Independent Learning: English & Writing

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Academic Administrative Team at DCS: Sarah Korpi, David Werther: il@dcs.wisc.edu

Student Services: 1-877-895-3276

Tech Support: 1-877-724-7883

Online Writing Lab: owl.wisconsin.edu

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English and Writing Courses

Our distance learning programs in English and Composition offer you the flexibility and convenience of taking a class at “your place, your place” from experienced, highly qualified and caring instructors.

English and composition courses are a requirement of many degree programs and are a popular elective. The flexible pace of our distance education history courses allows you to fully absorb the material and enjoy the experience. English courses may earn up to 3 university-level credits (seek pre-approval from your department or institute). Classes are available by correspondence or online.


Freshman Composition (Online, 3 Credits)

Develop the skills required for college-level writing.

Focuses on the techniques of persuasion, as well as detecting and correcting common writing and documentation mistakes. Unit topics include: “What Makes Writing Effective?,”  “Shaping and Developing a Topic,” “Logical Fallacies and Statistical Manipulation,” “Semantic Argument,” and “Persuasive Argumentation.”

The Bible as Literature (Closed, Print, 3 Credits)

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.”

Proverbs 25:11

Teaches students to analyze carefully the prose and verse of the Old and New Testaments for their literary richness.  Written assignments and the final exam ask students to read scriptural passages closely for their use of narrative, imagery, suspense, dialogue, and other literary elements.

Does not require systematic knowledge of the Bible.

Intermediate Composition: The Essay (Online, 3 Credits)

Learn how to generate, focus, organize and improve essays and research papers.

Begins with the writing of a personal narrative and progresses to a research paper. Emphasizes fundamentals: standard essay types, essay format, well-structured sentences, paragraphs and papers, clear thesis statements with convincing supporting examples, effective transitions, appropriate use of quotations, proper documentation, and proofreading.

Modern African Prose and Poetry in French (Online, 3 Credits)

Modern fiction and poetry by Francophone Africans from West Africa and the Caribbean. Explore great works by Mariama Bâ, Aimé Césaire, Birago Diop, Cheikh Hamidou Kane, Ousmane Sembène, Léopold Senghor, and others. While much of the course is written in French, students in U104-454 have the option of completing the written assignments and exams in either French or English. Students in U400-454 are required to complete the written assignments and exams in French.

Introduction to 20th Century African American Literature: The Fictional Vision (Closed, Online, 3 Credits)

Investigate a history of racial injustice transformed into fiction of extraordinary power and importance.

Introduces nine works that lead us into a world of startling imagery, unfamiliar language, and a poetic style, which sometimes resembles folklore, spirituals, or jazz more than traditional literature.  The authors represent great diversity of political perspective, personal background, and purpose for writing. Comparing and contrasting their viewpoints can provide new insight into some of the many communities and cultures that compose the American experience.

American Indian Literature (Print, 3 Credits)

Establish a solid base of knowledge about the complexity, variety, and richness of American Indian culture

Includes novels (Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony and N. Scott Momaday’s  The Ancient Child), autobiography (Mountain Wolf Woman), and a variety of poems, exploring our relationship to nature, the struggle between old traditions and new ways, American history, the family, spiritual values and the roles of women. Encourages students to compare and contrast their experiences and cultural background with those in the readings.

Willa Cather (Print, 1 Credit)

Willa Cather’s best work “. . . reaches into human truths older than the historical American past from which she drew her factual materials, truths that provide the essential forms of experience and that therefore cannot become ‘past’ truths. . . “

Dorothy Van Ghent in Seven American Women Writers of the 2oth Century: An Introduction, ed. Maureen Howard

Introduces Willa Cather’s use of the tale-within-a-tale literary device and demonstrates her versatility with three novels exploring: the immigrant experience, My Antonia; the fear of death and aging, The Professor’s House; the hunger for love and acceptance, Death Comes to the Archbishop.

Requires a short paper on each book; offers a range of options for each paper.

History of the English Language (Print, 3 Credits)

Learn how the English language has developed from its Germanic roots over nearly fifteen hundred years.

Includes units on the sounds of English and the history of linguistic science, Old English, Middle English, Early and Late Modern English. Introduces the principles by which the English language continues to change and provides students with the opportunity to classify their own regional dialect.

The Structure of English (Online, 3 Credits)

Learn the grammatical concepts fundamental to linguistic research, and develop a deeper understanding of English grammar./

Begins with a review of the parts of speech and an introduction to the distinction between prescriptive and descriptive grammar, and the contrast between competence and performance grammar. Topics in the other six units include: clauses (finite independent, finite subordinate, and non-finite); adverbials (adjuncts, conjuncts and disjuncts);  verbs (main, auxiliary, and modal auxiliary);  subcategories of verbs (intensive, prepositional, nontransitive, intransitive et al.);  “verbals” (gerunds, participles and infinitives); and subcategories of auxiliary verbs/expressions of modality, tense , aspect, voice.

Designed to be especially useful to students and/or teachers of English, ESL, foreign languages and linguistics.

Ernest Hemingway (Print, 1 Credit)

“Nobody ever lives their life all the way up except bull-fighters.”

The Sun Also Rises

“There are many good fishermen and some great ones. But there is only one you.”

The Old Man and the Sea

Examines two of Hemingway’s greatest novels, The Sun Also Rises and The Old Man and the Sea, as well as a selection of short stories. Offers an introduction to close-text analysis and online research, while exploring Hemingway’s literary style, and worldview.

The Contemporary Short Story (Print, 3 Credits)

Study some of the most provocative short fiction of our time.

Includes stories about Relationships (Male/Female perspective; Troubled Marriages/Divorce; Parents and Children); Self-Discovery (Adult and Adolescent Epiphany); and “the Individual” (Poverty; Workplace and Career) by authors such as: Doris Lessing, John Updike, Joyce Carol Oates, Stephen King and Saul Bellow. Each unit offers a choice of assignment topics.


English Facilitators:

Joan Bell