Essays, Reports, and Other Assignments

You may be asked to complete more complex assignments than responses to discussion forums. These assignments could include electronic worksheets, journal entries, essays, or in-depth reports. To be successful with these assignments, consider the following tips:

Most complex assignments will be described completely in your selected modules of study. What may not be included in these directions, however, is information on the document format for essays or other reports or how to submit your documents. This information on how to conduct these functions is included in the next section.

How to Format a Document

If you are writing a document, such as a research paper or essay, use a reliable word processing program, such as Microsoft Word®, WordPerfect®, and Microsoft Works®. Google Docs is a reliable word processor, as well. All of these mentioned will allow you to compose, save, and edit as often as needed until your final version is ready to submit to your instructor for grading.

If you and your instructor do not use the same word processing program, however, you will need to save your work in a different format so that your instructor can open it. For example, Microsoft Word® documents end with doc. or docx. WordPerfect® documents end with wps.

Your instructor might tell you which word processor is preferred; however, if you are in doubt, save your document as a "rich text format" (.rtf) file so your instructor will be able to open your work upon submission. The "rich text format" is best for documents that have double spaced paragraphs with boldfacing, bullets, and other design features.

Watch this short video for further instructions:

There may be a writing lab on your campus where you can get help, as well. Seek out available resources early so that you will have time to take full advantage of them.

Plan your document to have a quality introduction, insightful body paragraphs, and an effective conclusion. Make sure that you have citation information for any materials you are using as references in your document. (Note: Plagiarism can be grounds for disciplinary action. Check your college catalog for more information.)

There are a variety of formats used for academic compositions, for example, MLA, which is endorsed by the Modern Language Association, and APA, which is endorsed by the American Psychological Association. Your instructor will let you know which format is preferred for this course.

Here are some helpful Web sites that provide excellent guidance regarding formatting, writing, and documenting:

Contact your instructor if you have any questions on formatting a document for this course.

How to Submit a Written Assignment

Your instructor will give you instructions for submitting written assignments in the modules of the course, and this will depend on the LMS used at your college. Here are some online resources for Blackboard to which you can refer for assistance:

You have access to Blackboard technical support 24/7, including weekends and holidays. Ask your instructor about how to access this technical support. If your college uses a different LMS, technical support may be available, as well, but you need to make inquiries early in the course so that you have contact information when you need it.