Syllabus for SOS-110



Living in the Information Age is designed especially for students who are reentering academic study after a considerable hiatus in their formal schooling. Through the interactive instructional software program SkillsTutor™, you evaluate and strengthen your academic skills in writing, mathematics, and basic information skills. In addition, through the use of different types of computer technology and by completing course activities, you learn about the ways in which computer technology has changed and is still changing education, work, society, and daily life. Learning activities include reading articles on technical subjects written for general audiences, as well as writing essays and discussing topics ranging from future careers to Internet privacy.


After completing this course, you should be able to:


All materials needed for this course are available online through the course Web site. These include the Syllabus, course Calendar, and course Modules; full-text articles available through EBSCO; and the aforementioned SkillsTutor™ software used in Modules 1–6 of the course.

To participate fully in course activities, you need to have daily access to a personal computer and command of basic computer skills. In addition, for successful operation of SkillsTutor™, please note the following system requirements for Windows and Macintosh users.


Living in the Information Age is a three-credit online course, consisting of seven (7) modules. Modules include learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in six graded online discussion forums, complete seven written assignments, and complete eight SkillsTutor™ assignments. See below for more details.

Consult the course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Discussion Forums

Living in the Information Age requires you to participate in six (6) graded discussion forums, worth 12 percent of your course grade, as well as an ungraded Introductions Forum in Module 1 of the course.

The six discussion forum topics allow for interaction among students and the mentor. The discussions help promote a sense of online community and encourage you to bring your own experiences and insights to bear on the issues and controversies raised in the readings. All discussions in this course are asynchronous, threaded discussions.

Participation in online discussions involves two distinct activities: an initial response to a posted question and subsequent comments on classmates' responses. Meaningful participation is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as "I agree" and "ditto" are not considered value-adding participation. Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate, a reading, or your mentor, state and support your agreement or disagreement. You will be evaluated on the quality and quantity of your participation. Responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, professional, and respectful.

To receive credit for your online participation, you must make a substantive contribution to the discussion forum. A “substantive contribution" means writing at least a short paragraph summarizing your ideas or experiences on the topic and responding to at least two other student's contribution in a timely and material way (i.e., expanding on, agreeing with, or disagreeing with a student's response in specific terms). Vague statements of agreement or encouragement will not be considered substantive.

Located within the Evaluation Rubrics folder on the course Web site is the rubric used in the grading of online discussions.

Use the discussion forums freely for public discussion of course topics. If you have private questions about activities, please direct them to your mentor using e-mail.

Written Assignments

Living in the Information Age has seven (7) written assignments, worth 70 percent of your course grade. Two of these assignments—numbers 4 and 7—serve as the midterm and final examinations, respectively. There are no proctored examinations in this course.

Your written assignments will be graded according to the evaluation rubric found within each assignment link itself. Please note that your assignment will receive an automatic 0 if any of the following is the case: (a) Your assignment does not address the assignment question; (b) Your assignment consists simply of sections cut and pasted from other sources, with or without attribution; or (c) Your assignment has been plagiarized.

Prepare your written assignments using whatever word processing program you have on your computer. Include your name at the top of the paper, as well as the course name and code and the semester and year in which you are enrolled.

Before submitting your first assignment, check with your mentor to determine whether your word processing software is compatible with your mentor's software. If so, you can submit your work as you prepared it. If not, save your activity as a rich-text (.rtf) file, using the Save As command of your software program. Rich text retains basic formatting and can be read by any other word processing program.


You should always proofread your course submissions (including discussion forum posts) before posting or submitting them within the course. Fortunately, most word processing programs have proofreading tools built right into them. (You may find these within an area titled “Review” or “Edit” on the program’s top navigation bar.) Using these tools provides a quick “first pass” in proofreading your work.

In addition, examine the proofreading tips found on each of the following sites. You may want to bookmark these sites in your browser so that you can easily return to them:


The SkillsTutor™ software from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is designed to help you master basic academic skills. Diagnostic pretests and individualized instruction allow you to master these skills while working at your own pace. The four SkillsTutor subject areas (Writing, Basic Mathematics, Intermediate Mathematics, and Skills Information) and the eight topics covered within those areas in Modules 1–6 are shown in the following table:





Language Usage


Basic Mathematics

Word Problems



Sentence Structure


Intermediate Mathematics

Introduction to Algebra



Clear Writing and Paragraphs


Intermediate Mathematics

Proportion and Percent


Intermediate Mathematics



Information Skills

Using Maps, Charts, and Graphs


Instructions for logging on to SkillsTutor are given in the first SkillsTutor assignment in Module 1. Please follow those instructions carefully.

The eight SkillsTutor assignments are worth 18 percent of your final grade. To earn credit for your SkillsTutor assignments, you must demonstrate mastery of each assigned topic in one of three ways:

  1. Score 90% or higher on the initial pretest.
  2. Work on each activity prescribed by your pretest score (omitting lesson quizzes) until you answer correctly at least 85% of the questions (i.e., 7/8, 8/9, 9/10, or 10/11 correct answers).
  3. Score 90% or higher on the posttest (one attempt only).

After achieving mastery using any of the methods described above, submit a brief message to your mentor indicating your results. Your mentor will verify the scores and give you credit for the assignment.

For technical support using MySkillsTutor, contact the SkillsTutor Support Center (1.800.222.3681).


Unlike most online courses at Thomas Edison State College, Living in the Information Age does not require you to take a proctored examination. Instead, two written assignments—numbers 4 and 7—function as the midterm and final, respectively. For this course, you do not have to arrange for a proctor by the first week of the semester.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All discussion and written assignments will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. All SkillsTutor assignments will be graded as Complete (full credit given for having achieved mastery of the assigned topic) or Incomplete (no credit given for not having demonstrated mastery of the assigned topic). Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:






























Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a nonarea of study course), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:


Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.


Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:

Please refer to the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the College Catalog and online at




Using someone else’s work as your own is plagiarism. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism 

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Originality Report Checking at Turnitin


Disciplinary Process

First-time incidents of academic dishonesty concerning plagiarism may reflect ignorance of appropriate citation requirements. Mentors will make a good faith effort to address all first-time offenses that occur in courses. In these cases, the mentor may impose sanctions that serve as a learning exercise for the offender. These may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool including a lower grade when appropriate. The mentor will notify the student by e-mail. Decisions about the sanctions applied for subsequent plagiarism offenses or other violations will be made by the appropriate dean’s office, with the advice of the mentor or staff person who reported the violation. The student will be notified via certified mail of the decision. Options for sanctions include:

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