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ENGL 1010: English Composition: Faculty Version: Syllabus Guide

Bulletin Description: Workshop in expository writing: strategies of, and practice in, analytical reading and writing about texts.

About the Syllabus Guide

Name and Contact Information

  1. Name of Instructor
  2. Your office location and office hours
  3. your office telephone number and/or department telephone number where messages can be left
  4.  your e-mail and web addresses

Goals and Objectives

  1.  A statement of course goals and learning objectives (that is, what do you want your students to know and be able to do by the end of the course?)  The English Department goals that are applicable to composition are as follows:
    1. Department Goal 1:  Read and think critically
    2. Department Goal 2:  Understand how language operates
    3. Department Goal 3:  Express ideas–both orally and in writing–correctly, cogently, persuasively, and in conformity with the conventions of the discipline
    4. Department Goal 4: Conduct research
  2. A statement and timetable of all required learning activities that will enable students to achieve, and to demonstrate their achievement of, the course’s objectives (for example, research projects, essays, exams, lab reports, presentations, portfolios).   The requirements for English 1010 should include the following: a literacy narrative (750-1000 words), two summaries (250-500 words each), an argumentative essay (1000-1250 words), a compare and contrast essay (1000-1250 words), and a final portfolio.  Students should revise each essay in preparation for the final portfolio.  English 1010 students must complete the LOOP workshop, which provides an orientation to the resources of the Brooklyn College Library.

Course Policies

  1. An explanation of how the final grade for the course will be determined with specific weights indicated for each of the components of the course, including the final portfolio.
  2. An indication of whether students will be given the opportunity to revise and resubmit essays or other assignments.  For English 1010, students should revise each paper at least once.  You may wish to allow students to revise multiple times.  However, if you do that, make sure that you allow yourself enough time to read and comment on these drafts.  In-class peer reviews on first drafts may provide students with additional feedback.
  3. Other class policies (for example, attendance, participation, late work, etc.) and required class readings.  The official Brooklyn College policy on attendance is as follows:

An instructor may consider attendance and class participation in determining the term grade. First-year students absent from a course for a number of times equivalent to two full weeks of class meetings may be denied credit for the course.

You may use attendance and participation as part of your semester grade.There is NO English Department policy about failing students if they do not attend a minimum number of classes. That being said, students that miss an excessive numbers of classes may indeed fail the class.

Academic Integrity

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 policy implementation can be found at 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.

Student Disability

The following statement in reference to the Center for Student Disability Services: 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 your professor with the course accommodation form and discuss your specific accommodation with him/her.

Bereavment Policy

Attendance Exemptions for Religion

Reference to the state law regarding non-attendance because of religious beliefs (p. 66 in the Undergraduate Bulletin or p. 42 of the Graduate Bulletin).


Important Dates


The full academic calendar, including many other important dates, is available on the Office of the Registrar’s website.

The full academic calendar, including many other important dates are on Office of the Registrar’s website.


NOTE: English 1010 is an Academic Foundations course.  Brooklyn College’s policy on withdrawing from English 1010 is as follows:

Students are not permitted at any time to delete, drop, or withdraw from an assigned Academic Foundations course without obtaining permission of the academic department involved and consulting the Center for Academic Advisement and Student Success.

Please do not advise English 1010 students to withdraw if they are failing the course.  Withdrawals are approved rarely.  Students must seek departmental and CAASS permission to withdraw.

Statement on Syllabus

The syllabus may be subject to revision.

Course Schedule

Week 1: Intro & Diagnostic Essay & Freshman Common Reading

Class topics:

  1. Introduction to the class: goals, requirements, etc.
  2. Syllabus
  3. Student and instructor introductions
  4. Reflections on writing: process, argument, rhetorical modes and strategies

Weeks 2 Freshman Common Reading: Focus on close reading, annotating, summary

Class topics:

  1. Close reading & annotation
  2. Crafting a literacy narrative
  3. Stages of writing: What does revision mean?
  4. Plagiarism

Assignment: Literacy narrative (2 drafts)

Reading: Freshman common reading.  For additional reading, pick two short essays or one long essay related to the themes of the common reading.  If you pick two short essays, you can have discussions that revolve around texts in relation to each other.

Week 3-4 Summary: Focus on close reading, annotation, short summary

Summary is a very important skill.  Students have a difficult time distinguishing between summary and paraphrase and summary and analysis.  This unit will allow you to help students gain skills in closely reading and writing about texts, annotating, and identifying arguments, sub-arguments, counter arguments, and evidence. 

Class topics:

  1. Close reading and annotation
  2. Summary vs paraphrase
  3. Summary vs analysis
  4. Reverse outlining (argument, sub argument, counter argument, evidence)

Assignments: 2-3 short summaries (take-home and in class)

Reading:  Pick a number of shorter essays from “Analysis, Short.”  For these readings, consider picking essays that are more accessible.  You should pick essays that will allow students to develop their stamina as readers early on in the semester.

Weeks 5-8: Writing from a position: Focus on argument, thesis statements, evidence, structure

Class topics:

  1. Peer review
  2. Structure (process analysis)
  3. Revision
  4. Rhetorical modes: argument vs. explanation & persuasion
  5. Thesis statements
  6. Selecting evidence
  7. Citation from primary sources
  8. Effective quotation from primary source
  9. Audience

Assignment: Analytical Essay (2 drafts)

Reading: Pick a selection of essays from both “Analysis, short” and “Analysis, long.”  Scaffold these essays.  Read the more accessible, shorter ones first and the more difficult, longer ones later.  This scaffolding will help students develop greater stamina in reading and analysis.

Weeks 9-12: Compare and Contrast: Focus on argument, evidence, structure

Class topics:

  1. Texts in Conversation
  2. Argument
  3. Comparative thesis statements
  4. Structure
  5. Peer Review
  6. In class writing strategies
  7. In class essay
  8. Effective use of quotations
  9. Signal phrases & other templates

Assignments: Compare and Contrast (2 drafts)

Readings:  Pick a number of essays from the “Analysis, Long.”  Scaffold these essays.  Begin with essays that are not as difficult as those you will do later in this section.  You may be able to teach one less complex per day. You may wish to spend two class periods on more complex essays.  Pick shorter pieces from “Analysis, Short” to compare and contrast to the longer essays by Week 11.

Week 13: Research & Catch-up

Class topics

  1.  Catch up
  2. Introduction to research & MLA citation

Week 14: Final portfolio prep

Class topics:

  1. Rubrics
  2. Sample portfolios
  3. Strategies to prepare final portfolio 





Please consider the following:

Note on argument/writing from a position: Making an argument is an essential and difficult-to-master skill.  Consider introducing the idea of argument very early on in the semester and distinguish it from persuasion and explanation.  The Brief Bedford Reader is helpful here: “Is there a difference between argument and persuasion? It is, admittedly, not always clear.  Strictly speaking, PERSUASION aims to influence readers’ actions, or their support for an action, by engaging their beliefs and feelings, while ARGUMENT aims to win readers’ agreement with an assertion or claim by engaging their powers of reason.  But most effective persuasion or argument contains elements of both methods; hence the confusion” (467).

Note on the first week: Please spend a bit of time getting to know your students.  Students are more likely to take intellectual risks if they feel comfortable among their classmates.  Also, spend some time discussing the syllabus.

Note on grammar: We advise that you do mini-lessons (10-15 minutes) throughout the semester.  You may base them on any grammatical issues with which your students may be struggling.

Note on plagiarism: Consider asking your students to pass a plagiarism quiz, such as the one located here:

Note on reading: Students may not do their reading in a timely manner.  In order to address this, some instructors give quizzes at the beginning of each class.  Other instructors require presentations.  Please check in with your students to make sure they have done the reading.

Note on revision: Revision is an essential part of the writing process.  However, many students revise only what you have marked on their papers.  Their revision, in other words, is surface level.  We suggest that you engage in rigorous instruction on revision.  Consider using revision worksheets during peer review and self-evaluation sheets when students first submit papers.  Make sure you budget enough time to read and return revisions.  Students need some time, as well, to complete their revisions.  Professor Lutzkanova-Vassileva offers some useful advice: “New instructors may be surprised to receive some drafts that barely differ from the previous ones.  . . . [D]rafts and revision work best when they comply with specific requirements. For example, revision worksheets with specific questions make an in-class peer review session much more structured and beneficial. To ensure that an essay revision is substantial rather than perfunctory, instructors could be encouraged to provide some more detailed guidelines. I ask my students to make sure that at least 1/3 of their old paper is revised and require them to highlight the changes they’ve made. I also expect them to turn in a self-evaluation, in which they reflect on the main problematic areas identified in their papers and explain what types of revisions they have made to improve their writing. If an essay has mistakes in grammar and/or syntax, the student needs to revise the sentence, identify the type of error, quote the rule, and provide several examples that demonstrate the rule used to correct the sentence. Such guided revision is what I’ve found most useful to students.”