Orientation Module: LIST 5373

Module for Online Courses: Resources, Tips, and Introduction

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Overview of the Orientation Module

This module will help you with success in this online course as well as success in online learning, in general! I want you to do well in this course and in your current and future teaching career.

Read the following orientation materials and complete the designated tasks within and at the end of the orientation module. Allocate yourself a total of about 1-2 hours to read through the materials, listen to or watch any multimedia in this module.

My hope is that you learn all you can out in this course and in the literacy studies program!

Tip: Get all you can out of the orientation!

The orientation materials are organized by:

  • Information about the course and course materials (syllabus, etc.)
  • Tasks ("To do" items for Week 1)
  • Success Tips for Online Learning
  • Info about Course Content
  • Info about Technical Support

*Look for images of my dog Dexter the Westie throughout the orientation and course!

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Balanced literacy approach to literacy instruction in EC-6 classrooms with an emphasis on reading and writing including the critical areas of: phonics, phonemic awareness, word study, fluency, and comprehension. In addition, the course examines various theoretical models of reading along with the principles of teaching reading and writing using a variety of instructional strategies, effective program organization, assessment, and classroom management.

Task: Read the Course Syllabus and the Welcome Letter

Please read the syllabus, focusing on due dates and assignment descriptions!

The syllabus was sent via email and is here.

The welcome letter was sent via email and is here.


1. Munger, K. A. (Ed.). (2016). Steps to success: Crossing the bridge between literacy research and practice. Geneseo, NY: Open SUNY Textbooks. Retrieved from https://open.umn.edu/opentextbooks/textbooks/steps-to-success-crossing-the-bridge-between-literacy-research-and-practice or https://textbooks.opensuny.org/steps-to-success/

2. Armbruster, B. B., Lehr, F., Osborn, J., & Adler, C. R. (2008). Put reading first: The research building blocks of reading instruction : kindergarten through grade 3 (3rd ed.). Washington, D.C.: National Institute for Literacy. Retrieved from: https://lincs.ed.gov/publications/pdf/PRFbooklet.pdf

**If you want to read ahead, we will start with chapters 1-2 of the Munger (2016) text and the Put Reading First booklet.

Movie: Rethinking Dyslexia: The Big Picture

Viewing of the documentary movie The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia on your own. The movie is available to stream free via Alexander Street video (via the UTA Libraries): Click here [login required with NetID and password.] Click the “Watch Now” button in top right corner then type in University of Texas at Arlington, then type “View Now” and login with your UTA credentials [NetID and Password]. FREE.

Studymate App

Download the Studymate App to use in the Course to your smart phone and/or tablet device. Go to the app store and locate Studymate. It will be used to review glossary terms. You can also use the links below on a laptop or desktop computer.

Review the glossary terms often from this course on Studymate! You can take a preview peek of them to review before the course begins if you wish.

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YouTube Channel

Check out my YouTube channel here with literacy videos!

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Required Video: Staying Organized as an Online Learner--"Penny the Online Student" in "Penny Procrastinates"

Mini-episode of "Penny the Online Student." "Penny Procrastinates" [Length: 2:58]

Transcript: The updated transcript will be on this Google Doc: https://docs.google.com/document/d/11iWxCUwBux5Ek9ArdXNLygyEKTeYxPV_JyO3M42nwys/edit?usp=sharing

Video: https://youtu.be/poj_HhSeRW8 Tomato Timer tool: http://tomato-timer.com/

Staying Organized as an Online Learner--"Penny the Online Student" in "Penny Procrastinates"

Task: Start composing your general introduction for week 1. Post 5+ comments to peers!

Directions for posting your general introduction for LIST 5373

Post an informal but detailed 2-3 paragraph introduction about yourself in Discussions by Friday of Week 1 (11:59 pm). Also do five formal follow-up comments by Sunday of Week 1 as well. I encourage you to always post earlier than the required deadline. Make it a habit to set aside time to post early to discussion boards!

An example of an introduction is here.

Things to include:

  • Anything you want to share about your teacher journey and experience and interests in teaching.
  • What you already know about the course topic: elementary literacy learning.
  • What your future goals and dreams are for your education career.
  • Any interesting facts about yourself
  • Feel free to a picture or picture collage (e.g., pets, travels, etc.).
  • Optional: Feel free to create a podcast about yourself to add. Good tools: SoundCloud (app) or VoiceThread (app).
  • Or, create a Bitmoji of yourself (using the Bitmoji app) and include one or two! This is something you can use with your future digital teaching. A few examples of Bitmojis I have created are below.

Creating a Digital Artifact for the Reader Response

Part of your reader response discussions (Weeks 1, 2, 3, & 4) should include one or more (one is a minimum) of a “multi-media or web-based artifact” that you have located and/or created.

Preview the following link. *For the digital artifact, please consult the “more ideas for creating a digital artifact chart”: http://bit.ly/2bEdRGE. You must also describe your digital artifact in detail. Ideas are grouped by level of difficulty. Self-select a digital artifact idea based on your skill level with digital content creation. Select from: easy, medium, advanced, or extreme.

Tech Tips: Required Reading-->Success Tips for Taking an Online Course

This is a very quick read! Read through the slides for tips on taking an online course. I recommend downloading the Evernote app for reading materials on a mobile device. Please share this link with a friend that is taking an online course. I will add a few of my own success tips below to supplement this terrific slideshow.

Dr. Semingson's supplemental success tips:

1. Stay on top of readings. Work ahead when possible! Email any digital readings to yourself and read on a smartphone or other mobile device, if possible. Take your textbook with you and read in every spare moment you have. You will be glad later!

2. Ask questions! For questions that pertain to your own individual learning you can email Dr. Semingson.

3. Check Canvas daily and UTA email daily.

4. Make use of the resources on Canvas.

5. I suggest making use of social media to learn. I will be recommending certain topics creating new boards on Pinterest, if you are on Pinterest. You can also follow me on Pinterest, as I have boards related to EC-6 Literacy learning! https://www.pinterest.com/peggysemingson/

Quick Start Guide for Online Student Success (by Sidneyeve Matrix):


Required Reading: Tips for Reading and Studying the Required Readings

Tips for Reading and Studying the Required Readings

I suggest reading closely and carefully and taking notes while reading each article/chapter. Do not skim the required readings! This knowledge is crucial for: 1) your own intellectual growth as a teacher 2) foundational knowledge and 3) you want to prepare for the reading specialist exam if you are taking it.

Get all that you can out of your readings. I suggest keeping a notebook (digital or paper notebook) where you compile notes from this course for later review.

Before reading each article/chapter, first quickly skim the entire set of readings for that session. Ask yourself, "What do these readings have in common?" I strongly suggest taking notes (handwritten, mobile device), and/or making a visual map (e.g., Popplet, etc.) of the course readings.

Use the study guides to structure your reading.

Before reading

· Eliminate all distractions in your reading environment. Set aside worries and anxieties to focus on your reading(s).

· Ask yourself what you already know about the topic. Jot down a few ideas.

· Set a purpose for yourself for reading each article. Consider or write down at least 1-3 questions that you hope to get answers to by reading the article.

During reading

· Look up any unknown words online on a literacy glossary of terms (several links will be provided). Keep a list of key terms to know.

· Consider applications to your present teaching and/or if you are a literacy coach.

· Pose questions. What about the reading do you not understand? Ask questions in class. Be ready to discuss key points in the reading in class. I will also ask critical thinking questions about key ideas from the readings in class.

· Consider taking notes while you read, beyond your marginal annotations. If you are reading digitally, some of the readings can be annotated digitally. Consider taking notes on your phone, if you have a "notes" type of feature, and email them to yourself.

· Consider taking visual memos/notes on Popplet or another mind mapping tool via a mobile device or laptop. http://popplet.com/

After reading

· Look back at the guiding questions that you set for yourself as a student and reader. Were you able to answer your questions?

· If there is a journal due for the discussion board, after reading is a good time to do it while the reading is still fresh in your mind (or at least get a good draft down, to revise later). Give yourself time to "digest" the readings when you have time to write afterwards.

Required Reading: Tips on Reading a Research Article

This is a good review of "What is an academic journal article?" Your capstone assignment will require you to read journal articles for your professional development newsletter.


Overview video: Phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, and phonics

These are some of the trickiest concepts in the course. This video provides a quick overview!

This video shares basic information about some terminology surrounding the teaching of emergent and beginning reading. It focuses on the definitions and distinctions between phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, and phonics.

In a nutshell:

Phonological awareness is the broader awareness of sound and is auditory.

Phonemic awareness is the awareness of the smallest units of sound in a word and the ability to segment, blend, isolate, and manipulate those smallest individual units of sound. It is auditory.

Phonics is the relationship between phonemes and graphemes. It is learning the rules and patterns of the letter-sound relationship.

Phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, and phonics

Defining Key Concepts in Language and Literacy Development

This 9-minute video describes the components of language that teachers need to know about language and literacy instruction.

Key terms include:





--relationships between words

grammar/syntax (morphology)




Defining Key Concepts in Language and Literacy Development

Optional Reading Related to Course Content: Glossary of Terms from FCRR

Optional reading (highly recommended):

Print out or download and save the glossary of terms. Read through and note terms that are less familiar to you. Try to incorporate these terms into your discussion board posts and other assignments. As a teacher you will be expected to know the meaning of these terms. It would be good to keep it handy as you study and review for your reading specialist exam.

Source: Florida Center for Reading Research


Read about the Stages of Literacy Development in the Link Below (Source: Literacy Bug website)

Good Websites to Bookmark, Check Frequently, Follow on Facebook and/or Twitter, and Link to on your Discussion Posts

Please spend a few minutes browsing through the following super fabulous websites! They are good ones to bookmark.

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Tips for Preparing for the TExES Reading Specialist Exam

Netiquette (Net Etiquette) Guidelines!

Please read these resources on Netiquette for posting to the discussion areas!


Tech Support Contact Info

General UT Arlington Tech Support (Login, technical issues with logging in):

OIT Help Desk: https://www.uta.edu/oit/cs/helpdesk/

How to Request a Service or Report a Problem:

Canvas Technical Info (if needed)

· The University has a module on how to learn how to use Canvas. It is here: Student Canvas orientation on how to navigate Canvas: click here for Canvas Student Orientation.

· For an introduction to the Canvas interface, please watch this Canvas Overview video. For help with other features of Canvas, see Getting Started as a Student or the more comprehensive Canvas Student Guide.

· You can access Canvas from a web browser or by downloading the free Canvas Student app on Android (Google Play) and iOS (iTunes) devices.

· If you run into any technical problems this semester, you can reach Canvas support from within Canvas by clicking on the Help icon (question mark) on the bottom of the left menu and selecting "Chat with Canvas Support (Students)" or “Canvas Support Hotline (Students)”.

· If you are accessing this course from a mobile device, please review the following: Mobile Guides - Canvas Student

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Contacting the Professor

I can easily be reached by email: peggys@uta.edu

Another way to contact me is through UTA email, Canvas email, or Microsoft Teams.

Thank you for reading this orientation module!

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M.Ed. Program

Let your colleagues know about the M.Ed. in Literacy Studies at UT Arlington!


OPTIONAL: I would like to learn from you! If you know of any good websites, resources, and tools that are good for elementary literacy learning, please fill out the form below!