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ENG 1010: English Composition-Student Version (2018-19 Archive): Vargas, Oscar

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

Course Overview, Objectives

Bulletin Description: 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.)

Discussion: This class will serve as an introduction to college-level composition. During this course you will practice and perfect 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 and your own work.

Course Objectives: Students who successfully complete this course will be able to


  • Read and think critically
  • Understand how language operates
  • Express ideas–both orally and in writing–correctly, cogently, persuasively, and in conformity with the conventions of the discipline
  • Conduct research

Course Requirements and Policies

Required Materials

1. Freshman Common Reading: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

2. Course Packet. Will be made available on Blackboard


Course Requirements & Policies


Attendance & Punctuality

You should be present at every class. If you miss more than four classes, you will receive no credit for participation.  Two latenesses count as one absence.  Arriving more than 10 minutes late counts as an absence. A pattern of lateness will affect your grade



Showing up to class alone isn’t enough. Class will be much more interesting (for me, for you, for your classmates) if you contribute. Participation includes completing and commenting on the assigned reading, contributing to class discussion through listening and responding to classmates or the instructor, bringing required materials to class, and engaging in peer review and group activities.


PLEASE NOTE: Cellphones must be silenced and put away during class. The use of cellphones and other electronics is not permitted in the classroom, except under exceptional circumstances.  Students should inform the instructor about these circumstances.






Class discussion is a critical element of this course, and your participation is essential. You are expected to have closely read and be ready to discuss all readings on the day they are assigned. You must bring the assigned text to every class. There will be occasional unannounced reading quizzes. You should bring the reading to every class.




Essays and Other Writing: Over the course of the semester, you will write the following: a personal narrative (750-1000 words), two summaries (250-500 words each), an argumentative essay (1000-1250 words), a compare and contrast essay (1000-1250 words).  You will revise each of these essays.  These essays must be typed, double-spaced, in 12-point font, and formatted with one-inch margins.   In addition, students will have an in-class essay exam.  You will be asked to complete other assignments, such as journal entries, in-class writing, and reading responses.


Personal Narrative: (750-1000 words) First draft due 9/4. Final draft due 9/18.


Summaries: (250-500 words each) To be done 9/25, 9/27. In-class for 10/2.


Argumentative Essay: (1000-1250 words) First draft due 10/9. Final draft due 10/23.


Compare and Contrast Essay: (1000-1250 words) First draft to be done in class on 11/13. Revisions due 12/4.



NOTE: Essays are due at the beginning of class.  The instructor will not accept essays submitted via email.


Final Exam: English 1010 students must take a final exam. The exam is based on responses to two pieces of writing: one 5-7 page essay, distributed one week before the end of the term, and a second 1-2 page piece, distributed along with the question on the day of the exam. The exam will count for 20% of the final grade for the class. I will discuss the test format in class.


LOOP workshop: The Brooklyn College Bulletin states the following:

All students in English 1010 will complete the required Brooklyn College library orientation, which will introduce them to the services and resources of the library, including access to and ethical use of its print and electronic resources.





C- is the lowest possible passing grade for the course. English Department policy dictates that a student with a final grade below a C- receive an N/C (no credit); the student may take the course up to three times. An F grade will be given in the case of too many absences or failure to complete assignments. A grade of NC may be given if the student’s work is not at a passing level, but the student has good attendance and has completed all assignments. Students receiving an F or an NC grade must retake English 1010; students may take English 1010 up to three times.


Grades will be based on the following percentages:

Essays: 60%

Personal Narrative: 10 %

Summaries: 10%        

Argumentative Essay: 15%   

Compare and Contrast: 15% 

In-Class Compare and Contrast 10%

Final Exam: 20%

Other Assignments: 10%

This includes take-home assignments, in-class writing, and quizzes.

Attendance & Participation: 10%

This includes attendance, promptness, participation in class discussions and group work, etc.




Late work

Essays turned in late will be penalized half a letter grade for each class meeting they are late. Late work will not be accepted after one week has passed from the original due date.  If students miss a class during which an essay is to be submitted, students are still responsible for submitting (e-mailing) the essay on the same day AND bringing a hard copy of it the next time they attend class.




Plagiarism: Plagiarism is not tolerated at Brooklyn College and especially will not be tolerated in this class. If you are caught handing in work that you have plagiarized from any source, you will fail the assignment in question, possibly the entire class, and may be subject to disciplinary action by the college. Here is the College's statement on plagiarism:


"The faculty and administration of Brooklyn College support an environment free from cheating and plagiarism. Each student is responsible for being aware of what constitutes cheating and plagiarism and for avoiding both. The complete text of the CUNY Academic Integrity Policy and the Brooklyn College procedure for implementing that policy can be found at this site: If a faculty member suspects a violation of academic integrity and, upon investigation, confirms that violation, or if the student admits the violation, the faculty member MUST report the violation”


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.

Non-attendance Because of Religious Beliefs

Please read the information in the Brooklyn College Bulletin ( regarding nonattendance because of religious beliefs. Please inform me in advance if you plan to be absent due to religious observance.


Student Bereavement Policy: Brooklyn College’s statement on non-attendance because of religious belief is located here:


Office Hours: For this upcoming semester, office hours will be held from 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM. I encourage you to make use of these office hours so that we can discuss your work and any questions you might have. If you are unable to make it to the scheduled office hour, feel free to email me to set up a meeting outside of the regular hour.

Course Information

English 1010, Composition 1

T/TH 8:00 AM- 9:15 AM

Room: Boylan 3404    

Fall 2018                        

Oscar Vargas

Office: 2314 Boylan

Office Hours: Tuesdays at 9:30 AM & by appt.




Class Schedule (Please note: class schedule and readings are subject to change)




Readings/Assignments due

Day 1 (8/28)

Syllabus Review, in-class writing,

Americanah by Chimamanda Adichie 1

Day 2 (8/30)

Americanah 2

Day 3 (9/4)

Americanah 3


First Draft of Personal Narrative due

Day 4 (9/6)

Americanah 4

Day 5 (9/13)

“Another Country” by Edwidge Danticat

Day 6 (9/20)

“Peculiar Benefits” by Roxane Gay

Day 7 (9/25)

“Careless Language” by Roxane Gay


 Final Draft of Personal Narrative due

Day 8 (9/27)

“Confederate Memorial” by Brent Staples

Day 9 (10/2)

“End of History” by Ernest B. Furguson


Summary due

Day 10 (10/4)

“Leave Your Name at the Border” by Manuel Munoz


Summary due

Day 11 (10/9)

“Just Walk On By” by Brent Staples


in-class summary today

Day 12 (10/11)

“If Nature Had Rights” by Cormac Cullinan

Day 13 (10/16)

“Curbing Nature’s Paparazzi” by Bill McKibbin


First Draft of Argumentative Essay due

Peer Review today

Day 14 (10/18)

“The Case for Working With Your Hands” by Matthew Crawford

Day 15 (10/23)

“The Case for Working with Your Hands”” 2

Day 16 (10/25)

“The Trouble with Diversity” by Walter Benn Michaels

Day 17 (10/30)

“The Trouble With Diversity” 2


Final Draft of Argumentative Essay due

Day 18 (11/1)

“Letter from a Birmingham Jail” by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Day 19 (11/6)

“Letter from a Birmingham Jail” 2

Day 20 (11/8)

“Letter from a Birmingham Jail” 3/“Case for Reparations” by Ta-Nehisi Coates


Quiz today

Day 21 (11/13)

“Case for Reparations” 2

Day 22 (11/15)

“Case for Reparations” 3

Day 23 (11/20)

“Thick of Tongue” by John McWhorter


Compare & Contrast Essay today, in-class

Day 24 (11/27)

“I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Day 25 (11/29)

“Notes of a Native Son” by James Baldwin

Day 26 (12/4)

“Notes of a Native Son” 2


Revision of Compare & Contrast Essay due

Day 27 (12/6)

“Thugs, Students, Rioters” by Akiba Solomon, Old final exams

Day 28 (12/11)

Class led discussion on First half of Final Exam


Final Day for Revisions to be handed in

Final Exam




This syllabus may be subject to revision.