English 110 examines the arts and practices of effective writing and reading in college, especially the use of language to discover ideas. Because Queens College believes that the ability to write and communicate effectively is essential to its students’ success both in college and after, this course will introduce students to the components of writing that they will continue to practice during their college career. Students should expect to be challenged and excited by the ambitious goal of taking ownership of language. In general, this means developing fluency with:

1) elements of academic writing (such as identifying a thesis, offering analysis, using evidence)

2) seeing writing as a process (including pre-drafting, drafting, outlines, editing and revision)

3) some rhetorical strategies (such as persuasion, metaphor, comparison and contrast)

4) the grammar and mechanics of English (like sentence structure, punctuation, voice)

5) considering disciplinary conventions (how different disciplines create different writing)

Learning Objectives for students will include:

–to gain a familiarity with a range of modes of communication, including informal writing, formal academic essays, MLA-style bibliography entries, and letters to peers and professors.

–to develop and use strategies for improving writing and critical thinking through recursive practice, self-reflection, and the process of revision.

–to demonstrate a link between writing and critical thinking by showing how the analysis of ideas is dependent on the ability to communicate them successfully.

–to demonstrate a mastery over basic methods of research and documentation, including how to identify and evaluate appropriate secondary sources for an academic essay, to select quotation for use as evidence, to integrate quotation, and to properly cite quotation using MLA style.

–to identify personal strengths and weaknesses in the process of composition, and to describe methods to achieve future success.


Assignments are sequenced to stress the recursive practice of writing. Students will revise their writing for a portfolio that is assessed for a final grade, introduced by a Cover Letter that explains the process gone through to create a portfolio, the strengths gained by producing these writings, and challenges still faced as writers. Students are evaluated in three broad areas:

1) their ability and diligence in completing all writing assignments on time, reading and reflecting on assigned readings before class, and participating in class and blog discussions.

2) their competence in meeting the learning objectives identified above.

3) their ability to demonstrate, through the pieces in their final portfolio and their meta-reflective cover letter, that they have made thoughtful and careful revision from earlier drafts.

In practice, the final grade will be a “negotiation.” Students should meet with me one-on-one during the final third of the semester, where we will discuss current strengths and weaknesses and establish expectations for the remainder of the semester. We will agree on an appropriate final grade, dependent upon completing a list of expectations. This list might include specific revision of certain assignments, good faith effort to participate more, or mastery of recurring problem areas. Students will submit a memo outlining our meeting to serve as a grading contract.

PARTICIPATION: This is a linked course, so the themes and discussions in this course intersect with and compliment the issues in your Media Studies class. If you drop this course, you must also drop MDST 144. Since participation is crucial to your success, you must not miss more than three classes. I do not differentiate between excused and unexcused absences. Please do not arrive late, leave before class ends, or leave in the middle of class. If you come unprepared, you are absent; this includes such things as not doing the reading, not bringing the text to class, sleeping during class, or not making an effort to participate. If you know you cannot attend, contact me before to inquire about turning in homework; I do not accept late assignments.

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: In 2004, the Board of Trustees adopted a new CUNY Policy on Academic Integrity. Violations include: cheating, fabrication, facilitating academic dishonesty, plagiarism, and denying others access to information. It is your responsibility to be aware of what constitutes academic dishonesty; students who are unsure of whether their work meets criteria for academic integrity should consult with their instructor. Please look at the full policy, which provides further examples and possible consequences for incidences of academic dishonesty: http://web.cuny.edu/academics/info-central/policies/academic-integrity.pdf

I have a zero-tolerance policy towards plagiarism and academic dishonesty. The minimum punishment for any plagiarism in this course is receiving an F as a final grade and being reported to the Vice President for Student Affairs.

If you have a learning, sensory, or physical reason for special accommodation in this class, contact the Office of Special Services in 171 Kiely Hall at 718-997-5870 and please inform me.

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