Sunday, January 22, 2012


Course Syllabus for Spring 2012

English 201, Spring 2012 at COA
Professor Wanda Sabir

ENG 201 A
21768 Lec 01:00-02:50 PM MW Sabir A-202

ENG 201 B
21774 Lec 01:00-02:50 PM MW Sabir A-202

Class Meetings: Jan. 23—May 17, 1-2:50

Drop dates: February 4, 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. Feb. 5 last day to add. Feb. 11 last day to file for Pass/No pass. Feb. 16 last day to drop w/out a W. Drop February 24, Full-Term Credit Classes Without “W” Appearing on Transcript; April 25 (w/W) and no refund.

Holidays: Feb. 6, 17-20; May 18, May 30; Spring Break: April 2-8 M-Su Spring Recess

Final Exam Week: May 19-25. We have no sitting final. Portfolios are due by May 25, 12 noon electronically. Last day of semester May 25.

Class blog:

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

The English 201 series (4 units) is a two semester or one year 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 6000 words, 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 multiple class presentations.

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 assigned texts: Yummy: the Last Days of a Southside Shorty by G. Neri, The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, and Always Running: Gang Days in LA by Luis Rodriguez, 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 person in Northern California who is a social entrepreneur. This research project will be an extension of the themes explored in our texts, youth, education and the criminal justice system. The essay will be about 3-4 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. 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. Again, the website is: Get used to checking the blog daily.

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. Sometimes students will have to write a correction essay in addition to revising the essay. Both essays and the graded draft are to be turned in together.

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. The Stewart Pidd essays are nonsense essays. The strategy is to focus on the writing, not the content. The goal is to transfer the skills used to correct Pidd’s essays to one’s own work. This is what the correction essays do for students who are not seeing their errors when proofreading. The correction essay is the cost for my services as editor (smile).

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 to Name, Address, phone number e-mail address, best time to call.

Answer these questions as well:
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?

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, the information 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 or unwritten (smile). Respond to the syllabus by our next meeting, Wednesday, January 25, 2012, 12 noon.

I 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.


The House on Mango Street: 10 percent
SPHE/They Say, I Say: 10 percent
Student Book—presentation and essay: 15 percent
Midterm— Yummy: the Last Days of a Southside Shorty: 10 percent
Always Running: Gang Days in LA: 10 percent
Social Entrepreneur Research Essay and presentation: 15 percent
Cyber-Assignments & other essay assignments: 10 percent
Portfolio: 20 percent

The essays which take their themes from the readings plus the book report are (35 percent), your midterm and final are (25 percent) and your portfolio with Pidd/They Say. . . (30 percent), Cyber-Assignments (10). To pass the class you need minimally 85 percent: All the essays and the portfolio.

(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 lose 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, MW 3-4 PM. MTWTh 3-5 by appointment. Office number: (510) 748-2286. Let me know a day in advance when you’d like to meet by appointment. You can call me on my cell and leave a message. By phone is the best way to reach me. 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. I have an office phone as well. Don’t leave messages there. I answer when I am in the office.

Exchange phone numbers with classmates (2-3), 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 lose 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:

Cisneros, Sandra. The House on Mango Street. New York: Vintage Contemporaries, 1991.

Neri, G. Yummy: the Last Days of a Southside Shorty. New York: Lee & Low Books Inc., 2010.

Pollitt, Gary, and Craig Baker. Stewart Pidd Hates English: Grammar, Punctuation, and Writing Exercises. First or Second Edition. California: Attack the Text Publishing, 2008/9. ISBN: 13: 978-0-9755923-4-2

Rodriguez, Luís. Always Running: Gang Days in LA. New York, NY : Touchstone, 2005.

English 201B: for Pidd Alumni:

Diana Hacker’s Rules for Writers. Fourth-Seventh Editions. Boston/New York: Bedford/St. Martins.

Graff, Gerald and Cathy Birenstein. They Say, I Say. Second Edition. New York: W.W. Norton, 2010.

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.

This syllabus is subject to change based on instructor assessment of class progress.

Myunshin Kim
Wanda Sabir
23 January 2012

It took a long time to read through the syllabus but appreciate your work for us and like the plan too.
Songkham Lankhamdaeng
Wanda Sabir
English 201A
24,January 2012

I'm really excited to be in your class and looking forward to learning new things that you have planned for us for this semester.
Jennifer Calderon
Wanda Sabir
January 24, 2012

Im excited to be in your class as you are a big reader i like to read alot too also im excited to read the books that you are leaving I have always wanted to read the house on mango street but I just never got a chance till now. the syllabus was huge but very interesting as you share with us things other professors don't anyways im happy to be in your class and ready to improve my writting.
Viola Merino
Wanda Sabir
English 201A
24 January 2012

I thought the syllabus was very informative. It answered many of the questions I had about this class. Thank you.
Kathleen Adams
Professor Sabir
English 1 A
25 January 2012

My Syllabus Response
The syllabus is very instructive. It has everything I need to know about dropping classes and how to get a refund for the classes that I have dropped. It also keeps me mindful of the holidays, and on days classes will not be in session. The final exam dates are just below the scheduled holidays, in case I do not have a Peralta calendar. All of the material presented in the pre writing of the syllabus is vital, and are questions the students ask most, although it is printed on the syllabus.

When I think about English 1A, there is a type of uneasiness that exudes to the point of me being unsure of myself. With a preparedness to overcome the writing process and begin to write with persuasion, I am sure this will be most gratifying. The weeks onward will be a true test to the writing that I have done in the past yet, I am willing to interchange it all for the elation of becoming even better. Writing can be fun and sometimes it can be demanding and lacerating, but this is what makes me a great writer, taking chances without consent is impressive and a good thing.

This semester English 1A promises delightful material and commendable readings such as: Diana Hacker’s Rules for Writers, Frontline, Half the Sky, Lysistrata, Mighty, The New Heroes, , They Say I say, and last, one of the many films we will see in class called To Educate a Girl. Way in on the cost of war and it effects, celebrate Earth Day and Women’s Day, and even celebrate “Love” in February. To top it off, we will be doing a research paper on social mogul.

I am looking forward to the academic blog; it will show how my writing is pending along. Therefore, in order to get the highest grade of A, I must follow the syllabus rules which are: coming to class on time with all of my material that is needed. The Library is my friend and I know the class will visit quite often to get information for ventures.

This concludes my response to the syllabus for English 1A and I am ready for my journey of writing well. Who will join me?
Rohan Maharjan
Wanda Sabir
English 201A
30, January 2012

Thank you so much for the syllabus and all the instruction you have written in your syllabus. We as a student know what to expect from you in class and i am really excited to learn new things from you and hope we will be better english writer in future by you.. thank u once again..
Rhevly Ambrose
English 201 B
January 30 2012

The syllabus was very informative i have no questions everything i needed to know was in the syllabus.
Sosorbaram Bayaraa
Wanda Sabir
English 201B
31 January 2012

Sorry for the late response. I was having hard time to find this link. The syllabus is really big and it so reach with lot of answers, that I was questioning about this class. I think this is the first time I got this long syllabus in my life from other classes that I completed :). Anyways, this class is fun, I like it a lot.
Estefany Angulo
Wanda Sabir
English 201B
24 January 2012

Although the syllabus seems very long, it sure is informative for me to go back and check out how everything is done. I know I will find the syllabus useful, I appreciate it. For example, trying to find out how to find the blog website, the syllabus had it right away.
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