Course Syllabus

     English Composition 101


Instructor: Cassie Cross

Office Hours: Mondays and Tuesdays 10am-12pm in D221

Course Informationvintage illustration of a man in a suit holding an umbrella above his head.

Over the 7 weeks of this quarter you will be reading and discussing the works of others as well as writing and sharing your own work. This course will focus on developing clear, effective writing skills. We are here to become better writers by communicating our thoughts clearly and concisely to an audience. No one said this would be easy. In fact, I can tell you without a doubt, after spending all of my life working on it, writing is hard. Even published authors struggle with it.

Don’t be afraid to give yourself a break! But also, don’t underestimate the amount of time it can take to find the right words.

Writing is a process and in this course you will learn how to do clear and thoughtful revision of your work. This course will rely on a peer review format, where your classmates will respond to your writing and you will give thoughtful comments on your peers’ papers as well. Responding to writing—published writers as well as your classmates’ work—will help you to think more critically and objectively about your own writing. Ideas, given time and reflection, can develop and grow; in this course you will have the opportunity to make use of the process format and succeed in writing well-informed, highly developed essays. Also, a little creativity never hurts!

Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate various invention practices: brainstorming, free-writing, outlining, and journaling
  • Demonstrate ability to write in various modes: personal narrative, expository, analytical, descriptive, argument
  • Demonstrate the phases of writing: draft, revision, final copy
  • Explore sources of writing: reading, thinking, analyzing, discussion
  • Create a thesis statement that suggests the focus of the paper; does not point out the obvious, and is written as a sentence
  • Develop and include enough details and examples to support the identified thesis and reinforce the focus
  • Demonstrate various patterns of organization and use the organization pattern that suits your identified purpose & audience
  • Illustrate the concept of Audience in your writing
  • Artfully combine Audience, Purpose, and Tone in compositions written in and outside of class
  • Write in a vocabulary appropriate to your subject and identified audience
  • Begin and conclude a paper effectively
  • Show effective control of mechanics: paragraphing, punctuation, spelling
  • Differentiate between key ideas and supporting details in reading
  • Locate the thesis statement in reading assignments
  • Practice good group skills: how to give useful feedback, and how to make use of feedback you receive
  • Develop self assessment skills

Materials Required

Book Cover Extremely Loud and Incredibly CloseAlternate Book Cover Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

(ISBN: 978-0-547-73502-3)

Recommended, but not required:

The Little Seagull Handbook, any edition by Richard Bullock, Michael Brody, and Francine Weinberg

Any additional readings will be provided.


Grades will be weighted as follows:

Essay 1             30%

Essay 2             30%

Responses       20%

Participation    20%

Participation includes contributing to online discussions and peer reviews with thoughtful, substantive comments, engaging with your peers, turning in drafts on time, and showing that you have read and understood the material. 

Peer reviews cannot be made up, so make sure you turn in your draft on time! If you do not turn in your draft on time, you will not be able to participate.

Please note that you need to log in to the course site sometime during the first two days of the quarter. Failure to do so will result in your being dropped from the course.

Late Work Policy: Late essays lose 5 points every day they are late. Late responses or discussion posts lose 1 point every day they are late. You must notify me ahead of time if you'd like an extension on an assignment.


Plagiarism is grounds for probation or suspension from Bellevue College as well as for failure in this course. I will not tolerate it, and will report any instance of plagiarism I find to the Vice President of Student Services. Plagiarism is a counterproductive, non-writing behavior that is unacceptable in a course intended to aid your growth as an academic writer. Any instances of plagiarism I find in your essays will result in an immediate failing grade on that assignment, and possible failing grade for the course.

Other Resources:

The Writing Lab at Bellevue College

The Writing Lab offers one-on-one help with writing, including class assignments, college applications, resumés, and more. Make an appointment online or just stop by D204.

The Disability Resource Center 

The Disability Resource Center serves students with a wide array of learning challenges and disabilities. If you are a student who has a disability or learning challenge for which you have documentation or have seen someone for treatment and if you feel you may need accommodations in order to be successful in college, please contact the DRC as soon as possible. If you are a student with a documented autism spectrum disorder, there is a program of support available to you.  

The DRC office is located in B 132 or you can call the reception desk at 425.564.2498. Deaf students can reach the DRC by video phone at 425-440-2025 or by TTY at 425-564-4110.  

The Academic Success Center

The Academic Success Center provides drop-in and scheduled tutoring free of charge for Bellevue College students.

Student Success and Counseling Center 

Our mission is to advocate for student, college, and community success by promoting balanced learning in an academic environment which embraces intellectual, physical, spiritual, social, and emotional values. BC Faculty Counselors, some of whom are licensed in the state of Washington, provide short-term individual counseling at no charge for registered BC students. Our professional, confidential counseling is available for you when you need someone who will listen, help, and assist in providing coping skills, developing insights and exploring alternatives consistent with your personal values. This guidance is provided to enhance your success and wellness at BC.

Affirmation of Inclusion

Bellevue College is committed to maintaining an environment in which every member of the campus community feels welcome to participate in the life of the college, free from harassment and discrimination.

We value our different backgrounds at Bellevue College, and students, faculty, staff members, and administrators are to treat one another with dignity and respect. 

Course Summary:

Date Details Due