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English 201A: English Composition: Critical Thinking

Spring 2024, 9 Week (1 of the 9 is Spring Break)

Class Start and End Dates:

March 18th to May 17th

Please login on Monday, March 18th, 2024 and begin the course.  If you have not logged in by Thursday, March 21st, you will be dropped from the course.

Welcome potential students! My name is Professor Matthew Fleming, and I look forward to working with you this semester. This course is a major commitment, as a 4-unit course should be; however, if you are willing to put in the time and effort, it will also be very interesting, creative, dynamic, and, dare I say. . . educational.

What you should know:

  • This course is 8 weeks of intensive and enriching study
  • We have no face-to-face meetings
  • You must participate in this course on an almost every-other-day basis
  • You must write a minimum of 600 words a week in online forums
  • You will have homework assignments and readings due every Monday.
  • You will write a series of essays including drafts and peer reviews
  • You will be dropped if you fail to log in for more than 7 days and/or if your postings-to-forum or postings-to-homework percentage falls below 50%

    Make certain that what you post is your own original work and give credit when you are using content that you didn't create.  Any plagiarized or A.I. generated content (which is plagiarism) will be given 0 points in the forum for the first infraction and serious academic action on a subsequent offense.  Just reach out to me if you are having difficulties. Don't resort to compromising your honesty and academic standing.

Contact information:

Professor: Matthew Fleming

Email Address: mfleming@cuesta.edu

Instructor Contact Expectations:

The best and fastest way to contact me is email until the course starts, and then you will have my cell phone number. I will generally respond to your emails almost immediately, at maximum within 24 hours.

Course Environment:

This online course will be using a Web-based Learning Management System Canvas as the method to disseminate information. Canvas provides the framework for the course including lecture material, student data files, the tools to receive and send course materials, and a grade book. Using the communication tools, you can communicate using e-mail, and you can share materials and ideas with other course participants via the discussion forums and groups.

Accessing the Course:

You will see your course in Canvas on the first day of class. You can access Canvas by clicking on Canvas from the top bar of the Cuesta homepage (www.cuesta.edu), or by typing the Canvas address (https://cuesta.instructure.com/) into your browser address bar.

If you are not familiar with logging into canvas, please refer to the Canvas Quick Reference Guide.Links to an external site. Links to an external site. Once logged into Canvas you will be directed on where to get started. Be sure to read all the direction on the course home page.  

If you are having difficulty logging into Canvas and need assistance please email me at mfleming@cuesta.edu or technical support at this email address support@my.cuesta.edu.   

Online Learning:

If you have never taken an online class or this is your first experience with Canvas, please be patient with yourself. Online classes are not inherently easier, although they may be much more convenient for many students. You should expect to spend at least as much time, if not more on this course as you would on a course that meets face-to-face. Since there is no lecture component, much of this time will be self-directed and there will be a substantial amount of reading, viewing, studying, and writing required. This course is completely online using Canvas; all coursework (discussions, assignments, quizzes) is submitted online. There are no face-to-face meetings.  Please be prepared to spend 8 - 12 hours per week on coursework for this class.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (Links to an external site.)


Go to the Cuesta College Canvas Tutorial (self-paced)Links to an external site. Links to an external site.,  there are many resources that were designed to help you understand the basis for an online class and the skills necessary for success. (If the tutorials do NOT describe you, then taking this class online is NOT for you and I strongly suggest that you drop the online class and enroll in a traditional classroom section.) Canvas Quick Reference for Students (Links to an external site.) Links to an external site.

Online Student Readiness Tutorials Links to an external site.

Regular Effective Contact policy:

Regular and Effective Instructor Contact will be met through weekly instructor initiated threaded discussion forums; weekly announcements to students; timely and effective feedback on student assignments; email, phone or messaging to individuals; and virtual office hours as scheduled or by appointment.

This course requires regular and effective contact among all students and the instructor for the full 18 weeks of the course. We will achieve this in a variety of ways:

  • throughout the week postings in discussion and homework forums in Canvas
  • weekly book homework readings and submissions,
  • interactive online essay work-shopping through Canvas forums
  • viewing of short video lectures and content
  • writing of a series of essays using turnitin.com

Course Description:

The Cuesta College catalog and schedule descriptions of English 201A define it as a course that provides a study of and practice in the use of language and writing of argumentative/analytical essays and research papers--acceptable for credit at UC, CSU.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completing English 201A successfully, students will be able to

  1. Write a fair and persuasive argument that takes a clear position and incorporates differing viewpoints;
  2. Write an essay that is effectively and clearly organized;
  3. Find necessary information, assess its value, and use it in a research paper;
  4. Integrate and document sources clearly and ethically; and
  5. Write clear, grammatical sentences with few errors.

Text Book and Materials:

You will not need a text book or other materials for this course, just your brain and some motivation to learn.

Technical Support:

Cuesta students are encouraged to direct all technical support inquiries to  support@my.cuesta.edu. If you are having issues with Canvas, or email support@instructure.com.

If you are having difficulty viewing the course or logging in, it may be because you are not using the correct url: https://cuesta.instructure.com/ or you are using your phone or using an unsupported browser.  


Your learning environment is best accessed from a desktop or laptop computer, using Firefox or Chrome.  This may solve your problem!  Please review the browser requirements and minimum computer specificationsLinks to an external site. Links to an external site..


This course is designed using an accessible Learning Management System, and course materials have been created with ADA compliance in mind. If you have a disability and might need accommodations in this class such as extended time on exams or other resources. Please contact the instructor as soon as possible so that you can receive appropriate accommodations in a timely manner. You should also contact DSPS (Disabled Student Programs & Services)Links to an external site. Links to an external site. or at 805-546-3148.

College & Course Policies:

Academic Honesty Policy:

Plagiarism is defined as “the use of someone’s ideas or writings without giving proper credit to that person.” I do not want to see old papers of yours or anyone else’s, undocumented paraphrasing, or contraband Web info. If you didn’t think up an idea, you had better quote/paraphrase and document your sources. I have been unfortunate enough to discover a few students, usually intelligent and hard-working ones, who plagiarized. Nothing warrants the consequences of plagiarism. If I discover a student plagiarized or cheated on an exam, essay, or homework, I will fail that individual in the class and let the administration decide whether expulsion is necessary. Undoubtedly, Dante would have constructed a special level of Hell for such victims of laziness. If you consider plagiarizing, reach out to me instead, and I’ll help you complete the task without illegal assistance.

 In addition to my course policy, please note all students attending San Luis Obispo County Community College District at any district site and when representing Cuesta College in any off-campus activity, assume an obligation to conduct themselves in an acceptable manner compatible with the Student Code of conduct. Please review the Cuesta College Student Code of conduct Links to an external site.

Add / Drop Policies:

You will be dropped from the course if you fail to log in for more than 7 days and/or if your postings-to-forum or postings-to-homework percentage falls below 50%.

Please also review the Cuesta policy for drops:


Waitlist Policy:

Please review Cuesta’s waitlist procedure and instructions Links to an external site.

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