Welcome Letter

Drag to rearrange sections
Rich Text Content

Welcome to English 201C, English Composition: Critical Thinking

Spring 2024, 18 Week Course

Course Start and End Dates: 

Tuesday, January 16th to May 17th

Please login to Canvas on Monday, Tuesday, January 16th and begin working in the class.  If you have not logged in by Thursday, January 19th by 10:00 a.m.,  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 18 weeks of intensive 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 400 words a week in online forums
  • You will have homework assignments and readings due every Monday by 10:00 a.m.
  • 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 homework percentage falls below 50%.

Contact information:

Professor: Matthew Fleming

Email Address: mfleming@cuesta.edu

Instructor Contact Expectations:

The best and fastest way to contact me is email  (mfleming@cuesta.edu) 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. 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.eduLinks to an external site. 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.,  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.)

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:

English 201C, English Composition: Critical Thinking presents an advanced composition course beyond ENGL 201A which emphasizes critical thinking, including reasoning, rhetoric, reading, and information fluency in order to develop argumentative skills for diverse contexts and audiences.

Student Learning Outcomes  

  1. Demonstrate advanced critical thinking and reasoning skills.
  2. Write arguments using advanced rhetorical and composition skills.
  3. Demonstrate information fluency.

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..


Diversity and Inclusion is what it's all about:

It is my intent that students from all diverse backgrounds and perspectives be well-served by this course, that students' learning needs be addressed both in and out of the virtual class, and that the diversity that the students bring to this class be viewed as a resource, strength and benefit. It is my intent to present materials and activities that are respectful of diversity: gender identity, sexuality, disability, age, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, race, nationality, religion, and culture. Your suggestions are encouraged and appreciated. Please let me know ways to improve the effectiveness of the course for you personally, or for other students or student groups.

Important note:

Given the sensitive and challenging nature of the material discussed in class, it is imperative that there be an atmosphere of trust and safety in the classroom. I will attempt to foster a virtual class environment in which each class member is able to hear and respect each other. It is critical that each class member show respect for all worldviews expressed in class. It is expected that some of the material in this course may evoke strong emotions, please be respectful of others' emotions and
be mindful of your own. Please let me know if something said or done in the classroom, by either myself or other students, is particularly troubling or causes discomfort or offense. While our intention may not be to cause discomfort or offense, the impact of what happens throughout the course is not to be ignored and is something that I consider to be very important and deserving of attention. If and when this occurs, there are several ways to alleviate some of the discomfort or hurt you may experience:

  1. Discuss the situation privately with me. I am always open to listening to students' experiences, and want to work with students to find acceptable ways to process and address the issue.
  2. Discuss the situation with the class. Chances are there is at least one other student in the class who had a similar response to the material. Discussion enhances the ability for all class participants to have a fuller understanding of context and impact of course material and class discussions.
  3. Notify me of the issue through another source such as your academic advisor, a trusted faculty member, or a peer. If for any reason you do not feel comfortable discussing the issue directly with me, I encourage you to seek out another, more comfortable avenue to address the issue.


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. 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


Links to an external site.

Add / Drop Policy:

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 instructionsLinks to an external site.

Drag to rearrange sections
Rich Text Content

Page Comments