Picture of Computers

English 1A

university-parallel reading and composition

Online Version, Fall Semester 2012



Jodi Naas (two As, please; rhymes with "cross," not "grass")

Mailbox (For Campus Mail Only--not open to students):

Batmale 126


Batmale 564



Office Hours:

MWF 2:10-3:30, or by appointment (email me for an appointment). You are always welcome to make an appointment or even drop by at those times, but please be aware that there may be a wait. On Wednesdays, I hold office hours in the Latino Services Network Center, 364 Cloud Hall.

If you have not received the email about the orientation exercises, which are due at noon on Sunday, August 19, email me immediately. If you don't complete the mandatory assignments by that time, you will be dropped from the course. These assignments will be available after noon on Thursday, August 16.

This course has two mandatory in-person meetings:

Midterm: Thursday, October 11, 2012, 6-8 PM. Location: TBA, but it will be on the Ocean Campus.

Final Exam: Thursday, December 13, 2012, 6-8 PM. Location: TBA, but it will be on the Ocean Campus.

If you cannot attend both of these in-person meetings, do not enroll in English 1A online.

If you're able to attend the mandatory in-person meetings, please read the information below very carefully--you may as well get used to getting all the information you need via web sites now; it's a major requirement of the class.

As you already know, there is only one section of 1A online, and it and its waitlist fill quickly. If you have any chance of getting a realtime class, do this. It's not a good bet to "wait" to try to enroll online. Moreover, English 1A online's attrition rate (dropout rate) is roughly equivalent with that of online classes nationwide--50% or more. It takes an enormous amout of time, self discipline, skill, and persistence to succeed in an online class. If you're taking an English class online to "save time," don't. That's the best advice I can give you. Otherwise good students crash and burn more often when they lose the advantage of "realtime" class structure--you may not even realize how much it helps you, but use this as an example--how many of you have exercise videos in your possession that you've never used? Think about how much more likely you are to go to a scheduled yoga class than you are to do yoga on your own with a videotape. If you can do this, online learning might work for you! Otherwise, be advised.

Common and reasonable requests/questions I get each semester (and their absolute answers):

1. "How do I Get On the Waiting List?" or "Can You put me on the Waiting List?" The waiting lists are computer-generated, so I can't honor any requests to "put you on the waitlist" or enroll you in the class myself because I do not have control over the waitlist, the class enrollment, or who is on the waitlist. It's up to Admissions and Registration.

If you have a good Registration Date, use it...don't hope to add in person after registration is over. This is hugely risky and it's becoming increasingly ineffective in English, even though we struggle to offer as many courses as we have faculty to teach and serve every student.

2. "I'm not on the Waiting List. May I still add?" If you are not officially registered for the course or OFFICIALLY on the wait list, there is only a tiny, remote chance that you will be able to add this course, though you may wait until Sunday, August 19 at noon give it a try. I try to add as many people as I can. The cap for the class is 31.

If any students from the registered class list don't complete the orientation assignments, I will drop them and add students from the wait list. If I still have room to add after this, I ONLY add students who emailed me in advance of Thursday, August 16 at noon when I opened the class.

3. "What do I need to add?"

If you should be offered a spot and you weren't on the waiting list, you MUST show me one of the following before I will add you:

1. WRITTEN/PRINTED proof that you received a grade of "C" or better in ENG 96 at City College of San Francisco. Bring a printed grade report showing your grade in 96. It doesn't have to be official; you can print it/save itoff your WebSTARS account.


2. Official placement in ENG 1A via the English Placement Test


3. A signed waiver from a CCSF counselor or the English Department Eligibility Coordinator, Prof. John Paolo Sapienza (office: Batmale 514). If you have SAT scores or transcripts, you must show them to Prof. Sapienza. I can't look at them for you.

I will not be able to consider ANYONE, for ANY reason, who does not attend one of the mandatory orientations or who cannot prove eligibility in the second week of classes. I will fill the course and close adds by Sunday, August 19 at noon.

4. "I can't attend the midterm/final. What do I do?"

If you can't attend the in-person meetings , I cannot help you. I will have plenty of folks to choose from and the meetings are mandatory--"required." I do what I can, but I have my limits, and we start work right away, so I will add those who are prepared and committed.

Information about course requirements and required/optional texts are listed on both this course syllabus and on the FAQ:


Best of luck to you all. If you get the opportunity to add a "realtime" 1A class, I recommend that you take it.

Have a GREAT semester and best of luck in all that you do!

J. Naas


City College of San Francisco’s course catalog describes the course goals as follows: Practice in reading and writing expository prose. This class is here to coach you towards more complex and sophisticated writing, not simply to validate what you already know how to do. This semester, you will improve what you already know about writing, examine your writing process, expand your knowledge with new skills, and figure out what you still need to work on. Training in writing is training in thinking, and we will develop your critical thinking skills as you write. We’ll use a variety of difficult nonfiction texts to examine our own ways of thinking, and we’ll have class discussions about the issues and questions that the readings provoke. You will enhance strategies that work for you and drop those that do not work in order to prepare you for upper-division college work.

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) for English 1A:

  1. Demonstrate the ability to understand and evaluate the reasoning, assumptions, and support in texts and other (non-written) sources.
  2. Compose and revise essays using appropriate rhetorical strategies that demonstrate an awareness of purpose and audience.
  3. Write essays that display grammatical correctness; varied, fluent sentence structures; unified paragraphs; and overall coherence.
  4. Obtain and cite, using MLA format, appropriate (e.g. reliable, credible, meets requirements of assignment) information and sources in support of research-based essays.

Required Texts, Fall 2012:

(Use the ISBN to order to ENSURE you get the right edition or buy the book at the bookstore so you know it's the correct edition.)

Required Text #1: Everyone must have ONE of the texts listed below:

Hacker, Diana. Rules for Writers, 6th OR 7th edition. Boston: Beford/St. Martin's, 2007/2012. The official CCSF customized edition is available in the bookstore. If you do not have any grammar/rhetoric/MLA handbook, buy this one. It's now the official departmental handbook. The ISBN is: 9780312612634. Note: The customized CCSF version is only available at the bookstore. If you have another version, it'll work, but if you have a choice or have no handbook at all, buy the bookstore's version. It'll serve you through both 1A and 1B.

OR you may have

Harris, Muriel. Prentice-Hall Reference Guide to Grammar and Usage, 6th/7th editions. New York: Prentice-Hall, 2005.    ISBN: 0131856405

OR you may have

Hacker, Diana. The Bedford Guide, 6th/7th editions. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003.    ISBN: 0312256310

Required Text #2: Lehrer, Jonah. How We Decide. New York: Houghton Mifflin/Mariner Books, 2009. ISBN: 9780547247991

The other required course texts and materials will be available online. You need only buy these two books.

Course Requirements,
Minimum but not sufficient
to receive a passing grade.

  • Do the mandatory course orientation exercises at the beginning of the semester, by the deadline (Sunday, August 19, noon)
  • Attend the midterm and final examinations in person; participate personally in midterm and final exam activities/exams
  • Actively participate in online class discussions and complete required postings for each unit
  • Log in and post to the Discussion Forums regularly; if you do not post anything for two weeks or more, even if you log in, I will drop you from the class
  • Do assigned readings and exercises assigned as homework
  • Produce multiple drafts of each essay assignment and submit required rough drafts on time in the correct format
  • Actively participate in peer review
  • Submit ALL essays, formatted and in compliance with MLA style and essay assignment requirements
  • Note: only one of the first two full-length, multiweek essays may be rewritten for a better grade

    p.s. “Minimum but not sufficient” is tricky legalese for the following phenomenon: Doing all of the above is the MINIMUM you must do to pass, and if you do not, you will definitely not pass the course. However, even doing all of the above might not be SUFFICIENT to ensure a passing grade, for example, if the work submitted is of poor quality.

Section Two: Grading Policies and Standards

How Final Grades are calculated:

Out-of-class essays


Discussion Forum participation


Homework and other non-essay assignments


Midterm and Final Exams


If you are on a borderline between grades, an overall upward trend in your essay grades will help you. Poor/no participation in the Discussion Forums WILL bring down your grade considerably.

Essay Grades: Essays are graded on a point system; divide the number of points you received on the assignment by the total number of points possible for the assignment. You'll end up with a number that corresponds with a percentage and your letter grade:

A: 90-100%
B: 80-90%
C: 70-80%
D: 60-70%
F: 0-60%

Unsubmitted or late homework or Discussion Forum postings will earn a NC (No Credit) grade (0.0 grade points). Plagiarized work also receives a grade of "F," or 0.0 grade points.

Please ask if you have anyquestions about what I and the department regard as excellent work (A), good work (B), adequate work (C), and not-yet-passing work (NYP).

1. Essays (these represent 55% of your grade)

All of your essays must be word processed, saved as either a .DOC or an .RTF file, and submitted by the published deadline to avoid late penalties. Use Times New Roman or another standard typeface, 12-point font, and 1-inch margins on all sides when you do your essays. Number your pages using a header at the top right, which should also contain your last name, as per MLA style. Please DO NOT submit course essays as .WPS, .DOCX (Microsoft Word/Office 2007), .FILES, or any format other than .DOC or .RTF.

Late Essays: Late essays will be docked 10% for each day that they are late. It is YOUR responsibility to make sure a file has been uploaded correctly. The statement, “I thought I uploaded my file,” or “my file did not upload correctly” is not an excuse. If your essay is submitted in a format other than .DOC or .RTF and I cannot read it, I will count it as late.

Rules About Essay Revision (Paper rewriting)
  • You may revise only ONE of the first two essays for a better grade.
  • You may only revise an essay once.
  • It is a very good idea to m ake an appointment for a revision within a week of receiving your graded paper back. Meet with me to discuss your revision.
  • Submit your revision within two weeks of our revision appointment OR within two weeks of receiving your graded paper if you make no revision appointment.
  • Revised or late essays receive no feedback or comments. A grade is all you get.
  • Revising does not guarantee a higher grade, and revisions must be substantial rewrites that address content, organization, and style and are not merely a correction of surface error.
  • The grade on the revised essay replaces the original grade, unless the revision grade is lower, which has only happened once during my entire teaching career
  • Please do not make only superficial changes to the spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Once more, “revise/rewrite” mean to revise content and organization, not just mechanics. It means to respond fully to my feedback and address any issues I mention fully and with deliberation and care.
  • Label your revision--let me know that it is a rewrite.
  • Send it via Insight email (iMail) only--the computer will not accept any work submitted past the deadline. Put "Rewrite of Essay _____" and the appropriate label in the Subject line of your email.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is a form of cheating or fraud; it occurs when a student misrepresents the work of another as his or her own. Plagiarism may consist of using the ideas, sentences, paragraphs, or the whole text of another without appropriate acknowledgement or citation, but it also includes employing or allowing another person to write or substantially alter work that a student then submits as his or her own. Any assignment found to be plagiarized will be given an "F" grade (0.0 grade points), and you will not be allowed to rewrite or resubmit the assignment. ALL INSTANCES of plagiarism in the Department of English will be reported to the Chair of the Department and may be reported to the college administration for further action.

2. Posting to online Discussion Forums (25% of grade)

Posting to online discussion forums is not optional; it is a mandatory part of the course meant to enhance your learning. Since you spend three hours a week in the classroom in a regular course, I would expect you to spend an equivalent amount of time reading and posting to the Discussion Forums.

Important note: If you do not post anything for two weeks or more to the Discussion Forums (even if you do log in and read things), I will drop you from the course. You must post to survive. Posting is the equivalent of showing up to class.

3. Other class work (12% of grade)    

In short, you are expected to participate in all aspects of the writing process (including rough drafts and peer review), participate in any online group projects, submit all required homework, and complete any grammar or sentence-level homework I assign. The English department and other departments on campus state that students should expect 3 hours of homework per week for every hour spent in class. That means that you should expect to spendthe regular "class time" of three hours per week doing discussions, just as you would in a regular class. In addition to this, reading and writing assignments will take an additional 9 hours per week, on the average. If you do not have this kind of time to devote to English 1A, I strongly suggest that you consider postponing your enrollment until you do have time. This is a demanding, university-parallel course and requires a substantial time commitment. It is designed to prepare you for 1B, 1C, and university-level upper-division work. You must demonstrate that you are capable of this sort of work in terms of skill and work habits.

What counts as “Other Class Work

a. Rough Drafts and Peer Review: On peer review days, you and one or two of your peers will post your essays to your assigned folder in the discussion forums, read each other’s essays, and comment on them. Your draft must be a “good faith draft” that is at least 70% finished and shows careful thought and planning even though it may lack some development, proper proofreading, or other essential elements.  Missing these exercises deprives both you and your partner(s) of this valuable feedback. Your grade is adversely affected if you do not submit a draft; it is even more damaging to fail to read your partners' drafts.

b. Group or individual homework projects: You are expected to complete any online homework, participate in any group projects or prearranged chat sessions I assign. You will also be expected to post writing samples, grammar assignments, or homework assignments as stated in the Unit Cover Page for each unit.

Again, budget at least as much time into your schedule as you would need for a realtime course. The time requirements will be the same or greater, given that you must deal with technical issues like learning how to post properly, learning how to format documents properly, and learning how to use Insight. It is your responsibility to become proficient in the use of Insight and all software related to the class (Microsoft Word). I will help you and provide web links and tip sheets, but you must use them and reflect your new learning in your work.

c. Anything else I require you to do for class, including prewrites, freewrites, journals, reading, online presentations/reading jigsaws, sentence work, written reflections, writing plans/outlines, grammar exercises, reading quizzes, etc.: Convince me that you have taken time on the assignments, have thought about these ideas, and are ready to participate.

  • It is your responsibility to complete and submit the course assignments correctly and on time. “My file did not upload” is not an excuse.
  • I will accept no late homework or Discussion Forum postings in this course.
  • Insight's clock is not the same as your computer's clock. Your clock may say your work is on time, but ultimately, Insight's clock is the final authority. Submit your work early to avoid missing deadlines.

3. Midterm and Final Exam/In-class writing (8% of your grade)

Both the midterm and the final will be written essays. Both will require attendance on campus. See below for dates.

  • Midterm Exam: Thursday, October 11, 2012, 6-8 PM. You do not need to bring a Blue Book or Exam Book to the midterm.
  • Final Exam: Thursday, December 13, 2012, 6-8 PM. You do not need to bring a Blue Book or Exam Book to the final.

Also see the informative and irreverent FAQ for this course: http://fog.ccsf.cc.ca.us/~jnaas/eng1a/faqnew.htm