Freshman Connections

Freshman Common Writing Experience


 *The Common Writing Experience*

--for Fall 2016 will open on July 15--

*This essay assignment is administered online through Blackboard. All students participating in Freshman Connections are expected to complete this assignment, regardless of current placement in the Writing Program or prior credit (AP, dual-credit, transfer, or other) for one or more Writing Program courses; if you've received such credit, you will still receive credit for those courses.


  1. READ: You must read the Freshman Common Reader (The True American) first. You may wish to take notes or to highlight interesting or important passages as you read.
  2. PREPARE: You may do this by writing a summary and response to the text, discussing the text with others, or doing additional research on your own.  Please review the EXPECTATIONS for the Common Writing Assignment.
  3. WRITE: Once you’ve finished reading the text, you may log in to the writing assignment on Blackboard at any time beginning July 15 and before August 15. *Be sure you have a strong, reliable Internet connection.*  When you log in, you will receive a prompt asking you to compose an essay on one of two specific questions raised by the book. You will have two hours to complete the assignment, so be sure that you have sufficient time and are ready to write when you log in.  We recommend composing your essay in a word processing program (such as Microsoft Word) so that you can save and keep a copy of your work; you can then upload your essay to Blackboard.  If you experience any difficulty submitting your essay or lose your Internet connection and cannot log back in, e-mail your completed essay to Carli Hendershot immediately.

*For problems with your Ball State username and password, please contact the HelpDesk.*

The system is structured to assign different questions during different time periods.  You may log in to a given time period only once; if you log in and log back out, you will have to wait until the next available time period to log in again.  You may log in to the assignment a total of two times (two different time periods, once each).  To log in a third time, or for ANY other questions or problems, contact Carli Hendershot.  Remember that you need to complete the assignment only once. 

You will need your Ball State username and password to log in.

You should have your copy of the text (The True American) handy, as well as a dictionary. You may also have any notes or practice writing you’ve done, and blank paper for notes, outlines, brainstorming ideas, etc.

If you need a disability accommodation for this assignment, please contact Disability Services at 765-285-5293.


Once you enter your username and password, you will be officially logged in and must complete the assignment within two hours.

The prompts for the assignment will be available in the "Content" section of the Freshman Connections Blackboard Site.

login to Blackboard to write the essay

(prompts will be posted on July 15)

Helpful Links

Support Materials

Information and Resources

Study Questions

Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities
Student Academic Ethics Policy
The OWL at Purdue (for APA and MLA citation guidelines)