English 1121 – Fall 2015

English Composition II – New York: The City & Its People

Instructor – Michael S. Miller                                              Section – D470

Email –                                    Tues/Fri – 1:00 – 2:15 p.m.

Office Hours – Fridays 12:00 noon or by appointment        Room – N 718

            There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born there, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size, its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter––the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something. Of these trembling cities the greatest is the last–the city of final destination, the city that is a goal. It is this third city that accounts for New York’s high strung disposition, its poetical deportment, its dedication to the arts, and its incomparable achievements. Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness, natives give it solidity and continuity, but the settlers give it passion.

––E. B. White, Here is New York (1948)


This is an advanced course in communication skills, including the expository essay and the research essay. This course further develops your reading and writing skills through literary and expository readings. Along with ENG1101, which is a prerequisite for this course, ENG1121 seeks to develop student competencies in five general categories:

  • rhetorical knowledge
  • writing & reading processes
  • critical thinking, reading, writing, & research
  • composing in manual and digital environments
  • knowledge of academic conventions.

This section’s theme––New York: The City and its People––focuses on reading and writing about issues concerning the ever-changing city we live, work, and study in

LEARNING GOALS: Students who successfully complete English 1121 will be able to:

  • read and listen critically and analytically, identify an argument’s major assumptions and assertions and evaluating its supporting evidence;
  • write clearly and coherently in varied, academic formats including formal and research essays, using standard written English and appropriate technology to critique and improve one’s own and others’ texts through guided peer review;
  • demonstrate research skills using appropriate technology, including gathering, evaluating, and synthesizing primary and secondary sources;
  • support a thesis with well-reasoned arguments, and communicate persuasively across a variety of contexts, purposes, audiences, and media;
  • formulate original ideas and relate them to the ideas of others by employing the conventions of ethical attribution and citation.


  • Ferrell, Monique and Julian Williams. Good Writing Made Simple, 3rd ed. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt, 2015. ISBN 978-1-4652-6783-2
  • Our OpenLab course page at
  • A 3-ring binder with pockets to assemble your research portfolio
  • All other readings will be posted to the OpenLab course page and must be printed out prior to class and brought with you, in hard copies, to class.


Reading: Plan adequate time for reading. You will be graded in part on your preparedness and participation in class discussion, which includes having a hard copy of the day’s readings and demonstrating, by your responses to discussion questions, quizzes, and in-class writing, that you have read them. From time to time, I will assign additional short readings to compliment the readings on the syllabus.


I will assign several types of writing during the course of the semester and distribute detailed assignment sheets for each.

  • Diagnostic Essay – An in-class essay to assess your writing coming into the class.
  • OpenLab – Each student will contribute one multi-media blog post, and one final project based on your research paper, to the course’s OpenLab site:
  • Reading Notes and Responses – We will experiment with several types of note-taking for each of the course readings. I will provide templates for taking notes on readings.
  • Research Portfolios – Throughout the semester, you will collect observations, reading notes & responses, and images to use in your research paper and final project.
  • Formal Essays – You will draft and revise 3 papers:
    • one 750-1,000 word (3-4 page) analytic, close reading of a text,
    • one 1,250-1,500 word (5-6-page) persuasive essay in which you make an argument with supporting texts,
    • one 1,500-2,000 word (6-8 page) final research paper using 3-5 outside sources.

Grading: Final grades will be distributed in the following areas:

  • Preparedness for and Participation in Class – 20%
  • Blog Post – 10%
  • 3 Formal Essays – 30%
  • Research Project – 20%
  • Final Exam – 20%

Attendance: Attendance in this course is required. Success in this class depends on your regular, punctual attendance and participation. If you must miss a class, it is your responsibility to check with a classmate for any missed information, and to check the course’s OpenLab page for readings and assignments.Late arrivals disrupt the class and our work flow, so please be on time. Habitual lateness or more than 3 absences for any reason will lower your grade in the course



WK DAY Classwork Homework Due


11 11/3 Revision Workshop Bring Drafts
11/6 Revision Workshop Bring Drafts & 1 Additional Source
12 11/10 Out Sick
11/13 Revision Workshop: Theses, Paragraphs & Topic Sentences
13 11/17 Individual Conferences Revised Research Paper Due
11/20 Individual Conferences Revised Research Paper Due
14 11/24 Computer Lab Session OpenLab Project Proposals Due
15 12/1 Open Lab Workshop
12/4 Open Lab Workshop
16 12/8 Present OpenLab Projects OpenLab Project Due
12/11 Final Exam  

[1] This schedule is subject to revision depending on our progress. You will be notified in class and via your City Tech email account of any changes, and revised schedules will be posted to our OpenLab course page.


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