Syllabus (online)

Instructor: Holly Pappas

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

Office: A104

Office hours: T 8 – 9 am, W 11 am – noon; or by appointment

Email: (Please use this email rather than my campus email, as it makes it easier for me to keep student work together.)

Phone: (508) 678–2811 X2244 (This is my school extension; email is a better way to get in touch.)

Text: Download the app Remind and add your name to our class using the code https:


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: There will be no course text; readings will be drawn from online sources.

 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.

In an on-line class, of course, most of our interactions will take place in cyberspace; for this class we will be using blogs for that purpose, the course blog plus individual blogs that each of you will set up the first week of class. Reading and writing assignments will be posted on the course blog, with all work for the week due by Sunday at midnight. I strongly suggest that you check the weekly assignments early in the week in order to plan out your schedule. A f2f class meets three hours a week, and the general guidelines are that students can expect to spend another five or six hours outside of class per week; for an on-line class that would translate to eight or nine hours a week, which may be difficult to accomplish in an evening. Regular writing is required in order to improve as a writer, and you may make it more difficult for yourself to get started if you wait until the last minute, leaving six days between writing sessions. I will post some strategies to help chronic procrastinators (I am one myself), but if you find that you are still having problems, please talk to me or go to the Writing Center in B110 for help getting started.

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. There is information on how to do this in the Introduction section in on the top left of blog; I’ll also post a short video to show you how to navigate around the blog. Final drafts will be turned in via email so that grading and my final comments will be confidential.

You will also be doing some more informal work, which will usually be posted either on the course blog, your own blog, or a fellow student’s blog. This work will include short reading responses; exercises on the writer’s craft (paragraph and sentence structure, word choice, etc.); and peer review of other students’ work.

Grading: Essays will be graded on an A+ to F scale, and informal writing and your reading journals on a 2-, 3-, or 4-point scale (depending on its complexity). 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 formal work at least twice; the first time, for rough drafts, I will give feedback but no grade. You will, however, receive points if these ungraded drafts are turned in on time; that’s the 10% punctuality grade in breakdown above. “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.

Participation policy

  • If you have not submitted any required assignments over the course of two weeks’ time, you may be withdrawn from the course. Please let me know if you have any medical or personal situation that is interfering with your ability to keep up in the class.
  • Information and assignments will be posted by Sunday at noon for the coming week.
  • I will check my email daily as well as the course blog for questions and comments, Monday through Friday, and will respond to your email within 24 hours in most cases. I may not access the site on Saturdays, Sundays or holidays.

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. Work submitted on time (or by an arranged extension deadline) may be revised and resubmitted 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.

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 are a student who would normally seek accommodations in a traditional, face to face classroom, please speak to me and the Office of Disability Services as soon as possible. You may contact the Office of Disability Services to arrange for appropriate accommodations by calling 508-678-2811–Fall River, ext. 2955; Attleboro, ext. 2996; New Bedford, ext. 4011) or by stopping by L109. You may also contact the Office of Disability Services online at

Please also note that this course is designed to be welcoming to, accessible to, and usable by everyone, including students who are English-language learners, have a variety of learning styles, have disabilities, or are new to online learning. Be sure to let me know immediately if you encounter a required element or resource in the course that is not accessible to you. Also, let me know of changes I can make to the course so that it is more welcoming to, accessible to, or usable by students who take this course in the future.    


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 me 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 Chairman 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 (check the course blog for 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)