Frequently Asked Questions - Students
- I don't read well and I don't like to read. Can I still use CGC?
CGC does include a lot of reading, but not much reading on any one screen. After you have read each lesson, you get a chance to practice exercises in a hands-on way on your computer. Take your time when you read the lessons and exercises and you should be fine. In a pilot study of the program we did in the fall with community college and college students, 91% reported that the reading level worked well for them.
If you try the program and find the reading is too hard, consider going to your teacher or to your academic support center on campus and asking for a tutor to help you.
- I've never liked grammar. Why would I like CGC?
Sometimes in the past, grammar was taught in a very strict way and some teachers did not have much patience when students made errors. Often, when grammar was taught in that way, the rules of grammar also were not well-connected to writing itself.
When we designed CGC, however, we kept a lot of good, solid learning theory in mind. Those learning theories helped us design a program that is meant to encourage you and cause you to think about how grammar and punctuation can help you communicate your good ideas clearly in a way that you can be sure your readers will understand.
Since most college-level students have good ideas they want to communicate, we believe you will enjoy learning how to communicate clearly using CGC.
- I'm not good with computers. Will I still like CGC?
CGC does not require sophisticated computer skills. If you can navigate most websites, you can use CGC with confidence. As with all new online programs, give yourself time to become familiar with the program before you begin and you will be fine. To make sure you understand what you need to do, read the Help section that you can open from the CGC home page (called the "Bookshelf" in CGC).
- My computer is old. Can I still use CGC?
CGC will run on almost all computers that can run Adobe Flash. If your computer is not able to handle updated versions of those browsers, you should plan to use computer lab at your school or borrow a computer from a friend.
Please see the support page for the exact technical requirements.
- I've tried to learn how to write with proper grammar in the past, but I always forget everything. Can CGC help me?
Yes! CGC can help you remember the grammar and punctuation rules that college-level readers expect to see and understand. CGC is based on solid educational principles that help make sure the new ideas will stick with you.
In addition, CGC agrees with what our families taught us: "Practice makes perfect." There are numerous engaging exercises that follow each lesson. If you get five exercises in a row right, you get to move on to another lesson. But there are many more than five exercises available to you, and you can keep practicing until you feel comfortable.
You can return to lessons online to jog your memory as long as your subscription is active. And you can download and print lessons to review whenever you would like.
Once you have finished all your lessons, there is also a "weigh-in game" that gives you even more practice opportunities.
You are right: it is easy to forget how to write using proper grammar. Keep practicing what you learn in CGC, review lessons when you need to, and, over time, you will find yourself writing using proper grammar.
- I learned English as a second language. Can CGC help me?
CGC has been used at a number of schools for students who have learned English as a second language. Students in those classes have told their teachers that CGC has been very helpful to them as they learned to write correctly using more formal English than they might use when they are speaking. Because CGC is online, you can take as much time as you need to understand each lesson and to work through each exercise carefully.
Each exercise is followed by a pop-up explanation that tells you why you were right or wrong. Students who have learned English as a second language seem to especially appreciate those explanations.
- I have always been good at formal grammar. What can CGC offer me?
Students (like you) who learned formal grammar somewhere earlier in their education are lucky! You may have more confidence in your ability to write clearly in lots of different settings than do students who are not yet as experienced as you.
Students who enjoy grammar tell us that CGC is fun for them. There is always lots that we can all learn about written communication, and CGC encourages students to think not only about what they are writing, but also about what those choices are communicating to their readers. Thinking about your readers' expectations is an interesting way to view your grammar choices, and it is something that CGC can help you practice.
In addition, CGC respects your prior knowledge and your time. When you take the CGC pre-test, you can "earn" your way out of having to complete a lesson by scoring 100% on the pre-test questions for that lesson. Scoring 100% on the pre-test questions is a good sign that you have already mastered most of the information in that lesson. You can then focus your energy on learning new things in lessons that you may not have as solid a handle on.
- I don't have much time to do homework. Will I have time for CGC?
CGC is a good learning tool for students who are busy. Each lesson can be completed in a reasonable period of time (about 15-20 minutes), so it is the kind of homework you can squeeze in between other activities instead of having to sit down for long stretches of time to finish. (Just be sure to pay attention. You won't learn effectively if you squeeze in the lessons while you are doing many other things at the same time.)
To complete the whole program effectively, and have the lessons stick, plan ahead. Do not try to do more than two or three lessons in a row without taking a break. Instead, start early, work on your lessons at a steady pace, and you will have finished before you know it.
Another way to save time in some classes that are using CGC is to pay careful attention when you take the Pre-Test. In some classes, you are allowed to "place out of a lesson" (without going through the whole lesson on your own) if you score 100% on the questions that correspond with that lesson. That option is not available in all schools, but check with your teacher to see if that option is available at yours.
- If I buy CGC, how long will my subscription last?
A subscription to CGC will last a full calendar year from the date you purchase it. Also, note that you can download and print lessons to keep forever, even after your subscription has expired.