Academic Building, City Tech

New York City College of Technology (CUNY)
300 Jay Street
Brooklyn, New York 11201

English Composition II
ENG 1121-D429
T/Th 10:00-11:15
Namm 1023B
Spring 2019

Professor Aaron BarlowAaron Barlow
Office: 503 Namm
Office Hours: W 10:00-3:00 and by appointment.


Course Description:

An advanced course in expository essay writing that also requires a library paper. Further development of research and documentation skills (MLA style). Assigned literary and expository readings.

Course Learning Outcomes:

  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 firstyear 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.

Course Policies: 

  • Students will behave in a mature, respectful manner. Be alert and engaged. Electronic devices may be used when specifically allowed by Professor Barlow. In an emergency, leave the room to take a call or respond to a text. If you need to eat, please don’t bring an entire meal—a snack and a drink will be fine. Behaving counter to these guidelines could result in your being asked to leave the classroom and will affect your grade. Unless specifically cited in an approved format, all of your work must be your own. That is, you cannot cut-and-paste into your papers without providing the source and cannot simply paraphrase the work of others. Otherwise, your work will be considered plagiarized and given. When you email Professor Barlow, you must include the course and section numbers in the subject line. The class Open Lab site can be found at Join using your City Tech email account. To do so, click on “Course Profile” at the top of the page and then click on “Join Class!” under the picture of the Brooklyn base of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Required Text:

There is no required texts. Handouts and links will be provided as necessary.


Grades depend on attendance, participation, papers drafted throughout the semester and the portfolio:

  • Consistent attendance, on time and focused on the day’s activity, will make it much easier to pass this course.
  • Participation includes working well in groups and responding constructively to the work of others. It will count for 15% of your final grade.
  • In-class writing will count for 15% of your grade.
  • Papers throughout the semester will count for 45% of your grade.
  • The Portfolio will count for 25% of your grade. The portfolio will be an organized digital presentation of all of your work over the semester including drafts, your final products and a reflection on your work over the semester.

New York City College of Technology Policy on Academic Integrity

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 in The City University of New York and at New York City College of Technology and is punishable by penalties, including failing grades, suspension, and expulsion. The complete text of the College policy on Academic Integrity may be found in the catalog.

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



Unit 1: The Literacy Narrative:

The goals here are fourfold: 1) To better understand your own reading and writing processes and the relationship between the two; 2) To gain a greater sense past literacy experiences and how they have shaped how you envision yourself as a writer; 3) To reflect on your own schooling and educational influences and examine the social cultural, and political issues involved in accessing language fluency; 4) To explore your understandings of the ethnic and cultural diversity of written English as well as the influence of other registers, dialects, and languages.

Week One:                                                   

Class One (1/27):                   Introduction: What does it mean to read? To write?

Class Two (1/29):                    Writing: What’s the deal?

Week Two:                                                   

Class Three (2/3):                   From Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.

Class Four (2/5):                     Objectivity versus subjectivity.

Week Three:                                                

Class Five (2/10):                    From My Reminiscences by Rabindranath Tagore.

Week Four:                                                   

Class Six (2/19):                      “Why I Write” by George Orwell.

Unit 2: Genre, Discourse and Argument

This assignment asks you to continue looking outside your school lives and tackle an urgent current social problem such as voter suppression, empowerment of specific communities, or the epidemic of shootings, or something that is particularly important to you and/or a specific discourse community. The goal is for you to create an argumentative essay that 1) begins with focused research questions about a specific problem or issue, 2) includes primary and secondary research to identify stakeholders analyze different perspectives, 3) incorporates brainstorming about possible solutions or the repercussions of inaction, and 4) ends with a draft of a position paper. This can be either an individual or collaborative assignment and will be used for Assignment 3 and translated into different media targeting a specific audience affected by the problem addressed.

Week Five:                                                    

Class Seven (2/24):                “Why I Write” by Joan Didion

Class Eight (2/26):                  What is worth arguing?

Week Six:                                                      

Class Nine (3/2):                     “Why I Write: Making No Become Yes” by Elie Wiesel.

Class Ten (3/4):                      The need to express oneself.

Week Seven:                                                

Class Eleven (3/9):                 “Maybe I Could Save Myself By Writing” by José Olivarez

Class Twelve (3/11):               The goal of writing.

Week Eight:                                                 

Class Thirteen (3/16):            “Why I Write” by Aaron Barlow.

Class Fourteen (3/18):           From the personal or poetic to the transactional.

Week Nine:                                                  

Class Fifteen (3/23):               “Politics and the English Language” by George Orwell.

Class Sixteen (3/25):              The ways of expression. Paper #2 Due.

Unit 3: Repurposed Multimodal Project

This assignment asks you to re-think, or re-envision, the assignment you have written for Unit 2, presenting it in a totally new genre, perhaps changing modes: for example, a revision that goes from a written essay to an audio podcast, website, graphic, video essay, rap album, or mixed modal. This assignment builds on the generic, rhetorical and audience awareness that you have worked on all semester long, asking you to consider what discourse community you are trying to reach and, not only what diction, but also what mode of delivery would be best for delivering your message.

Week Ten:                                                    

Class Seventeen (3/30):        What does it mean to “repurpose”?

Class Eighteen (4/1):              Picturing writing and writing with pictures.

Week Eleven:                                               

Class Nineteen (4/6):             The sound of the words.

Class Twenty (4/7):                The music of the words and the words of music.

Week Twelve:                                              

Class Twenty-One (4/20):      Imagining your audience.

Class Twenty-Two (4/22):      Delighting and Instructing your audience.

Week Thirteen:                                           

Class Twenty-Three (4/27):   Presenting to the class.

Class Twenty-Four (4/29):     Presenting to the class.

Week Fourteen:                                          

Class Twenty-Five (5/4):        An Essay on Criticism by Alexander Pope.

Class Twenty-Six (5/6):          Responding to criticism. Multimedia Project Due.

Unit 5: Final Portfolio Assignment

The final portfolio assignment asks you to complete three tasks. 1) To revise selected work from the course of the semester. In so doing, you will offer prefatory remarks concerning each piece that describes the process and the evolution of the project over the course of the semester. 2) You will also write a narrative that explains your evolution as a reader and writer over the course of the semester. You will return to the first assignment you wrote for the class (the literacy narrative) and compare how your thoughts about writing and your practices about writing have evolved over the course of the semester. It is important to recognize that you should not simply state that your writing has changed over the course of the semester, but you should be able to specifically describe with sufficient detail particular moments in the semester where you can substantiate your own growth. 3) Lastly, consider how this course has prepared you for transfer—that is, for writing in other contexts. This component raises the issue of how you might anticipate how the work that you have done over the course of the semester has prepared you to compose in environments and in genres unfamiliar to you. These might be a lab report for another class, writing copy for a company’s website, or some other scenario. You will describe the steps you would take towards figuring out how to go about learning how to accomplish these writing tasks.

Week Fifteen:                                              

Class Twenty-Seven (5/11):   Strategies for revision.

Class Twenty-Eight (5/13):    Effective editing.

Week Sixteen:                                             

Class Twenty-Nine (5/18):     Organizing and presenting.

Class Thirty (5/20):                 Portfolio Due.