Welcome to Online Speech 104, Critical Thinking

I want to welcome you to this online version of Speech 104, Critical Thinking. In this course we will cover everything we do in the face to face version of the class, but it will be totally done online. There are no in-person class meetings. Beginning Monday, February 5, your “virtual class” will be available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Speech 104 is designed to make you a more confident critical thinker. In this class we will be working at making you a better critical thinker and a more confident decision maker. We will be doing that by studying a variety of topics including communication, persuasion, perception, argumentation, language, evidence, reasoning, and the relation between truth and validity. And all of this will be done online.

We will be using the textbook, Communicating Critical Thinking, by Jack Sterk and Jim Marteney. The text is necessary for the course and can be obtained at the Los Angeles Valley College Bookstore.

I just to warn you about two myths I often hear from students:

Myth 1: An online class is easier than a face to face class.
This class is not hard, but it may actually take more time than a face to face class. Instead of sitting and talking in a class, you will be reading lessons and writing comments in the discussion section. In a typical class you would attend three hours a week, spend another three hours or more reading the text and doing homework. In this online class you should be prepared to spend that much time each week online.

But here is the good news. An online class may take more time, but it is more convenient. You may take the class anywhere you can find an Internet connection any time day or night. Some students enjoy spending time at Starbucks drinking coffee and connecting to the Internet with their laptop.

Myth 2: I can do my school work at entirely my own pace.
You do have a lot of freedom when and where you do your class work. You can work in the morning or late at night, but there will be deadlines for discussions and assignments so you will have to follow a schedule. You need self discipline, but you still have some flexibility when you go online to do your work.

My goal will be to make this class so interesting and stimulating that you will want to join us online and participate in the activities.


Getting Started
To enter the class you will need to go to the class portal at:


When you get there you will need to do two things.

First, click the left hand link that is titled, “System Requirements.” Follow the instructions to make sure that your system will work well with the college’s online learning system called Etudes NG. Follow all the instructions there including those for the “cache” settings and setting up your “cookies,” “java” etc. Your computer will then be ready to go. One of the biggest problems students have is with their computer system. Follow these instructions and you will experience much less frustration and headaches.

Second, you need to log into the class. On the left hand column click the option titled, “login help.” Scroll down to where you can click, “Los Angeles Valley College login instructions”. There you will find the instructions you need to log on to our class.

Very Important

The first day you can log on is Monday February 5. If you have not logged on and participated in the first discussion by Saturday, February 10, and 11:30 p.m., then I will assume you do not want to take the class. It is just like attending the first day of class. You need to log into the class and participate before Saturday, February 10, at 11:30 p.m.

If you have any problems with logging in or concerns about the class, you can contact me at my school email address: martenji@lavc.edu

I am looking forward to meeting all of you online and working with you this semester.

Jim Marteney