ENG 111: College Composition I

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Print the general syllabus: Nelson Fall 2018 ENG 111 General Syllabus

Find your class syllabus with specific dates and other important information in your CVCC email and on your course site on Blackboard.


Course Description and Outcomes

Course Description. 3 credit hours. 3 contact hours. Introduces students to critical thinking and the fundamentals of academic writing. Through the writing process, students refine topics; develop and support ideas; investigate, evaluate, and incorporate appropriate resources; edit for effective style and usage; and determine appropriate approaches for a variety of contexts, audiences, and purposes. Writing activities will include exposition and argumentation with at least one researched essay. Lecture, 3 hours per week.

Prerequisites. Satisfactory scores on an approved placement test, satisfactory grades on previous academic transcripts, or successful completion of developmental English prerequisites. (Placement in ENG 111 is changing; talk with a CVCC counselor!)

Learning Outcomes. At the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Effectively use “the” reading/writing process and “your” reading/writing process
  • Assess your reading and writing and choose appropriate supports (technology, student support systems, and other supports) as you become more proficient and independent academically
  • Accurately and thoughtfully discuss and question the concept of academic integrity; know how and why to avoid plagiarism; understand the conceptual similarities among major documentation styles; and apply some basics of MLA style
  • Read, categorize, and annotate a variety of sources for comprehension
  • Plan, develop, revise, and edit effective:
    • academic paragraphs using narrative, description, and exemplification
    • short academic essays (2-5 pages) written to persuade on current issues and develop thesis-driven argument from personal experience and/or source material
    • professional emails
    • short summaries
    • expressive personal essays
  • Find, evaluate, and incorporate evidentiary sources appropriate to your writing purpose; understand and operate within the context of reason and fact appropriate to this public, postsecondary institution
  • More confidently use your mind and the English language for personal, professional, and academic goals; reflect on your growth in this area
  • Recognize your major usage, grammar, and mechanics errors (mistakes in word use, grammar, and capitalization and punctuation) and know how to correct them
  • Function effectively in CVCC’s online learning environment (that must come much sooner than the end of the course!)

Complete Course Outline: ENG 111 Course Purpose, Goals, Objectives, and Topics

Welcome to our course!

About your instructor

Bio Pic

  •  Lorna Nelson, MA, MEd
  •  Merritt 5230
  •  NelsonL@centralvirginia.edu
  •  (434) 832-7605
  •  See your individual course schedule for my office hours this  semester.
  • Best way to contact me: Email
  • Call me Ms. Nelson. Pronounced Miz N.
  • I like to read books when I have time.

I love teaching, especially students at CVCC, and especially ENG 111. You have a contribution to make to this planet, and the work we do in ENG 111 facilitates that. I look forward to working with you this semester and supporting you as you move toward your goals at CVCC and beyond.

What is different about this course?

1. It’s OER. This section of ENG 111 requires no textbook purchase, so you will save some money. Instead, all course materials can be found on Blackboard. You must have reliable, high-speed Internet access for course materials and readings; you must also have functional knowledge of your own computer and Web navigation, and the ability and willingness to learn to use Blackboard.

2. It’s online. Online classes are a special kind of beast. They aren’t for everyone! You must be able to comfortably read and comprehend instructions and texts on the screen and organize your time effectively to keep yourself on track. If you get distracted online, if you don’t like to work independently, if you need lots of guidance, if you have challenges with technology–this is not the course for you! In fact, if you continue to struggle with basic technology-related issues into the second week of class, a counselor may contact you with instructions to withdraw from the class.

The dropout rate for online courses is high, usually 25-40 percent! That’s because online courses are harder! We do the same work as in a face-to-face class, but you alone must take charge of your learning and your schedule in online courses. Think about it . . . don’t set yourself up for failure if you have any doubts about this form of learning or any doubts about the time you have available to devote to this course. Remember the old college rule-of-thumb: For every hour in class, two outside. Depending on the semester and session, and on your own learning needs, you need to set aside some serious time for this course–and manage that time yourself:

  • 5-week summer session: 15-30 hours per week
  • 10-week summer session: 8-15 hours per week
  • 15-week regular spring or fall semester: 5-10 hours per week

How to succeed in this class

  • If you can, attend a face-to-face workshop at the beginning of the semester to get familiar with Blackboard.
  • If you can’t do an on-campus training, go through the ROLL (Ready for Online Learning) course on your Blackboard homepage before class starts.
  • I will explain how to do what is needed on Blackboard, and then refer you to the ROLL course or IT. If problems with technology persist, then I may ask you to withdraw and take the course in a classroom.
  • Use your CVCC email to contact me. Learn how to use it and organize it! Every course announcement comes to you as an email message, so you need to check your CVCC email frequently (daily on weekdays in the summer; 3-4 times a week during regular semesters)
  • Check Blackboard frequently for announcements if you are not keeping up with your email. Although I take many steps to stay in touch and send you reminders, you alone are responsible for keeping up with the class and with changes to the schedule.
  • Do not assume that the schedule you receive at the beginning of the term is fixed. It may change.
  • Because of federal privacy laws (FERPA), your parent or guardian may not receive information about you from me without your written permission. Ask, if you need more information about this.
  • If you choose to begin this course late or take a vacation during the semester, you must act independently to catch up. You might receive zeros on certain assignments. It is critical to meet deadlines in this course.
  • Be proactive: If you find yourself getting behind or lost, get in touch with me right away! We can usually figure things out together and come up with a workable plan—but you must advocate for yourself. Stay in touch.
  • Take the material in Start Here seriously. Don’t skip this initial preparation if you want to do well in this course. It will be the first thing you do once your course is open.
  • Your communication with me and with other students must be respectful and appropriate. If I judge your communication with me or another student to be inappropriate, you will be warned in writing, and you may be removed from class if the behavior continues.
  • Put yourself on a schedule. Life happens. Try to stay a little bit ahead of the game.

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Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

According to the CVCC Catalog and Student Handbook, the Honor Code requires “fundamental honesty” from all students. Basically, that means no cheating, no multiple submissions (turning in the same paper for different classes), and no plagiarism. Plagiarism means to misrepresent another’s words, creations, or ideas as your own. Any assignment that shows instances of intentional plagiarism will automatically receive a grade of “0” (zero) and will not be eligible for any type of resubmission. English Department Policy:

Intentional plagiarism on any major assignment will cause you to fail the course.

Students with Disabilities

It is CVCC’s policy to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified students with documented disabilities. CVCC’s goal is to help students succeed in this course. If you have a documented physical, mental, or learning disability and you need a reasonable accommodation to help you achieve success, please contact Student Support Services in the Counseling Center, room 2117, and phone: (434) 832-7802 or (434) 832-7299 or email ADA@cvcc.vccs.edu. To be provided the accommodation(s) you need, make this request as soon as possible because accommodations cannot be made to change a grade you have received for course work already completed. For further information, please see: Student Accessibility Services.  Please talk with me individually as soon as possible if you have concerns or questions about accommodations or individual learning needs.

Title IX Statement

As a recipient of federal funds, Central VA Community College is required to comply with Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. (“Title IX”), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs or activities, admission and employment. Under certain circumstances, sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, and similar conduct constitute sexual discrimination prohibited by Title IX. The purpose of this Policy is to establish that the College prohibits discrimination, harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and retaliation and to set forth procedures by which such allegations shall be filed, investigated and resolved.

For assistance, please meet with: Title IX Coordinator, Marc Zoccola, M.A., Amherst Hall #2102 TitleIXCoordinator@centralvirginia.edu, 434.832.7804. In case of an emergency, dial 911 or Campus Police, 434.832.7700


Becoming a College Reader and Writer

Assignments are typically accompanied by detailed descriptions, outcomes, and grading rubrics. I post grades on Blackboard, so you can see exactly how you’re doing in class. I will keep you well informed about your grade, especially if you dip into dangerous territory or perform less ably than I believe you can. NOTE WELL: We don’t use points, which you will see on Blackboard; we use overall current average in this class. I will provide details as we go.

Grammar Note: If you weren’t paying attention that day in 8th grade when Mrs. Lablonski covered comma splices, now is your chance to catch up. Now is the time to gain proficiency as you learn to compose grammatically correct, coherent prose. If clarity remains an issue, you may be assigned extra grammar practice and tutoring. Employers care about grammar! Of course, the best way to get better at writing is by reading . . . and writing . . . and reading . . . and writing . . ..

FYI: Effective written communication currently ranks third in what employers want from recent college graduates.

Writing with Support

College writing is challenging and complex because it requires painfully intensive thinking. Even if you did well in high school English, academic writing in college builds new knowledge and new skills. To get better at it requires your commitment as a novice, as well as help from others.

  • Your formal writing assignments must be reviewed, revised, and edited before final submission. On some assignments, you might also reflect upon your writing process.
  • Some assignments will require you to revise after meeting with a tutor in the Writing Center or use Smarthinking (online tutoring), use my feedback, and/or use peer feedback.

Reading with Support

This course will help you get a foothold in the rocky terrain of college reading. I expect you to complete assigned readings. Plan to find and take the time you need. The types of text are many, and the pathways in and through, just as varied. I want to help you find your way, whether that includes technology or any other strategy that works for you. If reading is challenging for you, please talk to me early in the semester so that we can work together for your success.


ENG 111 Grades

  • Essay 1: Literacy Narrative (2-4 pages)
  • Essay 2: Basic argument on a current issue (3-4 pages)
  • Essay 3: Researched argument with a counterclaim (4-5 pages)
  • Essay 4: Capstone Essay (4-5 pages)
  • Essay 5: Personal Essay (2 pages)
  • Other Assignments: Professional email, paragraphs, summaries, drafts, peer reviews, discussion forums, and other writing

10-point grading scale. CVCC uses full letter grades only (no – or +). 


Remember, assignments and due dates are subject to change. It would be a grave mistake to assume that no updates will be made to the course as we go.

Due Dates and Grading

  • I have a no-questions asked late submission policy: You may submit any major paper—except the last one—up to 48 hours late with no explanation and no penalty.
  • Assignments are due on or before 11:59 p.m. on the due date
  • Assignments are usually submitted through Blackboard
  • If you know you can’t meet the deadline (even with the no-questions late policy), you must contact me right away via email to request an extension.
  • It doesn’t hurt to ask, but try not to make it a habit. It’s hard to dig out of a hole in online classes.
  • Any grade is better than a zero, so always submit something.
  • Early submission does not guarantee early grading; late submission does guarantee late grading.
  • I attempt to return papers within a week during the summer; two weeks during 15-week semesters.
  • If you make lower than a C (75) on your first few assignments, you may be required to meet with me (virtually if necessary) or visit the Writing Center.
  • On at least one essay, we will conference via VoiceThread (an online platform for talking to each other).

And now a word from the English Department: English Department Major Assignment Submission Policy

Reminder: See your CVCC email and Blackboard for a specific schedule of The Endassignments for your class.

Finally, this syllabus is subject to change at my discretion.



I am an equal opportunity educator: I refuse to discriminate against, condoneLady Liberty discrimination against, or participate in, or support, or tolerate discrimination against any person based on ethnicity, race, religion—or lack thereof, age, gender, national origin, political affiliation, disability, sexual identity, or sexual orientation. 

Thanks to Rick Dollieslager at TNCC for this disclaimer.

p.s. There may be a quiz on this syllabus.