Course Syllabus

Welcome to English 201!

Here you will find a course overview with information as possible about who I am, what you will be doing in this class, and what to expect this quarter. This syllabus is kind of long. Take some time to read it over the first day or two; think of it as our map for the next couple of months.

Your instructor:

My academic training is a mix of the composition, rhetoric, social sciences and literature. I have a particular fondness for research and the methods of inquiry employed by scholars in the humanities—so I love teaching this course.  

I know that this is a required class for many of you. Nevertheless, I hope to impress upon you the usefulness of researching well, formulating strong arguments and analyzing the world around you.

But I am realistic about the fact that some among us would rather have a tooth pulled than research academic sources for weeks on end or share our writing with groups of people (both of which will happen this quarter), so I do everything I can to make this class interesting, dynamic, relevant, and- yes, hopefully- fun.

What is ENGL&201 and why should you take this class?

This is a Liberal Arts course in research skills and rhetoric. What you will learn in this class prepares you for advanced work in a diverse range of fields:  nursing, political science, law, economics, professional writing and scholarship, to name a few.

I am a huge proponent of the Liberal Arts, so I speak and write constantly about how crucial a component they are in our public education system. Studying the Liberal Arts prepares people to be leaders and to make meaningful contributions to the world, no matter what their professions.

So, take this class if you plan to go into a field that requires strong research and writing skills; say, if you want to be a lawyer, a nurse, a business analyst, a psychologist. Or take this class because you have to fulfill a transfer requirement. But most of all, take this course if you want to develop skills that will transfer to all your future endeavors…


Greene & Lidinsky. From Inquiry to Academic Writing 2nd  Edition
Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin’s


What you will learn:

This course will strengthen your ability to do three crucial things:


Analyze arguments.  Engage ideas from sources.  Write well.


To this end, you will read, discuss, and write about assigned articles. You will learn to engage multiple perspectives and explore complexity. You will learn to use the library for research. You will find and evaluate sources for your own topics of interest. You will write and use different types of claims, create solid lines of reasoning, and become deft at citations.

ENGL 201 is both academically and experientially rigorous.

In other words, you will gain a great deal of experience and agility in writing and reading, and you will have to work for it.  


Fundamental goals of this course:

  • Examine the “media torrent” of political messages, standards, behaviours, roles, and values that bombards us every day.
  • Gain awareness of the ideologies we internalize because of them (consciously or not).
  • Gain awareness of how standards that are narrow and socially constructed shape our beliefs about ‘normal’.
  • Recognize the flaws and fallacies in much of the rhetoric in popular culture.
  • Recognize the ways in which media shapes our understanding (that is, misunderstanding) of people who are “not like us”.
  • Recognize how those misunderstandings perpetuate prejudices, stereotypes, marginalization, oppression and privilege.
  • Learn what prejudice, stereotype, marginalization, oppression and privilege mean and how they affect our world.
  • Become a more active, engaged citizen of the world.
  • Use all these skills to research, write about, and explain the significance of something that matters to you.

What you will be able to show for all this:   

Ultimately our work in this class is practice for your final project: A Final Research Essay on an issue within the context of identity.   


The goal of your Final Research Essay is to demonstrate that you have met theCOURSE OUTCOMES, which means that it will contain:

  • Objective, concise summaries of academic materials which identify primary and supporting claims.
  • An evaluation of different types of evidence and sources.
  • Synthesis of ideas from other writers.
  • An original and clearly supported thesis that identifies a fundamental issue or tension you have identified.
  • Proper in-text citations and Works Cited page.
  • A breadth of sources demonstrating a familiarity with library research skills.

Your grade breaks down like this:


Final Project                                       30%  of final grade

Quizzes                                              30%  of final grade


& Seminars/Discussion               40%  of final grade



Your Final Research Project is an 8-10 page research paper.

  • For this project, you will choose the topic based on the work we’ve done with identity throughout the quarter. 


  • The points for each quiz may vary slightly, but the total forall quizzes makes up 30% of your grade.


Participation in this class takes many forms.

Your participation score is comprised of points from discussions, seminars,  and overall engagement with the class.

  • Remember that I have a special “teacher tool” that allows me to see what you’ve clicked on, when you’ve been logged in, how many posts you’ve read and responded to, and how much time you’ve spent doing it. This information will be used to assess part of your overall participation.


Course Summary:

Date Details Due