CSULA Department of English | Composition Resources

Sample Syllabus for English 096

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<Instructor Name>

Office: <instructor’s office>
English Department Mail Room: E & T 637
Office Hours: <instructor’s office hours—80 minutes per week for each 4-unit class>
Campus Phone: <instructor’s telephone number>
Email: <instructor’s email address—this is optional>
Course Web Site: <URL for course materials—this is optional>

English 096: Basic Writing II (4)

Catalog Description

Prerequisite: English Placement Test  (placement determined by student’s score) or passing grade in ENGL 095.  Frequent essays based on reading and responding to expository prose;  instruction in expository writing conventions and critical reading strategies.  Graded CR/NC.  Not open to students with credit for this course, an equivalent, or a higher level English composition course.  Students with two NC grades may not enroll again.  No credit toward baccalaureate.

Learning Objectives

Write with greater focus by generating a thesis that states a controlling purpose

Develop ideas more fully and fluently

Read and respond critically to outside texts

Analyze personal experiences with specific reference to an outside text

Incorporate quotations and paraphrase into essays with correct attribution

Use the writing process effectively to develop ideas and substantively revise their essays

Edit final drafts to eliminate systematic errors in English sentence structure, mechanics, and usage


English Department policy states that composition students must attend the first two classes of the quarter to retain their place in the class. Any student who is absent either the first or second class meeting will be dropped and the space given to another student who is trying to add.

Regular attendance is essential. Failure to attend class or arriving to class late will seriously damage your chances of passing this course. The English Department has a firm policy that states that no student may miss more than 20 percent of the class meetings. If you are more than 20 minutes late, consider yourself absent. If you must miss a class for a valid reason, please call the department number or email me and leave a message that includes how I can reach you so that we can make sure you don't fall behind the rest of the class.

Required Work

There will be weekly reading and writing assignments in this class. You will need to plan ahead carefully in order to complete the following tasks on time:

Weekly reading assignments

Five short essays (at least 2-3 pages each)

Two revised essays (chosen from the five short essays)

One final exam essay

A reading journal in which you will summarize and respond to the assigned reading. (See handout for more on the reading journal.)

Please note that all assignments (the readings, the essays, and the journal entries) are required. I will not accept a portfolio from anyone who has failed to complete all of the assignments.

Texts, Supplies and Other Helpful Advice

Textbook: 50 Essays: A Portable Anthology, edited by Samuel Cohen and published by Bedford/St. Martin’s Press (2004) (This text should be available in the campus bookstore.)

The writing handbook recommended by the English Department is Diana Hacker’s A Pocket Style Manual, 4th ed. (Bedford/St. Martin’s).

Supplies: Some regular, lined notebook (8.5 x 11) paper, some dark-ink pens (blue or black), at least two standard-sized (8.5 x 11) bluebooks (exam books) to use for your reading journals, and a manila folder for your portfolio. (These supplies should be available in the campus bookstore.)

Helpful Advice:

If you do not already own one, it is a very good idea to purchase a decent American language dictionary in addition.

Throw nothing away, and bring paper, our text, and your journals to class every time.

In conjunction with regular attendance, you must keep up with the work. Late work is not acceptable and a missing assignment is counted as an absence.


Attendance: Attendance is mandatory. I will take attendance at the start of every class. If you are not present I will mark you absent. Arriving late will count as half of an absence. You are allowed one absence without penalty. If you miss more than four classes you will be disqualified from taking the final and therefore will fail the class.

Your Portfolio: For this class, ultimately you will be evaluated on the basis of three writing samples—two essays written during the quarter, revised and edited (with rough drafts attached beneath the revision), and your final exam. Due dates for each revision are noted on the schedule. (Note: You are responsible for composing essays on all of the assigned topics.)

Grading Policy: Course grades are determined by an evaluation of your portfolio by two current English 096 instructors. The following grades are used:

CR—Credit: You pass the course and are eligible to enroll in English 101
NC—No Credit: You must retake English 096


ADA Accommodations:  Reasonable accommodation will be provided to any student who is registered with the Office of Students with Disabilities and requests needed accommodation.

Cell Phones and Pagers: Please turn off all cell phones, pagers, portable radios, televisions, computers, MP3/CD/Disc/Mini-disc players, and any other electronic communication and/or entertainment devices before coming to class.

Preparing for Class: Please read the assigned texts before class. Often I will offer some guidelines about future reading assignments in class. For example, I might tell you to focus on a particular character or scene for the next class meeting. If you are absent, you are responsible for getting the assignment from a classmate.

Academic Dishonesty/Cheating: Collaborating with others is encouraged when you are planning your papers, reviewing each other’s work, preparing for presentations or for exams. Study or reading groups can be effective ways to study and learn. However, when you write your papers, the text needs to be your own.

You must carefully observe the standard rules for acknowledging the sources of words and ideas. If you make use of a phrase or a quote or if you paraphrase another writer’s words or ideas, you must acknowledge the source of these words or ideas telling us the source of these materials. APA and MLA style differ on the exact format of this attribution, but the simple version is the name of the author and the page number (if appropriate) in parentheses at the end of the sentence containing the use of the source material. (We will work on properly acknowledging sources this quarter.)

If you plagiarize or otherwise misrepresent the source of your work, you will receive a zero on the assignment and be reported to the Student Disciplinary Officer.

If you panic and are tempted to plagiarize or cheat, DO NOT. Contact me and we can negotiate a solution. Once you cheat, it is too late for you to negotiate anything.




Class Activity

Reading Due

Writing Due

Wk 1-1


Introduction to course


Wk 1-2


In-class Essay #1

Wk 2-1


Developing An Essay

Angelou, "Graduation" (9-22)


Wk 2-2


Discuss Angelou

Peer Review Training #1


Reading Journal #1 (on "Graduation") due

Wk 3-1


Conference Essay #1


In-class Essay #2

Wk 3-2


Discuss Rodriguez

Using Text

Rodriguez, "Aria: Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood" (292-315)

Reading Journal #2 (on "Aria") due

Wk 4-1


Conference essay #2


In-class Essay #3

Wk 4-2


Discuss Plato

Plato, "The Allegory of the Cave" (284-291)

Reading Journal #3 (on "The Allegory of the Cave") due

Assign Essay #4

Wk 5-1


Short conference on Essay #3

(Further discussion of Plato, if necessary)

Thinking and Writing in Modules

Revision Assignment


Bring Essay #1 and Essay #2 to Class

Wk 5-2


Some Very Common Problems

Peer Review Essay #4


Essay #4 Due

Bring Revision #1 to class

Wk 6-1


Discuss Winn

Winn, "Television: The Plug-In Drug"

Revision #1 due

Wk 6-2


Short Conference on Essay #4


In-class Essay #5

Reading Journal #4 (on "Television: The Plug-In Drug") due

Wk 7-1


Hand back Revision #1 and Essay #5


Wk 7-2


Putting Together Your Portfolio


Wk 8-1


Style and Revision Workshops


Bring draft of one of your portfolio essays

Wk 8-2


Discuss Ericsson

Ericsson, "The Ways We Lie" (120-129)

Bring draft of one of your portfolio essays

Wk 9-1


Individual conferences (in my office)


First Revised Portfolio Essay due

Wk 9-2


Individual conferences (in my office)


Second Revised Portfolio Essay due

Wk 10-1


Last minute questions

Discuss final exam reading (Ericsson)

Student Evaluations


Wk 10-2


Turn in Portfolios Thursday March 10

Final in-class essay