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ENGL 121 College Composition


ENGL-121 transfers as university-parallel freshman English. It guides students through the expository writing process through close reading of contemporary critical discourse and teaches the rhetorical arts of argument and persuasion through critical thinking, reading and research. Students will develop an understanding of themselves as readers and writers of world cultures who participate with others in responsible public discourse and have moral and ethical responsibilities in that discourse; students will also examine the relationship among writer, audience, and purpose, and practice writing prose through a recursive process.   Students completing this course should be able to write persuasive, researched and documented essays (of at least 1,000 words) demonstrating the conventions of standard written English and manuscript presentation. 

Prerequisite:  Eligibility to enroll in ENGL-121 is based on English placement test scores or the successful completion of required developmental English course work. (3 hours weekly).

Elisa Roberson
DH 141(office hours by appointment)
(443) 518-4710

Statement on General Education and Liberal Learning

A liberal education prepares students to lead ethical, productive, and creative lives and to understand how the pursuit of lifelong learning and critical thinking fosters good citizenship.  General education courses form the core of a liberal education within the higher education curriculum and provide a coherent intellectual experience for all students by introducing the fundamental concepts and methods of inquiry in the areas of mathematics, the physical and natural sciences, the social sciences, the arts and the humanities, and composition.  This course is part of the general education core experience at Howard Community College.                                                                            

Overall Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course the student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of various writing invention strategies for generating ideas and gathering information;
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the relationships among writer, audience, and purpose;
  3. Formulate clear thesis statements;
  4. Organize ideas logically and appropriately to support the thesis statement;
  5. Edit, revise, and proofread to achieve more effective communication of ideas;
  6. Provide constructive feedback to another student’s writing in a workshop setting;
  7. Use study skills and techniques for answering in-class essay exam questions;
  8. Employ critical thinking skills as a writer;
  9. Apply various editorial and revision strategies to enhance communication;
  10. Demonstrate in writing awareness of an appreciation for other world cultures.
  11. Demonstrate the ability to use word-processing, appropriate software programs, and electronic resources for writing and revision;
  12. Effectively locate, evaluate and incorporate several sources of information using library resources and electronic media;
  13. Demonstrate the primary principles of scholarly inquiry and research;
  14. Demonstrate advanced conceptual skills and knowledge of researched essay conventions and documentation (MLA or APA).

Major Topics

     I.            Writing as a Recursive Process
    II.            Creating the Expository and Persuasive Essay
   III.            Employing Effective Library and Electronic Research Techniques
    IV.           Documenting Sources
     V.           Writing the Effective Research Paper
    VI.           Writing with Authority and Integrity

Course Requirements

Specific assignments and procedures for evaluating student performance in the class (i.e., grading) will be described in the individual class syllabus, but all sections will include the following:

  1. Students will produce 15-20 pages of formal writing in at least four discrete essays, including one researched, documented essay of at least 1,000 words.
  2. Students will write, at least, one in-class essay in response to an exam prompt or question.
  3. At least 80% of the final grade will be based upon writing, both formal and informal.
  4. ENGL-121 approaches writing as a continual process of learning in which assignments are interdependent; therefore, students must complete all formal assignments to successfully complete the course.

Other Course Information

ENGL-121 is a Composition Core course.

On HCC’s main campus, this course is taught in a networked, computerized environment.

Course Format

This course:

  • Is not self-paced. We will work together on a weekly schedule of required readings, written responses, and drafts. I will give you a schedule with the due dates of all major assignments during the first week of classes. The workload, course content, and writing assignments are equal to those in a regular classroom section of English 121.
  • does have a course Canvas page that you will access several times a week at your own convenience. All class readings and assignments will be discussed on this site.
  • Does not require an on-campus exam.
  • Does not require real-time chats. We will communicate with emails and weekly postings on an online bulletin board.
  •  If you decide to take ENGL 121 in this format, you should like working on computers, be self-motivated, and be prepared to do significant amounts of work outside of class. This format is not for you if you have a tendency to procrastinate.


  • This course does not have a face-to-face orientation. There is an online orientation highlighted on the opening page of our class Canvas page. Please check my email message to you on the first day of class for more information about the orientation.

Course Requirements

  • Review the "What you should know before you register"section of the Distance learning Homepage.
  • Formal Essays.
  • Weekly repsonses to various readings.
  • Weekly peer responses.
  • Weekly online contact with the instrucor via email.

Texts and Materials

Textbook information:  To visit our bookstore's online sales site, please visit and follow the instructions for selecting textbooks.

Exams: Exams may be completed at home (open book).

If you have any questions or comments about this course, please send a message to Ms. Elisa Roberson,


Student Profile - Maribel