Chapter 1: Introductions

1.2. Introduction to the Course: Technology in the Classroom

Technology in the Classroom and Course

Although my eventual research focus is multimodal composing and digital rhetoric, I believe that digital spaces, programs, freeware, software, etc. are tools, not magic wands. What I mean is that even though technology can be very useful in providing access to resources and to designing texts, it should not be seen as a tool that will teach any students rhetorical concepts without conceptual framing. As my grandmother used to say when she taught me how to sew, “You work the sewing machine, the sewing machine does not work you.”

That said, we will use some technology in class (e.g. an online text book, Microsoft Word, cloud storage software,smart phones/tablets/computers, etc.). However, my approach to ENG 100/101 embraces foundational concepts and traditional methods, which means you will learn how to correctly format your documents using Word and MLA, all of our assignments will be printed old-school, and you will like write by hand during class. However, you are able to bring laptop/tablet/phone to write on but I reserve the right to ask you to remove it if I feel it is interfering with your learning or those around you. I also use Blackboard, a course management site, for discussion posts, a weekly course calendar, grades, etc.


Some of you might be familiar with course management systems from high school while for others this might be a very new. CSU’s management is system is Blackboard (or BB for short). You can use it if you miss a class and need to catch up you can visit the Announcement Page to see the in-class activity and homework. You can also view your grades to keep up-to-date on your progress in the class. I try to organize the Homepage as clearly as possible but it might still take some getting used to, so be sure to play around with it.

I try to update grades on BB at the end of every essay project, so please try and be patient. If you see a mistake on the BB grade book, don’t hesitate to tell me. I make mistakes (hard to believe, right?) so let me know if you think I made a mistake and we can discuss it.

You are required to use Blackboard because this is where I will post and update your weekly course calendar, post grades, and provide you access to supplementary materials. I will provide a quick tutorial of Blackboard during Week 1 and then post other information and documents to help you navigate the site. Of course, sometimes there are SNAFUs and feel free to email me if something doesn’t work or, gasp, I forget to post something on time. I am not infallible so do not hesitate to let me know.

Cleveland State University Computer Labs

Because not everyone owns a laptop and because I believe in providing students with the opportunities to work on drafts together, we will usually have at least two – three classes per project (nearly 12-15 times per semester) in a computer lab. Below are the computer labs I use most often:

Lab Location
RT 302 Third floor of the library
RT 401 Fourth floor of the library
RT 502 Fifth floor of the library
LCLC Back Lab/Front Lab First floor, to the left, near the writing center, in the library


Part of doing college means understanding that how you communicate to others impacts how he or she perceives your maturity and/or professionalism. That said, I do not mind receiving and responding to emails but I do mind very much if those emails do not include a formal address/sign off, your full name, and your class and section number. Please use the example below as a reference when crafting your emails to me, or any professor.

Example Email

Hello Instructor/Professor/Ms. Gagich [be sure to choose the appropriate title],

This is Sally Sue from your ENG 101 Section 12 class. After rereading the syllabus, I still do not understand XXX. Can we please meet to discuss it?

Thank you for your time.


Sally Sue

I teach over 100 students per semester, so if you do not clearly state your name, then I will not respond. Also, though emails do not have to be perfect, but be sure to check your syllabus, Blackboard, and/or assignment sheet before sending me a question. If you ask a question that you can answer yourself, then I will likely not respond.