ENG 1121, Summer 2 – 2021, Section OL12 (there’s a “Print this Page” button at the very end)

Instructor: Jacquelyn Blain                                                   

Email:  DBlain@citytech.cuny.edu

Optional class meet-up time: TBD 

Office Hours:    TBD  

Zoom link for class, office hours, conferences (passcode 602802):  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81661822445?pwd=c252enRGWHVHVVY1dlAzMGVGdU80dz09                        


Writing in Context(s)

Course Description:

As the second semester course in City Tech’s first-year writing program sequence, we’ll deepen our analytical understanding of writing and rhetoric by considering more rigorously how authors produce texts in response to a variety of situations and contexts. We’ll build awareness about how communities create their own discourses, explore how research of all kinds can help you build credibility and put texts into a conversation, and offer you opportunities to write in a variety of genres and forms across a wide array of situations. Throughout this journey, we’ll offer you tools to become more successful in your writing process, and more aware of why we make the choices we make when we write. The ultimate goal of ENG 1101 and ENG 1121 at City Tech is to provide you with the rhetorical awareness and tools to transfer your writing skills to any type of situation that requires a written response. So we’ll explore situations even beyond the scope of this class, and look outward at how you can become a successful writer throughout your college career and life beyond the academy.

So what in the world does all of that mean? It means you write. All the time. On your phones. At work. In your classes. It also means you write different things depending on the situation. Texts. Flyers for organizations. Essays for class. Because you’re not just one thing, and you communicate in lots of different ways.

You write for yourself, and you write for the world. Inward and outward. And the outward part is what we’re going to concentrate on this term.

For me, writing is a way to discover what I don’t know. And it’s a way to communicate with other people. I write, therefore I am (with apologies to the philosopher Descartes who wrote “I think, therefore I am.”).

So let’s write. And read. And watch. And discuss. And create (you’re going to like that part!).

Prerequisite:  CUNY proficiency in reading and writing

Learning Outcomes: It is expected that at a minimum, students in ENG 1121 will:

1.   Read and listen critically and analytically in a variety of genres and rhetorical situations: Identify and evaluate exigencies, purposes, claims, supporting evidence, and underlying assumptions in a variety of texts, genres, and media.

2. Adapt to and compose in a variety of genres: Adapt writing conventions in ways that are suitable to different exigencies and purposes in a variety of contexts, including academic, workplace, and civic audiences. When appropriate, repurpose prior work to new genres, audiences, and media by adjusting delivery, design, tone, organization, and language.

3. Use research as a process of inquiry and engagement with multiple perspectives: Learn to focus on a topic and develop research questions that lead to propositions and claims that can be supported with well-reasoned arguments. Persuasively communicate and repurpose research projects across a variety of contexts, purposes, audiences, and media. Demonstrate research skills through attribution and citation gathering, evaluating, and synthesizing both primary and secondary sources. Learn how to use appropriate citation styles depending on disciplinary and situational requirements (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.).

4. Use reflection and other metacognitive processes to revise prior assumptions about reading and writing and transfer acquired knowledge into new writing situations. Students write reflections of their own reading and writing process from the beginning and throughout the semester with the intention to transfer their acquired knowledge about genre and composing practices into new writing situations.

5. Demonstrate the social and ethical responsibilities and consequences of writing: Recognize that first-year writing includes academic, workplace, and civic contexts, all of which require careful deliberation concerning the ethical and social ramifications concerning fairness, inclusivity, and respect for diversity. Write and revise for academic and broader, public audiences accordingly.

6. Compose in 21st Century Environments: Learn to choose among the most current and effective delivery methods for different composing situations. Students learn to compose in new media environments, including alphabetic texts, still and moving images, sonic, and mixed media compositions. Use digital media platforms appropriate to audience and purpose.

And what does all of that mean? It means there’s more to writing than college essays. It means that people speak in more than one way. It means that communication relies on a whole bunch of stuff. And mostly it means we’re in the 21st century, for goodness sake, so let’s look at what that means and how to do it better.

Course Texts: all online in Open Lab in the Course Readings section and in Perusall.

CityTech Writing Center: Normally we have a Writing Center for CityTech students, but it’s not open the second half of the summer. So if you need some close one-on-one help, we can meet… because I’m also one of the tutors!

University Policies

Accessibility Statement

City Tech is committed to supporting the educational goals of enrolled students with disabilities in the areas of enrollment, academic advisement, tutoring, assistive technologies and testing accommodations. If you have or think you may have a disability, you may be eligible for reasonable accommodations or academic adjustments as provided under applicable federal, state and city laws. You may also request services for temporary conditions or medical issues under certain circumstances. If you have questions about your eligibility or would like to seek accommodation services or academic adjustments, please contact the Center for Student Accessibility at 300 Jay Street room L-237, 718 260 5143 or http://www.citytech.cuny.edu/accessibility/.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism Statement

Students and all others who work with information, ideas, texts, images, music, inventions, and other intellectual property owe their audience and sources accuracy and honesty in using, crediting, and citing sources. As a community of intellectual and professional workers, the College recognizes its responsibility for providing instruction in information literacy and academic integrity, offering models of good practice, and responding vigilantly and appropriately to infractions of academic integrity. Accordingly, academic dishonesty is prohibited at New York City College of Technology and is punishable by penalties, including failing grades, suspension, and expulsion. In the Resources tab on our OpenLab site, you’ll find an Academic Integrity Pledge which the College would like you to read.

Sanctions for Academic Integrity Violations

In accordance with the CUNY Policy on Academic Integrity, NYCCT empowers its Academic Integrity Committee and Academic Integrity Officer to process violations of the CUNY Academic Integrity Policy. As stated in the student handbook, all instructors must report all instances of academic dishonesty to the Academic Integrity Officer.

Course Policies

Attendance: This is an asychronous class, which means no set meeting times. No fun. But I’ll be setting up optional class meet-ups based on what people select in the Doodle poll. I find that in the summer, I often need a daytime meeting and an evening meeting since a lot of students work during the summer. So stay tuned! And we’ll be using Zoom (the link is above). If you’re having technology problems or life has interfered with you getting there, just email me DBlain@citytech.cuny.edu or send me a text on Slack, and we’ll work it out.

As far as attendance… well, that really just means getting your work done on time. Summer goes FAST!!!! So if you miss a due date, you’ll be behind and may never catch up. So let me know if you’re having trouble so we can possibly find a work-around. If you’re having trouble with the due dates, you may need to withdraw before the penalty date.

Missed Work and Late Papers: Pretty simple: don’t. Like I said above, if you fall behind, you’ll likely never catch up. Again, if you’re having problems, let me know as soon as possible so we can figure things out.

Participation: This is, well, tricky since we’re asynchronous and don’t have meeting times. Given that’s the case, this is really a Participation grade, and that’s mostly getting things done in a timely manner (I hate that phrase). But here’s what Participation looks like for my summer asynchronous classes:

  1. Do the homework on time. This can be anything from small things, like posting something on a Padlet wall, to larger posts/responses in the class blog.
  2. Be thoughtful in your Perusall annotations and replies, your OpenLab posts, and your Padlet posts. Go beyond the expected in what you post – add a new idea, drop in a provocative question, add a link or video or image that you think adds to the conversation – and be sure to respond to other people – they’re interesting!
  3. Show up if you and I have a one-on-one conference. That’s just polite.

Major Units/Projects and Assignments

I’ll have a more detailed assignment sheet for each project, but here’s a brief overview:

Unit One: Discourse Community Report

We’re all part of a lot of different communities (family, sports, profession, church) that have both spoken and unspoken rules about how to join and how to act. And there’s even jargon  (specialized language) that specific to that DC. For the major assignment you’ll investigate and do a report on a discourse community that you belong to.

Unit Two: Research-based Informative Article

I know what it says, but… this is not a research paper! This is not a research paper! This is not a research paper! Or at least it’s not the kind of research you’re used to. What we’re doing in this unit is to write an article for a publication about an issue that’s important to you and/or your DC, one that you hope will have an impact on a wider audience. In other words, you’ll become a freelance writer, and use some research to help make your article as impactful as you can.

Unit Three: Documenting Your Life with New Media

This has been an incredibly challenging year – protests for racial justice, a pandemic, a contentious election, just to name a few of the things that will help define your generation. Of course, we experience them by way of how they impact our everyday lives. So this assignment will give you a chance to create a multimedia/multimodal project that tells us about you, and does it in a way that you may be doing more of in both in other classes and in your work, personal, and community lives.

Final Portfolio

This class uses Portfolio-based grading. That means your final grade depends not just on homework (although that’s part of your Unit grade as you’ll see below). Most of the final grade depends on what you submit as your Final Portfolio. There are two parts to it: Final Revisions of your work in Unit1 and in Unit 2 (worth 40% of this grade), and a long Final Reflection (worth 60% of this grade) where you get to think back over what you’ve learned in the class. You can also put other things in your Portfolio, too – favorite blog posts, your multimodal project, in-class work.

Using the other Course Tools


We aren’t actually using Blackboard. That said, I’m putting up some videos on the Announcements/Home page before the term starts that will show you how to join OpenLab, which is where everything happens.  


This is the heart of the class. Everything will be here, including:

  • Announcements page – I post on this all the time! It’s the home page, and it’s always got something for you to look at and be reminded about (class stuff, CityTech info and deadlines, etc.).
  • Unit descriptions, assignments & schedules
  • Course Info (my contact information, the Zoom link for class meetings)
  • Blog (homework and other stuff)
  • Link to the class Google Drive
  • Tutorials, Help & Resources (how-to videos on using Slack; working with the Google Drive; posting, replying and finding posts. Also links to the library, tech help, advising…)
  • Grade book
  • Search (This is for finding specific posts, and you do it by Category which I explain in the video about creating a post.)
  • Member list (click on their/your name, and everything you post in the blog will show up)

You do have to do some work to get there, however. On Blackboard and in the Welcome Letter I sent before the term starts, you’ll find links to how to join Open Lab (you need your CityTech email to be up and running) and how to find a Course once you’re a member.


Yes, I know. But it’s still the easiest and one that everybody knows. We’ll use it for class sessions as well as office hours and individual conferences. The Meeting ID and password are at the top.

Google Drive Class Folders:

The link is on the main OpenLab menu. I’ve got folders for you to 1) post drafts of the main writing assignments and 2) work with each other on your drafts. Maybe other things, too. We don’t have Google Classroom at CityTech, so this is the closest I can get.


This is where we’ll do annotations about class readings as well as have some informal discussions about them. We’ll go over how to set this up and use it. Here’s the class code and course information you’ll need to sign up: BLAIN-X7978


I’ve set us up a Slack Workspace (I sent invitations the same day I sent the Welcome letter, so if you didn’t get it, let me know). If you know the Discord app, it’s pretty much the same, just a little more “professional,” and it’s been very successful for my classes. In the Workspace are several channels: #announcements, #comments-and-questions, #sillystuff (summer fun pics? memes? recommendations for books or movies or video games?). Best of all, you can DM me or another member (or members) of your class. You can also attach files, links, images, connect to our Google Folder, whatever you want. I respond between 9am and 9pm, so it’s easy to find me.


What you should expect from me (and you should hold me to it!):

  • 24 hour turnaround time for emails. If you don’t hear from me within 24 hours, try again (or let me know via Slack). Sometimes emails don’t go through.
  • 12 hour turnaround time for Slack texts. I’ll probably get back to you within an hour or so if not immediately since I have my notifications on all the time, so if I’m not otherwise in class or meetings or tutoring (or sleeping).
  • One week turnaround for drafts. Sometimes it’s faster, sometimes life interferes and I’m a little late, but I promise I’ll keep you posted.
  • Lots of things on the Announcements Page. I tend to summarize what’s been going on, play cheerleader, post due dates, gives warnings about what’s coming… it’s my main communication tool along with Slack (and I always post the same thing on the Slack #announcements channel just to be extra obsessive).
  • Respect for diversity. (I borrowed this from the University of Iowa but that’s because it’s so well written. But I totally agree with it.)

“It is my intent that students from all diverse backgrounds and perspectives be well served by this course, that students’ learning needs be addressed both in and out of class, and that the diversity that students bring to this class be viewed as a resource, strength and benefit. It is my intent to present materials and activities that are respectful of diversity: gender, sexuality, disability, age, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, race, and culture. Your suggestions are encouraged and appreciated. Please let me know ways to improve the effectiveness of the course for you personally or for other students or student groups. In addition, if any of our class meetings conflict with your religious events, please let me know so that we can make arrangements for you.”

  • Respect for your personal situation and willingness to listen patiently. I mentioned this already, but I’ll do my best to take everybody’s individual situation into account about things like family situations, technology issues, etc.

What I expect from you:

  • Stay in touch with me. As I said, I’m easy to find, so don’t be shy.
  • Respect each other. I’m very easy-going most of the time, but the one thing that I get seriously upset about is someone being disrespectful to their fellow students. If I get a sense that someone’s being mean, or someone complains (and please do let me know if someone is making you uncomfortable), I reserve the right to have a private chat with that person and see what’s going on.
  • Give it your best effort. Be creative, be professional, be yourself, jump in.

Grading Policy

The grade calculation is below. Even though this is a portfolio class and the only grade that really counts is the one that reflects whatever revisions are submitted as part of the Final Portfolio. As you’ll see below each unit is worth 10% of the final grade.

  • The Draft points for each unit will initially be for your first draft: it’s an “if I were really giving you a grade on this, here’s what it would be” grade (along with my comments) just so you can decide what kind of/how much revision work to do. A really good revision will make that Draft grade go up at the end of the term.  
  • The Participation points are based on the things I noted above, and the scale is 3-all done, excellent job; 2-most done, good job; 1-some done; okay job; 1-nothing submitted, insufficient job. At the end of the term, I gather up all the participation points into a single column which is worth 10% of the final grade


Unit 1 – Discourse Community Report  10%

Draft of major assignment (10 pts)

[Participation (2 pts)]

Unit 2 – Inquiry-based Research Project & Article   10%

Draft of Article (10 pts)

[Participation (2 pts)]

Unit 3 – New Media Project  10%

Multimodal Project (8 pts)

Artist’s Statement (2 points)

[Participation (2 pts)]

Final Participation Grade (combined points from all units) 10%

Final Portfolio    60%

Revisions of Unit 1 and Unit 2 (40 pts)

Final Course Reflection (60 pts)

TOTAL 100 %

New York City College of Technology’s official grading scale will be used: 93-100% (A), 90-92.9% (A-), 87- 89.9% (B+), 83-86.9% (B), 80-82.9% (B-), 77-79.9% (C+), 70-76.9% (C), 60-69.9% (D), 59.9% and below (F). … The complete text of the College policy on Academic Integrity may be found in the catalog.

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