Get Started by Creating an Account

In order to start integrating LRS Online into your own classroom, you’ll need to create your own account on LRS Online.

1) Go to groundsforargument.org/drupal. Click on the grey Create New Account button in the top right-hand corner of the page. From here, follow the directions to set up an account using your email address. Once you have created an account, you will receive a confirmation email. From this confirmation email, log back into LRS Online and you will be prompted to create a user name and password. Make sure you register under your real name; this makes it easier for us to service your account and for students to find and join your class group.

2) Once you've set up a basic account, you must request instructor privileges on the site. Instructor privileges allow you to form groups for your students to join, as well as access teacher's pages that are hidden from non-instructors. Request instructor privileges by e-mailing redschoolhouse-feedback@virginia.edu. Please use the subject line "LRS Instructor Privileges," and make sure to mention your user name. You will receive an e-mail from us confirming that we've granted you instructor privileges.

3) Once you've been granted instructor privileges, log back into LRS Online to create groups for your students. You can do this from the Create a New Group tab on the right side of the main navigation page. We recommend creating a group for each of your classes; most instructors name their groups by section number. Your students can select the appropriate group once they've set up their accounts. (Remember: basic student accounts don't require the approval step, so as soon as students create their accounts they are ready to join a class group.) It's a good idea to tell students that their user names should include their first and last names. That way, you can easily identify students from their user names and monitor individual progress through the lessons.

Once all your students have joined your class group, your class is ready to begin to use LRS Online to support class learning.

Lesson Layout

LRS Online provides a suite of interactive lessons that introduce and explain discrete principles of effective writing. For the most part, teachers can select and sequence lessons to suit their preferences and their students’ needs, though in some cases, we have recommended a given sequence. Lessons are presented with the following consistent format.

LRS in the Wild:

LRS Online proceeds from the principle that most students already have good intuitions about what readers want and what writers do. As teachers, our job is to help them articulate and define those intuitions, so that they can more consciously control their writing. The first piece of each lesson —“LRS in the Wild”— is designed to allow students to intuit the principle before it is articulated. “LRS in the Wild” uses videos, cartoons, or other media to demonstrate the principle at work. For an example of this section, click here.

See It In Writing:

Like the “LRS in the Wild” page, the "See It in Writing" page helps students to intuit the principle at hand without reading a definition of it. Unlike “LRS in the Wild”, the “See It in Writing” delivers a written example designed to show students how the principle works in academic and professional writing. Here they’ll be introduced to the principle through examples that render the principle at hand particularly visible, or examples that display the consequences of failing to understand the principle. Each example includes a few basic questions for students to consider as they read. For an example of this section, click here.

The Basic Principle:

After LRS Online has asked students to intuit a principle through examples, it offers a brief, straightforward articulation of that principle. The “Basic Principle” first defines the principle “In a Nutshell:” a subsection that provides a concise explanation of a principle, its formal features, and where and how it can be employed effectively in college-level writing. The page then uses a variety of written examples to provide a fuller explanation and demonstration of the principle. For an example of this section, click here.

How It Works:

The “How It Works” page helps students to identify the key features of the principle. Here they’ll analyze more complicated examples of the principles at work, see how they can control these principles, and learn how readers respond to them. Each example includes suggestions to consider as they analyze a passage, and clickable explanations for students who want a more in-depth explanation of the principle. For an example of this section, click here.

Try It Out:

The “Try It Out” page tests students on their understanding of the principle and allows them to apply each principle in samples of academic and professional writing. Here (and throughout) we attempt to utilize the possibilities afforded by the digital environment— sometimes asking students to select and rearrange bits of text, at other times deploying questions to guide them through the processes of revision. For an example of this section, click here.

Further Content:

In addition to the lessons, we also offer sidebars, checklists, and blueprints within each of our three main units of study. These are intended to serve as supplemental material to the lessons, providing additional information, helping students to see how the principles work in their own papers, and showing students how to put the principles they have learned into practice in very practical ways. Although these are designed to be used in addition to the LRS lessons, these brief pieces can also be assigned separately in order to help students draft essays, to provide extra support for those who are struggling, or to challenge those who are ready to see the principles applied in new contexts and ways.

Sidebars

briefly explain one or more simple aspects of a principle. In these Sidebars, we do not ask the student to engage in the interactive LRS sequence of learning that guides them through each lesson. They are intended to provide important information that is not covered in the lessons. Most sidebars are connected to a specific lesson, which suggests that students read the sidebar for more information or if they are having difficulty with understanding a concept. For an example of a sidebar, click here.

Checklists

are tools that guide students through a decision-making process about something in their writing. After answering a series of questions about their own ideas, students receive automatic feedback that helps them to see what difficulties they may face and suggestions for how they can use the principles they have learned to write, order, and revise their papers. For an example of a checklist, click here.

Blueprints

give students models to help them to apply a specific principle. Students can work with blueprints to build their writing from the ground up. Unlike checklists, which require students to have their ideas already laid out or lessons which deal with general principles of writing, blueprints provide templates that students can use directly in their own papers, along with discussions of how to tailor the student’s use of the template in order to give a specific impression. For an example of a blueprint, click here.

Integrating The Site Into Your Classroom

LRS Online cannot replace the composition teacher or the writing classroom, and we have made no attempt to do either. Instead, this site is designed to be a flexible tool that can complement in-class writing work in one or several ways. Though we encourage teachers to continue thinking creatively about how this site can fulfill their specific needs, we suggest a few general ways that it can be integrated into the classroom.

Replacing Or Complementing The Textbook:

LRS Online offers a different pedagogical method than most textbooks can, meaning that it can complement textbook readings, or replace them entirely. While most composition textbooks focus on abstract discussions of compositional principles, this site shows students how those principles develop out of highly-intuitive rhetorical interactions between readers and writers. In order to do this, the site promotes interaction with concrete written examples and confines the prescription of rigid principles only to those moments that will help reinforce the interactive learning process. LRS Online can be used in place of a composition textbook or workbook, saving students money while encouraging them to interact and engage with the principles of effective writing. To see some sample syllabi that use the website in this manner, click here. [Link to sample syllabi]

Supporting In-Class Demonstration:

LRS Online can be used in a classroom setting to illustrate a principle of effective writing. While LRS Online does not constitute a complete course in and of itself, it can help teachers structure those lectures in which they introduce a given principle while providing effective examples to illustrate that principle—all without sacrificing student interaction. In this respect, LRS Online can be particularly helpful for modeling effective pedagogy to beginning teachers of composition who are still developing a stock of examples and in-class exercises to work from.

Adding Flexibility To Student Progress:

Because LRS Online contains several discrete lessons of varying complexity that follow no specific order or prescribed route, it can also be used in a discretionary way. Teachers can assign more complex lessons to challenge those students who grasp the material quickly, or they can provide lessons that reiterate and reinforce principles for those students who could stand to review past material. The site therefore provides teachers with a ready-made tool for allowing one student to work ahead of the class while another catches up.

Guiding Revision Assignments:

Teachers can also incorporate the site into their classrooms by assigning specific lessons alongside revision assignments. After reading a student draft, teachers can select the kind of lesson that would most benefit the revision of that draft, and assign it along with comments for revision. That way, teachers can make revision suggestions to students, while at the same time providing them with a customized resource that effectively shows them how to put those suggestions into practice.

Additional Features

Along with the basic lessons, LRS online provides students with a few other features designed to encourage interactive learning and facilitate the integration of the site into the classroom. Some of these features have already been incorporated into the site, while others are still being developed.

Class Announcements:

Under the ‘Create Content’ tab you can create a Class Announcement to send news, updates, or assignments to students in your class group. It’s an easy way to assign something to your class. The site emails your students each time you post or update a Class Announcement, but please double check that students are aware of new announcements. You’ll have the option to put the announcement on your students' home page, attach files, or enable students to add comments (e.g., to respond to a text you post as an announcement, or to paste the contents of their scratch pad from a module into a comment as part of an assignment).

The Notebook:

This feature allows students to bookmark by clicking the "Bookmark this" link when viewing a piece of content which they find particularly useful, or want to return to later. Once bookmarked these pages will appear in the student’s ‘Notebook’, which is accessible via the link on the right. The Notebook is printable, so that students who wish to retain hard copies of some of the material can do so.

The Teacher Report:

This feature allows you to track your students' progress through the lessons on the site. When the students in your class groups click the "Mark as Completed" button on the final page of a module (after completing the "Try It Out" questions), their records will show up on this page.

The Glossary:

Students will be able to look up unfamiliar words in the Glossary (usually LRS terms, like "warrant" or "evidence," which require further explanation) to find a definition.

LRS Online Blog:

The blog provides news and announcements regarding the LRS Online website.