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ENG 101.0767

Tuesdays & Thursdays, 10:30-12:45

Tuesdays: meet in classroom C-263/ Thursdays: meet in computer lab C-238

In this course, students focus on the process of writing clear, correct and effective expository essays in response to materials drawn from culturally diverse sources. Emphasis is placed on using various methods of organization appropriate to the writer’s purpose and audience. Students are introduced to argumentation, fundamental research methods and documentation procedures. Students write frequently both in and out of class. Admission to this course is based on college placement test scores.

Learning objectives

  1. Demonstrate understanding of writing as a process by using such strategies as pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading.
  2. Read and listen critically and analytically, including identifying an argument’s major assumptions and assertions and evaluating its supporting evidence.
  3. Write clearly and coherently in varied academic formats (such as formal essays, research papers, and reports) using standard English and appropriate technology to critique and improve one’s own and others’ texts. Essays will vary in length between 600 and 1500 words and will demonstrate an understanding of audience, voice, and purpose.
  4. Demonstrate research skills by using appropriate technology, including gathering, evaluating, and synthesizing primary and secondary sources. Essays will include quotation, summation, paraphrase, and citation and will avoid plagiarism.
  5. Support a thesis with well-reasoned arguments, and communicate persuasively over a variety of contexts, purposes, audiences, and media.
  6. Formulate original ideas and relate them to the ideas of others by employing the conventions of ethical attribution and citation.

Required Texts

DMZ Volume 1: On the Ground, Brian Wood (author/artist) and Riccardo Burchielli (artist). If purchasing on Comixology, volume 1 includes issues 1-5.

Ex Machina Volume 1: The First Hundred Days, Brian K. Vaughan (author) and Tony Harris (artist). If purchasing on Comixology, this is issues 1-5.

Fables Volume 1: Legends in Exile, Bill Willingham (author), James Jean (artist), Alex Maleev (artist), et al . If purchasing separately on Comixology, volume 1 includes issues 1-5.

Watchmen, Alan Moore (author), Dave Gibbons (artist).

Reading groups, choose ONE of the following:

  • Strange Attractors, Charles Soule (author), Greg Scott (artist), Robert Saywitz (painter), Art Lyon (colorist)
  • OR The Couriers, Brian Wood (author), Rob G. (artist), Brett Weldele (artist)
  • OR Sailor Twain: Or, the Mermaid in the Hudson, Mark Siegel (author & artist)

Writing and research reference:

Rhetoric and Composition for the College Writer (free online Wiki book).

All other texts will be made available to you digitally (probably posted on BlackBoard).

Be aware that all of these comics are for adults and may contain profanity, violence, depictions of nudity, and sexual content. We will be discussing these characteristics when they appear in an academic way, but if any of these elements will make you uncomfortable then you might want to consider joining another section of ENG 101.

Where should I get these texts?

There are a couple of options in terms of buying the required texts. Many of these are available on Amazon and in the LaGuardia bookstore. Several are also available in digital format on Comixology: since we will be referencing/analyzing the texts in class, this would be a good option if you had a tablet and could bring your purchases with you.

What I would *really* suggest, however, is that you purchase these comics from JHU Comic Books at 32 E. 32nd street (between Madison and Park) in Manhattan. If you become a member (just ask at the register – it’s free to become a member, and they don’t bombard you with emails), you can get 40% off one item a month – and they do special orders. You could thus save a little money and support a local business.


Writing Assignments = 100%

  • Exams (20%)
  • Research papers (45%)
  • Informal Writing – including Bitstrips, tweeting, blog posts, and Wiki contribution (35%).

Your first drafts will be graded, but you will have an opportunity to revise your papers for a better grade – the final grade will be an average of the first and final draft. You MUST pass one draft of every essay in this class to pass, according to English department guidelines. Every day that a written assignment is late, a letter grade will be deducted from the final average. Papers 4 or more days late will not be accepted.

Attendance & Participation = Not a grade, a responsibility

 Be in class, be on time, be engaged. As per the English department requirements, 4 tardies are equivalent to 1 absence,  and four hours of missed class (2 full class periods) results in a failing grade. By “participation,”  I mean that it should be clear that you’ve done the reading and that you’ve thought about the material: this time spent reading/thinking will be apparent from the comments you make and the way you participate in the class conversation. If you aren’t here, you aren’t prepared, and/or you aren’t engaged, you simply will not earn a passing grade in the class.

Other matters

Plagiarism: We’ll talk a lot about plagiarism and how to avoid it, but if – after all these discussions – you use someone else’s words or ideas and fail to attribute them, you will fail that paper and the event will be reported to the college, as per LaGuardia’s Academic Integrity Policy.

Students’ Learning Needs: To receive accommodations for testing and instruction, students with disabilities must inform the Office for Students with Disabilities. In my life prior to academia I was a special education teacher, so please also inform me of any accommodations you might require if you have a disability. As a whole class, we will also be discussing individual approaches to reading, writing, revising, and studying: everyone has different learning styles and figuring out what works best for you is important for your success in this class and in other college courses.


Ideas for readings, activities, and assignments for this course came from Mark Sample’s various syllabi on graphic novels and Adeline Koh’s ProfHacker post on Bitstrips.


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