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History 2010 - Ramey - TN eCampus: Writing Essays

This guide is designed to provide library and research support to students taking U.S. History I from Dr. Ramey through the TNeCampus program.

Writing Essays

U.S. History I requires a considerable amount of writing.  This can be intimidating, but don't let it defeat you!  Here are some suggestions for managing this aspect of the course, as well as links to good resources to help you write essays.

  • First and foremost, do not wait until the last minute to start.  This can be difficult with busy schedules and outside obligations, but you will be rewarded with less stress and better grades overall.


  • Read the question carefully.  If you don't understand it, check with your instructor - the sooner the better so you have plenty of time to do your work.


  • Read the course material carefully before you start.  It's difficult to write about it if you don't know it yet.


  • Create an outline.  I realize this may seem unnecessary, but as one who struggles with writing, I have found making an outline of my main points and supporting details helps me to organize my thoughts and make sure I include everything that is needed.


  • Gather additional information as needed.  I have tried to find articles, eBooks, and Internet resources that are applicable to each written assignment and placed them on the pages under your instructor's tab.  They may be a good place to start, or may offer more information if you want to learn more.  You can always contact me for any help in researching, locating, or accessing information.


  • Revise and proof-read your essay.  Things to watch for:
    1. Content - Are you actually answering the question/providing the correct information?  If it is off-topic or wrong, it doesn't matter how well you wrote it.
    2. Flow - Does your essay make sense?  Does each paragraph make a logical progression from the previous?  Does your introduction state the thesis of your essay?  Do you bring it all back together in a solid conclusion?
    3. Grammar, punctuation, and spelling - You cannot write an essay the same way you would write a text message, tweet, Facebook post, etc.
    4. Plagiarism - If you have quoted, paraphrased, or used the ideas of someone else, you need to give them credit.  See the Citation Guides tab for help using MLA or APA format.  If you need additional help, contact me. 
  • Turn your assignment in on time, in the manner requested by your instructor.  Students can have difficulty on occasion with the Drop Box, so you don't want to wait until the literal last minute.  Once the drop box is closed, you can't submit anything to it.  If you are supposed to email it, make sure to include a subject line that lets your instructor know that it is an assignment being submitted.


  • Don't forget that your instructor is there for you, and I am, too!  We want you to be successful, in this class and in life.  The nature of an online course can sometimes make you feel isolated, but we are real people out there who care about you, so don't hesitate to ask questions.