on-one conferences can be the key to a successful experience.  Furthermore, it's easy to procrastinate, when working on a long project or writing a paper that will go through multiple drafts, and not having to face your instructor or classmates may make it more likely that you will fail to keep up with the class.  

Because of these reasons the student success rate is generally a bit lower in online writing classes than in face-to-face classes. That does not mean that you can't succeed.  Many students have successful experiences, and we provide support for online writing students, including online tutoring and online writing lab sections.  But we do recommend that you avoid taking a writing class as your first online experience if a face-to-face course can fit your schedule.   

Before you sign up for an online writing class, please review this document for WRI 1100 or this document for WRI 1200 and consult with an academic advisor to discusss your options so that you can make the best decision for your circumstances.