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Course Description and Policies

English 104: Critical Thinking and Argumentation (Section 1321)

Spring 2016

MW 9:10-10:35 AU 115

Dr. Jessica Groper

Office: AD 245, Phone: x 5626


Office Hours: Monday 12:30-2:30, Wednesday 12:30-1:30, Thursday 12:30-1:30, or by appointment

Learning Center (AD 232) Office Hour: Tuesday 1:30-2:30 (Note: Tutoring in the Learning Center is not reserved for my students only; I will help any student who has scheduled an appointment. If you wish to work with me during this time, you must schedule an appointment. I cannot give priority to my students.)

Required Texts:

Rottenberg & Winchell, The Structure of Argument

Niffenegger, The Time Traveler’s Wife

Required Materials:

A notebook to be used to take notes inside and outside of class

A binder to keep your notes and handouts for the course

A flashdrive (to save your work for our class)

GCC Catalog Description of English 104: English 104 helps students to develop their critical thinking and writing skills beyond the level achieved in English 101. Students learn to read and think critically and to develop their analytical and argumentative writing skills providing a more advanced understanding of the relationship of language to logic and by further promoting the ability to reason effectively and reach valid conclusions. Writing forms and strategies are taught within the contexts of contemporary ideas and cultural diversity as reflected in selected readings. In addition, the course provides instruction in advanced research techniques and students will be required to complete a fully documented research paper.

Student Learning Outcomes:

Reading: Critically read and evaluate expository and persuasive culturally diverse texts which address current issues. Identify thesis or unifying theme of text and traditional use of reasoning and logic. Identify and evaluate supporting evidence for relevance and accuracy and evaluate text in terms of diction, tone, and unity.

Writing: Write sophisticated, coherently structured, mechanically sound expository and persuasive essays which address current issues.

Research: Demonstrate appropriate application of supporting evidence from primary and secondary sources. Evaluate evidence in terms of accuracy, relevance, and freedom from faulty assumptions.

Course Overview/Workload:

~ 3 Drafted Essays 30% of total grade

~ 1 In Class Writing Assignment 15%

~ 1 Research Paper 20%

~ Homework/Final Project 15%

~ Quizzes 15%

~ Participation 5%

You must receive a grade of C or above to successfully complete this class and move out of English 101.

If you have any questions or concerns about your grade, please do not hesitate to discuss them with me. Grades are confidential; I will not discuss them with roommates, parents, or friends.


Class attendance is required and expected. Because important course work is done during each class, presence on a daily basis is absolutely essential to passing this course. If you are absent, you are responsible for obtaining handouts, assignments, etc. There is no difference between an excused absence (illness, unavoidable conflict) or unexcused absence (lazy, hungover) from my class. You are adults, and I respect your ability to make intelligent decisions about your attendance. You are allowed three absences in this class, which will not impact your final grade (although missed assignments, quizzes, or activities may). Your Attendance grade is based on a 50-point scale. After three absences from our class your grade will go down by 10 final grade points for each absence (if you began the class with 50 points, a fourth absence from class would drop your grade to 40 points). If you miss more than two classes in a row you will be dropped from or will fail this class. Don’t schedule doctor’s appointments, work, agree to take anyone to the airport, or any other commitments such as these to occur during class time. Tardiness and early exits will be counted as half an absence. If you arrive after attendance is taken you are tardy, and it is your responsibility to inform me so that I don’t mark you absent. It is also your responsibility to keep track of your absences; I will not give you a warning when you’ve reached the limit.

Take a moment now to introduce yourself to someone from our class and get their contact information so you can contact them if you need to miss class.

If you know ahead of time that you will be absent, let me know and we can arrange for any make up quizzes or assignments. I am much more likely to be understanding if you communicate with me.

Being Dropped From this Course or Not Passing This Course:

You will be dropped from this course or will not pass this course for the following reasons:

1) You miss any day during the first two weeks of our course.

2) You have more than two absences in a row.

3) You do not complete and submit for a grade your Research Paper and Final Project.

Please note that attendance does not equal participation. Perfect attendance will only get you a “C” in participation. You need to be prepared for class by having completed the readings and formulated your own opinions on the topics so that you can actively participate in discussions. I need to hear your voice – not just my own!

Workshop Attendance:

Your final grade is determined in part by your completion of one mandatory workshop – either at the GCC library or the Learning Center. This is part of your Homework grade. Workshops attended in past semesters do not count toward this requirement. All workshops are free and a great resource to use as a GCC student. Try to attend a workshop that focuses on a subject you know you could use some help with. This way you will actually benefit from the experience! Please make sure to sign up in advance for the workshop and arrive early, as space is limited.

Use of Computers or Tablets in the Classroom:

The textbook and novel we will be reading are available for purchase as ebooks. Whether you choose to read these assignments on your computer or print them up is based on your own preference. But, you must have a copy of the reading with you on the day we discuss it in class. If that means bringing in your computer, tablet, or eReader, then please be prepared to do so on a regular basis. You may not use your phone as a reading device. Please be respectful of the trust I put in you by allowing these devices in my classroom; do not check your e-mail, instagram, twitter, or other unrelated websites during class time.

E-mail or Facebook:

Please feel free to get in contact with me if you have questions, comments, or if I can provide you with more information. If you cannot come to my office hours, the best way to reach me is through e-mail or facebook. If you do contact me please keep the following issues in mind.

1. If you email me, please do so using your GCC student email address. I will not respond to correspondence that comes from personal emails; additionally, if I need to contact you, I will do so using your GCC student email address, so please check it regularly.


3. Please spell check all e-mails that you send to me and avoid any text messaging type slang (u for you, etc.)

4. Please include a subject line that clearly explains who you are (name, class, etc.).

5. Please clearly explain why you are e-mailing me.

6. If you include an attachment for me to read it must be in Microsoft Word.

7. Give me approximately 24 hours to respond to your e-mail.

8. I stop checking e-mail and facebook at 7 pm. If you contact me immediately before an assignment is due, please keep in mind that I may not get back to you.


All written assignments must be submitted to Homework assignments (i.e. Sparking Questions and Response Journals) must be submitted no later than one hour before our scheduled class meeting. Late homework is not accepted.

Essays must be submitted by a specific time designated on the assignment sheet. Late essays will be marked down 5 points per day and are not eligible for revisions. Essays more than a week late will not be accepted. If you submit an essay to the wrong assignment, it will be considered late until resubmitted to the correct assignment.

Plagiarism will not be tolerated under any circumstances. Plagiarism is the intentional or unintentional appropriation of another person’s words, ideas, or theories in place of your own. If you are caught copying, stealing, cheating, or “borrowing” someone else’s ideas you may receive an “F” for the assignment, and in some cases an “F” in the class. (In some cases you may even be expelled). Each assignment submitted to will generate an originality report, which will allow you to see how much intentional or unintentional plagiarism is in your paper. An originality report of more than 25% will be considered Plagiarism, and will result in an F on the assignment. Glendale College’s Academic Dishonesty Policy can be found at

Revisions and Make Up Policies:

You may revise any in-class or drafted essay you write for this class (on which you received a B or lower – essays that receive an A may not be revised), but you must follow a specific procedure to do so.

1. You must meet with me during office hours within two weeks (10 school days) of receiving your grade. During this meeting we will discuss how you can improve the assignment. If you cannot make it to my scheduled office hours, then you must make an appointment to see me at another time within those two weeks.

2. You must be prepared for our meeting by having already read the comments I made on your essay and having filled out the Revision Plan Worksheet (posted on CampusGuide). The first question I will ask you is “What do you think you need to work on to improve this essay?” You need to be prepared with an answer.

3. You must write a short paragraph (100-250 words) describing the changes that you have made to your essay and explaining why you think they have improved your work. This must appear at the beginning of your revision submission. If you do not submit this, your revision will not be graded.

4. You must submit the revised assignment to within two weeks (14 days) of receiving your grade.

Submitting a revision does not guarantee you a higher grade. Your grade will be based on a significant improvement in your writing. Only essays that were submitted on time and met all of the assignment requirements (number of sources, length, etc.) may be revised. If you do not submit an essay, then you will receive a score of zero. If you submit an essay that is 100 words or more short of the assignment requirements, your essay grade will be penalized and you will not be allowed to submit a revision.You may not revise your Research Paper.

Quizzes and in-class work cannot be made up. If you know you will be absent, make arrangements to turn in any homework or take any quizzes or exams early.

Extra Credit:

I give 10 points Extra Credit (applied to your Drafted Essays grade) for attendance at a second Library or Learning Center Workshop.

Extra Credit assignments are given at the discretion of the Instructor and not in response to a student’s need for grade enhancement. I do not offer individual opportunities for extra credit; please do not come to me asking for favors that have not been offered to the rest of the class.

Students with Disabilities:

All students with disabilities requiring accommodations are responsible for making arrangements in a timely manner through the Center for Students with Disabilities

NOTE: It is your responsibility for completing the required paperwork to officially withdraw from the class. If you fail to meet the attendance requirements or simply stop attending class, you must officially drop the class through the Admissions Office or MyGCC. If you fail to officially drop the class, you will receive an “F” in the course.

Course Policies:

1. Shut off cell phones and any other portable electronic devices prior to entering the classroom (this includes ipods). Texting during class is rude and will not be tolerated. If I see you using a portable device for nonclass-related purposes I will give you a verbal warning to remove the device. I reserve the right to confiscate the device for the remainder of the class if you continue to use it. I may also ask you to leave the class and report you to the Dean of Students. More importantly your participation grade will be affected if I have to remind you to remove a device and/or cease using it.

2. Bring books and supplies every single day. If you come to class unprepared I will mark you absent. If you do not bring your materials to class on a regular basis your grade will be affected.

3. Come to class with something to say. Part of being prepared means spending time thinking about how you can contribute to classroom dialogue. Come with a list of questions about the reading material. Bring some observations about an event related to one of the essays you’re writing. Take an active part in your education!

4. If you don’t understand something, visit my office hours. Take the initiative and ask questions when you are confused.

Glendale Community College | 1500 North Verdugo Road, Glendale, California 91208 | Tel: 818.240.1000 | 
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