Eng 101 Essay Assignment

Course Description

The main purpose of English 101 is to introduce you to the conventions of academic writing and critical thinking. And while academic writing means different things to different people, there are some common elements. We write to communicate to others-whether they are colleagues, professionals in their fields, or friends. We write to convince others that our position has validity. We write to discover new things about our world as well as ourselves. For that matter, the process of writing is epistemological-a way of coming to know. Writing can become a medium for self-reflection, self-expression, and communication, a means of coming to know for both the writer and reader.

Learning to write requires writing. Writing is a craft, and as a craft, writing can be learned and refined. Ultimately, writing takes practice, and as a writer, you will have opportunities to write both in the classroom as well as outside. With that said, the goal I have for this class-one that all writing courses share-is to give you, as students, enough practice writing so that you will become more effective writers by the end of this course than you were at the start. Also, you will develop a greater understanding of what you need to consider to continue to develop as writers.

As we delve into this semester, I hope you will discover also that writing, reading, and learning are intricately intermeshed. Writing is based on experience-experience with a text or personal experience-and that reading is a means to broadening experiences, especially when actively engaged by reading dialectically (as opposed to polemically). Much of the readings, lectures, and discussions may challenge more commonly accepted assumptions and beliefs. You will be required to critically rethink and reevaluate popular concepts and ideas (this may also challenge your own ideas so please try to keep open perspective). One of the main goals for this class will be to try to understand how language informs and shapes our culture and society as well as our everyday lives and practices.

Lastly, I assume you already think critically (you would not have made it to college otherwise, of course). Now we will try to go beyond critical thinking skills; we will reflect on a range of possibilities and positions. We may find ourselves asking more questions rather than finding easy answers. And together, I hope we can become more critically conscious of the world we inhabit.

ENG 101: Composition I, Spring 2017
Section GA: Monday/Wednesday, 11:00 am–12:15 pm
                       South 109/South 110 



Important Announcements and Updates: Click HERE

Print-friendly (MS Word) course syllabus here.
Other printable documents:
Model for Evaluation of Student Writing
  Works Cited page (Instructions & Sample
Cover Page for Research Essays (Sample)
Standard MLA Format for Essays
Revision and Editing Checklist
Incorporating Sources
Paragraph Outline
Essay Outline


This course prepares students to produce clear, well-developed, well-organized, grammatically correct writing. The curriculum is designed to give students guided practice in drafting, revising, and editing essays. The course is also designed to develop the skills that enable students to interpret and analyze published texts. In addition to readings assigned in class, students respond to texts they locate themselves through research and write at least one documented or research essay. 

Prerequisites: ENG 001, ENG 030 or placement by Department, RDG 001, concurrent enrollment in RDG 030 or placement by Department.



Back to Top



Course Goals

Learning Outcomes

Writing Literacy: to produce precise, clear, grammatically-correct, well-developed, and well-organized writing appropriate to academic, social, and occupational fields

Produce coherent texts within common college level   forms

Revise and improve such texts

Critical Thinking: develop critical thinking skills

Identify, analyze, and evaluate arguments as they occur in their own and others’ work

Develop well-reasoned arguments

Informational Literacy: to develop skills to locate, evaluate, and incorporate relevant source materials into the construction and expression of an informed point of view

Access and utilize basic computer and internet functions, demonstrating appropriate and effective utilization of programs and functions

Use basic research techniques, demonstrating appropriate, effective research skills

Locate, evaluate, organize, and synthesize information from a variety of sources, demonstrating the ability to implement an effective search strategy to obtain reliable information

Apply ethical and legal standards for use of source information, demonstrating the application of accepted ethical and legal restrictions on the use of published works

Cultural Literacy: to develop exposure to literary texts that reflect the diversity of the human experience in a variety of historical and cultural frameworks

Demonstrate understanding of the various influences that shape perspectives, values, and identities

Recognize the roles and responsibilities of citizens in a diverse world


OBJECTIVES: Students will

1.  Respond orally and in writing to texts, primarily nonfiction.

2.  Write as a way of exploring, developing, and confirming ideas in a process of communicating them

3.  Compose essays that support and develop a point of view, using a variety of composing strategies.

4.  Self-evaluate using a vocabulary specific to the discipline in order to discuss, revise, and edit one’s own writing and the writing of others.

5.  Revise in order to substantially improve the focus, organization, and development of ideas.

6.  Locate, evaluate, and cull information from archival and/or electronic sources.

7.  Summarize, paraphrase, quote, and use MLA-style citations to document course reading and materials found through research in the construction and expression of a point of view.

8.  Edit and proofread for usage and correctness of grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

9.  Produce approximately 4,000–6,000 words across a series of written assignments and essays subject to evaluation, at least one of which is an essay of 1,000–1,500 words.

After completing this course, students will be able to

1.  Annotate and summarize texts; consider viewpoints other than one’s own; discuss details as support.

2.  Use brainstorming techniques to create outlines/freewriting/mapping; write preliminary drafts; develop thesis statement awareness to include multiple perspective possibilities; create thesis statements.

3.  Modify/narrow thesis in subsequent drafts; consider & try out additional methods of development; respond to varied prompts on a topic; discuss language choices in a piece of writing.

4.  Refer to specific elements of a reading to support general observations during a class discussion;  discuss plagiarism; annotate & summarize class reading and research; write documented essays; cite sources according to MLA guidelines; create a “Works Cited” list.

5.  Respond to local & global revision prompts; cut extraneous material; add specificity to improve support; read & evaluate other students’ writing; discuss drafts with peers.

6.  Read and evaluate one’s own writing; correct errors of usage, grammar, punctuation, spelling; clarify sentences through phrase and clause use; consult a dictionary, thesaurus, & writer’s handbook; revise drafts.


Back to Top


(see also Additional Textbook Options, below)


Bullock, Richard. The Norton Field Guide to Writing, 4 ed. New York: W. W. Norton, 2016. ISBN 9780393264357.
College bookstore options:
    Buy new: $62.65
    Buy eBook: $40.00
Also, available used, on Kindle, or for rent starting at $23.38 at Amazon.com*
Note:The Norton Field Guide to Writing, 3 ed. is also acceptable, and much less expensive. (Available used, on Kindle, or for rent starting at $9.39 at Amazon.com***)

A good college-level (paperback) dictionary (Available used starting at $0.01 at Amazon.com***).

Other materials:

A thumb drive or other portable storage device.
Pens (blue or black ink only) and a notebook and/or supply of 8

½ x 11" ruled paper, not spiral bound. Paper torn out of spiral-bound notebooks is not acceptable and will be returned unread and ungraded.

Recommended additional texts:**

Bloom, Harold. How to Read and Why. New York: Scribner, 2000. (Available starting at $1.00 at Amazon.com)***

Bryce, Robert. Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of "Energy Independence". [New York?]: PublicAffairs, 2009. (Available starting at $00.01 at Amazon.com)†

Cain, Susan. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. New York: Random House, 2012, 2013. ( Available stating at $3.88 at Amazon.com)

Casagrande, June. Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies: A Guide to Language for Fun and Spite. New York: Penguin, 2006. (Available starting at $3.94 at Amazon.com)

---. Mortal Syntax: 101 Language Choices That Will Get You Clobbered by the Grammar Snobs—Even If You’re Right. New York: Penguin, 2008 (Available used starting at $6.61 at Amazon.com).

Cathcart, Thomas and Daniel Klein. “Logic.” Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar...: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes. New York: Abrams Image, 2006. 27-49. (Available used starting at $6.73 at Amazon.com)

---. Aristotle and an Aardvark Go to Washington: Understanding Political Doublespeak through Through Philosophy and Jokes. New York: Abrams Image, 2007. 27-49 (Available used starting at $10.85 at Amazon.com).

Coontz, Stephanie. Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage. New York: Penguin, 2005. (Available used starting at $2.98 at Amazon.com).

Crystal, David. Words, Words, Words. New York: Oxford U P, 2006 (Available used starting at $9.28 at Amazon.com).

Garvey, Mark. Stylized" A Slightly Obsessive History of Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style..New York: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, 2009. (Available starting at $14.48 at Amazon.com).†

Guzman, Andrew. Overheated: The Human Cost of Climate Change. New York: Oxford UP, 2013 (Available starting at $20.15 at Amazon.com).

Klein, Naomi. This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2014. (Available starting at $10.50 at Amazon.com).

Kozol, Jonathan. Letters to a Young Teacher. New York: Crown, 2007 (Available starting at $12.15 at Amazon.com).

---.  The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America. New York: Crown, 2005 (Available starting at $10.17 at Amazon.com).

Lamotte, Anne. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. New York: Anchor, 1995. (Available starting at $3.09 at Amazon.com)

Lederer, Richard. Anguished English: An Anthology of Accidental Assaults Upon Our Language. Charleston, SC: Wyrick & Company, 1987 (Available used starting at $0.01 at Amazon.com).

---.  More Anguished English: An Expose of Embarrassing Excruciating, and Egregious Errors in English. New York: Dell, 1994 (Available used starting at $0.01 at Amazon.com).

Levitin, Daniel J. A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age. New York: Dutton/Penguin, 2016. ( Available new starting at $9.53 at Amazon - cheaper than used!)***

Miller, Frank, et al. Batman vs. Superman: The Greatest Battles. Burbank, CA: DC Comics, 2015. (Available used starting at $3.99 at Amazon.com)

Morrison, Grant. Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human. New York: Spiegel and Grau, 2011. (Available used starting at $2.15 at Amazon.com).

Postman, Neil. Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. New York: Penguin, 1985, 2005. (Available used starting at $6.74 at Amazon.com).

Shamalyan, M. Knight. I Got Schooled: The Unlikely Story of How a Moonlighting Movie Maker Learned the Five Keys to Closing America’s Education Gap. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2013. (Available used starting at $0.01 at Amazon.com).

Truss, Lynne. Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. New York: Gotham Books, 2004 (Available used starting at $2.70 at Amazon.com).

*Note: Many of the essays to be read and discussed are available online; these are indicated on the schedule (below) as hyperlinks. However, students are still strongly cautioned that they will need to purchase the textbook, both for important information and instructions on the various rhetorical modes and also for several essays not available online.

** Recommended additional texts are not required purchases, and have not been ordered for the course; however, they provide—depending on the course— alternative readings, historical and cultural backgrounds, criticism, personal literary responses, or entertaining (irreverent, possibly sacrilegious) revisions. Students who find themselves becoming deeply interested in one or more of the required readings may find these interesting and/or useful. When indicated with a dagger (†), texts are only provisionally recommended, as I have not read these works yet, although they have received excellent reviews or recommendations.

*** Prices listed at Amazon.com do not include shipping, and are accurate as of original posting date only; no guarantees of prices or availability are express or implied§.


Back to Top




As per the Nassau Community College attendance policy,  “Students are expected to attend all classes. Absences due to illness or for other serious reasons may be excused at the discretion of the instructor. Students are advised that absences in excess of 10% of the total class meetings may result being dropped from the course.” Students must not only attend every class but also arrive on time, be prepared, and take an active part in class (see Participation, below); students may be required to sign in each class session to verify their attendance. Excessive absences or latenesses will adversely affect your grade: Students may miss no more than three classes; further absences will result in a reduction of the final grade by one full letter grade for each additional absence. Students unable to attend class should contact the instructor regarding their absence; in addition, students are responsible for submitting all work on time regardless of absences. In addition, once students get to class, they are expected to stay in the classroom until the class is over. Leaving class early or getting up in the middle of class is considered disruptive behavior and should happen only in extreme emergencies.

Classroom Behavior:

Students are expected to be present, prepared, attentive, and active participants in the learning process. As such, any distracting or inappropriate behavior or unauthorized use of electronic devices* is strictly prohibited. Students who wish to use a laptop for note-taking may be allowed to do so at the instructor’s discretion, but will be required to sit in the front row and to submit a copy of their notes to the professor at the end of each class; failure to do so will result in being recorded as absent. Eating, sleeping, texting, or other inappropriate behavior may result in your being asked to leave the class and will adversely affect your final grade. According to the “Student Code of Conduct,” “The College is committed to providing an atmosphere in which students have freedom to learn and engage in the search for truth, knowledge, and reason in accordance with the standards set forth by the academic community. Conduct that adversely affects a student’s responsible membership in the academic community shall result in appropriate disciplinary action.” Appropriate disciplinary action may include but is not limited to probation, suspension, and expulsion from the college. See the Nassau Community College “Classroom Management Policy” and “Student Code of Conduct” in the college catalog.

*On cell phone use in class, see Andrew Lepp, Jacob E. Barkley, and Aryn C. Karpinski.

“The Relationship between Cell Phone Use and Academic Performance in a Sample of U.S. College Students.” SAGE Open 19 Feb. 2015.

Plagiarism and Cheating:

Plagiarism includes copying or paraphrasing another’s words, ideas, or facts without crediting the source; submitting a paper written by someone else, either in whole or in part, as one’s own work; or submitting work previously submitted for another course or instructor. Plagiarism, cheating, or other forms of academic dishonesty on any assignment will result in failure (a grade of zero) for that assignment and may result in further disciplinary action, including but not limited to failure for the course and expulsion from the college. See the Nassau Community College policy on “Academic Dishonesty & Plagiarism.”

Homework/Essay Submission:
All writing assignments must be received by the instructor on or before the due date, by the beginning of the class period, as indicated on the schedule, below. Students may also be required to submit an electronic copy of their work via TurnItIn.com; details to be announced. Essays submitted by email will not be accepted, and late work if accepted will be penalized 10% for each day it is late; see below. All at-home work must be typed (in 12-point Times New Roman), double-spaced, with one-inch margins, and stapled when submitted. In-class work must be neatly printed in blue or black ink on loose-leaf composition paper or in bluebooks provided by the instructor and double-spaced§. All essays must also include a proper heading (see Purdue Online Writing Lab’s Formatting and Style Guide), including Word Count; have an appropriate, original title; contain a clear, explicit, assertive, objectively worded thesis statement (thesis statements must be underlined); and (unless otherwise indicated) avoid use of I or you throughout. Finally, all work should be grammatically correct, free of errors in mechanics, grammar, usage, spelling, and documentation, and will be evaluated according to the Model for Evaluation of Student Writing. Please refer to the Paragraph Outline or Essay Outline and Revising and Editing Checklist for additional assistance.

§  On format, handwriting, and neatness, see Chase, Clinton I. “Essay Test Scoring: Interaction of Relevant Variables.” Journal of Educational Measurement 23.1 (1986): 33-41; and  Marshall, Jon C. and Jerry M. Powers. “Writing Neatness, Composition Errors, and Essay Grades.” Journal of Educational Measurement 6.2 (1988): 306-324.

All failing essays may be revised and resubmitted by the due dates announced when the graded essays are returned. Essays receiving a passing grade may also be revised and resubmitted, but only after the student has met with the instructor during office hours (by appointment only) to discuss revisions. Revisions must be substantially revised, not merely “corrected” versions of the original essay (revisions should be based upon the Revising and Editing Checklist and relevant information from class and the textbooks), and must be submitted with the original graded essay and/or draft(s) attached as well as one full typed page detailing the changes made, in the following  pattern:

  • Paragraph 1: Changes in content. What was added, deleted, or modified.

  • Paragraph 2: Changes in organization. What sentences, ideas, or paragraphs were moved, how things were rearranged, and why.

  • Paragraph 3: Cosmetic level changes. What specific editing for grammar was performed, or what corrections made in punctuation, mechanics, and diction.

Evidence of substantial revision may result in a better grade for the assignment. 

Make-up Exams/Late Work:
All assignment deadlines and scheduled exam dates are provided at the beginning of the semester; therefore, no make-up opportunities will be offered or late work accepted, except under extraordinary circumstances with appropriate documentation, and late work will be penalized 10% foreach day or portion thereof it is submitted after the due date.Note: As all work is due at the beginning of the class period, this includes work submitted after class has begun on the due date.

Excuses such as “crashed computers,” “lost flash drives,” or “empty printer ink cartridges” will not be accepted. All essays or work should be saved both on your computer’s hard drive and again on removable storage device as well as uploaded to cloud storage. (OneDrive, et cetera) Students should also keep backup copies of all work submitted.

*See also,  Mike Adams, “The Dead Grandmother/Exam Syndrome.”

Disabilities and Accommodations:
If you have a physical, psychological, medical, or learning disability that may impact on your ability to carry out the assigned coursework, I urge you to contact the staff at the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD), Building U (516 572-7241), TTY (516) 572-7617. The counselors at CSD will review your concerns and determine to what reasonable accommodations you are entitled as covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. All information and documentation pertaining to personal disabilities will be kept confidential.

Additional Assistance:
Students should avail themselves of the Writing Center and Help Centers available in the English and Reading/BEP departments, located at Bradley and North Halls and the Library, as part of this course. These services can be considered an integral part of the course work and will help the student to master the necessary knowledge and skills for Composition I.



Back to Top


Attendance and Participation (5%):
lass—joining in discussions and raising questions. Discussion is one of the best ways to clarify your understandings and to test your conclusions. Open discussion always involves personal exposure, and thus the taking of risks: your ideas may not be the same as your fellow students’ or even the instructor’s. Yet as long as your points are honest and supportable, they will be respected. Questions, discussion, disagreement, and laughter are all encouraged. Taking an active part also means being prepared: students should bring pens, a notebook and/or loose-leaf paper, and the textbook to every class. In addition, all reading or writing assignments must be completed in advance, according to the schedule (below).

Diagnostic Essay (ungraded):

Students will complete an in-class Diagnostic Essay at the beginning of  the semester on a topic provided; this essay will be read and returned, but will not receive a grade, nor will it affect your final average. Students should retain this and all other essays until the end of the semester.

Quizzes and Online Exercises  (10% total):
With the exception of the first week, class may begin with a short (five-minute) quiz on the readings for the day, at the instructor’s discretion. Quizzes cannot be made up; if you miss a quiz due to absence or lateness, that grade will be regarded as a zero. At the end of the semester, the lowest quiz grade will be dropped. Exercisesreviewing essential grammar and/or writing skills will also be assigned, to be completed in class, or to be done online as homework and submitted electronically. Total number of quizzes and exercises during the semester will determine the point value of each; that is, if 11 assignments are assigned (lowest quiz grade will be dropped), each is worth up to one-half point.

In-Class Writing  (10% total):
Students will also complete various shorter in-class writing assignments during the semester, including short summaries, mini-essays, and response papers. Total number of assignments during the semester will determine the point value of each; that is, if 10 assignments are required, each is worth up to one full point.

Essays (2 @ 10 %, 2 @ 15%):

Narration/Description (combined), Process, Comparison/Contrast (Midterm), and Persuasion/Argumentationopics must be selected from the list of suggestions provided (see Essay Topics) or developed in consultation with the instructor. Essays must be at least three to four (3-4) pages (750 to 1000 words, minimum) and correctly formatted; see above.

Research Essay (25%):

Students will also complete an argumentative (persuasive) Research Essay of at least five to seven pages (at least 1250-1500 words), using a minimum of three to five primary or secondary sources (e-Notes, SparkNotes, Wikipedia*, 123HelpMe, or Gradesaver.com, correctly documented utilizing MLA format, with a and Works Cited page ( and Works Cited do not count toward the six-page requirement). The final draft of the research paper must be submitted in a folder, including copies of all sources used.

Extra Credit (possibly various opportunities, at 1–2 points each):

Students may be notified of opportunities for extra credit during the semester, including attendance at various cultural events related to the class (“Recommended Field Trips”). If students attend one or more of these events, and provide evidence of attendance (ticket stub, program, unretouched digital image, et cetera) along with a typed one- to two-page personal response (review, analysis, reflection, critique, et cetera), they can receive additional points: a single event and written response is usually worth 2 points extra credit; attendance at additional events will earn one additional point each. Note: you may not attend the same workshops two or more times for additional extra credit!

Note: As a general rule, extra credit only helps if you have already completed all of the assigned work, and will not make up for missing an essay (or two, or three). Extra credit opportunities will be announced in class, and they will also be posted here as well as on the class Announcements page, so do not ask at the end of the semester for “extra credit to bring your average up.

Extra credit opportunities to date:


Introduction to Blackboard

The Office of Distance Education is holding on-campus open
demonstrations for students in G Building, Room 149:

Thursday, January 19, 2:30–3:45 pm

Friday, January 20, 2:00–3:15 pm

Monday, January 23, 3:30–4:45 pm

Tuesday, January 24, 11:30 am–12:45 pm

No sign-up needed! First-come-first-serve basis!

For questions, please call the Office of Distance Education



Writing Center Grammar Review Workshops (1 point each)
Sentence Building and Avoiding Run-ons, Comma Splices, and Fragments
Using Correct Punctuation: Commas, Semicolons, and Colons
Subject-Verb Agreement, Verb Formation, Tense Usage

Tuesday/Thursday Club Hour Series: 11:30 am to 12:45 pm

Thursday, March 2

Library L 233-A

Building Compound Sentences

Tuesday, March 7 Library L 233-A

Building Complex Sentences

Tuesday, March 7 Bradley Hall Ballroom

Building Compound Sentences

Tuesday, March 14 Bradley Hall Ballroom

Building Complex Sentences

Tuesday, March 21 Library L 233-A

Understanding and Using Verb Tense

Thursday, March 23 Bradley Hall Ballroom

Subject-Verb Agreement

Tuesday, March 28 Library L 233-A

Using Correct Punctuation

Tuesday, March 30 Bradley Hall Ballroom

The Verb Phrase

Wednesday Afternoon Series: 2:00 pm to 3:15 pm, Bradley Hall Ballroom

Wednesday, March 1

Bradley Hall Ballroom

Building Compound Sentences

Wednesday, March 8

Bradley Hall Ballroom

Building Complex Sentences

Wednesday, March 15

Bradley Hall Ballroom

Subject-Verb Agreement

Wednesday, March 22

Bradley Hall Ballroom

The Verb Phrase

Tuesday Evening Series

Tuesday, Feb.14
 5:30-6:50 pm

G 233

Building Compound Sentences

Tuesday, Feb. 28
 5:30-6:50 pm

Library L 233-A

Building Complex Sentences

Tuesday, March 21
 7:00-8:20 pm

G (Room TBD)

Using Correct Punctuation

Tuesday, March 28
 7:00-8:20 pm

Library L 233-A

Using Correct Punctuation

The Writing Centers are located in Bradley Hall (Bldg. Y) and on the second floor of the Library, room L233
572-7195 or 572-3595
wcenter@ncc.edu      www.ncc.edu/writingcenter


Writing Center MLA Research and Documentation Workshops (1 point)
Topics include: Locating and Evaluating Sources
Integrating Sources into an Essay
Creating and Formatting a Works Cited List


Wednesday, April 5

w/Prof. D’Angelo

2:00 pm–

3:15 pm

Bradley Ballroom

Tuesday, April 18

w/Prof. Posillico

8:30 pm–9:50 pm

G Building (Room TBA)
Evening Activity Hour*

Thursday, April 20

w/Prof. D’Angelo

11:30 am–to 12:45 pm

Bradley Ballroom

Thursday, April 27

w/Prof. D’Angelo

11:30 am–12:45 pm

0 thoughts on “Eng 101 Essay Assignment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *