Course Syllabus

Instructor:       Professor Megan Ozima        

E-mail: or in Canvas  ***e-mail is the best way to reach me***   

Office Hours: by appointment          

Class Times/Locations: M/W 8:00 AM to 10:05 AM in MBBM 138

Course Catalog Description

This course is designed to strengthen the students' ability to read with understanding and discernment, to discuss assigned readings intelligently, and to write clearly. Emphasis will be placed on the ability to write an essay in which each paragraph relates to a controlling idea, has an introduction and conclusion, and contains primary and secondary support. College-level reading material will be assigned to provide the stimulus for class discussion and writing assignments, including a required research paper.

Course Objectives

  1. Recognize and revise sentence-level grammar and usage errors.
  2. Read and apply critical-thinking skills to numerous published articles and to college-level, book-length works for the purpose of writing and discussion.
  3. Apply appropriate strategies in the writing process including dissecting and understanding prompts, prewriting, composing, revising, and editing techniques.
  4. Compose coherent, multi-paragraph, thesis-driven essays with logical and appropriate supporting ideas, including in-text citations.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to locate and utilize a variety of academic databases, peer-reviewed journals, and scholarly websites.
  6. Demonstrate the ability to write coherent, text-driven, timed in-class essays.
  7. Utilize MLA guidelines to format essays, cite sources in the texts of essays, and compile Works Cited lists.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, students will:

  1. Complete a research-based essay that has been written out of class and undergone revision. It should demonstrate the student’s ability to thoughtfully support a single thesis using analysis and synthesis.
  2. Integrate multiple sources, including a book-length work and a variety of academic databases, peer-reviewed journals, and scholarly websites. Citations must be in MLA format and include a Works Cited page.
  3. Demonstrate logical paragraph composition and sentence structure. The essay should have correct grammar, spelling, and word use.

Course Materials

  • Required Texts:
    • Bullock, Richard. The Norton Field Guide to Writing. Norton & Comp, 2016.
    • Haggard, H. Rider. King Solomon's Mines. Gutenberg, OER
  • Access to the class’s Canvas site, and a printer from which to print class materials
  • Binder clips (for essay turn-in)

Course Requirements

  • Four formal writing assignments

Writing topics will vary and will be based on reading, class discussion, and research. Some essay assignments will be written in class, and others will be written outside of class. For each assignment, you will be required to complete rough drafts and prewriting, so make sure to keep all work for each writing assignment. Essays are due online via the link on Canvas. You will get a detailed assignment sheet for each assignment that outlines all requirements. Your grade for your final draft will be based on a rubric that I will include with each assignment. Revisions will be discussed on a case-by-case basis. All assignments must be in MLA format and typed double-spaced in Times New Roman twelve-point font. Please see the MLA Sample Sheet on Canvas for help with the format. In addition, please see the “Late Assignment Policy” section of this syllabus for my policy on turning in late work. 

  • Midterm

About half-way through the semester, you will respond to a timed writing prompt. For this assignment, you will need a large blue book. 

  • Final

    The final, like the midterm, will be in class, and is a timed writing experience. You will need a large blue book.

  • Reading Response Posts

When a reading is due, you will be required to post a reading response on Canvas, and these will be due the day the reading is due. Each response needs to be a minimum of 500 words, and needs to respond to at least one text.

  • Pop Quizzes

If the class consistently isn’t prepared for class with the readings that are due, I reserve the right to administer a pop quiz. Pop quizzes will be attached to the final participation score.

  • Peer Review and Conferences

Part of your participation grade is peer review and conferences. Do not discount these moments to earn points towards the weighted percentage! Peer review is worth 25 points for each essay and the conferences are worth 50 points each! This quickly adds up to your overall participation score, and quickly affects your overall essay score! Students who miss peer review and conferences write papers that do not meet requirements. There is no excuse to miss peer review and a conference. These are moments in class meant to help you if you are struggling with an essay. Missing these moments are missed moments to ask for help. Also, these are credit/no credit. All you need to do is show up prepared for them to earn full credit.

  • All assigned readings and reading activities

Readings are due on the day they appear on the course outline.  All readings will help you to gain ideas for your writing assignments, allow you to view various writing techniques and styles, and deepen your understanding of the writing process.  One of the main goals of this course is to help you become a better reader because strong reading skills lead to strong writing skills. In order to facilitate this growth, we will be covering reading strategies in class that you might want to employ when reading texts for the academic environment. 

  • Drafting

As part of your participation, it is important that you come to class prepared to draft. There are days where you will be required to draft while I conference with students. You may bring a laptop, iPod or MP3 device with headphones if you need background noise to draft. Make sure you bring the essentials for writing: paper, pen or pencil, textual evidence, and of course a tablet or laptop. This requirement will help you to develop writing skills under various conditions and this is essential development to your academic or professional career. If you are not drafting, please note that I will ask you to leave for the day and this will count as an absence and a loss of participation points.

  • Class attendance

When you miss our class, you will miss out on important activities and information that will help you develop as a writer, and we will miss the unique and important perspective that your participation brings to this class; therefore, in order to be successful in this course, you must come to class. If you have any more than three full absences, I may drop you from the course based on the college’s instructor drop option; however, if you choose to stop attending class, please complete the drop on your own to ensure the accuracy of your transcripts. According to El Camino College’s policy, you can miss a total of 7.2 hours of class time. If you consistently miss class during the add period, I may drop you from the course. Additionally, any student whose absences exceed 10% (our 7.2 mark) of class time may be dropped from the course. Please note that absences can negatively impact your participation points and the course grade. If you accumulate more than two absences for the semester after the final drop date, your final grade will be affected. If you are absent, it is your responsibility to contact another student to find out what you missed. Use the following sections to gather contact information from two students in class.

Name:_______________________________ Name:________________________________


Email:_______________________________ Email:________________________________


Phone:_______________________________ Phone:________________________________

In-class activities cannot be made up, and late essays, homework, and reading questions will not be accepted. Punctuality is also a must, and in this class, three tardies will equal one absence.  You are considered tardy if you are more than five minutes late to class.  If you arrive to class more than twenty minutes late or leave class more than twenty minutes early, you will be marked absent, but please still come to class as you may miss out on important information and activities.  If you arrive to class less than twenty minutes late, you must see me at the end of class to have your absence changed to a tardy and get any information you may have missed at the beginning of class.

  • Meaningful class participation

You should come to class prepared for all in-class discussions and activities.  When we have activities in class that require you to bring drafts or other materials, you must bring those materials to class.  If you come to class unprepared (for example, if you have not done the reading), you may be asked not to participate in the activities we are completing in class that day as it is not fair for you to benefit from the hard work that the other members of the class have put forth. Additionally, refer to the attached participation rubric for detailed information about calculating participation points.


I will base your final grades on the successful completion of the previous requirements with the breakdown as follows:

Essay 1   8%

Essay 2 12%

Essay 3 15%

Essay 4 (with presentation being 5% of the 25%) 25%

Midterm 10%

Final Presentation 10%

Reading Response Posts 10%

Participation (reading activities, group work, peer review, conferences, etc.) 10%

Late Assignment Policy

Assignments are due in class on the assigned due date. Remember that essays are submitted online and via hardcopy, so if you don’t turn in a hardcopy because you are late to class or are absent, the essay is considered late and will not be graded. If you cannot turn in an assignment by the assigned due date, then you must turn it in before the due date.  If you are unable to attend class on the assigned due date, you must send your assignment with another student or put the assignment in my mailbox before class starts. I will not accept any late assignments for credit.

Behavior Expectations

This will be an open classroom in which ideas are respectfully welcomed, explored, and examined.  Every student will be expected to contribute to class discussions in a way that shows respect to others.  Students will show courtesy to both the instructor and their peers by quieting all cell phones, quietly and actively listening to others while they are speaking, not sleeping in class, entering and exiting class quietly, avoiding computer and cell phone use that is not directly related to the course, and not text messaging during class. If you check your phone for anything other than class work, you will be deducted 25 points for each offense—no warning provided. You may be asked to leave class if your behavior is disruptive to your instructor and/or classmates.  Remember that these policies also apply to all interactions on the blogs as well.  Please see the “Student Code of Conduct” for more information in the El Camino College catalog.

Add/Drop Policy

Remember the school’s add/drop policy.  If you are permitted to add the class, you must register on-line using the add code or in person at the Admissions and Records office before February 22th.  If you choose not to complete this course, it is your responsibility to drop officially; however, if you do not attend more than four class sessions over the course of the semester, I may drop you from the roster.  Failure to withdraw from a course you are no longer attending will result in the grade of “F.” If you are absent during the first week of class, I may drop you to accommodate petitioners.  The last day to drop without a “W” grade is February 22th.  The last day to drop with a “W” grade is May 3rd.  Please see the “Adding Classes” and Dropping Classes” policies for more information in the Catalog.

Students with Disabilities

It is the policy of the El Camino Community College District to encourage full inclusion of people with disabilities in all programs and services.  Students with disabilities who believe they may need accommodations in this class should contact the campus Special Resource Center (310) 660-3295, as soon as possible.  This will ensure that students are able to fully participate.

Academic Dishonesty

El Camino College, like other academic institutions, frowns upon plagiarism and rightfully so. Plagiarism is the act of using someone else’s writing or ideas without giving them credit. There is no reason to do this! In an academic environment, it is customary to paraphrase or quote from sources, but we have to give the sources credit for their contribution--think of this as the ultimate sign of respect!

El Camino College places a high value on the integrity of its student scholars.  When an instructor determines that there is evidence of dishonesty in any academic work (including, but not limited to cheating, plagiarism, or theft of exam materials), disciplinary action appropriate to the misconduct as defined in BP 5500 may be taken.  A failing grade on an assignment in which academic dishonesty has occurred and suspension from class are among the disciplinary actions for academic dishonesty (AP 5520).  Students with any questions about the Academic Honesty or discipline policies are encouraged to speak with their instructor in advance.

Recording in the Classroom

The use of any recording device during class without the prior consent of the instructor is prohibited, except as necessary to provide reasonable auxiliary aids and academic adjustments to disabled students who present official documentation from the Special Resource Center to the instructor prior to recording. This is to protect privacy and to create a safe classroom environment where all participants can discuss potentially controversial or sensitive subjects freely. If you want to take a photograph or make an audio or video recording, you must get the prior written permission of the instructor. The instructor also may require the verbal and/or written permission of everyone present. Even if a student gets permission to record, the recordings are only for personal use and may not be distributed, posted, published, or shared in any manner. A student who records without instructor permission or distributes any recordings is subject to disciplinary action in accordance with El Camino College District Administrative Procedure 5500 Standards of Student Conduct.

Title IX

You should know that if you reveal gender-based or sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking or intimate partner violence to any instructor, we are required by law to report the problem to the Office of Staff and Student Diversity. However, psychologists are not required to report to the Office of Staff and Student Diversity. You can call the Student Health Center at 310.660.3643 or visit their website:

An Important Note about E-mail and Canvas

We will be using Canvas for this class extensively. For this class, I will be posting all assignments on Canvas.  For each assignment, you must visit the site and print out the needed materials.  I will not have copies in class.

It is also important that you become familiar with your student e-mail account.  Any announcements that I make via MyECC will go directly to this email account. Also remember that e-mail is the best way to reach me when you have any questions or concerns. You can usually expect to hear back from me within 48 hours. Any emails sent over the weekend (starting Friday at 12:00 pm) I will attend to on Monday. If you would like to ask questions about a writing assignment, please remember to ask specific questions.  Do not simply attach your assignment to an e-mail and ask for feedback, but feel free to e-mail paragraphs or sentences and ask specific questions about those particular parts of your assignment or to ask general questions about your writing or the course. If you would like more extensive feedback on your writing, please schedule an appointment to meet with me. When you send me an e-mail, please be sure to write “E1A” in the subject line and identify yourself in the email or I may inadvertently delete your e-mail.

An Important Note about Course Expectations

English 1A is a transfer-level writing course, and if you pass English 1A, you will be able to enroll in English 1C. This course provides an excellent opportunity for you to strengthen and develop your writing and reading skills, so please remember that this is a four-unit course, which means that you should plan to devote eight hours per week to working on this course outside of class according to the Carnegie Rule. This information is not meant to scare you out of the course, but it is meant to prepare you for the semester ahead and to get you in the mind frame that is required for success in this course.

Information about Student Services

SRC Accommodations: Location: SSC; 310-660-3295

It is the policy of the El Camino Community College District to encourage full inclusion of people with disabilities in all programs and services. Students with disabilities who believe they may need accommodations in this class should contact the campus Special Resources Center (SRC) at (310) 660-3295 as soon as possible. This will ensure that students are able to fully participate. If you have a disability that qualifies under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), impacts your work for this class, and necessitates accommodations, you should contact the SRC for information on appropriate policies and procedures.  Disabilities covered by the ADA may include learning, psychiatric, or physical disabilities, or chronic health disorders, among others.  Students can contact SRC if they are uncertain whether a medical condition/disability qualifies or if they feel they may have a learning disability. Please discuss your accommodations with me during office hours or after class early in the semester so I may assist you in the best way possible as soon as possible. Please visit for more information.

Extended Opportunity Program Services (EOPS): Location: SSC 203; 310-660-3466

According to the El Camino’s website, EOPS “is dedicated to the delivery of a comprehensive program that encourages the enrollment, retention and transfer of students who are challenged by language, social, economic, and educational disadvantages.” EOPS provides “necessary support and retention activities… to include intensive bilingual counseling, assistance in applying for financial aid, tutoring, summer enrichment and retention programs, book services, emergency loans and special orientations.” Please visit for more information.

Health and Wellness Center: Location: Near the pool; 310-660-3643

The Health and Wellness Center offers free medical services to any student who has paid the health fee and is currently attending classes.  These include psychological services and counselors can provide services that include addressing the following issues: stress, anxiety, depression, family issues, difficulty adjusting to school environment, drug or alcohol abuse, difficulty focusing, grief, relationship issues, and acculturation issues.  Again, these services are FREE! Please see for more information.

El Camino Campus Police Department: Location: Corner of Parking Lot K; 310-660-3100

Please call the campus police for any emergency that you might encounter on campus. In addition, Campus Police Officers will provide assistance in starting vehicles with dead batteries and help on-campus motorists in obtaining lockout or other assistance.  Further, they offer escort services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I strongly urge all students to program the campus police department’s phone number into their cell phones. Please see for more information.


The Student who earns an “A"

-shows initiative to participate in class; initiates and maintains positive interaction with other students and with the instructor

-listens to and follows directions and maintains focus on all class work with no deviation from tasks at hand (ie. does not participate in idle chatting)

-shows leadership in group activities

-asks and answers questions that contribute to class discussion and the learning environment

-is fully prepared for class which includes completing all daily homework

-never uses phone to text message or computers for other activities during class time

-attends class every day (0-1 absence)*

The Student who earns a “B"

-shows willingness to participate; cooperates fully in group activities, although he/she may not be the leader

-often follows directions and maintains focus on class work with a small amount of deviation from tasks at hand (ie. occasionally participates in idle chatting)

-often asks and answers questions that contribute to class discussion and the learning environment

-is mostly prepared for class which includes completing most of the daily homework

-Rarely uses phone to text message or computers for other activities during class time (once or twice)

-attends class every day (2 or less absences)* 

The Student who earns a “C" infrequently

-participates more passively than actively

-infrequently follows directions and maintains focus on class work and frequently deviates from tasks at hand (ie. frequently participates in idle chatting)

-infrequently asks and answers some questions that contribute to class discussion and the learning environment

-is often not well-prepared for class and infrequently completes daily homework

-sometimes seems disinterested

-Sometimes uses phone to text message or computers for other activities during class time (three or four times)

-attends class regularly (3 or less absences)*

The Student who earns a “D" sporadically

-participates grudgingly

-sporadically follows directions and maintains focus on class work and mostly deviates from tasks at hand (ie. mostly participates with idle chatting)

-does not cooperate in group activities

-unwilling to answer or ask questions that contribute to class discussion and the learning environment

-sporadically prepares for class and completes daily homework

-is often disinterested

-frequently arrives late and often misses class

-Frequently uses phone to text message or computers for other activities during class time (five or six times)

-attends class less than regularly (4 to 5 absences)* 

The Student who earns an “F" minimally

-refuses to participate in class and group activities

-rarely follows directions and maintains focus on class work and deviates from tasks at hand (ie. participates with idle chatting)

-minimally prepares for class and rarely does daily homework

-rarely asks and answers questions that contribute to class discussion and the learning environment

-is disruptive to the extent that he/she prevents others from learning

-is almost always late and often misses class

-Mostly uses phone to text message or computers for other activities during class time (seven or more)

-attends class less than regularly (6 absences)*

*Please note that participation is not meant to be attendance points; however, missing class equals a loss in participation points as you cannot earn points when you are not present. 

Course Summary:

Date Details Due