ENG1101 Syllabus Fall 2012

New York City College of Technology
Professor Rodgers

English 1101
Office:  Namm 503

Writing and Reading in a Digital Age:
An Introduction to College Writing in the 21st Century


Fall, 2012
Office Hours: W, 2-4
and by appointment


Course Description

This course is designed to assist students in further developing the writing, reading, and critical thinking practices needed to participate in various academic and professional communities.   The course will focus on a study of the use, structure, significance, and applications of reading and writing in a digital age.  The course is not only structured around an inquiry into various issues related to writing and reading, but, through that inquiry, asks students to develop their understanding of–and comfort with–the writing process, explore their unique relationships to writing and language, and consider how writing relates to critical thinking.  The overall goal of the course is to better enable students to structure and complete written work in future courses, as well as to use writing as a means of expression and problem-solving in various academic, creative, personal, and professional projects. There will be a strong emphasis on rhetorical strategies, writing, close textual analysis, and research methods.

Course Web Site


You will find all of our course assignments and links to or copies of our course readings on this site.  Please make sure that register for Open Lab and add this course.

Required Texts

1)      Rodgers, Johannah.  What Is Writing? An Introduction to Writing as an Act of Communication.
This text will be distributed free of charge to you.  Please bring it and all class handouts to each class session.

2) Bazerman, Charles.  The Informed Writer.  I will be assigning chapters of this book at various points during the semester.  The book is available for free to college students.  I will provide the appropriate links to assigned chapters on our course OpenLab site. 

3) Ferrell, Monique, Julian Williams, and Mark Noonan.  Good Writing Made Simple.  You will need to purchase a copy of this book, which we will be using as the English handbook for our course.  It is available in the college bookstore.  Please bring this book to each class session.

4) A College-level English Dictionary.  You can use reliable dictionaries on the web, e.g., Merriam Webster (http://www.merriam-webster.com), Oxford, and/or a dictionary that you already own.
In addition to the books listed above, we will be using several different texts for our course this semester, many of which are published on the Web and free of charge.  I have made every effort to ensure that the required books for this course are both affordable and portable.  Please make sure that you bring whatever books/handouts that we will be discussing to class with you, and that you purchase the required texts for our course by the end of the first week of classes.


Graff, Gerald and Kathy Birkenstein.  They Say, I Say:  The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing.  For those interested in reading more about summary writing and integrating and using quotations, I recommend purchasing this book.


One notebook for In-Class Assignments and Notes.

One folder with pockets for Assignments and Course Handouts.


Course Readings

Although we may, in the course of our course discussions, alter or augment the readings for the course, the following is a proposed reading list. All essays are posted on our course OpenLab site.

Sherman Alexie, "Superman and Me"

Mike Bunn, "How To Read Like a Writer"

Edward Finegan, “What Is Correct Language?”

Sandy Chung and Geoff Pullum, “Grammar”

Brock Haussaman, “Public Grammar/Private Grammar”

Amy Tan, “Mother Tongue”

Michael Pollan, “You Are What You Grow”

The Economist, “Income Inequality in America”

Course Requirements

Writing Journal:  Over the course of the semester, you will be completing five structured free writing exercises.  This is a self-directed assignment that is due at the end of the semester.  For details, see “Writing Journal” under Assignments.

Reading Journal:  Over the course of the semester, I would like you to read a book, keep a reading journal about the book, and write a brief three to five paragraph review of the book.  Though I generally ask students to select the book that they will be reading for the semester, this semester, we will, as a class, be reading Junot Diaz’s novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao because Diaz will be a featured guest at the City Tech Literary Arts Festival.  For details, please see “Reading Journal” under Assignments.

Reading and Writing Assignments (RWA):  Related to the writing process, research methods, and course readings and themes, these assignments will be discussed in class before they are due and, once completed, will form the basis of various discussions and writing projects. See Course Schedule for details and due dates.  These assignments must be typed.  Please make every effort to get these assignments in on time.  The work in our course is cumulative and it is very important to keep up with the assignments.  If you hand in an assignment within one to two classes of its due date, I will generally give you full credit for the assignment.  However, in general, late assignments  WILL BE GIVEN 0-50% CREDIT and will be reviewed and returned at my discretion.

Essays:  We will be discussing, drafting, and revising essays for several weeks before they are due.  You will be given grade for these essays based on a grading rubric assessing various issues related to academic writing, all of which will be reviewed and discussed during the course of the semester.  See Course Schedule for details and due dates.

1/ Personal Essay (2-3 pages)

2/ Review/Textual Analysis Essay (2-3 pages)

3/ Research Project (4-5 pages)

Exams:  The English department requires that our course include two exams:  a midterm exam and a final exam.  We will discuss and prepare for these exams in the course of the semester.

Portfolio/Electronic Portfolio

A Note on Course Workload: Per CUNY guidelines, please calculate two hours of work per credit hour per week, EXCLUSIVE OF CLASS TIME.  This means that for a 3 credit course, you will need to budget 8.5 hours/week (2.5 class hours plus 6 hours independent study/class preparation).    Taking into consideration your other professional, educational, and personal obligations, please make sure that you have the time to do the work for this course and successfully complete it.  If you do not have the time to accommodate the work for this course, I STRONGLY encourage you to consider taking this course at some point in the future when you will have the time to successfully complete the course. 


This course is about the practice of reading and writing, your exploration of that practice, and your engagement with it.  As a result, grades for the course will be based on a student’s progress throughout the semester, as well as on the following:


10% Class Participation

15% Writing Journal

15% Reading Journal

20% Reading and Writing Assignments (Completion=50%; Grade=50%)

20% Essays and Portfolio/Electronic Portfolio

20% Midterm and Final Exam


Although grades will be calculated based on the percentages listed above, this calculation, and your ability to receive a passing grade for the course, are dependent both upon your completion of all essays and assignments, upon course attendance, and upon passing the final exam.


You are expected to arrive on time and attend all classes; City Tech’s attendance policy states that more than three absences can result in a WU grade. Arriving late or leaving early will count as a partial absence.


The work for this course is also cumulative, which means that one assignment builds from the next and it is difficult to catch-up once you fall behind. Please remember that being absent is not an excuse for missing or late work, so be sure to get notes and assignments from a classmate or from our course Web site so that you can be informed and prepared for every class.


While I plan to attend each one of our classes, I am also aware that illnesses and emergencies arise.  As a result, it is my policy to grant students three absences to manage over the course of the semester.  Grades for those students who have no absences will be positively impacted; those with three absences will not be effected; and those with more than three absences will be negatively effected.  With four absences, a student cannot expect to receive a grade higher than a B, with five, a grade no higher than a C, with six, a grade no higher than a D.  With seven absences, a student will receive a failing grade for the course.  Please also keep in mind that three latenesses are the equivalent of one absence and that leaving a class before its completion will be counted as an absence.  Finally, if situations arise that are beyond your control and that will result in a prolonged absence, please come talk to me.


Course Policies


Participation: Class participation is vital to lively and focused discussions. Everyone must speak at least once each class period, no matter how shy or nervous you might be. Be respectful to your classmates, and please be free of distractions such as cell phones, food, or other non-course material.


Preparedness: Preparedness means that you will have read the text scheduled for that day and underlined passages you feel are important or about which you have questions and respect the voices and opinions of your fellow students.


Essays and Assignments

Essays and writing/reading assignments are due at the BEGINNING OF CLASS on the date indicated.  Late essays will not be accepted. Essays and assignments must be typed.  Essays should be formatted according to MLA guidelines, which will be reviewed in class and are explained below and on our course Blackboard site. Please make sure that you retain a copy of all assignments, essays, and handouts.  If you must miss a class, please consult with one of your classmates or our course Blackboard site regarding any assignments you may have missed.


Formatting papers: Use MLA guidelines, which include the following recommendations:

Double-space the text of your paper, and use a legible font (e.g. Times New Roman). The font size should be 12 pt..  The left and right margins of your document should be 1.25 inches.  In the upper left-hand corner of the first page, list your name, your instructor’s name, the course, the date, and the assignment title.  Include a title for all essays and for any assignments for which a title may be appropriate.


Contacting Me

The best ways to contact me are in-person before and after class and during my office hours.  If you need to get any assignments or essays to me, please either leave them in my mailbox, which is located in Namm 503, or bring them to class.  I am unable to e-mail assignments to students and unable to receive assignments or essays via e-mail.


Students with Disabilities

If you have any type of disability, please come discuss this with me so we can make arrangements to tailor any course policies or assignments to your specific needs.


Plagiarism: Any part of submitted work that has appropriated another’s ideas or language, intentionally or unintentionally, without proper acknowledgement of the source, is considered plagiarism. You will receive a failing grade for work that is plagiarized, and the English Department will be notified. No excuses, exceptions, or rewrites.  Please see our course Blackboard site for the complete City Tech plagiarism policy and please do not hesitate to talk to me if you have any questions about practical or theoretical issues related to plagiarism.


Cell Phones, Computers, Other Electronic Devices, etc.

Cell Phones, computers, and other electronic devices need to be turned off and stored away during class.  Anyone using a computer or cell phone for purposes unrelated to a class activity will be marked absent for that class.


Semester Course Schedule

Over the course of the semester, I will be handing out our Online Course Schedule that will list assignment and reading details and due dates.  The Semester Course Schedule is for reference purposes, e.g., course beginning and end dates, holidays, etc., and is subject to change.