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I'm debating back and forth on some grammar choices because I can't decide for certain whether the second parts of my sentences are independent clauses since their subjects are in the first parts of the sentences. My gut says to take the commas out, but when I read them aloud I feel like the commas are needed. Do I need the commas that I currently have in the following sentences? (Note: these are both bullet points so there isn't much of a contextual frame for the sentences themselves.)

  • Online collaborative assignments that provide an opportunity for online and in-person classes to work together, and that enable students in similar courses to connect with one another and build a shared knowledge base.

  • Contextualized assignments that allow students to apply the skills they are learning to real-world problems, and provide occasions for different departments to work together towards common goals.

  • No, they are relative clauses :) You can substitute the word which for the word that in your phrases: "Online collaborative assignments which provide an opportunity ...". This shows that they are relative clauses. – Araucaria Apr 25 '16 at 6:55
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    By the way, those aren't strictly sentences, they are long noun phrases. They could be the Subject or Object of a sentence, but they aren't a sentence themselves: "[Online collaborative assignments that provide an opportunity for online and in-person classes to work together, and that enable students in similar courses to connect with one another and build a shared knowledge base] are very useful for students" for example. – Araucaria Apr 25 '16 at 6:57
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    You are right. The question is very well justified. Do we need Oxford commas? Yes, and No. In the first sentence above, the Oxford comma helps to group together the noun phrases and facilitates reading and comprehension. In the second, It mere helps break the monotony of the long sentence without introducing a grammatical error or effecting readability. So yes, it's fine to use these commas here. But no, some purists (and style guides, especially) may strike down the use of any comma before the conjunction and, no excuses. Check your style manual. – Kris Apr 25 '16 at 7:20
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    This isn't a grammar issue, but a style question. – Kris Apr 25 '16 at 7:20
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    @WS2 OK, I've read these "sentences" three times, and they still look like noun phrases to me. So does your reduced version of the first one. – Andreas Blass May 5 '16 at 22:11
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Both of your examples are not actually full sentences. The first example has a subject and two subordinate clauses, but no main verb. Do you want one of the main clauses to become the main verb?

(Online collaborative assignments)SUBJECT (that provide an opportunity for online and in-person classes to work together,)CLAUSE and (that enable students in similar courses to connect with one another and build a shared knowledge base.)CLAUSE. 

instead can become

(Online collaborative assignments)SUBJECT (that provide an opportunity for online and in-person classes to work together,)CLAUSE (enable)VERB students in similar courses to connect with one another and build a shared knowledge base.

or

(Online collaborative assignments)SUBJECT (provide)VERB an opportunity for online and in-person classes to work together, and (enable)VERB students in similar courses to connect with one another and build a shared knowledge base.
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According to me, keeping aside all the discussions. The two sentences are long enough. So it will actually make sense if you put commas in between to make a short pause while you read it out. That will also make the sentences easily understandable for others. :)

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It does not matter if the subject is the same in the two clauses. What matters is that you have two subjects typed. Check this page from Purdue OWL for more information.

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    I recommend quoting the relevant parts from the link, just in case the link gets broken. – NVZ Apr 30 '16 at 4:37
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It is advisable to remove 'that' & 'and that' from the first bullet point retaining the "," as it is; it will make sense.

Inthe second bullet point remove both 'that' & "," to make it sensible.

Bullet points can accommodate 'run-ons'. In that case, we should make groundworks. Say, "The course has following advantages. Now, the bullets.

  • ...
  • ...

In that case, remove the 'and' following the only only "," in the first bullet point.

In the second, there is no need to use ",".

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Here are some revisions that might help because there are multiple mistakes in your "not so much of a sentence" sentence.

Option A) replace that... Online collaborative assignments (need to, should, will, etc.) provide an opportunity for online as well as in-person classes to work together, enable students in similar courses to connect with one another, and build a shared knowledge base.

Option B) online assignments can: then list your ideas.

Option C) make online collaborative assignments a separate idea altogether and list what it does with bullets.

  • i do not know how one could not read what i said. i did not feel i needed to make my comment properly capitalized.your snarky comment is unappreciated.Also i was running out of time to write my comment so i hurried hoping that someone who is working in the professional world knows how to read notes. – emily shaath May 7 '16 at 14:14

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