What is a syllabus? If this is your first semester as a college student, it is perfectly normal to ask this question! This document provides an overview of course organization, a grading breakdown, attendance expectations, and a daily course agenda among other important information. See also the FAQ form of this Course Syllabus


Course Description

A course in effective essay writing and basic research techniques including use of the library. Demanding readings assigned for classroom discussion and as a basis for essay writing. Prerequisite: CUNY proficiency in reading and writing

Faculty Contact Information

Name: Professor Jennifer Sears-Pigliucci

Email address: jsears@citytech.cuny.edu Availability & email response times: I’m available on email anytime. I regularly check my email between 9 am-5 pm and respond to student email as quickly as possible. In the evenings and on weekends (Sat.-Sun.) response times may be slower.

Office Hours

Online office hours: Tuesdays: 11 am-noon; Thursdays: 11:45 am-12:45 pm Online office hours information: I am available on Zoom during these office hours and also on email.

Online Class Meetings

This course is an asynchronous course. What “asynchronous” means is that we do not meet as a group at a scheduled time during the week. Class presentations and group activities will  take place on OpenLab and on Blackboard. 

  • Each Tuesday and Thursday between 10 am and  11 am. I will release new course information and material between 10 and 11 am. Materials provided will include short videos, multi-media resources, and an occasional PowerPoint.  
  • I will also post a To-Do List will be posted with information and links about the day’s activities.  The To-Do List will be copied on our Blackboard site.
  • Our group activities will take place on the Discussion Board on Blackboard and on the OpenLab course site. Each day’s To-Do List will include one Participation Activity. Completion of this Participation Activity one or before the deadline (typically 10 am on the following Tuesday or Thursday) will constitute your participation on that date and will be the basis of your attendance on that date.
  • This course design  is modeled on a 4 hour, twice a week, semester-long course and follows the official Academic Calendar found on the college website.

Online Learning Platforms

Our course will be facilitated online on Blackboard and on the OpenLab. Our OpenLab site address is: https://openlab.citytech.cuny.edu/sears-fall2020-englco9/ In addition to understanding Blackboard, it is extremely important that you familiarize yourself with our OpenLab site and find out where course materials On our Blackboard site you will:

  • Find class announcements including the To-Do Lists on Tuesdays and Thursdays (with links to the OpenLab)
  • Upload your assignments for Unit 1, Unit 2, Unit 3, and the Final Portfolio on a tool called SafeAssign. Here you will also receive comments and grades.
  • Check your attendance

On our OpenLab site you will:

  • Find the To-Do List (posted on Tuesdays and Thursdays)
  • Find all class reading and presentation materials
  • Create posts including your works in progress for participation in peer review activities
  • Comment on your peers’ posts
  • Participate on Discussion Boards when

The course site, discussion board, and To-Do lists constitute our primary means of keeping in touch, so please check these platforms regularly, particularly on Tuesdays and Thursdays when the To-Do lists will be posted. You are responsible for being up-to-date and knowing what is on our course site.  Please contact me if you are having trouble!

Course Readings and Texts

We will have many readings and course materials, all of which will be made available on this  OpenLab site.  The Tuesday and Thursday TO-DO List Blackboard Announcements on To-Do lists posted each Tuesday and Thursday. All course materials are available at no-cost. You will also be given instructions on how to use our College library materials and how to activate your free student subscription to The New York Times.

Grading Policy and Breakdown

Your grade will be assessed based on two primary components.

  • The Final Portfolio (60%), which will include revisions of the major essays
  • Homework and Participation (40%), which will include all class discussion boards, peer review activities, homework assignments, and basically everything else you post online.

The Final Portfolio

The assignments in your Final Portfolio will be worth 60% of your final grade, with the grade breakdown as follows: Unit One: 10% Unit Two: 20% Unit Three: 20% Reflection: 10% Total: 60%  Please note that you will have the opportunity to revise units one, two, and three for the final portfolio. When you resubmit revisions, you will be able to improve your grade on those units.

Participation/ Homework: 40%

Your participation and homework count for 40% of your grade in this class. In this class, you’re graded almost as much on your weekly low-stakes assignments (which include the Time Capsule, discussion board posts, and peer review activities) as you are on your high-stakes essay assignments. This is because in this class, you’re not learning how to write one particular paper or how to do one particular thing, you are learning about the process of writing (and reading—and researching) and all of these are the behind-the-scenes work, the homework. The process is also learned through online participation with others in this class. Many of these activities are designed to help you get your thoughts and ideas down in words. Still more will focus on ways to organize your papers, read and effectively take notes, conduct research, and read thoughtfully the papers of others in peer review.

Grading Policy for Participation Activities and Homework

More or less, if you complete the required class Participation Activities specified on the To-Do List and homework such as the Peer Review activities before the designated deadlines, you’ll get full credit. Grammar is not the focus of these activities though you should aim write in a manner that you feel proud of sharing. Approach completely these assignments thoroughly and thoughtfully, and in a timely manner. Writing is largely about discipline and routine, so this is a good way to learn that– and to earn 40% of the credit for this course.

 A Note on Attendance

In face-to-face classes, we take attendance for your sake as much as for our own. If someone isn’t coming to class, we worry they won’t succeed in a writing class– and that’s because, as I said above, writing is more about work and learning your own process than it is about magical talent. Even in an online asynchronous class, you have to “show up.” Remember to check in every day (especially on Tuesdays and Thursdays) and to check the To-Do Lists to see what you need to catch up with. In other words, I want to see you! I want to see all of my students working together in this class. In addition, you will get a much fuller college experience by taking time on participation activities and interacting with your peers online.

ENG 1101 Departmental Learning Outcomes

These learning outcomes (course goals) were developed by the English Department It is expected that at a minimum, students in ENG 1101 will:

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.

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.

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.).

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.

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.

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.

Learning Communities Description

This course is a Learning Communities course, a program that offers students in linked courses opportunities including orientation activities and student success seminars, a peer mentor, and activities centered on a theme. Your ENG 1101 course is linked with a math course taught by Professor Grazyna Niezgoda. You will receive information on this program as the semester continues. Our Learning Community theme is: Don’t Worry, Be Happy! Strategies for Success and Satisfaction in College Getting into college is exciting! Maintaining that excitement is hard work but work worth doing. In this learning community, your math and writing studies will be augmented with a crash course in happiness and satisfaction. We’ll use activities to define what happiness means for college students; rethink goal setting and study habits to consider how time can be maximized; learn how to set useful self-expectations at the beginning and end of the semester; and also discuss services and programs here at City Tech designed to help you maintain your calm throughout your first semester of college and beyond.

University Policies

Accessibility Statement

 Your success in this class is important to me. We all need different accommodations because we all learn differently. If there are aspects of this course that prevent you from learning or exclude you, please let me know as soon as possible. Together we’ll develop strategies to meet both your needs and the requirements of the course. I encourage you to visit or contact the Center for Student Accessibility to determine how you could improve your learning as well. If you need official accommodations, you have a right to have these met. 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. The Center for Student Accessibility is located at 300 Jay Street room L-237, or can be reached at (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.

Writing Center

For one-on-one help with your writing assignments, send an email to  CityTechWritingCenter@gmail.com requesting an appointment. You will receive an automatic reply with information about available tutoring sessions.

Self-Care Statement

There isn’t a handbook for the situation we are in right now as a state and a nation, and the resultant uncertainty can be stressful. We need to recognize the toll this situation might be taking on us and be compassionate with ourselves and with others. This semester, our priority will be to foster intellectual nourishment, social connection, and personal accommodation. We will remain flexible, and if we have to, we will adjust to the situation (adapted from Prof. Brandon Bayne’s syllabus, UNC).

Free: Microsoft Office Programs

The City University of New York provides Microsoft Office 365 for Education to students at participating colleges, including City Tech via the Microsoft Office in Education program. You sign in using your Blackboard credentials (this is different than your regular CityTech email) and have online access to MS Word, Powerpoint, Excel and other programs in the MS Office Suite. You may also be eligible to download the Suite to your computer.  For more information, see this onerous link: https://www.cuny.edu/about/administration/offices/cis/technology-services/microsoft-office-365-for-education/#1559833338750-e9daad15-c010

Course Agenda

This detailed calendar shows activities for each day and courses covered through presentations offered online. Presentations will include Powerpoints, links to readings and resources, and short instructional videos. Items on this list will be clarified by the Tuesday and Thursday To-Do lists posted on the OpenLab. 

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