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Sample Syllabus


                                    (10%)  Homework 

                        _____  (10%) Grammar

                                    (10%)  Essay #1 and revision

                                    (15%)  Essay #2 and revision

                                    (15%)  Essay #3 and revision

                                    (20%) Essay #4 and revision

                        _____  (20%)   Essay #5 (in-class final exam)


Instructor Name:        

Office #:                     

Phone #:                                                                     

E-mail address:                                             

Office Hours:  

Course Description

Welcome to ENGL 097.  Our theme for this course is:  “ENGL-097: Getting You There From Here.”  This course will allow you to reflect, discuss, and write about your own experiences as well as those shared by the larger culture.  In other words, you will begin the course writing about issues that will enable you to explore our own personal identities (“here”); then, later in the course, you will establish a connection between your own experiences with those of others’ (“there”).  A variety of media will be used to make learning and writing a tangible experience.  We will respond to various forms of media which may include essays, journal articles, videos, magazine ads, and musical cds.  With a strong commitment on your part to keep up with daily assignments and to attend class on a regular basis, you will not only become a more confident writer, but you will also be able to examine the society we live in with a more critical and questioning eye.  Perhaps this is the greatest benefit of this course.     Have a pleasant semester and enjoy!!

This course meets for four hours weekly in a computerized classroom. 

Pre-requisite:  Appropriate score on English placement tests

Course objectives for ENGL-097, Fundamentals of Writing

Upon completion of this course, you will be able t

  1. Pre-write, draft and revise written assignments
  2. Analyze writing topics to determine their purpose and audience
  3. Generate ideas based on class discussions and readings
  4. Organize essays around controlling ideas that are clear, significant and indicative of critical thinking.
  5. Support general statements with specific, relevant details
  6. Construct effective introductions and conclusions
  7. Develop unified, coherent paragraphs and essays using a variety of organizational  strategies.
  8. Compose grammatically correct sentences using a variety of patterns
  9. Use language effectively for academic writing
  10. Demonstrate a mastery of revising and editing skills
  11. Participate in small group activities
  12. Integrate issues and information from reading assignments
  13. Make thoughtful connections between reading and writing
  14. Use the computer as both a word processor and learning tool
  15. Develop a confidence that will allow you to write independently without the aid of tutor or instructor

Materials needed


  • Higher Learning:  Reading and Writing about College, 2nd ed. 
  • Custom Text:  Fundamentals of Writing—2006-2007 edition


Major Topics in ENGL-097, Fundamentals of Writing

            I.          The Writing Process

                        A.         Prewriting

                        B.         Writing

                        C.        Revising

            II.          Essay Structure

                        A.         Thesis statement

                        B.         Introduction

                        C.        Topic Sentences

                        D.        Body

                        E.         Conclusion

            III.         Elements of Effective Writing

                        A.         Unity

                        B.         Specific, relevant support

                        C.        Logical organization

                        D.        Transitions

            IV.        Editing and Revising

                        A.         Revision strategies

                        B.         Editing strategies

                                    1.         Sentence skills

                                    2.         Sentence variety

                                    3.         Usage

                                    4.         Consistency

            V.         The computer as a writing tool

                        A.         Word processing

                        B.         Computer assisted writing instruction

Other Course Information

  • This course does not transfer to any four-year college or university.           
  • This course does not count towards graduation requirements.
  • The grade in this course does count in the student's Quality Point Average.

Regular Attendance

Your attendance and participation help create the learning experience for yourself and others.  When you miss class, you are missing vital parts of that experience.  Other students miss opportunities to hear how you, as a unique individual with your own network of experiences and ideas, interpret, question, and synthesize the course material.   Enrolling in a class brings responsibilities to contribute in positive ways to that class in order to make it a meaningful experience for all.

Therefore, students who do not miss more than a week’s worth of classes a semester and who arrive promptly and remain for the entire class session, have the best opportunities to earn the highest grades in our courses.   In order to pass the course, you must be present for 75% of the class sessions. Students who for any reason miss more than 25% of the class sessions will not pass the course. (If you are absent for more than 7 classes --excused or unexcused-- you will fail the course.)

In one way or another, missed classes or coming to class late will have an impact on final grades and may jeopardize credit for the course.  If an illness or emergency that leads to a late arrival or an absence occurs during the semester, it is your responsibility to make arrangements with classmates or study groups to complete any missed work.  If a situation arises that interferes with regular class attendance over an extended period of time (for example, prolonged illness, personal or work problems), you may need to drop the course or see an advisor about withdrawal.  Please talk with me before initiating a course withdrawal.

If the college is closed due to inclement weather, keep up with the syllabus and be prepared to cover the material from the canceled class and the next scheduled class when we meet again.  If I need to cancel class, a notice will be posted on the door with instruction for the day.  Be sure to read them carefully and follow through.

Creating a Positive Learning Environment

The ENGL/FL division endorses the rules of conduct, courtesy, and responsibility contained in the HCC Student Handbook.  Upon registering for this class, you have implicitly agreed to respect those policies and can expect the instructor to respect them as well. As a result, you can look to your syllabus for assurance of clear standards, equal treatment, and a positive learning environment.  Students and instructors share the responsibility to maintain that positive environment with courteous, cooperative, and professional behavior. 

Since pagers and cell phones create a distraction for both students and faculty, be sure to silence all pagers and cell phones in the classroom.

Academic Honesty

Academic honesty means using your own thoughts and materials when writing papers, taking tests and other classroom-related activities.  Any student intentionally aiding another student in any infraction of academic honesty is considered equally guilty.    Intentional or unintentional use of another's words or ideas without acknowledging this use constitutes plagiarism.  All work must be your original writing.  Do not recycle any essays you may have written prior to this semester.

There are four common forms of plagiarism:

  • The duplication of an author's words without quotation marks and accurate references or footnotes;
  • The use of an author's words without quotation marks and accurate references or footnotes;
  • Submitting a paper in which exact words are merely rearranged even though footnoted;
  • Misrepresentation is the submission of materials for evaluation that are not the student's own.

Unauthorized using of notes, copying, using another individual's materials, or prior knowledge of instructional materials during tests, quizzes or other education experience shall be considered a violation of the Academic Honesty Policy.


As the college expects academic honesty, procedures for dealing with infractions of the academic honesty policy are outlined in the Student Handbook.

What Do I Need To Do To Complete This Course?

You are expected to come to class prepared, having completed all reading and written assignments.  The assignments should be completed in sequential order and all essays should be typed, double-spaced, and handed in on time.  You must complete all five writing assignments to pass this course.

The most successful students see themselves and their instructors as partners in the learning process. Keep in mind that instructors do not give grades; students earn them. You will be evaluated for the quality of your work, for the extent to which you demonstrate mastery of the course objectives, and not for good intentions or for perceived effort. In this way, you can be assured that all students are evaluated by recognized standards.  Our goals are yours: to help you achieve excellence.

Writing is a skill, and the best way to improve a skill is to practice it.  Therefore, expect to do a lot of thinking, writing, and revising this semester.  You will spend class time discussing issues, formulating topics, planning essays, conferencing with peers and instructors, and working on specific skills.  Because ENGL 097 is taught in an electronic classroom, you will have use of the computer for word processing, grammar practice, and interactive writing activities.

Writing is hard work; it doesn’t happen quickly, and it is seldom good the first time.  Therefore, expect to spend several hours on each writing assignment, and plan to work through many steps of the writing process.  Topics will be derived from readings and class discussions.  Although some writing will be done in class, plan to do most of your writing and revising outside of class on a computer or word processor.  All essays must be typed and spell-checked.  Your best work is expected for every assignment.  Growth only occurs with effort.     


Your assignments are due on assigned dates.  Penalties will be incurred for late work. Very unusual circumstances will be handled on an individual basis.

            In-class Writing

            Two of the writing assignments (Essays #4 and #5) will be written entirely in-class.  You will have the opportunity to revise Essay #4.  Essay #5, the final in-class writing assignment, will be formally graded with letter grades by other ENGL 097 instructors

            You are expected to take all in-class writings at the scheduled times unless you have made alternate arrangements with the instructor PRIOR to the date of the exam.

            Out-of-Class Writing

            Three of the essays you write will be written predominately outside of class.  You may begin writing these essays in class; however, it will be your responsibility to complete the essay on your own time.  You will have the opportunity to discuss your essays with your peers as well as receive individual instruction and feedback from me or our lab assistant.

            This course emphasizes the skill of revision. The lab instructor and I will provide oral and written feedback on both your initial drafts and your revision.    Revision means to “resee” your thoughts and ideas in a different way.  Therefore, you may have to re-organize some ideas, restructure your thesis statement, rewrite whole paragraphs, delete some ideas, or start afresh with a new draft (Merely correcting grammar, spelling and punctuation does not count as a revision).  Whatever the case, you will be expected to change or clarify whole ideas in your essay to present them more clearly to your reader.  The more time you spend “reseeing” or rethinking your ideas, the stronger your essay will become.                         

            Assignments are due at the beginning of class on the date listed on the calendar.  Late papers may be penalized 1/3 of a letter grade each day they are late.   After a week, late papers may not be accepted and the paper may be awarded a grade of zero.  The majority of your essays will be written outside of class.   You are strongly encouraged to edit and revise essays carefully before submitting them for a grade. 

            ***Please note:  Both polished draft and revision must be submitted before receiving credit for each essay.  A late polished draft = a late revision.

            Homework = 10% of final grade           

Homework assignments for this class will encompass written responses to reading assignments, pre-writing activities, organizational plans, and other exercises that will help to hone your skills as thinkers and writers.   Homework assignments are due on the days slated on your calendar.   

I realize that throughout the semester emergencies may occur.  On these rare occasions, you may not be able to submit your homework on the days they are due.  For this reason, you may omit any two homework assignments without penalty.  These grades will be automatically dropped at the end of the semester.   However, when you miss class for any reason, it is your responsibility to find out what work was missed and take necessary action to complete the assignments.  Every homework assignment is specifically geared to help you develop and polish ideas for each writing assignment.  Therefore, you will want to complete each assignment, even those you may have missed.

Grammar=10% of final grade

Grammar assignments will consist of grammar journals, student-generated grammar exercises, and grammar exercises from the ENGL-097 web site and the Fundamentals of Writing text.  Grammar lessons will be determined by the needs of the class.  For a more detailed explanation of this course’s philosophy regarding grammar, go to  Click on “Teaching Grammar.”  Then click on “The Constructivist Approach to Teaching Grammar.”


Your work will be averaged as follows to determine the final grade:

            Writing Assignment #1           out of class essay                   10%

            Writing Assignment #2           out of class essay                   15%

            Writing Assignment #3           out of class essay                  15%

            Writing Assignment #4           in class essay and revision   20%

            Writing Assignment #5           in class essay                        20%

            Homework                                                                               10%

            Grammar                                                                                10%

Important note: You must complete and submit all required essays in order to pass ENGL 097.

Your grade will be determined as follows:           

                        100=A+           95=A                90=A-             

                        88=B+             85=B               80=B-

                        78=C+             75=C               70=C-

                        68=D+             65=D               60=D-

                        F=59 or below                       

A “D” or "F" grade will be assigned when all course objectives are not mastered due to student controlled factors such as motivation, attendance, effort, or commitment.

An "L" grade will be assigned when you have not mastered all course objectives due to your learning style.  It is not uncommon for students to need more than one semester to complete this course.  If you are making substantial progress, but need additional time for the necessary skill development, I will discuss the assigning of an "L" grade.

IMPORTANT:  To be eligible to take the next level English course, you must complete ENGL 097 with at least a C grade.


Instructor Conferences:  All instructors are available for individual conferences throughout the semester.  Check with your instructor to make appointments.

Composition and Literature Center:  There will be Open Labs during the day and evening hours.  You may use the lab as a place to work or get help with your English assignments.  An English teacher will be there to assist you when the lab is open.  Hours are posted outside of ELB 210.

Open computer Labs:  Room ELB 110 is the Open Computer Lab.  Students may use the computers during the hours it is open.  The schedule is posted in the lab.

The Write Room:  Located in the library in the Learning Assistance Center, the Write Room is another resource for you when you are completing writing assignments for this or any other course.  There, you may review your writing with a lab instructor or faculty member before you actually hand it in for a grade.

Personal Counseling:  If you encounter personal or academic problems during the semester, consult the counselors in the Counseling and Career Services Office, L144 or call 443-518-4840 to make an appointment.  Personal counselors are also available in L140.  Please note the times and days they are available if in need of their assistance any time during the semester. 

Student Support Services:  Student Support Services, a federally-funded grant project, provides various services to students including tutoring in reading, writing and other academic areas, seminars in study skills and career counseling.  A reading specialist and a writing specialist will be working with some of the students in the program on an individual or small-group basis.  See the receptionist in Student Support Services to enroll in the program.  The phone number is (410) 772-4822.

Tutoring:  Free tutoring is available for this and all other courses offered at HCC.  Go to the Learning Assistance Center in the library to sign up for tutoring.