Sunday, January 23, 2011


Course Syllabus

English 201, Spring 2011 at COA
Professor Wanda Sabir

ENG 201 A
20232 Lec 01:00-02:50 PM MW Sabir D-204

ENG 201 B
20239 Lec 01:00-02:50 PM MW Sabir D-204

Class Meetings: Jan. 24—May 18, 1-2:50

Drop dates: February 5, Full-Term Credit Classes and Receive a Refund. Note: Short-term and open-entry classes must be dropped within three days of the first class meeting to receive a refund, February 24, Full-Term Credit Classes Without “W” Appearing on Transcript; April 25 (w/W) and no refund.

Holidays: Feb. 18-21; April 21-22, May 19, May 30; Spring Break: April 18-21;
Final Exam Week: May 21-27. Last day of semester May 27. Grades due June 3.
Class blog:

Syllabus for English 201A/B: Preparation for Composition and Reading

The English 201 series (4 units) is a preparatory course designed to emphasize the thinking, reading, organizing and writing skills required for successful execution of college-level papers in all subject areas. This course is designed to for those students requiring minimal preparation for entering English 1A.

Absences must be kept to a minimum. If you miss 6 consecutive hours or 8 cumulative hours you will risk being dropped from the course, doing poorly or both. English 201 consists of weekly essays and daily assignments. I believe we are to write about 6000words, which includes rewrites and revisions. I tend to go overboard on this; I am told students in my classes write a lot more. Perhaps it’s a good thing we use cyber-space and post on-line, so I don’t feel as guilty as I would if I were contributing to the death of trees, which I treasure like I treasure people (smile).

This is a portfolio driven class. Keep all of your written work, graded and otherwise to turn in the last day of class. There will be an assessment, a midterm, a research project, a final and a class presentation.

Stewart Pidd Hates English will provide a context for essay writing which will hopefully allow students the opportunity to become conversant about the writing process and use grammar in context, as well as, employ MLA documentation. Keep a reading log for the Half the Sky noting key ideas, themes, vocabulary, questions and an analysis of primary writing strategies employed: description, process analysis, narration, argument, cause and effect, compare and contrast, definition, problem solving.

Research Project

Your research project will entail finding a woman in Northern California who is a social entrepreneur. This research project will be an extension of the themes explored in Half the Sky. The essay will be about 4 pages. This will include a works cited page and bibliography. Students will make 5-10 minute presentations of these papers in May. The paper will be due about two-three weeks prior to the presentation. We’ll discuss this task further later on.

New Heroes

Visit “The New Heroes,” to read about social entrepreneurs. There is also a program called Frontline World. We will explore this assignment more, later in the course.

Why socially responsible economics?

Too often people feel helpless or hopeless when there is a lot you can do as an individual as soon as you realize the answer lies inside of you. If possible choose an entrepreneur who lives in Northern California, someone you’d like to interview and perhaps meet. Students can work on the project together, share resources. Each person has to write his or her own paper, but you can make a group presentation if you like.

Course Objectives

English 201 will look primarily at writing which persuades: argumentative writing, as well as expository writing, narrative and descriptive writing. At the end of the course students will have read work of accomplished writers, as well as practiced writing in a variety of styles to suit the writer’s purpose.

Academic Blog

In this course students will submit essays and other written work on-line. The academic blog is an opportunity for students to utilize multiple intelligences as they engage one another in a variety modalities.

Student Learning Outcomes

At the end of the course students will have an altered or heightened awareness of the world around them, especially discourse: speech and text. Students will see that everything is an argument, whether that is a cartoon, advertisement, or lyrics in a song. Students will be able to analyze and critique each incident or contact to evaluate its author’s purpose, audience, and evidence to determine whether or not such goal was met and if appropriate, act accordingly.

This course is intended to be both a group learning experience as well as an individually rewarding one. Mid-semester we will schedule conferences so students can confer with the instructor to evaluate his or her progress in the course. Classroom instruction will consist of lectures, small group work, and students working in pairs. This is an effective way for students to exchange ideas with classmates, compare reactions to readings and practice giving and receiving constructive feedback on class work.

Preparation for class, regular attendance and active participation is imperative for those students who wish to succeed in this course.

It is a student’s responsibility to contact the instructor if he or she plans to miss class. The student is responsible for all materials and information given during the class time, so please get telephone numbers for three (3) classmates in case you are late or absent. You will not be able to make up in-class assignments when you miss class.

Requirements for homework assignments:

Not late papers are accepted unless arranged in advance. Any papers below a C grade are an automatic revision or rewrite. Essays range between 2-3 pages, 500-750 words (English 201B students write the longer essays).

Choose topics which give you enough to write about. We will use documentation to substantiate all of our claims. With this in mind, I expect all papers to utilize at least two (2) different outside print sources, in addition to the occasional interview, and broadcast news, that is, radio or television, Internet also.

You will learn to document sources; we will practice citing sources in text, using footnotes and endnotes, and writing bibliographies and notes pages. Remember save all your work! This is a portfolio course.

All essay assignments you receive comments on have to be revised prior to resubmission; included with the revision is a student narrative to me regarding your understanding of what needed to be done; a student can prepare this as a part of the Writing Center visit (see below), especially if said student is unclear over what steps to take.

Library Orientations: TBA. We will meet in the library at the reference desk.

We will write short essays that reflect themes and ideas discussed that week. Stewart Pidd has essay assignments attached to the text. Some of these essays will be written in class. The research essay will be an argument. There will be a midterm and a final.

Jot down briefly what your goals are this semester. List them in order of importance.






Please email a response to the following questions with your contact information: Name, Address, phone number e-mail address, best time to call. This assignment is also mentioned in the letter. Also respond to the syllabus on the blog. Speak to the plan, the materials and what you think about the course at least on paper (smile). You can share your list and anything else you like in the post, just remember that this blog is a public one and everyone in the class has access to whatever is posted. If you email me, that is private unless the FBI subpoena my class records—I’m kidding, but cyber-space is also monitored by the government. The only safe or private thoughts are the ones left unspoken (smile).

Respond to the syllabus by next week, Monday, January 31, 2011, 12 noon. I also encourage students to start study groups. I will give all students who participate in a study group credit for hours spent there if you get a professor to sign off on the hours. If you study in the library in the classrooms, one of the librarians can sign document, you can draw up, for you. List all the participants by name and class and give a description of what was covered in the session each meeting. If I can, I could drop in and be available sometimes to meet with students in such sessions. Let me know if you desire my presence.

I am not around on Fridays.

E-mail recap: What strengths do you bring to the class? What do you hope to obtain from the course – any particular exit skills? What do I need to know about you to help you meet your goals?

Half the Sky: 10 percent
SPHE: 20 percent
Student Book—presentation and essay: 15 percent
Midterm—On Friendship: 10 percent
Research Essay and presentation: 10 percent
Cyber-Assignments & other essay assignments: 20 percent
Portfolio: 15 percent

The essays which take their themes from the readings are practice essays, and are about a fourth of your grade, your midterm and final are another fourth and your portfolio is the final fourth. (Save all of your work.) You can average the grades to see how to weigh the various components. Participation is included in the daily exercises and cyber assignments, along with the homework portion of the grade, so if your attendance is exemplary, yet you say nothing the entire 18 weeks, you loose percentage points.

You will also need to plan to spend time weekly in the Writing Lab (L-234 (510) 748-2132). It is a great place to get one-on-on assistance on your essays, from brainstorming and planning the essays, to critique in areas like clarity, organization, clearly stated thesis, evidence or support, logical conclusions, and grammatical problems. In the Writing Center there are ancillary materials for student use. These writing programs build strong writing muscles. The Bedford Handbook on-line, Diana Hacker’s Rules for Writers on-line, Townsend Press, and other such computer and cyber-based resources are a few of the many databases available. There is also an Open Lab for checking e-mail, a Math Lab, and an Accounting Lab. All academic labs are located in the Learning Resource Center (LRC) or library upstairs. The Cyber Café is located in the F-bldg.

Students need a student ID to use the labs and to check out books. The IDs are free and you can take the photo in the F-Building, Student Services. Students also need to sign up for a free LRC course to use the labs. See your counselor or LRC personnel.

Have a tutor of teacher sign off on your essays before you turn them in; if you have a “R,” which means revision necessary for a grade or “NC” which means “no credit,” you have to go to the lab and revise the essay with a tutor or teacher before you return both the graded original and the revision (with signature) to me. Revise does not mean “rewrite,” it means to “see again.”

When getting assistance on an essay, the teacher or tutor is not an editor, so have questions prepared for them to make best use of the 15-20 minute session in the Lab. For more specific assistance, sign up for one-on-one tutoring, another free service. For those of you on other campuses, you can get assistance at the Merritt College’s Writing Center, as well as Laney’s Writing Labs.

All essay assignments you receive comments on have to be revised prior to resubmission; included with the revision is a student narrative to me regarding your understanding of what needed to be done; a student can prepare this as a part of the Lab visit, especially if said student is unclear over what steps to take.

Students can also visit me in office hours for assistance; again, prepare your questions in advance to best make use of the time. Do not leave class without understanding the comments on a paper. I don’t mind reading them to you.

English language fluency in writing and reading; a certain comfort and ease with the language; confidence and skillful application of literary skills associated with academic writing. Familiarity if not mastery of the rhetorical styles used in argumentation, exposition and narration will be addressed in this class and is a key student learning outcome (SLO).

We will be evaluating what we know and how we came to know what we know, a field called epistemology or the study of knowledge. Granted, the perspective is western culture which eliminates the values of the majority populations, so-called underdeveloped or undeveloped countries or cultures. Let us not fall into typical superiority traps. Try to maintain a mental elasticity and a willingness to let go of concepts which not only limit your growth as an intelligent being, but put you at a distinct disadvantage as a species.

This is a highly charged and potentially revolutionary process - critical thinking. The process of evaluating all that you swallowed without chewing up to now is possibly even dangerous. This is one of the problems with bigotry; it’s easier to go with tradition than toss it, and create a new, more just, alternative protocol.

More on grades, and portfolio

We will be honest with one another. Grades are not necessarily the best response to work; grades do not take into consideration the effort or time spent, only whether or not students can demonstrate mastery of a skill – in this case: essay writing. Grades are an approximation, arbitrary at best, no matter how many safeguards one tries to put in place to avoid such ambiguity. Suffice it to say, your portfolio will illustrate your competence. It will represent your progress, your success or failure this session in meeting your goal.
In past semesters, students have skipped the portfolio and/or the final. Neither is optional.

Office Hours

I’d like to wish everyone good luck. I am available on Monday and Wednesday morning 10:30-12 noon, Thursday 1-3 PM and by appointment MW after 3 PM. My email address varies from class to class: I have a address as well, but that address is not the best one to reach me at.

Let me know the day before, if possible, when you’d like to meet with me on MW. Ask me for my cell phone number. I do not mind sharing it with you.

I don’t check my e-mail frequently on weekends, so I’d advise you to exchange phone numbers with classmates (2), so if you have a concern, it can be addressed more expediently. Again study groups are recommended, especially for those students finding the readings difficult; don’t forget, you can also discuss the readings as a group in the Writing Lab with a teacher or tutor acting as facilitator. Keep a vocabulary log for the semester and an error chart (taken from comments on essay assignments). List the words you need to look up in the dictionary, also list where you first encountered them: page, book and definition, also use the word in a sentence. You will turn this in with your portfolio.

Students are expected to complete their work on time. If you need more time on an assignment, discuss this with me in advance, to keep full credit. You loose credit each day an assignment is late and certain assignments, such as in-class essays cannot be made up. All assignments prepared outside of class are to be typed, 12-pt. font, Times New Roman, double-spaced lines, indentations on paragraphs, 1-inch margins around the written work.


Plagiarism is ethically abhorrent, and if any student tries to take credit for work authored by another person the result will be a failed grade on the assignment and possibly a failed grade in the course if this is attempted again. This is a graded course. There is an option to take this course C/NC. See Admission and Records this week to discuss this option as there are deadlines to consider.

Textbooks Recap:

Pollitt, Gary. Craig Baker. Stewart Pidd Hates English: Grammar, Punctuation, and Writing Exercises. Second Edition. California: Attack the Text Publishing, 2008. ISBN: 13: 978-0-9755923-4-2

Kristof, Nicholas D., and Sheryl WuDunn. Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.

I’ll have the bookstore get copies of The Pact by Drs. Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, and Rameck Hunt with Lisa Frazier Page, Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, and Sula by Toni Morrison, after we do a count and see who might want to read these selections. All the books are in the public library, perhaps even Peralta sister colleges, if not COA, Laney, Berkeley City or Merritt. If money is an issue, use the public and institutional lending libraries for course books. Do not wait to the last minute to get the books. Several copies of Pidd are on reserve at the College of Alameda library. The book doesn’t circulate but there are about five copies on reserve.

Students need to choose a book by a woman author or about a woman, who lives here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Biographies and autobiographies are great. If you want to read a novel, let me see it first. Students will have a paper and a presentation based on the book. Choose one now and when we finish Half the Sky you can start reading it. The presentation and paper will be due in April.

I will give students more detailed essay assignments for each of the four essays: Half the Sky, Friendship or midterm, student selection, social entrepreneur.

Students also need a dictionary. I recommend: The American Heritage Dictionary. Fourth Edition.

The Prepared Student also needs...

Along with a dictionary, the prepared student needs pens with blue or black ink, along with a pencil for annotating texts, paper, a stapler or paper clips, a jump drive to save work from college computers, a notebook, three hole punch, a folder for work-in-progress, and a divided binder to keep materials together.

Also stay abreast of the news. Buy a daily paper. Listen to alternative radio: KPFA 94.1 FM (Hardknock), KQED 88.5, KALW 91.7. Visit news websites:, Al Jazeera,,,,, CBS 60Minutes.

The syllabus is a fine one indeed. Kind of made no sense at first but you have to read it carefully. I'm looking forward to improving my writing skills, as we will be having many essay prompts.
Also, my goal for this class is just to expand my speaking skills- meaning I talk in a more professional way. I would also like to be more open to others.
I think the syllabus is fine i dont have any problems with it. It wasent hard to understand and i think I will be able to do everything that it asks of me without any problems. Im already enjoying this class and it's only been 1 day so Im lookig for to whats to come.
I think the syllabus is okay for me when it comes to follow what it says here. i do say it is enjoyable clsass to me because you can go to the computer to write something open to others.
The syllabus is good. I don't think we gonna have any problems with what is listing on it.I hope this class is a good tool to help practicing our writing skill.
The syllabus was well written in my point of view. I know that I will beable to get everything done if I apply myself an pay attention. I am glad to have the syllabus because it covers alot of important information that I need for the class.
Julien Chen
Professor Sabir
English 201 B
26 January 2011

I thought this syllabus was very descriptive. It had everything a student should know listed on it. In addition to this, there were tips and other ways that showed the student how to succeed in this class. One thing that I particularly liked about this syllabus is that it told students what exactly our big assignments are, for example, it told us exactly what our research project was, instead of other teachers who usually tell you the topic of your projects at the time you are doing it.
The syllabus was easy to understand if you read it twice and carefully.Nothing in the syllabus was out of place.
I think the syllabus is okay for me when it comes to follow what it says here. i do say it is enjoyable class to me because you can go to the computer to write something open to others.
Leonel Sandoval
Professor Sabir
English 201A
January 26 2011

The syllabus was easy to understand if you read it twice and carefully.Nothing in the syllabus was out of place.
Matt Canevaro
proffesor Sabir
English 201b
26 January 2011
Standard Syllabus except with the occasional smile. Read it top to bottom and so far haven't found anything out of place or confusing. If anything this syllabus is just a hint of how much work is expected in this class and i'am really looking foward to the rest of the semester.
Nhat Khanh Tran Kim
Professor Sabir
English 201A
26 January, 2011

The syllabus is fine. Seems like we will be given lots of assignments from this course. My goal for this course is to improve my writing skill and to be ready for English 1A. I am looking forward to this class!
Patricia Hawkins
Professor Sabir
English 201A
26 January 2011

I thought the syllabus was well organized. The syllabus is very direct and easy to understand once read carefully. I almost cant wait to get started on the projects at hand.
I think the syllabus is fine and havent found any difficulties or confusions so far what is listing on it and all the assignments for the future.i am sure I definitely going to improve my writing skills for the next level of english course that I am planning to take. The syllabus was not that hard to understand than i thought and i think i can find all the things that i need to know for this class. I am looking forward to meet and get to know new people and rest of the semester. I can see we are not going to have any troubles if you really pay good attention what the teacher is saying in the classroom. I cannot wait until the last day of this semester walking out of classroom, earning my credit and get ready for the next level. I am already loving this class because the teacher communicates with everybody as possible as she can. I will try my best to open up myself to others.
Thailea Boykin
Professor Sabir
English 1A
26 January 2011

As far as the syllabus goes, it is quite long reminds me of Rubin. I liked the personalization to the whole things, i felt as if you were very friendly. When you put (smile) that is something that I do in some of my writings as well. I defiantly don't feel that you are undereducated and arent a good teacher, seams to me that you know your craft. This semester will be a whole lot of learning to come and not only essay/grammar, but more character building will take place. Well at least, thats what I get from being in class for the past 2.5 days.

Thanks&Be Blessed
Berta Garcia
Professor Sabir
English 1A
26 January 2011

I think the syllabus was a bit long winded. I would've preferred it to be more direct with the writing assignments and reading assignments. Although I had to read it twice to fully understand everything that would be done in class I eventually read through it and understood it just fine. I think all the cyber things are a bit indirect and we are hidden behind a computer.(Although in a way it is good because I would normally not "talk" this much). I can't wait to start reading! =)
Amgalanbaatar Sarantuya
Professor Sabir
English 1A
M-TH 9-9:50
27 January 2011

The syllabus to me was a bit long and hard to figure out. But it is very neat and i just had to read it carefully. It was written very well but just a bit too long. Looks like we're going to be writing a lot and I hope i get better as a writer. Actually get in the class first!
Rosita Contreras
Professor Sabir
English 201B
30 January 2011

The syllabus was very descriptive of all the things we are going to do this semester. I had to read it through a couple of times. I am looking foward to learn how to write better essays and to read books. I like that we get to use the computers during class time. I want to become a better writer and do well in the class.
Cherefah Obad
Professor Sabir
English 201 B
26 January 2011

The syllabus was very enlightening and informative. I understood what i was going to be doing in this class in the future, and our future goals after this course. And it looks like Professor Wanda and i will become great friends.
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