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Course Planning by Program


Essential Objectives

Course Syllabus

Revision Date: 22-Dec-23

English Composition

Semester Dates: Last day to drop without a grade: 02-11-2024 - Refund Policy
Last day to withdraw (W grade): 03-24-2024 - Refund Policy
This course has started, please contact the offering academic center about registration


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Course Description

In this course, students develop effective composition skills and research techniques. Students learn strategies for organizing, evaluating, and revising their work through extensive reading of a variety of essay styles and literary texts; apply writing and research techniques to their papers; and demonstrate proficiency in first-year college-level writing and information literacy.

Essential Objectives

1. Consistently apply an appropriate writing process that includes planning, drafting, revising, and editing.
2. Demonstrate in written work an awareness of the relationship among writer, subject, audience, and purpose.
3. Demonstrate writing proficiency with a range of rhetorical approaches to include narration, exposition, argument, and critical analysis and recognize the stylistic and structural strategies in the writing of others.
4. Discuss writing by authors from diverse (such as racial, ethnic, socioeconomic and gender) backgrounds to explore how perspectives and experiences may shape voice in composition.
5. Focus written work around an explicit central thesis, a position statement or proposition advanced by the writer that is arguable and supportable and develop the thesis systematically, using specific details and supporting evidence.
6. Compose written work that demonstrates effective use of sentence structure, paragraphing, grammar, syntax, punctuation, and spelling.
7. Demonstrate proficiency in research writing skills by completing one or more papers that:
a) Develop and support an arguable thesis;
b) Locate, evaluate, and incorporate appropriate scholarly and professional sources, including primary and secondary evidence as needed, to address an academic research question;
c) Appropriately acknowledge and document sources, using standard MLA or APA styles.

Required Technology

More information on general computer and internet recommendations is available on the CCV IT Support page. https://support.ccv.edu/general/computer-recommendations/

Please see CCV's Digital Equity Statement (pg. 45) to learn more about CCV's commitment to supporting all students access the technology they need to successfully finish their courses.

Required Textbooks and Resources

This course only uses free Open Educational Resources (OER) and/or library materials. For details, see the Canvas Site for this class.


Our Zoom classes will generally include the following:

* A writing warm-up, usually something fun and free-form related to what we’ll be doing during that class session
* Discussion of the aspect of writing we're focusing on for the following week
* Group activities designed to practice the writing concept we’re studying
* Offering feedback or doing a feedback workshop
* Mechanics reviews, as needed

Work done outside of class will include

  • reading essays and writing responses to them
  • online discussions with classmates about readings
  • reading about elements of writing we're studying
  • reading on grammar and usage
  • videos
  • quizzes on grammar and usage
  • writing outlines
  • writing thesis statements
  • writing first drafts of essays
  • writing second/final drafts of essays
  • researching, both on the internet and through the Hartness Library
  • writing annotations (notes) of research findings
  • creating Works Cited lists (sources of your research)

Evaluation Criteria

Narrative essay: 5%

Illustration essay: 12.5%

Compare/contrast essay: 12.5%

Research paper: 25%

Class participation: 25%

Journals: 10%

Quizzes: 10%

Note that students must receive a grade of 65 or higher on their research papers to pass the class. The capacity to master this assignment is integral to the course objective which is why I have this requirement.

Grading Criteria

CCV Letter Grades as outlined in the Evaluation System Policy are assigned according to the following chart:

A Less than 9893
A-Less than 9390
B+Less than 9088
B Less than 8883
B-Less than 8380
C+Less than 8078
C Less than 7873
C-Less than 7370
D+Less than 7068
D Less than 6863
D-Less than 6360
FLess than 60 
NPLess than 600

Weekly Schedule

Week/ModuleTopic  Readings  Assignments


Introductions and Narrative Structure




Time to Walk the Dog by Betsy Buchalter Adler

Student sample narrative essay

Video:Narrative writing


Discussion* analyzing/responding to essays

* icebreaker


What are you looking forward to in this class? What are you concerned about? What will be your biggest learning challenge?



The Writing Process, Narrative Essays


“Sixty-nineCents(Links to an external site.)” by Gary Shteyngart



Point out the beginning, middle, and end of the essay Sixty-nine Cents." Also discuss other narrative elements (tone, language, structure, introduction, thesis, and conclusion).

Video: Developing a personal writing process

Quiz: commas

Assignment: draft 1 of narrative essay due



Audience and Perspective



“The Fourth ofJuly” by Audre Lorde


Revision/editing, Knowing Your Audience


Journal: Write a bit about how the class is going for you so far, especially if there's anything you're struggling with. 250 words minimum.


Answer the following questions:

· What techniques does the writer use to connect with you?

· What is the conflict?

· What sensory details does the writer use effectively? What role do these details play in the writing?

· Did you connect with a character, and if so, why? If not, what do you feel was missing?

· Do you feel you were part of the writer’s imagined audience? Why or why not?



Example Essays, Thesis Statements



HERS(Links to an external site.)by Perri Klass

Student example essay

What is a thesis statement?

Video:The Danger of a SingleStory(Links to an external site.) by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

MLA citation



Assignment: Final draft of narrative essay due



Example Essays



What is an example essay

Homeless(Links to an external site.)by Anna Quindlen

Evidence and knowing your audience




What is Quindlen’s thesis? How does she support it?

Assignment: Outline and first draft of example essay due



Citation and Summarizing



Essay: Mr. Rogers Had a Simple Set of Rules for Talking to Children by Maxwell King

Using Harness Library to find scholarly sources

Opposing viewpoints

Effective summarizing


avoiding plagiarism (when to quote, when to summarize)

Correct usage of pronouns


Journal: What are you struggling with? What are you making progress with?

Discussion: Summarize the Mr. Rogers essay.


Pick a topic from the ones listed below. Read on the Hartness Library’s opposing viewpoints. Summarize three sources and cite them MLA style. Craft a Works Cited list.

· Plastic Waste (Links to an external site.)

· Reproductive rights (Links to an external site.)

· Anti-racist (Links to an external site.)

· Artificial Intelligence (Links to an external site.)

Quiz: Pronouns



Comparison and Contrast Essays



· Compare/contrast essays: elements, purpose

· Essay: “Disability(Links to an external site.)” by Nancy Mairs

Student sample essay

On outlining



Responding to the essay, answer the following questions:

· What points of comparison does the writer use?

· How does the author go beyond the obvious similarities and differences to bring interesting ideas and insights to the reader?

-Is the writer effective? Why?

Assignment:Final draft of Example essays due



Writing Comparison and Contrast Essays



Essay, “Neat People vs. Sloppy People"by Suzanne Britt

Writing Comparison Contrast essays



After reading "Neat People vs. Sloppy People" by Suzanne Britt, tell us about your reading experience that focuses on the following questions. Be sure to use quotations to get full credit for your work:

* Describe briefly the two things being compared and contrasted.

* What did this essay teach you about compare/contrast writing? Was the essay a good compare/contrast examples in your opinion? Why or why not?

* Use quotations from the essay to back up your thoughts.


Outline and first draft of comparison/contrast essay



Practicing Compare and Contrast




“Are Women Better Decision Makers?” by Therese Huston

Active versus Passive Voice in Writing


Toni Morrison on Good and Evil



Discuss similarities and differences in how the author and speaker use comparison and contrast in the essay and the video. Which makes the stronger points? What made them strong? How can you apply those principles to rewriting your comparison/contrast essay?


Active vs. Passive Voice


What is something you feel insecure about going into your compare/contrast essay? Is there any way I can help?



The Research or Position Paper



What is a research/position paper?

Student research paper #1: Rough 'em Up (why educators and parents should encourage rough and tumble play for young children)

Student research paper #2: One Size Fits None: Size Inclusivity in the Fashion Industry (fashion students should be required to have size-inclusivity education while in school)



After reading the two sample research papers, write a post about your reading experience that focuses on the following questions:

· What did both of these essays teach you about position papers?

· What questions did the papers raise for you about MLA format?

· How will reading these essays help you to write your own position paper?


Final Draft Compare/Contrast

Submit Your Research Paper Topic



Thesis Statements and Sources



Guidelines for English Composition Research Paper

Hartness Library | Writing a Research Paper

Using Academic Sources


Thesis statements (Links to an external site.)



· Post three options for possible thesis statements for your topic (should be the same topic for all three).

· Explore your topic through Hartness Library. Find a minimum of 3 sources.

· Use the following template for your proposed sources. Offer each other tips and help where appropriate. This will count as a graded assignment rather than a participation grade, so be sure to have at least three sources!

· Source Title (provide a link to the source if possible)

· Summarize the source:What are the main arguments? What is the point of this book or article? What topics are covered? If someone asked what this article/book is about, what would you say? (3-4 sentences)

· Assess the source:After summarizing a source, it may be helpful to evaluate it. Is it a useful source? How does it compare with other sources in your bibliography? Is the information reliable? Is this source biased or objective? What is the goal of this source? (1-2 sentences)

· Reflect: Once you've summarized and assessed a source, you need to ask how it fits into your research. Was this source helpful to you? How does it help you shape your argument? How can you use this source in your research project? Has it changed how you think about your topic? (1-2 sentences)


thesis statements



Outlining Your Research Paper



Creating Your Research Paper Outline

Creating an Outline from UNC Writing Center

Outline Template

MLA Sample Works Cited Page from Purdue OWL



Submit Your Outline

Submit Works Cited Page


What are you noticing about your writing? Is there something you want to focus on as you begin writing your research paper?



First Draft of Research Paper



Getting Started: Strategies for Drafting

More About Writing The First Draft Of Your Research Paper: Tone, Voice, and Point of View: First Person, Second Person, and Third Person

Should I Summarize, Paraphrase, or Quote in my Research Paper?

Subject-verb agreement



· You are now at probably the most challenging time in the semester: writing your research paper draft! There are a lot of sources out there in the world for you to use as you tackle this task, but I am going to direct you again to the Hartness Library's Research Basics guide. Two of the steps they list are particularly useful for your work this week, and I have provided the links below. After reading through these links, share here what will be most helpful to you from each of these links as applied to your paper.

· https://libguides.hartness.vsc.edu/researchbasics/thesis (Links to an external site.)(Links to an external site.)

· https://libguides.hartness.vsc.edu/researchbasics/writing (Links to an external site.)(Links to an external site.)


Research Paper: First Draft


Subject-verb agreement



Analyze an Argument



Proofreading Tips & Strategies

Four Suggestions Proofreading your Paper

“The Case AgainstTorture(Links to an external site.)” by Alisa Solomon

“The Case for Torture” by Michael Levin



· What are the strengths and weaknesses of each essay?

· Can you detect any bias in either piece? What is the effect on you as a reader?

· What makes these essays successful? What challenges remain in the writing or research? What did you learn from these essays that will help you with the revision of your research paper?


Final grammar and usage. Review all the grammar material to date before taking this quiz.



Final Draft of Research Paper



On revision



Semester Recap/ Reflection

You've worked hard all semester, and not it's time to reflect on what you've learned and where you're going next. For this post, comment on the following:

1. Your favorite reading from this course: why was it your favorite?

1. Your favorite assignment: why was it your favorite?

1. Your favorite essay: why was it your favorite?

1. Are you aware of writing skills you need to continue to develop?

1. Add anything else you would like to share with your classmates and/ or me.


Final draft of research paper


Attendance Policy

Regular attendance and participation in classes are essential for success in and are completion requirements for courses at CCV. A student's failure to meet attendance requirements as specified in course descriptions will normally result in a non-satisfactory grade.

  • In general, missing more than 20% of a course due to absences, lateness or early departures may jeopardize a student's ability to earn a satisfactory final grade.
  • Attending an on-ground or synchronous course means a student appeared in the live classroom for at least a meaningful portion of a given class meeting. Attending an online course means a student posted a discussion forum response, completed a quiz or attempted some other academically required activity. Simply viewing a course item or module does not count as attendance.
  • Meeting the minimum attendance requirement for a course does not mean a student has satisfied the academic requirements for participation, which require students to go above and beyond simply attending a portion of the class. Faculty members will individually determine what constitutes participation in each course they teach and explain in their course descriptions how participation factors into a student's final grade.

Participation Expectations

Full participation requires active and thoughtful engagement in class each week. The following habits and skills are important. I grade students on participation for each class using the following criteria:

  • Attend Zoom class regularly, on-time, on-camera, and for the full session
  • Complete all of the week's reading and assignments before the start of class
  • Be fully present during Zoom sessions; no side conversations or distracting behaviors including other people or noise on camera. Appropriate attire, sitting up (not in bed) during class time
  • Positively and actively contribute to class discussions and activities
  • Ask questions and seek help when you need it

Missing & Late Work Policy

I highly encourage students to turn work in on time. Getting behind in this class can easily result in failing it, as the pace is fast; if you fall behind, it will be very difficult to catch up. At the same time, I know that life happens, and I'd rather you get your work done late than not at all.

Assignments: If we do not have a conversation and you turn your assignment in late but within six days of the due date, I will accept it but deduct 5% per day off your grade.

Papers: If you know you will have a problem turning in a paper on time, please talk to me before the due date. I am open to three "negotiated" late papers; you still need to get the paper in within six days of the deadline. Note that there are NO extensions for the final research paper because it is simply too close to the end of class, and I need to get final grades in on time.

If work is missing six days after a deadline, I will grade it as a zero.

Accessibility Services for Students with Disabilities:

CCV strives to mitigate barriers to course access for students with documented disabilities. To request accommodations, please
  1. Provide disability documentation to the Accessibility Coordinator at your academic center. https://ccv.edu/discover-resources/students-with-disabilities/
  2. Request an appointment to meet with accessibility coordinator to discuss your request and create an accommodation plan.
  3. Once created, students will share the accommodation plan with faculty. Please note, faculty cannot make disability accommodations outside of this process.

Academic Integrity

CCV has a commitment to honesty and excellence in academic work and expects the same from all students. Academic dishonesty, or cheating, can occur whenever you present -as your own work- something that you did not do. You can also be guilty of cheating if you help someone else cheat. Being unaware of what constitutes academic dishonesty (such as knowing what plagiarism is) does not absolve a student of the responsibility to be honest in his/her academic work. Academic dishonesty is taken very seriously and may lead to dismissal from the College.