Instructor: Julia Brown
H455 Desk C
Office Hours: Monday, Wednesday 12-1pm

Monday, Wednesday 10:10am-12:00pm M143

Course Description:

In this course you will develop habits of mind that will enable you to read, think, and write at a college level. You will become more aware of writing for an audience and of how different genres of writing have different demands. As a class, we will explore features and devices of rhetoric, methods of secondary research, and processes of invention, revision, and editing. All classes will be conducted as seminars, involving student-centered discussions, response to peer drafts, and writing practice. Computer lab sessions will facilitate online writing practice and research.

Keys to Success:

    1. The most successful students in a general education English/Humanities course accept that they have much to gain from the course, stay on top of the reading, think critically about the reading and actively participate in class discussions.
    2. Successful students, furthermore, see writing as more than the means of completing required assignments. They think of writing as not only a means of communication, but also an opportunity for reflection and a mode of personal expression. Finally, successful students see writing as a means of discovering their ideas on the subject at hand through revision.

Academic Support:

Any student who feels that he/she may need an accommodation based upon the impact of a disability should contact me privately to discuss his/her specific needs. Please contact the office of Services for Students with Disabilities in Science Building, room 132 (718-631-6257) to coordinate reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities.

Required Course Materials

Texts: All texts will be available via Blackboard, and the course website as live links.
Other: An active Blackboard account and QCC email.

Course objectives/ expected student learning outcomes:

By the end of EN-101, students will be able to perform the following tasks:

  • Summarize, analyze, and synthesize diverse readings including multidisciplinary academic articles, essays, literary works, or other relevant genres.
  • Identify an intellectual question or problem worthy of further study through the process of reading, research, and writing.
  • Differentiate relevant evidence throughout all writing tasks, including written texts, visual images, electronic media and such primary sources as observations, interviews, and surveys.
  • Use a variety of writing and revision strategies for generating, revising, editing and proofreading writing.
  • Determine logical arguments and stylistic approaches appropriate to form or genre of writing: transitional language, progressive development of ideas, etc.

Course Policies:

All papers must be typed in Times New Roman font, double spaced, and 12 point. All essays must be documented and formatted in accordance with MLA style. All papers must be submitted via Blackboard as a Word document or a PDF.

Your work in this class will be shared with your classmates. I will ask for volunteers to present work; however, if no one volunteers, I will choose people whose work we will revise. Therefore, you should not write anything of a very private nature in your papers. Remember, you will always have an audience of your classmates for what you write in this class.

Academic Integrity:

At the heart of the educational process are the opportunities provided for students to demonstrate understanding and knowledge in each of their courses and to have their command of subject matter evaluated by faculty. Students must be guided, therefore, by the most rigorous standards of academic honesty in preparing all assignments and writing all examinations. In cases of doubt about ethical conduct, students should ask their instructors. However the following rules apply in all cases:

  • Each student’s work shall be the result of the student’s own effort.
  • Each student shall identify appropriately the work of others when it is incorporated into the writing of papers or examinations. This includes both direct quotations and paraphrased opinions and ideas.
  • Each student will follow the directions of the instructor with regard to permissible materials in a room at the time of tests and examinations.
  • No student shall give or receive any assistance whatsoever or communicate in any way with another student while an examination of any kind is being conducted.
  • No student shall attempt to obtain or disseminate the content of an examination of any kind prior to distribution by the instructor.
  • No student may submit the same work to more than one instructor without the prior approval of the instructor involved.
  • No student shall act in a way that endangers the academic integrity of the college.

These rules will assure probity in student evaluation and performance standards that are equal for every student enrolled in classes at the College. Any deviation from the aforementioned rules may result in a failing grade (F) for the work in question and for the entire course at the discretion of the instructor. More serious penalties may result in those instances in which the University’s Student Disciplinary Procedures stated in the handbook are invoked.

Furthermore, do not, under any circumstance, cut and paste information from websites like into your essays. I will know, and you will fail the assignment.

For more information visit:

Preparation and Participation:

Since this is a composition course, students are expected to do a significant amount of writing. Consult the course schedule for deadlines. Please bring any assigned articles or handouts to class to enhance your abilities to participate in discussions and to complete in-class assignments. Also bring a pen and paper to each and every class.

We will be using various forms of electronic communication in class, and forms of electronic communication are welcome as long as they address the collective class goals. However, each usage of electronic communication that is not directly related to class will result in lowering your participation grade. Cell phones are rarely (if ever) relevant to class goals, this means that if your cell phone rings in class, you lose full participation points for the day. If you text message anyone in class, you lose full participation points for the day. Please keep in mind that I will not interrupt the learning of the rest of the class to ask you to refrain from cell phone use, unless it is excessively loud, in which case I may ask you to leave.

If you expect private emergency communication, please let me know and leave your phone on vibrate only.

You must register on Blackboard. Check the syllabus and take note of when assignments are due on Blackboard. Assignments are due before class; Blackboard will not allow uploading of papers after the class time officially begins. Check the site regularly for announcements, emergency class cancellations, new handouts or assignments. Make sure you manage your time and be able to deal with any unforeseen technical difficulties –the internet is down, your printer’s on the fritz, you need to buy ink, there were no available computers in the library, and the like -these are not legitimate reasons for a late submission or for being unprepared.

Additionally, your level of preparation and participation will be reflected in your final course grade. Participating well in class goes beyond just showing up: it means completing assignments, bringing assigned texts and/or drafts to class, and being ready to discuss the material. It means devoting your attention to those who are speaking in the room, respecting the ideas of others, asking questions when something is not clear, sharing your own views when appropriate, inviting quieter participants into the discussion. It also means completing in-class and out-of-class writing activities with care. These may include summaries and responses, and/or class forums on Blackboard.

Attendance is an important aspect of your college experience; one where you contribute, listen, and interact in person. In the English Department, the process of reading, writing, listening, and speaking is especially dependent on your presence and participation in every class session. Accordingly, at Queensborough Community College the maximum number of absences allowed per semester is limited to no more than 15% of the time the course meets. In the English Department, students who are absent more than four (4) class sessions for classes that meet twice a week may be assigned an F or WU grade. Students who are absent more than two (2) class sessions for classes that meet once a week, including PNET classes, may be assigned an F or WU grade. For classes that meet in other configurations, the same proportion is in effect, and students who are absent more than the equivalent of two (2) weeks of classes may be assigned an F or WU grade. Arriving late twice may equal one absence. Students needing to miss class on certain days for religious observance are referred to the Student Regulations section of the college catalog. Students are responsible for notifying their instructors in advance of an anticipated absence.

Excessive absences will automatically result in an unofficial withdrawal grade (WU) for the course. Students receiving a grade of WU receive no credit for the course and will have zero credits calculated into their grade point average (GPA). A WU grade can be removed from a student’s transcript in one of two ways: (1) the student can retake the course and receive a grade higher than a C-minus; or (2), the grade can be appealed to the Committee on Course and Standing. It should be noted that appealing the WU grade to the Committee on Course and Standing does not guarantee that the grade will be changed, and only appeals supported with evidence will be overturned (i.e., if a student could not withdraw on time due to a medical emergency). Students wishing to withdraw (W) officially from a course, and thereby avoid a WU or a letter grade, must do so by the date listed on the academic calendar for the term.

In professional settings, a late submission can have grave consequences. In this class, the stakes are lower, but I will impose penalties with the goal of helping you to develop good habits. I will not accept small writing assignments late; however, I will accept large writing assignments up until 1 week after they are due. If a paper is late, within the first 4 days you will be docked 5% of the grade, within the next 3 days you will be docked 10% of the grade. After a week, I will not accept late papers and you will receive a zero for the assignment.

Should you experience an extraordinary hardship, you may request a deadline extension. I will grant these on a case by case basis.

To request an extension, please do the following:

  1. Contact me in writing to request the extension prior to the deadline (the same day will not suffice)
  2. Describe the status of your assignment and the reason you feel you deserve an extension
  3. Propose a new deadline date
  4. Wait to hear back from me, as I will grant extensions at my discretion
  5. If you are requesting a course incomplete, you must contact me before the last day of class. I grant these only in rare circumstances.

Writing Support:
Please feel free to drop in at my office during office hours if you need extra help, or even if you just want to talk about the course or have other questions about QCC or CUNY. If your schedule conflicts with mine, see me after class to make an appointment for some other time.

I highly recommend the free tutoring at the Campus Writing Center (CWC) for help in the class. You can call 718-631-6663 to get this semester’s schedule or visit their website:

Grading Policy:

Your final grade will consist of the following:
Essay 1 Profile (750 words): 10%
Annotated Bibliography: 10%
Essay 2 Literature Review (1000 Words): 15%
Essay 3 Argumentative Research Paper (1500 Words): 20%
Informal Writing Assignments (including completion of rough drafts): 15%
Participation/Attendance: 10%
Revision Plan for Research Paper: 5%
Final Exam: 15%

Your final letter grade will be calculated as follows:
A (Excellent) 96-100;
A- 90-95
B+ 87-89
B (Good) 84-86
B- 80-83;
C+ 77-79
C (Satisfactory) 74-76;
C- 70-73;
D+ 67-69
D (Passing) 64-66
D- 60-63;
F 0-59

Syllabus PDF