Syllabus (f2f)


Instructor: Holly Pappas

Campus mailbox: in CTL (Center for Teaching and Learning) in the library

Office: A104

Office hours: Tuesday, 8 – 9 am

Wednesday, 11 am – noon


Text: Download the app Remind and add your name to our class by texting the message “@eng101onli” (without the quotes) to 81010.

Course description (from catalog): This college-level composition course provides students an opportunity to develop their writing through various stages of composing, revising, and editing. In addition, students learn how to formulate and support a thesis using a number of rhetorical strategies, to conduct research, and to integrate a variety of sources according to the Modern Language Association guidelines. Students write in Standard English with consideration given to audience, purpose, and context.

Prerequisite: Satisfactory performance on the writing skills test or C– or better in English 090. Passing score on the college’s reading placement test or concurrent enrollment in/prior completion of RDG 090.

Course text: Readings used for the course will be available online.

Course blog:

Course objectives:

  • Students will write focused and developed essays that indicate an understanding of the interplay between general propositions and specific details.
  • Students will formulate appropriate organizational patterns.
  • Students will demonstrate a rhetorical awareness of audience, purpose, and genre. (In an academic setting, this normally means that students will write in Standard Written English.)
  • Students will use a multi-stage writing process that includes drafting, revising, and editing.
  • Students will develop critical reading skills.
  • Students will find and evaluate source material, then ethically integrate such material with original thought using MLA guidelines.

Approach: In this theme-based course, we will be thinking and reading and writing about how places shape people and people shape spaces. We will start with a brief consideration of natural places, then move on to units on domestic, commercial/public, and civic spaces.

I plan to run this class like a workshop, with plenty of active thinking and writing and talking by you all and a minimum of lecturing by me. This is not a class where you memorize names and dates and feed them back on a multiple-choice exam. Think of this more like a shop class: we are crafting sturdy bookcases (or ornate coat racks, or elegant night-stands) out of common materials that we cut and shape, fasten together with appropriate tools according to a flexible plan, then finish with loving care. You will not become a better carpenter unless you dare to make that first cut, swing that hammer. In order to improve as a writer (and to successfully complete this class), you will need to spend time reading and thinking and writing. Many people (including me!) have a hard time starting out on writing projects. We will talk in class about strategies to avoid procrastination and get started, but if you find that you are still having problems, please talk to me or go to the Writing Center in B110 for help.

The main written work of the course will be several short essays (500 words or so) plus four longer ones (1000–1500 words). You will post rough drafts for those essays as well as more informal writing on an individual blog that you will set up the first week of class. Final drafts will be submitted for grading either via email or as hard copies (to be discussed in class). At the end of the class you will turn in a portfolio of three essays (see portfolio information later in this document), as well as a reflective essay/letter that introduces the essays and describes your development as a writer over the course of the semester. You will have an opportunity to revise the work in this portfolio, and it will represent a sizable chunk of your grade for the semester.

Grading: Essays and the portfolio will be graded on an A+ to F scale, and informal work on a 3, 4-, or 5-point scale (depending on the complexity of the assignment). Grading breakdown is as follows:

Four longer essays @10% each             40%

Portfolio                                                         25%

Short essays/projects                                15%

Informal exercises/participation

(including peer review)                      10%

Punctuality score (for rough drafts)          10%

Note on revisions: I will see most of your writing projects at least twice; the first time, for rough drafts, I will give feedback but no grade. “Final” drafts submitted on time (or by an arranged extension deadline) may be revised and resubmitted further if you are not happy with a grade or you would like to work further on a piece. Changes must be substantive (not proofreading-level corrections alone), and resubmitted essays must be accompanied by a memo detailing what changes you have made and why. I especially encourage you to revise the work that appears in your final portfolio.

Policy for late assignments: I will grant one extension if you cannot turn the final draft of an essay in on time. In order to receive an extension, you must notify me via email before the essay is due. You do not need to provide an explanation, but you must tell me when you will turn in the essay. Your proposed date must be within a week of the original due date. After that extension has been used, late essays will be penalized one grade (for example, from A- to B+) for each day late.

Attendance policy: Regular attendance is expected. Students who miss more than four classes may be withdrawn from the class.

Policy for electronic devices: Unless students have made arrangements with me before class (due to a possible emergency situation), all cell phones should be silenced during class. I consider texting during class a distraction for both your classmates and me, and the lack of attention to what is going on in the classroom a sign of rudeness that irritates me more each semester. On occasion, though, you may be using cell phones for class-related work. If you’re in a classroom with desktop computers, we will be using them often during class; you may also bring in and use your own laptops or tablets if you prefer.

Academic integrity policy: Intentional plagiarism (work submitted that is not your own, copied either from a friend or online source) may result in failure of the course. Unintentional plagiarism will be handled on a case-by-case basis (usually I will ask students to revise and resubmit paper). See the Academic Integrity Policy pages at for more information.

Disability policy: If you have a documented disability and will be requiring accommodations, please contact me and the Office of Disability Services (L109, 508-678-2811–Fall River, ext. 2955; Attleboro, ext. 2996, Room 115 New Bedford, ext. 4011, NS 151) as soon as possible to arrange for appropriate accommodations. You may also contact ODS online at

The English 101 Portfolio Assessment Project

As a member of this class, you will participate in the English 101 Portfolio Assessment Project. You will benefit by being in a small class and by knowing that in order to pass this course your writing will demonstrate a level of skill that is consistent with that of students taking this course with other instructors at BCC.

Your portfolio will include four pieces of writing: a reflective cover letter plus three essays previously submitted for this course (one of these pieces must be an essay that uses research incorporating MLA notation). Two English faculty other than the instructor for this course will assess this portfolio.

Portfolios will be scored “pass” or “fail.” If your portfolio passes, the grade you have earned for your coursework will be issued. If your portfolio fails, but you have earned a passing grade for your coursework, an “I” grade will issued. If you receive an “I,” the Coordinator of the Portfolio Assessment Project will contact you, and he or she will help you develop and carry out a plan for working on the aspects of your writing that need strengthening. Then you will rework and resubmit your portfolio. When your portfolio passes, the grade you earned for your coursework will be issued. This “I” grade will not prevent you from moving on to English 102, but you will not receive credit for English 101 until your portfolio passes and your course grade is released. It is important that you follow this procedure, as a passing grade in English 101 is a graduation requirement.

If you do not attempt to revise your portfolio within one semester of receiving a “fail,” the Incomplete (“I”) may turn into a Fail (“F”) for the course. In this case, you will need to take the entire course over in order to receive credit.

TENTATIVE SCHEDULE (see blog for more complete, up-to-date info)


Weeks 1–2               Intro. to course; setting up blogs; specific details

(Sept. 6–16)              Writing: Intro post on blog, “The Place Where You Live

Blog your block

In-class practice summary writing

Weeks 3–6               Domestic Spaces

(Sept. 19–Oct. 14)   Intro to writing process;

finding, integrating, and citing sources

Writing: Essay 1 (Memoir about “home”)

Weeks 7 – 10           Commercial/Public Spaces

(Oct. 17–Nov. 11)    Writing: Essay 2 (Annotated bib and report)

Essay 3 (ethnographic analysis of a public space)

Weeks 11–14           Civic Spaces (Cities, Towns, and Suburbs)

(Nov. 14–Dec. 9)      View clips from the documentary Urbanized and several   articles to be provided

Project: pecha kucha or digital story-telling project on assigned topic on urban/suburban spaces (graded as short essay)

Writing: Essay 4 (proposal to improve your community) and related persuasive “piece” aimed at specific audience

Week 15                    Portfolio cover letter and final revisions

(Dec. 12–16)