Instructor – Michael J. Cripps

Meeting Days

  • Tuesday 11:30-12:50PM (Decary 206)
  • Thursday 11:30-12:50PM (Decary 206)
  • Individual Conferences (TBA)

Office Hours (105 Marcil Hall)

  • Tuesday 1-2PM
  • By Appointment (please ask!)

Course Description (from the catalog)

This course is for those who have demonstrated an adequate degree of competence in the Placement Test or those who have satisfied the requirements of LAC 010. It introduces students to writing as a conscious and developmental activity, in which students are encouraged to think, read, and write across a variety of genres, while maintaining and refining their own voices. Collaborative work, peer criticism, and multiple drafts may be incorporated in any given class, as students are urged to take more responsibility for their writing. The final aim of this course is to refine students’ skills further, help bring forth their voices, and instill in them the readiness to use writing in other classes. 4.000 Credit hours

Specifics for ENG110J

Our class is an introduction to active and critical reading, and to academic, source-based writing. We will work to analyze and to synthesize ideas in our readings, and to develop our own positions on these ideas. Along the way, we’ll explore a variety of approaches to the writing process so that we can locate those practices that work for us. We will write for each class meeting. While some of that writing will be collected and graded, much of it will be preparation for class or for our formal paper assignments.

Class meetings will be discussion-based, and will regularly involve both collaborative small group work and brief, informal presentations. For each formal paper in the course, we will complete a first and final draft. We will participate actively and constructively in peer review for our drafts. Peer review is an important element of taking responsibility for our writing. It helps us become more capable readers of others’ work, while also helping us see our own writing from new perspectives.

Learning Objectives

  • Develop strategies for reading and responding critically to a variety of texts (including student texts)
  • Use a variety of informal writing and reading response activities to comprehend texts, to put multiple texts into conversation, and to develop your own perspective
  • Understand writing as a recursive process that requires the substantive revision of drafts for content, organization, and clarity (global revision), as well as editing and proofreading (local revision)
  • Integrate multiple sources into a text using summary, paraphrase, analysis, and synthesis
  • Use sources to develop and to support your ideas and perspectives
  • Develop a working understanding of the importance and technique of source attribution and documentation in academic environments, with an emphasis on MLA style
  • Participate constructively and critically in collaborative, small group activities and in the peer review process


English Composition is a writing class and so your grade will be very closely connected to your writing development over the term. Most of your grade will be based on formal writing, though informal writing and discussion will also be significant factors in determining your final grade. You will find this informal writing and class participation to be closely connected to your work on the formal writing.

  • 75% of your final grade will be based on your performance on four (4) formal, revised papers, with later papers weighted more heavily than early papers.
  • 25% of your grade will be based on homework and informal writing, on attendance, class participation, and peer review, and on occasional in-class quizzes.

Required Texts

A photo of the Barrios and the Hacker texts we'll use. (Your copy of Emerging won't have the light and dark blue circles in the upper-left corner.)

A photo of the Barrios and the Hacker texts we’ll use. (Your copy of Emerging won’t have the light and dark blue circles in the upper-left corner.)

Buying used can often save us a good deal of money and so I’m all for used books! But please don’t buy the wrong book or you’ll have some trouble. There’s little risk of the wrong edition with Barrios since his book is brand new. There are dozens of Hacker books out there, however, and only one is correct for us. Use the ISBN to help you out, especially if you try to buy a book outside of the bookstore!

  • Barrios, Barclay. Emerging: Contemporary Readings for Writers. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010. (ISBN: 0-312-47444-X)
  • Hacker, Diana. A Writer’s Reference: With Writing in the Disciplines. 6th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009. (ISBN: 0-312-66478-8)

These books are pricey. With Hacker, you’re buying a reference that will belong on your bookshelf throughout college. It is an investment. With Barrios, you get some very interesting and important writers. If you don’t find yourself wanting to read more of the readings than we take on in class, just sell the book back at the end of the term and get some $ back.

Academic Integrity (including Plagiarism)

English Composition is an important introduction to college-level reading and writing. As an emerging college-level writer, you will develop your ability to read responsibly and critically, to work with texts appropriately, and to write in ways that are valued and respected within the community. We will conduct ourselves with integrity by doing our own work, by acting as responsible peers in (and out of) class, and by working with sources in ways appropriate to the academic community of which we are a part. It is understood that we are learning to work within the norms of our community, and so we will work on these matters.

Outright failure to acknowledge the sources of your ideas or words will be treated as a violation of academic integrity. As such, you should expect to fail a paper (and, quite possibly, the course) if you use work by someone else (from a student, from the web, or in print) without attribution.

Assorted Rules & Regulations

  • I don’t bite and I enjoy talking with my students. Please arrange to meet with me if you are having any trouble with the class, or if you just want to talk. Reach out early!
  • Attendance is mandatory. Miss more than two classes and expect a reduction in your final grade. (Two absences will certainly cover an illness, emergency, etc.) Miss more than 4 classes and expect not to pass the course. (Show up more than 10 minutes late and it’s a half absence; show up more than 20 minutes late and you’re absent for the day.)
  • Papers should be typed and double-spaced, with 1″ margins. A cover or title page is not required, though each paper should have your name, the date, and a working title.
  • Papers are due on the due date. A late final draft will be docked one full letter grade for each day it is late; a late first draft will be docked one half letter grade for each day. First and final drafts that do not meet assigned page minimums will incur a similar penalty.
  • Homework (reading questions and other smaller assignments) is due on the due date. Since this work actually advances our class discussions, late homework will not be accepted. You can miss two homework assignments with no penalty. (Since much of this work happens online, you can hand in homework on time even when you’re absent.)
  • Place is important. When in class, be in class! I text, browse the web, and multitask as well (or as poorly) as the next person. But I won’t text or do other work during our class; I expect the same from my students.
  • We have a “working” schedule. This means that assignments and due dates are subject to change as the class unfolds. I will certainly inform you of any changes as they come up.