Dear ENGL 2111 Student,

The ENGL 2111 (World Literature I) class in which you are enrolled takes place entirely online. There will be no class meetings in a physical classroom. Instead, there will be online chats once a week and many other assignments, all submitted over the Internet.

The course syllabus is designed to be your starting point for every aspect of the class. Please visit it at

There is also a link to this syllabus site on WebCT, but, except for course evaluations, we will not otherwise be using WebCT. I recommend that you simply bookmark the syllabus URL.

Most of the work we do will happen inside a Web application called Inquisition. It is similar to WebCT but (I hope) easier to use. Here is where to find it:

To log into Inquisition, use your WebCT username (the one in the e-mail address this message is being sent to) and use "XXXXXXX" as your password. You will be prompted to enter a private password the first time you log in. Please don't forget the new password. Both username and password are case-sensitive.

Communications in this class will take place using your university e-mail address. Hotmail, Yahoo mail, and other e-mail services are not acceptable. You will need to monitor your university e-mail account daily to be aware of announcements concerning the class.

All of the reading for this course will be available online, as described in the syllabus.

You need to acquaint yourselves with the communication tools we will use in this class: the IRC chat room, the discussion forum, the quiz page, and the exam page. All of these are accessed through Inquisition.

1. Using the chat room

Log into Inquisition and be sure to check the "Check Box To Chat" checkbox before clicking Log In. This will take you to a menu with several channel options. One channel will be named for your class; another is named #robotron, and serves as my online office. You can usually find me there. Try visiting both channels. NOTE: You will need Java to be working on your computer before chatting will work using this procedure. Also, it may take a little while (up to two minutes) for the log-in process to finish. If nothing seems to be happening, just be patient.

2. Using the discussion forum

Log into Inquisition in the normal way (that is, without clicking the chat checkbox). Assuming you have already reset your temporary password, you will see a menu giving you access to Quizzes, Exams, and the Discussion Forum. Each of these options consists of a dropdown menu with class options, and a Go button. Select your class under Discussion Forum and click Go. You will see a list of existing forum threads, probably just a test thread at the moment. Click the name of it and the contents of the thread will be displayed. Click Reply and you will see a text box for entering a reply post of your own. Type a reply and click Submit Your Post.

3. Taking a quiz

Log into Inquisition the normal way. The very first dropdown menu is for quizzes. Select your class and click Go. The Quiz Overview page shows the title of each quiz you will be taking. If you click on a title, you will see the quiz questions -- if, that is, the quiz is open for viewing. Most of them won't be yet. Don't answer the questions until you read the material. Color coding on the Quiz Overview page indicates the status of each quiz -- see the box with a key to the codes.

Your answers to the quiz questions will be evaluated as Yes (right), No (wrong), or Say More (partly right). If your answers have been evaluated, green, red, or yellow blocks at right will indicate how successful you were.

The quizzes are designed to be retaken until they are perfect. To pass a quiz, you must answer ALL of the questions correctly. In practical terms, you will get three chances. You must submit your initial quiz answers by the deadline stated in the syllabus; failure to do this means forfeiting the quiz. One week after a quiz opens, it will be permanently locked.

4. Taking an exam

As above, log into Inquisition. The second dropdown menu is for exams; select your class and click Go. You will be taken to the Exam Overview page. To see the contents of an exam, click its title. You won't see anything at the start of the term -- no exams are open yet. The exam questions are graded in the conventional manner on a 100-point scale and may not be retaken. Exams are subject to announced opening and closing times.

Please test each of these features as soon as possible. If you encounter problems, you will need to resolve them before classes begin. In particular, make sure you can get chatting to work, since this is the area where people have the most trouble. If you do have problems, try logging in from a different location. The computers in the library are a good bet, while the computer networks run by the various apartment complexes tend to be less reliable.

Finally, a word of warning. Online classes may not seem as "real" as traditional classes, but believe me, the registrar regards them as real. It takes a considerable amount of self-discipline to keep up with the reading, submit the required assignments on time, and attend the weekly chats. You will not succeed in the class unless you do all these things.

Good luck with the class.

Best wishes,

Dr. David W. Robinson
Department of Literature & Philosophy