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Welcome to ENGL 101

Updated: May 7, 2018

ENGL 101 / CRN 35442

Critical Thinking, Reading, and Writing in Literature


Instructor: Robert Peach /

ENGL 101 / CRN 35442: Monday, Wednesday 2:20 pm – 4:25 pm, LIT & LN 245

Office Hours: Tuesday, Thursday 12 pm – 4 pm, LIT & LN 226


COURSE DESCRIPTION: In Critical Thinking, Reading and Writing in Literature students read, analyze, and write on literature by applying critical thinking skills and research to formulate and compose written arguments related to the text.

LEARNING OUTCOMES: Students will be able to present significant details of literary elements from a work of fiction or creative nonfiction, draw appropriate inferences and use their inferences to build a claim in a persuasive essay.


  • The Little Seagull Handbook (3rd Edition)

  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker

  • Beloved by Toni Morrison

  • The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

  • Personal Journal (Moleskine recommended)


Adios, Strunk & White, 6th ed (Hoffman and Hoffman, 2017)

CLASS DYNAMIC & PARTICIPATION: This course is meant to be a space of creativity. Each class will function to allow time for conversation and writing around topics from the required texts. The Little Seagull provides an engaging set of writing techniques that you will be prompted to apply in your own writing and to look for in your reading of pieces from the various authors and their published works, including those posted online.

In preparation for class discussion, you are encouraged to use your journals to annotate the assigned readings by defining key terms, paraphrasing the main idea of a text in your own words, offering your own commentary on the text, highlighting techniques discussed in Seagull (and Adios) and asking one or two follow-up questions in response to the text. YOUR NOTES WILL NOT BE COLLECTED. However, it is expected that you will be diligent in showing up prepared for class conversation.

In terms of class discussion, please be forthcoming with your opinions on the assigned readings, as well as diplomatic and tolerant in responding to the opinions of your classmates. You are invited to speak and listen with the intention of learning from each other in a spirit of humility. All forms of prejudicial language and behavior will not be tolerated.

Please be on time and come prepared to class; your attendance will be tracked accordingly. As a matter of courtesy, please turn off all electronic devices upon entering the room and wait to be excused for the restroom until the end of class or during a break.

COURSEWORK: You will be responsible for maintaining an individual portfolio in which you will gather smaller, in-class writing assignments to be collected periodically. These must be typed and follow formatting guidelines discussed in class.

In addition to maintaining an individual portfolio, you will be responsible for four (4) major writing assignments—each due separately during Weeks 4, 8, 12, and 16—that will require you to interpret each of the four major texts based off of the analytical methods discussed in class.

Your assignments for the semester include:

  1. Four analytical essays (20 points each),

  2. A portfolio of in-class assignments (20 points)

The course schedule will be updated regularly, so be sure to check the website every day.

SUBMISSIONS: Once an essay is submitted for final evaluation, there is an opportunity to revise and resubmit for re-evaluation; however, plan to receive feedback before the final draft of any given assignment is due. Late assignments will be deducted one letter grade. If you cannot attend a class when an assignment is due, please e-mail it to me at my school address:

FORMATTING: We will use the Modern Language Association (MLA) guidelines for documenting and formatting all typed compositions. Please use double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, one inch margins, and proper citations. As a helpful resource, you can refer to Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (OWL), as well as the page on this website titled, "Resources." All typed submissions should include the following heading, double-spaced, in the top left hand corner of your first page:

Your Name

Professor Name

ENGL 101 / CRN

Date Due

ATTENDANCE: Regular attendance is expected. Three consecutive absences or four total absences by the 12th week will result in your being dropped. If you must miss class, check the webpage, contact another student, and/or e-mail me to find out what you missed. Be on time to class; tardiness results in a half an absence. Chronic tardiness results in your being dropped.

GRADING: You will be graded primarily on completion of the four major assignments. You will be deducted points from your final grade for failing to submit portfolio assignments. Of 100% your four major assignments constitute 80% and the portfolio submissions 25%. I assess your class participation based largely on your attendance. Points will be deducted from your final grade depending on the number of absences accrued.

ACADEMIC (DIS)HONESTY / PLAGIARISM: Presenting someone else’s work or ideas as your own is plagiarism and a matter of academic dishonesty. So as to uphold a standard of integrity in this space, please be honest in the work that you do. Failure to act accordingly misses the point of this course, which is all about learning to write in your own, unique voice. Less about failing the course, which is one consequence of plagiarism, academic dishonesty is a matter of failing yourself and your partners in conversation. Please make an honest effort to “show up” as YOU.

TECHNOLOGY: Again, out of courtesy and unless permitted, please put away all laptops and other electronic devices during class. If, for some reason, a recording is required, it cannot be disseminated without permission (this includes posting on social media, transferring files via e-mail, or any other medium).

RESOURCES: Please know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE in the writing process. OCC's Writing Center is open every day and offers workshops on writing as well as tutoring sessions for reading and writing if you need help. It is located in C & L 101. For more info, visit the webpage here. I also maintain office hours every Tuesday and Thursday (as noted above). See me if you’d like to engage in one-on-one tutoring.

Students who believe that they may need accommodations in this class are encouraged to contact the Disabled Student Programs and Services (DSPS) department as soon as possible to ensure that such accommodations are implemented in a timely and effective fashion. Authorization, based on verification of disability, is required before any modifications can be made. The phone number for DSPS office is (714) 432-5807. It is located in the Special Services building.

In addition, if you are struggling to manage the many obligations in your life, there are various other campus resources offering student outreach (in addition to seeing me for office hours).

These resources include:

Student Services:

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