Course Syllabus

Dear students:
Welcome to English 1A! Please read the syllabus carefully, as there will be a quiz on it.
I look forward to working with you this summer.
--Johnny Sarraf

English 1A (Online): College Composition
Summer 2020

“I actually wanted to come to class because it felt more like a group of
friends all learning together rather than individually.”

“You are a no bull---- type of teacher, and that’s what
I like. Also, you are fair & you care.”

—Former composition students


Johnny Sarraf
Faculty Profile page:
Office Hours: MTWTh 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 Noon (with some occasional variation)


Welcome to our English 1A online community. In this online class you will be exposed to different types of expository writing, as well as some research and documentation skills. You will be expected to read and write regularly. Your reading, writing and our class discussions complement each other; therefore, your participation in all areas is crucial to your success.

Although this syllabus may seem intimidating, past students have found the class much more comfortable than what the syllabus suggests. Check out what my past students have said, in their own words (under “Welcome” of our Canvas homepage). The syllabus is so specific in order to put you in the best position to succeed in the course. If you make the needed effort, I’m confident that you’ll get a lot out of the class, and hopefully you’ll also enjoy it.

Be advised, however, that we will be dealing with some sensitive material that requires maturity and an open mind to examine. If any material is a concern to you, please contact me about it.

Even as this is an online course, we will have some optional (but recommended) video class sessions, using Zoom. Those sessions will allow us to meet each other and will make it easier for me to help you to navigate the course as well as permit me to cover a few things more easily than just to have you work through them independently. I will give you a few times and ask that you let me know which work best for you. I'll select the time that works best for most of you. You would then access the Zoom link, once I schedule a session, by clicking "TechConnect Zoom" from the menu on the left side of the homepage.


  • Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley. 2nd Norton Critical Edition. Ed. J. Paul Hunter.
    ISBN: 978-0-393-92793-1
  • A Pocket Style Manual (8th ed.), by Diana Hacker & Nancy Sommers. Bedford-St. Martin’s.
    ISBN: 978-1-319-05740-4
  • Flash drive or regular, reliable access to a web-based application like Google Drive (to save all outside writing in as backup)
  • Regular access to a computer (not a cell phone with Internet access but a computer)
    *You must have the exact editions of the materials listed.


  1. Demonstrate an understanding of a variety of discipline-specific skills, strategies, and resources that facilitate the acquisition of college composition conventions and academic discourse.
  2. Demonstrate the capacity to comprehend, summarize, analyze, evaluate, and synthesize college-level texts of various lengths and genres, primarily non-fiction.
  3. Write primarily expository and argumentative texts that respond to a variety of rhetorical situations and contexts.
  4. Locate, evaluate, analyze, and synthesize outside source materials and integrate them into writing assignments using MLA style.
  5. Engage in inquiry and analysis of texts to determine how meaning is constructed and how it relates to the reader.


Upon completion of the course, students will be able to do the following:

Critical Reading, Thinking, and Inquiry:

  1. Demonstrate close reading strategies in order to comprehend primarily non-fiction texts through techniques such as identifying format, genre, purpose, and audience.
  2. Read, analyze, and evaluate a variety of primarily non-fiction texts for content, context, and rhetorical merit with consideration of tone, audience, and purpose.
  3. Demonstrate, in writing and discussion, the conclusions of textual analysis, including an understanding of a text's coherence and structure.
  4. Summarize a text's thesis and major supporting points.
  5. Evaluate a variety of ideas and perspectives through course readings, discussions, and writing assignments.
  6. Engage in deep analysis of ideas, issues, and themes that surface in course readings and assignments.
  7. Understand the role and value of their critical reading, writing, and inquiry practices.
  8. Critically read, analyze, and evaluate a variety of primarily non-fiction texts to make inferences and identify biases and assumptions, to construct meaning from text and make connections to the world around them.


  1. Per Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) standards, students will write, revise, and edit predominantly academic essays totaling 6,000 to 8,000 words.
  2. Organize and develop essays and paragraphs logically and coherently with relevant and sufficient support, demonstrating effective use of rhetorical strategies.
  3. Revise essays, paragraphs, and sentences for coherence and development.
  4. Write timed/in-class essay(s) exhibiting acceptable college-level control of mechanics, organization, development, and coherence.
  5. Demonstrate the capacity to employ academic writing conventions without any disruptive errors of punctuation, grammar, and spelling to achieve one's desired rhetorical purpose.

Informational Literacy and Research:

  1. Demonstrate facility with research techniques, including use of library and online tools.
  2. Evaluate ideas and arguments that address a variety of social and cultural topics from different points of view.
  3. Recognize the difference between primary and secondary sources.
  4. Synthesize ideas from outside source materials to draw evidence-based conclusions.
  5. Integrate outside source material into writing assignments using MLA format for essays and Works Cited.
  6. Understand the ethical implications of source attribution to avoid plagiarism.


You need to follow MLA format for each essay:

  • Double-space every line. (It’s a good idea to set up double-spacing once you create a document.)
  • Use one-inch left, right, top, and bottom margins.
  • Use Times New Roman and have 12 characters per inch.
  • Do not include a separate cover page.
  • For the 1st page, in the upper left corner, include your name, instructor name, course name (and section number in parentheses), and date.

    First page of an essay


  • For other pages include a header at the top right (e.g., Jones 2).

    Second page of an essay


  • Center your essay’s title and come up with a title that directs and focuses the essay rather than just restates the title or description of the assignment.
  • Don’t justify your text. Make sure the right side of the paper is uneven. (Use this syllabus as an example.)
  • All your writing for essay assignments should be formal, which means that in your writing you should not use slang and language that would be appropriate in casual conversation.
  • You must save every draft of every out of class essay in a flash drive or through a web-based application such as Google Docs (in addition to wherever you save it in the computer itself). There will be no excuse for a draft that you didn’t save and can’t access. Save as a .doc or .pdf.
  • The revision of Essay #1 or Essay #2 will be accepted up to two days (48 hours) late, but it will be lowered a letter grade (ten percentage points) per day that it is late.You’ll need to contact me right away if your paper is going to be late. You won’t receive feedback on a late paper. Failure to submit any one of the assigned essays will lead you to fail the course.
  • The rough draft of Essay #1 and Essay #2 will not be accepted late since Canvas will distribute the drafts for the peer review workshop for each assignment. Not submitting the rough draft will lower the revision grade one letter grade (ten percentage points). Also, you will forfeit the points from the peer review workshop.
  • Many of your assignments require a computer (not smartphone) to complete, so be prepared ahead of time.
  • I highly encourage you to visit the Online Writing Center ("SRJC Tutoring" in the menu on the left side of our homepage) to get help on some area of at least your first paper in progress. Show the assignment to the instructor there and have a focus for your visit—something particular to have the instructor address. Complete the Writing Center form from the Modules section of our course page and get an electronic verification from the Writing Center for your visit. Complete and then submit the form to me before you submit the revision of your essay. You may earn five points of extra credit for one of your visits if you submit a  completed Writing Center form and show verification of your visit. Students who earn lower than a B- grade on the first essay are especially encouraged to visit the Writing Center in order to get help with their next essay prior to the due date.


  • Plagiarism—the undocumented use of someone else’s words or ideas—will result in a grade of F or 0 for the assignment, depending on the nature of the offense. Repeated plagiarism or any other academic integrity violation will result in an automatic F in the course and possible administrative action by the college. See SRJC’s Academic Integrity policy.
  • In its commitment to academic honesty and accurate assessment of student work, SRJC uses to prevent and detect plagiarism. This instructor reserves the right to have students submit their assignments to in order to check for similarities between student submissions and the Internet, various research databases, and the database of previous student submissions. Furthermore, this instructor may also submit essays to other instructors seeking plagiarism matches. Assignments submitted to by students will become part of a database and will be used for plagiarism prevention and detection. Student papers, however, will remain the intellectual property of the author.
  • For quizzes and the timed writing (Essay #3), Procotorio Secure Exam Proctor will monitor you. Your computer must have a minimum of 2 GB RAM available and a working web CAMERA in order to take the quizzes and do the timed writing. You must follow the directions exactly as provided to you by Proctorio in preparing you to start a quiz or the timed essay, including moving the web camera slowly all over your room and working space when directed to do so.
  • You may not open up any other web browser or use any other computer other than what you are using to take the quizzes and write the timed essay. Procotorio also monitors screen activity. Violation of these conditions will lead to a 0 on the in-class essay or quiz and will be followed by administrative action.



  • Attendance: You must be involved regularly in order for our community to thrive and for you to be successful. Per SRJC policy, students who do not initiate participation in an online course by the end of the first day may be dropped from the course.
  • Missing more than FOUR informal assignments such as exercises, free-writing, quizzes, or Discussion Board postings (each considered the equivalent of a class session) will result in you being dropped from the class (per SRJC attendance policy). This is because it will be impossible for you to learn and develop the skills that this course is designed to provide if you are not a present and active contributor. This policy will be enforced regardless of passing grades earned on assignments.
  • You will not be permitted to submit informal assignments such as exercises, free-writing, quizzes, and the Discussion Board past the deadline, so be sure to keep up with due dates. The only exception to this will be for one informal assignment (but not quiz) in the first week.
  • Technical problems are not an acceptable excuse for not submitting assignments on time.
  • If you don’t understand something about what I covered or what is assigned, then please contact me early enough to be able to help you, but be sure first to read directions carefully for all assigned work. Don’t be the “Blue-haired Boy” from this video:
  • The best time to reach me is during my office hours. We will use Zoom, a video conferencing application, for office hours. You will need to have a working web camera and microphone in order to use Zoom. Certain questions (such as those having to do with grades) lend themselves to such a video meeting. Sign up for an appointment during my office hours by clicking on the Canvas Calendar from the menu on the left side of our homepage. Then select an available block from the office hours listed. Just before your appointment is scheduled to begin, use the provided Zoom link. Once your appointment time comes (or once I finish meeting with another student), I will admit you from the waiting room in Zoom so that we can meet. However, Zoom just created an update that has, for now, taken that "Appointment Booking" tab away. Until Zoom adjusts things, you would just need to send a message to me during my office hours if you would like to meet, and I will send a Zoom link to you right away so that we may do so. 
  • Withdrawals must be completed according to college policy (see catalog) or risk a grade of F. You may not count on being dropped by me; if you plan on dropping the class, you’ll need to do so officially.
  • As a student here, you are required to abide by SRJC’s Student Code of Conduct. Failure to do so will result in suspension or dismissal from the class.


Letter grades equal the typical grade percentage (for example, a B = 85%, a B- = 80%, etc.). The grading breakdown below has to do with how much weight each assignment or category is given (for example, the Timed Writing/"In-class" Essay accounts for 20% of the total course grade).
(72% is the very minimum percentage to earn a C in the course overall.)

20% = Essay on Protest Music
25% = Research-based Argumentative Essay
20% = Timed (“In-class”) Essay (Frankenstein)
20% = Discussion Postings, Exercises, Quizzes
15% = Final (Essay)


 24 June       Last Day to Drop (without a W)
 26 July         Last Day to Drop (with a W)
 9 Aug.           End of Course   


SRJC is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities upon timely request of the student and upon verification of disability. Please contact the Disability Resources Office (Jacobs Hall, Room 101) at (707) 778-2491. On the Santa Rosa Campus (Bertolini Hall, 3rd floor), call (707) 527-4278.


  • E-mail messages must be professional: do not just start writing your message; first, address me by name (e.g., Professor Sarraf or Johnny). I will show you the same courtesy.
  • Use appropriate professional language (not language that is acceptable when texting your friends).
  • Be sure to identify the course and section number.
  • Do not expect to reach me during weekends. If you need to reach me during the week, the best time is during my posted office hours. If you need to reach me but not during that time, please send a message. If you e-mail Monday through Thursday, I will get back to you within 48 hours. 
  • Please understand that you are not the only person trying to reach me, so if your need is urgent, then you really need to come to office hours. Otherwise, I will get to your message once I can, within 48 hours during the week (M-F).


  • In order to pass the course, you must expect to participate actively, take notes where needed, contribute to class discussion, complete assignments, and pass the quizzes. Please keep all the work that is returned to you until you receive your grade from the college.
  • I encourage you to be open to different approaches that we take and to different views on various subjects. Challenge yourself by considering different ways of doing things.
  • It’s important that you always do the work assigned (even the little things), if you expect to do well in the class.
  • I highly encourage you to meet with me during my office hours to get help on your writing or to talk about anything we’re covering in class or any problems you’re having in the class. Your concerns are not “silly” or “stupid” to me, but I can try to help only if you make it known that you need help.
  • Please do not e-mail your drafts to me with questions that probably cannot reasonably and easily be answered electronically; instead, set up an appointment during my office hours, and have a focus for your visit, something particular to address in your writing. I would be very happy to help you then.
  • It is completely inappropriate to lobby an instructor for a higher grade than the one that you are earning. If you would like clarification for a particular grade earned on an assignment, you’re welcome to contact me during office hours at least five full days after receiving your essay grade and after you have read the grading rubric, assignment, and the essay itself, but do not persist in making comments like, “But I’m an A student” and similar remarks. I will answer questions about grades only privately during an office (Zoom) visit. Do not e-mail questions about your grade, and do not e-mail any messages at the end of the semester about trying to get a higher grade than the one that you earned.
  • This is our contract, so as an enrolled student in our class you understand your responsibilities and accept the conditions for being a student in it. Please speak to me if you have any questions. It is also a good idea to review the syllabus periodically throughout the term. Just because you couldn’t remember anything from the syllabus does not mean it does not apply to you.
  • I find learning and teaching to be very rewarding, and I really value playing a part in helping students reach their goals. I try to foster a healthy, comfortable environment in my classes, and I hope that you will sense that right away and allow it to help you reach your full potential.     


Course Summary:

Date Details Due