Skip to main content

ENG 1010: English Composition-Student Version (2018-19 Archive): DeVoogd, Claire

2018-2019 Archive Copy of ENG 1010: English Composition-Student Version

Bulletin Description, Discussion, Objectives

Workshop in expository writing: strategies of, and practice in, analytical reading and writing about texts. Fundamentals of grammar and syntax. Frequent assignments in writing summaries, analyses, comparisons of texts, and such other expository forms as narration, description, and argumentation. Emphasis on writing as a process: invention, revision, editing. Satisfies Pathways Required Core English composition requirement. (Not open to students who have completed English 1.7.)


This class will serve as an introduction to college-level composition. During this course you will practice strategies for writing expository essays and for engaging with different kinds of texts. You will read actively and think critically about your reading and writing. You will write both in and out of class, with an emphasis on drafting and revision. Our time in class will be split between writing, work in groups, and discussion of the readings, writing techniques, and your own work.


Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  • Read critically and write analytically
  • Express thoughtful, reflective ideas and opinions about written texts in writing
  • Develop and support theses and arguments
  • Structure persuasive and cohesive essays
  • Edit and revise their writing using peer and instructor critiques
  • Use appropriate conventions of language, including correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation

Course Requirements and Policies



Attendance is mandatory. Things happen, however, so students can take up to three unexcused absences (you do not need to explain them to me). However, for each additional absence, your final grade will be reduced by one half-grade (for instance, B to B-).  Excessive lateness will also impact your grade: three late arrivals will constitute one absence. If you arrive late, please inform me at the end of class to ensure that I mark you present for the day. If you are more than 10 minutes late, it will count as an absence. And please note: being absent is not an excuse for a late paper. 


This is a seminar-style course. Students must be prepared to discuss the assigned reading at each class meeting. I will be asking you to help guide the conversation—this will be more interesting for you, since it will give you the control to focus the discussion on what most interests you about the readings.

Periodically throughout the semester, we will workshop writing in small groups. You are expected to engage in a positive, constructive way with your group members’ work. You will be asked, in this context, to take on the role of editor: to use your powers of criticism and reflection, as well as your knowledge and experiences, to help your classmates improve their writing. 

A final note on participation: if you are texting or checking your Instagram feed, you are not participating. Phones must be silenced and put away during class.

Reading assignments:

Readings are listed in the course schedule on the day they’re due. With the exception of a couple readings which will be distributed by email, all readings will be found on the OER website. There will be unannounced reading quizzes at the beginning of some classes; these will count towards your final grade. You must bring the reading to class on the day it’s due and be prepared to discuss it.

For each reading, I expect you to read closely and dynamically:

  1. Think about the reading in context with the other readings we have done. Try and make a few connections between readings, pertaining to textual elements including: subject matter, style and form, audience, and/or purpose.
  2. Try to develop some ideas about the reading – what it is about (its thesis/main concerns), what most interests you about it and why, how it functions formally, etc.
  3. Read with a pencil: make notes as you read.

Writing assignments:

Essays: You will write three essays in this class, as follows: a personal narrative (750-1000 words), an analytical essay (1000-1250 words), and a take-home compare/contrast essay (1000-1250 words). These essays will draw from the assigned reading and will receive letter grades. You will also be expected to revise some of these essays, using my feedback and that of your peers; drafts will be ungraded. Take-home essays must be typewritten using Times 12-point font, double-spaced, with 1 inch margins, and stapled. You will also write two graded short summaries, one in-class and one take-home (250-500 words each).

Other written assignments: In addition to the essays and summaries, students will be asked to complete in-class writing assignments and occasional short take-home prompts. These assignments will not be formally graded, but their timely, thoughtful completion will count towards your final grade. You will also write one in-class compare/contrast essay which will be ungraded and will serve as practice for the final exam.

Late submission of written assignments will result in the assignment’s grade being reduced by a half letter for each day the assignment is late (i.e. the grade of an B paper due on Monday but handed in on Tuesday will fall to a B-). 

Final Exam:

English 1010 culminates in a final exam administered by the college. The exam is an in-class essay responding to a pair of readings. It is worth 20% of your final grade. We will discuss it in detail as the semester progresses. It will take place during finals week.

Other expectations:

A note on creativity: It is my belief that the best writing comes of taking risks, engaging imaginatively, emotionally, and intellectually with texts and ideas, and challenging oneself with urgent, complex questions.  Please do not write to fill space.  If you are not engaged by an assignment, email me or come talk to me during my office hours, and we can talk about how to make it more interesting.

A second note on creativity: plagiarism is not acceptable. Anyone caught plagiarizing will receive an automatic F on the assignment, and will be in danger of failing the course. In addition, I will be required to submit a citation to the English department.  The Brooklyn College policy on plagiarism is such that two instances of plagiarism are enough to endanger your position as a student here: you will face expulsion. Do not do it. Please refer to the CUNY Academic Integrity policy at: to get a clear idea of what counts as plagiarism.

Students With Disabilities: In order to receive disability-related academic accommodations students must first be registered with the Center for Student Disability Services. Students who have a documented disability or suspect they may have a disability are invited to set up an appointment with the Director of the Center for Student Disability Services, Ms. Valerie Stewart-Lovell at 718-951-5538. If you have already registered with the Center for Student Disability Services, please provide me with the course accommodation form and discuss your specific accommodation with me.



Grades for English 1010 are: A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, NC or F. Be advised that the minimum passing grade is C-. Students who have completed all course work but are not yet writing at a college level will receive a grade of NC; students who have not completed the course work will receive a grade of F.

Students who do not pass English 1010 must repeat it the following semester. The course may not be taken more than three times; students who receive three grades of F, NC and/or WU may be dismissed from the college.

Text Box: Percentages:
93-100% = A
90-92 = A-
87-89 = B+
83-86 = B
80-82 = B-
77-79 = C+
74-76 = C
70-73 = C-
Below 70 = F or NC


Distribution of final grade:

Essays and summaries: 60%

Analytical Essay: 20%      

Compare/contrast take-home: 15%

Personal Narrative: 15 %

Summaries: 5% each

Final Exam: 20%

Other Assignments: 10%

(This includes take-home assignments, in-class writing, and


Attendance & Participation: 10%

(This includes attendance, promptness, participation in class

discussions and group work, etc.)


Course Information

English 1010 MW 9:30-10:45 AM * Boylan 2150 * Fall 2018 * Claire DeVoogd, Instructor

Office Hours: 11:00 AM -12:00 PM Wednesday * Office: 2311 Boylan *


Readings and Resources


Course Schedule (subject to change)

Week 1. Introductions

Monday 8/27: introduction, syllabus review

Wednesday 8/29: diagnostic essay

Week 2. Close reading and annotation

Monday 9/3: NO CLASS

Wednesday 9/5: [classes follow a Monday schedule] Reading due: chapter 1, Americanah

Week 3. Close reading and annotation, personal narrative

Monday 9/10: NO CLASS

Wednesday 9/12: Reading due: chapters 9-11, Americanah

Week 4. Close reading and annotation, personal narrative, drafting essays

Monday 9/17: Reading due: chapters 14-17, Americanah and Gloria Anzaldua, “How to Tame a Wild Tongue”

Wednesday 9/19: NO CLASS

Week 5. Close reading and annotation, personal narrative, essay structure, plagiarism

Monday 9/24: Reading due: Excerpts, Americanah (blog posts, TBA in class) and Ocean Vuong, “A Letter to My Mother That She will Never Read.”

Wednesday 9/26: Reading due: “CNN and Time Suspend Journalist after Admission of Plagiarism” and “Plagiarism Lines Blur for Students in the Digital Age” (distributed via email)

Week 6. Close reading, annotation, short summary, essay structure, revision, argument vs. persuasion

Monday 10/1: Assignment due: personal narrative, 1st draft. Reading due: Brent Staples, “Confederate Memorials as Instruments of Terror” and Ernest B. Furgurson, “The End of History.”

Wednesday 10/3: Reading due: Bill McKibben, “Curbing Nature’s Paparazzi”

Week 7. Introduction to analysis

Monday 10/8: NO CLASS

Wednesday 10/10: Assignment due: personal narrative, 2nd draft. Reading due: Errol Morris, “Liar, Liar Pants on Fire.” In-class summary.

Week 8. Argument and analysis: evidence and analysis; summary

Monday 10/15: Reading due: Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others, chapter 1

Wednesday 10/17: Assignment due: take-home summary. Reading due: Jamaica Kincaid, “The Ugly Tourist”

Week 9. Argument and analysis: focusing an argument, crafting thesis statements, evidence, and structure.

Monday 10/22: Reading due: Lakshmi Chaudry, “Mirror, Mirror on the Web”

Wednesday 10/29: Reading due: Lakshmi Chaudry, “Mirror, Mirror on the Web”

Week 10. Compare and Contrast: argument, evidence, structure

Monday 10/29: Assignment due: analytical essay, 1st draft. Bring 3 copies for peer review.

Wednesday 10/31: Reading due: Nicholas Carr, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”

Week 11. Compare and Contrast: argument, evidence, structure

Monday 11/5: Assignment due: analytical essay, 2nd draft. Reading due: George Saunders, “The Brain-dead Megaphone”

Wednesday 11/7: Reading due: James Baldwin, “Notes of a Native Son”

Week 12. Compare and Contrast: argument, evidence, structure, rhetorical analysis

Monday 11/12: Reading due: James Baldwin, “Notes of a Native Son”

Wednesday 11/14: Reading due: Brent Staples, “Just Walk On By”

Week 13: Compare and Contrast: argument, evidence, structure, rhetorical analysis

Monday 11/19: Reading due: Akiba Solomon, “Thugs, Students, Rioters, Fans: Media’s subtle racism in unrest coverage”

Wednesday: Assignment due: take-home compare/contrast essay, 1st draft Reading due: John Taylor Gatto, “Against School: How public education cripples our kids, and why”

Week 14: Introduction to research

Monday 11/26: Reading due: Jean Anyon, “Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work”

Wednesday 11/28: Assignment due: take-home compare/contrast essay, 2nd draft. Reading due: Andrew Delbanco, “The College Idea” (distributed via email).

Week 15: Exam Prep

Monday 12/3: Reading due: David Foster Wallace, “Consider the Lobster”

Wednesday 12/5: Reading due: Lars Eighner, “On Dumpster Diving.” In-class compare/contrast essay.

Week 16: Exam Prep

Monday 12/10: Reading TBA

Wednesday 12/14: Reading due: exam essay 1 (TBA). Students discuss final exam essay in small groups.