English 201A Summer 2020

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English Composition / CRN 50136

 Instructor: Alyssa Emerson

Welcome to English 201A!

I look forward to a productive, educational, and rewarding summer session with all of you.  This Welcome Letter will give you a general overview of our upcoming online class, but you will learn more about the class, your instructor, and your peers in the coming days.  For now, take the time to read this document in its entirety so that you are prepared to begin our class on Monday, 6/14/20.  By 9am on 6/14/20, the first weekly module will be available to all students, and the class will be published. I am excited to meet all of you!


Contact Information

Email Address: aemerson@cuesta.edu

Office Location/ Hours: Zoom Office Hour Wednesdays 11-12 or by appointment


Instructor Contact Expectations 

The best and fastest way to contact me is email through your Canvas course Inbox.  I will generally respond to your emails within 24 hours during weekdays only.  During busy times of the semester, the response time may increase to 48 hours.  On weekends, I will do my best to get back to you ASAP, but I cannot guarantee an expeditious response. 


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 PowerPoint presentations, 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.


Class Opens / Accessing Canvas

Prior to the Monday classes start, 6/14/20, you will receive an email to your my.Cuesta.edu address providing you with a reminder that class will be starting and log in procedures for Canvas, the learning management system (LMS) used to deliver course content. You can access Canvas by logging into MyCuesta, then clicking on the Resources Tab, then clicking on Canvas in the Online Learning Channel, or by typing the Canvas address (https://cuesta.instructure.com/) into your browser address bar. Do not bookmark / favorite the Canvas site after your login, or you will get an error message next time you try to log in. You must access the Canvas log in directly.

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 directions on the course home page.  

If you are having difficulty logging into Canvas after 6/14/20 and need assistance, please email me 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.  Believe it or not, please be prepared to spend 24-36 hours per week on coursework for this class.  Because this is a six-week, accelerated summer course, it will require substantially more time weekly than the traditional eighteen-week, full-length semester course.  Please be mindful of what this time commitment entails.


Is an online class for you? 

  • First, go to the Online Readiness ResourcesLinks to an external site. to take a "self-assessment”. 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 when that opportunity returns—and it will, in time.)
  • You should have basic computer skills to complete this class successfully. These include but are not limited to knowing how to
    • Download, open, save, attach files; make and annotate PDFs; insert links
    • Use Google Slides to create brief, engaging presentations
  • You must have access to
    • A computer, email account, and reliable internet connection.
    • You will also need to have a backup plan in case your internet provider or computer goes down. All assignments will be submitted online through Canvas.
  • It is also essential that you understand the basic concepts of email, web navigation and online communication to succeed in this course.


Mandatory Online Orientation

You must complete the mandatory online orientation to stay enrolled in this course.

You will log into Canvas on the first day of the course and complete the required orientation exercise which will include: completing the online tutorial, watching an orientation video, posting in the discussion forum, sending an email, and submitting your first assignment. Failure to complete these exercises will result in confusion and inability to find the necessary course links for a successful semester.  If you do not complete this orientation by the end of the first week, you will be dropped from the course. This tutorial will assist you by offering helpful tips and resources to make your online experience successful.


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, Zoom conferencing, messaging to individuals, and virtual office hours.

Students are required to log in a minimum of three times a week to read and post content.  Because this is an accelerated summer course, if a student does not log in and participate for one week, or if their posting percentage is 60% or below, the student will be dropped from the course.   


Course Description

English 201A provides a study of and practice in the use of language and writing of argumentative/analytical essays and research papers.


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 while incorporating 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 correctly, clearly, and ethically; and
  5. Write clear, grammatical sentences with few errors.


Textbook and Materials

This class requires a significant amount of weekly reading.  We will be completing weekly homework assignments and discussion forums based on weekly reading assignments.  Therefore, you will need the textbooks right away.  Textbooks may be purchased reliably through the Cuesta College Official BookstoreLinks to an external site., but you may rent or purchase a new or used copy through other sites.  Be certain to purchase the correct edition.    

  • ISBN: 978-1-319-24506-1--Axelrod, Rise B. and Charles R. Cooper. The Concise St. Martin’s Guide to Writing, 9th edition (You may purchase the print or electronic version.)
  • ISBN: 9781558619234--Cuesta College 2018-2019 Book of the Year: Black Dove by Ana Castillo
  • All other course materials are accessible through our Canvas LMS.


Technical Support

Cuesta students are encouraged to direct all technical support inquiries to  support@my.cuesta.edu. If you are having issues with Canvas, you should contact the Canvas Support Hotline at (877) 921-7680, or click on the help button on the Canvas Navigation to report a problem.

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. If you use your phone to access Canvas, the interface does not offer all of the same features and can result in some difficulties completing the course.

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.. You can also view the FAQs about Technical RequirementsLinks 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. at 805-546-3148.


College & Course Policies

Academic Honesty Policy

This is serious stuff!  If we use another person’s work, we must give that individual credit.  If a student willingly takes credit for someone else’s words or ideas, or if he/she is discovered cheating in any way, the student will receive a zero on the assignment and a Student Misconduct Report will be filed with the College Vice-President or Executive Dean.  Basically, I want to see your work; I want to help you become an even stronger writer. 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 ConductLinks to an external site..


Add / Drop Policy

 If a student does not log in for one week, or if their posting percentage is 60% or below, that student will be dropped from the course. One week of absence in a six-week summer session accounts for 12 “lecture” hours of absence, the equivalent of being absent for three weeks in an eighteen-week semester course.  In addition to my policy, please review the Cuesta policies for adds and drops.

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