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English 098
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Karl J Sherlock
English / Creative Writing
Office Hours: M/W 6-7pm T/Th 3:30-5pm 52-558A (inside, corner office)
Phone: 619-644-7871


Policies and Guidelines

© 2018 Karl Sherlock / Grossmont College

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About This Course

Course Prerequisites:  “CR” grade in English 090 and English 090R or a “C” or “CR” grade or higher in English 105 or equivalent or assessment recommendation for English 098. English 098, English Fundamentals, is a 4.0 credit (4 hours lecture per week) non-degree credit, writing course designed to help you master the brush stroke before you take on the broader canvas of writing in Grossmont College's sequence of composition courses.

This course has two central objectives: the study and application of grammar, punctuation, and standard written English usage; and an introduction to the writing process by composing sentences and paragraphs. Although these are considered "fundamental" aspects of essay writing, they are, in fact, the artistic essence of your style and sophistication as a writer. The overall objective of English 098 will be to cultivate an intuitive understanding of coherent paragraph structure organized in a cogent, multi-paragraph essay with strong language skills and sentence variety.


Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

Students will:

  1. Incorporate a variety of sentence patterns while applying the basic principles of grammar, punctuation, and mechanics.

  2. Respond directly to a text-based prompt in a multi-paragraph composition, utilizing paraphrase or summary as appropriate.

  3. Use stages of the writing process (invention, drafting, revising, editing, and reflection) to develop clear, coherent paragraphs and brief essays controlled by topic sentences/thesis statements and supported with adequate, relevant details.

Course Content

The process by which course objectives may be met depends upon the exercises, lessons, quizzes, assignments, and classroom instruction used by individual instructors. These constitute course content.  The general content of a typical English 098 course is as follows:

  1. Practice recognizing and correcting errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and usage.

  2. Practice recognizing and writing simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences.

  3. Complete exercises to recognize and correct sentence-level errors (fragments, fused sentences, and comma splices).

  4. Learn and demonstrate the phases in the writing process (invention, writing, evaluation, revision, and editing).

  5. Write at least six to eight 150- to 200-word paragraphs (a total of 1200 or more words), each containing a topic sentence, coherent pattern of organization, adequate support, and appropriate ending.

  6. Read and discuss sample paragraphs and essays as models of effective writing.

  7. Demonstrate strategies for producing in-class writing assignments.

  8. Write at least one multi-paragraph essay that is controlled by a thesis statement.

Honoring the course content, therefore, requires that each student actively participate in classroom activities and peer editing; complete all assignments (reading and written) by the designated due dates; complete in-class graded writing assignments; pass quizzes and tests; and successfully complete the English Department Assessment Skills Essay Exam at the end of the semester.


Books and Their Requirement


The cost of this course has intentionally been kept as low as I can make it. There are several required texts for this course:

Touchstones Hacker A Writers Reference Mind of a Sentence
Touchstones: A Guided Approach to Writing Paragraphs and Essays. Ed., Chris Juzwiak. Boston:  Bedfords/St. Martins, 2013. A Writer's Reference.* Diana Hacker/Nancy Sommers. 8th edition. Boston:  Bedfords/St. Martins, 2016.
[*also available as an etextbook]
The Mind of a Sentence. Sherlock, Karl. 2nd ed.  El Cajon: K. Sherlock/GC, 2014.

ISBN: 9781457630897 ISBN: 9781457666766 Link to the website.

*Note: Many (but not all) Grossmont instructors make A Writer's Reference a required text in their composition courses. The 8th edition's 2016 updated version is Hacker's most recent, and any changes made to its lessons about style for electronic sources and other technology topics may be needed in English 110 and beyond. For English 098, the primary use of this handbook will be as a reference for rules of grammar and mechanics, issues that tend to change only very gradually over time; consequently, for my sections of English 098, you're free to obtain any edition of Hacker's A Writer's Reference that is current within the last ten years, and you're encouraged to find the least expensive option for this, as long as you do actually acquire it for this course.



In addition to other instructional resources made available through the course website, reading assignments will take the form of articles and essays provided as on-line PDFs or in-class handouts when needed.


Other Course Materials

a couple of plain (and cheap) two-pocket folders; loose-leaf paper; a dedicated notebook specifically for taking notes in this class; access to a computer with word processing capability and printer; a competent college-level dictionary.


Only two books will be permitted for use during examinations and tests:  a dictionary and a thesaurus. (These must be in print; electronic dictionaries or dictionaries accessed on-line via computers, cell phones and other electronic devices will not be allowed during exams.)  Possessing a good pocket dictionary will be useful in so many circumstances during your time at college, but because this course in particular places an emphasis on expanding verbal skills, and because a wider vocabulary is essential to that goal, you should expect to use a good, competent college-level dictionary (preferably, more than 50,000 entries) regularly.  Learning to utilize a thesaurus in combination with a dictionary will help you to avoid misusing new vocabulary words.  I will be requiring you to use new words in your assignments, and quite often during the classroom lectures I use vocabulary that I do not expect you to know, so that you will be challenged and raise your hand to ask me what the words mean.




Unlike science and math classes, where a straightforward grading rubric relies on a percentage of correctly answered questions, composition and developmental writing are evaluated by a more subjective set of criteria.  Emphasis is placed on progress along the way, rather than the completion of tasks.  Consequently, there are no grade curves in this course.  The most important standards for determining your course grade are acknowledged signs of improvement and a clear demonstration that you have taken the steps to improve your own work.  See "Writing Standards" for more information.

Take-Home Quizzes* x5 05 points each 25%
Writing Assignments x3 10 points each 30%
C.A.T. Exam 15 points 15%
Final Writing Assignment 15 points 15%
Final Skills Exam° 10 points 10%
Involvement‡ 05 points 05%
°Final Skills Exam is required for all students who received a cumulative score of "C+" or lower on the five Skills Exercises (67% or lower).
*Anyone whose cumulative performance on the Take-Home Quizzes is better than a "C+" (68%—100%), may choose to skip the Final Skills Exam in this course; qualifying students who choose this option will have the same cumulative quiz score recorded for their final skills examinations.  However, all students who commit to taking the final skills exam on the scheduled day—regardless of whether or not they qualify to opt out of it—must complete it and will have their performance on it factored into their final course grades.
*Involvement is determined by the record of attendance and the quality of participation and preparation for each class, determined by discussion contributions, peer editing efforts, conference preparation, and classroom activities. Please be mindful that students who have three or more non-emergency absences may be dropped from the course, regardless of whether these are consecutive absences.


Plus/Minus [+/-] grading will not be used for the final grades in this course.  Additionally, a passing grade for English 098 is "C" or higher.  A final course grade of "C-" is not considered passing.  Since "+" and "-" are not used for failing course grades, any grade of "C-" will automatically default to a grade of "D" on the official Final Grade roster. This is a district-wide policy for all courses, not just this one.


Course Repetition

Please bear in mind that English 098 is a non-degree 4.0 credit course.  While you are encouraged to strive for optimal performance, your grade in English 098 will not appear on your transcripts should you transfer to a four-year higher institution.

On June 11, 2011 the Board of Governors, the governing body for the California Community Colleges, adopted new regulations that limit the number of times a community college district could receive state funding for a student who has enrolled in the same credit course. The maximum number of times a student may enroll in the same credit course is three times.

A student, through a combination of substandard grades (D or F) and withdrawals on their student record, may only take a class three times.

If a student, through a combination of substandard grades (D or F) and withdrawals, wishes to take a class for the fourth time, they must submit a petition to the Admissions and Records Office. Petitions will only be approved based on extenuating circumstances.

Military Withdrawals do not count in terms of repetition restrictions, nor do withdrawals that occur due to fire, flood (Title 5 Sections 55024 and 58509).

This rule does not contain a grandfather clause. If a student has already reached the maximum allotted number of course repetitions, the district will not be able to claim apportionment for that course.


Adding and Dropping

Registered Students

During this all-important first week, the college does not consider registration alone sufficient to "hold your seat"; you must attend.  Most classes have a sizable Wait List.  If you are absent at all during the first week, you will be dropped.  If you intend to drop the class, I'd appreciate the courtesy of being notified so that I can make the process of adding the class smoother for those waiting to enroll in it.  Thanks.

Priority Wait Listed Students

If your name is on a Priority Wait List, contingent upon vacancies (up until the end of the second week), you will be issued an Add Code for immediate use. The order of names appearing on the Priority Wait List will be given the strictest adherence.  If your attendance during the first week is irregular, you will be passed over for consideration to the course altogether.


If you are holding out the hope of "crashing" the class, you are strongly urged to consider other open sections, even if they are not at exactly the same day and time as this section. If openings become available in this course during the first two weeks, priority will be given to those on the Wait List first, and then to Crashers.   If your attendance during the first two weeks is irregular, you will be passed over for consideration to the course altogether. After the first two weeks, if you have not successfully enrolled in the class, processed your Add Code (which expires by the end of Week 2), or paid your course fees, you may not remain in the classroom.  Unfortunately, these rules are district mandated and I have no authority to bend them.

Please consult the Academic Calendar for other important administrative deadlines.


Penalties for Late/Missing Work


All assignments must be completed by the due date and submitted by the beginning of the class period unless otherwise indicated. Except with proof of medical emergencies and serious crises, late assignments will not be excused from penalty.  For each day an assignment is late (excluding weekends), its final grade will incur a reduction by one-third of a letter grade.  (For example, if you submitted writing that deserved a B+, but you submitted it four days after the due date, it would receive a C.)  Extensions and make-up exams will not be offered, so please avoid late and missed work.

Missing Work

Because developmental writing depends on the process of development (revision, editing, proofing, and so on), peer editing, outlines, proofreading lists and working drafts are required components of each assignment.  For each of these that is missing from the two-pocket folder in which the final draft is submitted, the score on the final draft will be reduced by one-third letter grade (e.g., if your final draft had earned a "C+" and you did not attend the peer editing session where you were expected to submit a working draft with required outline and proofreading list, then your final grade after penalties are applied would be "D").  Note:  If you simply forgot to submit these developmental components and drafts, but you did actually complete them, you will be given a chance to resubmit them without affecting the grade on the final draft


Absence and Tardiness

During The First Two Weeks

Attendance during the first two weeks is crucial to your registration status in the class and determines your continued enrollment or your chance for obtaining an Add Code.


If you've been lucky or prudent enough to register early, your enrollment does not guarantee your secure place in the class will be held if you do not attend.  It is every registered student's responsibility to see that he or she can attend every session, including the first.  No special consideration will be made for prior commitments or schedule conflicts, including work schedules, sporting events or training schedules, vacations and travel arrangements, transportation problems, child care, healthcare appointments, or any similar excuse short of a documented medical emergency or bereavement.  Registered students with recorded absence during the first two weeks of the course will be dropped to make room for Wait-Listed students.  No exceptions.


As seats become available during the first two weeks, Wait-Listed students will be given a chance to receive a non-transferrable "Add" Code.  Wait-Listed students will be given priority over dropped, deleted, and ad hoc students (crashers), and Wait-List priority rank will be honored at all times.  The same criteria for attendance and commitment as Registered students will apply: Wait-Listed students who miss one or more classes during the first two weeks will be stripped of rank, deleted from the Wait-List, and not reconsidered.


Crashing is, unfortunately, the least dependable method of registering for a class, regardless of whether you have good reason to do so.  All students who submit their names to a "Crash List" and who subsequently fail to attend the class during the first two weeks will be deleted from the Crash List without reconsideration.  Crashers cannot be assured a seat in this course, nor can they negotiate to take the place of a Registered or Wait-Listed student who may be planning to drop.  No transaction can occur without receipt of a unique "Add" Code from the instructor.  For these reasons, Crashers are strongly advised to be flexible by enrolling in any open section of English 120 (or a comparable course) that will take them, regardless of day or time, and to adjust their work and/or social schedules to accommodate their academic schedule.

During The Semester

You are expected to attend all scheduled sessions of this course, and to be on time.

Tardy arrival and premature departure are noted, and two incidences of these are equivalent to one absence. Excessive unexcused absences (two) are sufficient grounds to be dropped from the course, after which time re-admittance will not be considered. Excused absences are determined as unavoidable, and which are chiefly and verifiably owed to personal medical emergencies, funerals and important religious or cultural holidays. All other types of absences are not considered excusable.  If you expect to be absent or unexpectedly tardy for legitimate reasons, please contact me using the voice-mail number or the e-mail address I've made available on the course syllabus and the course website.

Please be aware, as well, that any conflict with your work schedule is not a legitimate reason for absence and tardiness.  If there is a traffic situation that prevents you from arriving on time, come into class anyway, rather than missing class altogether; I will do my best to fit you into what classroom activities are under way.  Regular absence or tardiness due to conflicting commitments (athletic training and events; work schedules; childcare or care-giving demands; etc.) must be resolved within the first three weeks of class.  Furthermore, conflicts with your schedule of classes are not acceptable excuses for repeated lateness or absence.  Since no Grossmont College instructors are permitted to schedule lectures or exams outside the officially scheduled time period and day(s) for their courses, no such conflict should occur with your English 098 course unless you are taking two classes at the same time.

Although whenever possible I try to alert students in advance by e-mail to my imminent absence, should I not arrive to class within fifteen minutes after its start time I would be obliged if someone volunteered to pass around a sign-up sheet and then submit it to my mailbox. Thank you.


Writing Standards and Drafts, Peer Editing


Working Drafts Defined

This course, like most writing courses, places an emphasis on the work in progress (i.e., the working draft). Working drafts are distinguished from rough drafts and pre-writing in that they are reasonably complete; they attempt to develop the thesis to its argumentative or analytical conclusion. Consequently, they must represent second or even third substantive revisions. Do not submit a working draft in a two pocket folder. Please staple it, instead.

Hard Copy Submissions

All final drafts must be submitted unstapled, in the right side of a plain two-pocket folder, complete with the following in the left side of the folder:  all previous drafts, comments, peer editing sheets, outlines, pre-writing, and, if obtained, proof of your visit to the Writing Center.  (See Tutoring and Extra Credit.)


Electronic Submissions

It is imperative that you submit a hard copy of your assignment in a two-pocket folder on the due date, formally prepared in MLA document style and accompanied by all of the components of the developmental process:  working drafts; notes; invention and pre-writing; peer editing sheets; etc.  For this reason, you may not submit your final drafts as electronic attachments to e-mails except as a stop-gap measure or by invitation of your instructor.  Submitting your work electronically does NOT take the place of submitting your work in hard copy; final and working drafts, including outlines, sent electronically will not receive credit unless a hard copy is submitted.

"Readability" and Standards

Because this course focuses, not only on developing content worthy of college-level writing, but document style and citation methods required in college essays, I do not accept handwritten work. All writing (except for in-class writing) must, therefore, BE TYPED OR COMPUTER PRINTED on plain white 81/2 x 11" typing paper, and conform to M.L.A. style rules for essays and research papers (spacing, margins, pagination, title pages, etc., as described in Diana Hacker's A Writer's Reference). Choose a clear, readable and appropriately sized font in black ink.

Furthermore, a computer may be very helpful because you will be expected to do revisions of your essays. If you do not have access to word processing, investigate those that the college may make available to you. In any event, the same standards of style apply for any draft produced by word processor. Please, no carelessly ripped edges, no barely-readable print (letter quality would be best), no runaway margins, and so on. Remember, word processing is designed to help you construct a letter-perfect text before you print it! Submit each document, draft or otherwise, as though you were proud of its polished form.


Working drafts will NOT be graded, but completion of all drafts is a course requirement. If you have not produced the required number of drafts, have been remiss with respect to peer editing, or have failed to submit any of the drafts and comments with your final draft, your grade on the final draft will suffer. While the drafts are not graded formally, my advice and the advice of your classmates will give you a fair amount of guidance, which you will then apply toward revision. If you are confused or uncertain about any remarks or advice, whether they be from me or your classmates, don't hesitate to speak with me after class or during my office hour.


Examinations, Tests, and Exercises

The Skills Exercises will become the study guides for your Final Examination, which will test your understanding of the skills and conventions of written English (grammar, punctuation, syntax) as well as your development as a writer (paragraph structure, topic development, coherency, etc.).  Completion of the final examination is a course requirement, but you may claim an exemption if your cumulative performance on all of the Skills Exercises receives a grade of "B-" or better (≥ 67%).

The Composition Assessment Test (C.A.T.) is conducted during the class time in the regular classroom.  However, it is read and scored as "Pass" or "Fail" by an outside committee and returned the following week (usually the last week of the semester).  This exam, alone, does not determine whether you can advance to English 110; rather, it contributes to your course grade along with other written work demonstrating your developmental progress.  However, your Pass/Fail status is recorded and made available to your English 110 instructor and can be used to disqualify you from continued enrollment in the course.

The Final Examination, an extended version of the Skills Exercises with multiple-choice answers, will be administered on the final examination date officially scheduled by the college. You should experience no scheduling conflicts with another Grossmont College exam. Except for examinations officially arranged to be taken at the DSPS Testing Center, the days and times of these examinations cannot be altered. Please be forewarned that no accommodations will be made for students with other non-emergency arrangements or obligations during these official exam days and times. Clear your schedule now to avoid heartbreak later on.



Here is one of the college's official statements on Academic Integrity:

Cheating and plagiarism (using as one's own ideas writings, materials, or images of someone else without acknowledgement or permission) can result in any one of a variety of sanctions. Such penalties may range from an adjusted grade on the particular exam, paper, project, or assignment (all of which may lead to a failing grade in the course) to, under certain conditions, suspension or expulsion from a class, program or the college.  For further clarification and information on these issues, please consult with your instructor or contact the office of the Associate Dean of Student Affairs.

"Plagiarism," therefore, means stealing the written or intellectual property of another person or agency, whether or not an actual copyright protects it.  If you copy and paste more than three consecutive words of text [words that form a phrase or more] from an electronic source and do not put it in quotation marks, you have plagiarized.  If you summarize an outside source of information or ideas without giving credit to that source, this too is plagiarism.*  Plagiarism under any circumstances is taken very, very seriously. In a course dedicated to improving your own ability to express ideas effectively, relying on someone else's writing is not merely a betrayal of academic integrity, but is also a betrayal of my efforts, the efforts of the Writing Center tutors, and the efforts of your class peers to help you grow as a writer.  Plagiarism is the ultimate show of disrespect, and my response to it will be understandably severe.  In short, if you are caught in the willful act of plagiarism, this means immediate failure of the assignment and an official report on record with the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs.  Subsequent complaints of dishonesty may result in your expulsion from the college.  I urge you to download the college's PDF about Academic Fraud from the Student Affairs, as well as review the Course Catalog for "Academic Integrity" (p. 19) and "Student Code of Conduct" (p. 29).

*NOTE:  If you submit writing that you have personally completed for another course or for an English 098 course from a previous semester, this is not considered plagiarism, but it will still be returned to you with "No Grade" under the condition that if nothing is subsequently submitted to take its place, then a failing grade will be recorded.


Classroom Behavior

Smoking and chewing of tobacco are prohibited on the Grossmont College campus. Violent or aggressive behavior, including harassment, is also cause for intervention from campus police. Though I encourage a more informal, freely discursive environment in the classroom during the scheduled class time, suffice it to say that I frown upon any activity distracting or inconsiderate to your colleagues and teacher. Your undivided attention and total involvement in the activities related to the course are a must. (Disruptive classroom behavior is outlined on page 4 of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Student Discipline Procedure Handbook.) I trust you to exercise good judgment in this matter, but the following are what I consider to be serious behavioral issues that, if they persist after the first friendly warning, could lead to a two-day suspension from the class, during which time attendance or completion of required work would be forbidden. Please take these seriously!

  1. Unpreparedness: Your preparedness is measured not only in having completed the assigned readings, but in attending class with the proper textbooks, a notebook and a writing instrument. You will be expected to take notes. Coming to class without textbooks or completed homework will be “consequenced” with dismissal from the class for that day only because this behavior is disruptive to prepared students and the class agenda, particularly when it forces students to double- or triple-up to examine passages from the textbook. Something to bear in mind: In a college classroom where your peers are paying their own way for their education and every dollar represents life energies expended for it, it's not fair to exploit their diligence. Occasionally, everyone leaves a book behind by mistake, but if a student habitually attends class without the assigned readings, this will be treated as a problem behavior.

  2. Lack of Involvement: Your full attention is requested while sitting in the classroom. I realize that things happen in our daily life that cause our attention to wander and make it difficult to stay in the spirit of our activities. These are not behavioral problems. Rather, behaving intentionally in a way that ignores the demands of the class can be passively disruptive. Sitting in class and doing nothing is a typical example of this problem. You're expected to keep an open notebook and take notes. Additionally, because the failure to obtain the required texts for the course often leads to a lack of involvement, this too could merit your dismissal from the course. Furthermore, please do not bring any other reading materials and activities than those assigned for any given class day. For example, do not engage in homework for other classes or any other activity that doesn't relate to the class topic at hand. (Please review further guidelines under "TEXTS" concerning the purchase and bringing of required texts to the class.)

  3. Unrelated Activities: campus policies forbid "romantic interludes" in the classroom. We have nothing against simple displays of affection between people, but sexually motivated behavior--especially if it takes the place of proper attention during the class time--is not permitted. Other activities not permitted during class time: sleeping; reading; doing homework; any activity unrelated to the course and its immediate classroom topics. When the computer-assisted instruction is utilized, students should not engage in personal activities, such as internet surfing and e-mail; computers accessed during class time must at all times be used for academic purposes relevant to the course agendas.

  4. Eating: You may bring bottled water to class, but any other beverages, particularly hot beverages in tipsy cups, should be finished before entering the classroom. Food, especially hot food, should not be brought into the classroom. Throat lozenges and breath mints are fine, but candy and chewing gum--the destination of which is so often the underside of a desk or chair--are definitely a no-go. Be sure to check below your seats before adjourning, to look for any forgotten water bottles (or textbooks and notebooks!).

  5. Immature Behavior: I am more than delighted to hear anything you have to say which is pertinent to the class discussion, and I invite you to ask any and all questions you need answered; however, use of class time for private conversations, especially disruptive ones, cannot be tolerated, whether or not they are openly spoken, involve lip reading or sign language, or are conducted through the exchange of notes or texting. (See also "8. Electronic devices.") I have notable difficulty hearing what students are saying to me from the back of the room if there other ambient voices competing with them (even if they're loud whispers), and I ask as favor and a courtesy that you avoid this behavior. Thanks.

  6. Disruptive Movements: Tardiness and early departure (see "Absence and Tardiness"), and random stepping in and out of the classroom throughout the period is frowned upon. I prefer no tardiness if possible, but I also no that delays sometimes happen outside of our control. If you must enter the classroom a little bit late (five or ten minutes), this is preferred over not coming at all. Simply find a seat nearest the door instead of crossing in front of me; if you plan to exit the classroom during the class time, likewise, seat yourself near the door, and inform me of this at the start of the class so that I do not think you are leaving suddenly due to illness or offense. Sometimes classroom doors bang loudly when students let them slam behind them. It's hard to know when that will happen, but just try to be considerately aware of that possibility. We try to take a break about midway through the class period. Please make every effort to limit your snacks and restroom visits to the break, or wait until before or after the class, but raise your hand or approach me privately if you need to leave the classroom briefly--just so that I understand your intentions. If you excuse yourself from the classroom, please make sure your departure is brief and that you make every reasonable attempt to return to the class immediately afterward. Leaving the classroom to eat, go the bookstore, chat with friends, or to take a stroll is not appropriate, and unduly long absences from the classroom will be treated like any other behavioral problem.

  7. Lurking: Persons not enrolled in this course may not be allowed to visit the class unless they are college employees or receive permission from me to sit in the class.

  8. Holding Court: This describes anyone monopolizing class discussions or assuming a dictatorial stance. Nothing pleases me more than to hear enthusiastic responses and impassioned discussion in the classroom; for the sake of courtesy to other students, however, and to allow everyone an equitable chance to share in that enthusiasm, try not to interrupt or drown out other students while they are speaking. Exercise self-restraint and prudence, or simply raise your hand.

  9. Electronic Device Protocols: Internet access to course resources on your smartphone, laptop, or tablet may be permitted (or even requested) during some lessons, but under no circumstances should the privilege of using these devices be abused. However, using your internet-connected technology for purposes not relevant to the course (texting, on-line socializing, entertainment, etc.) will be treated as disruptive behavior. Under no circumstances will cell phones or other devices be allowed during examinations unless authorized in advance by the Accessibility Resource Center (ARC).

  10. Insensitivity: Since effective writing often is accomplished through an understanding of one's audience, try to acquire some practice at it here. This course contains reading and raises topics that might be of a sensitive nature to some students. However, the classroom environment keeps sacred the discourse community among students-this is paramount to your college experience. Therefore, try to show some degree of comity and sensitivity to other students, and keep an open mind to the free exchange of ideas when sensitive or controversial topics are discussed. Rude, insensitive, or bigoted behavior directed at me or other students will also not be tolerated in the classroom. If you feel you have been treated inconsiderately by another student, please talk to me. Any misunderstandings affecting your participation in the class should always be discussed. Rude comments about any individual or any classification of people, whether or not such comments are intended to offend, will not be permitted and could possibly result in the ejection of the student(s) from the class. Examples include the following: political affiliation discrimination (language or behavior that attacks others for party support or political ideology); misogyny (promoting hatred or violence against women); inflammatory language about race, traditions, beliefs, and culture; ableism (language and behavior intended to disparage disabled or handicapped individuals or groups); LGBTQ insults (derogatory remarks, whether made directly or indirectly, against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and queer/questioning individuals); and body shaming (disparaging comments about body shape, weight, height, or other matters of physical appearance).

Extra Credit

You can raise your score or make up for course deficiencies in several ways, but some limitations apply.


The Writing Center

You may receive extra credit (one-third a letter grade: e.g., from C+ to B-) on the final grade of any writing assignment (except the very last one of the semester) every time you take one working draft to the Writing Center before the final due date.  In order to receive this credit, you must submit proof of your official enrollment for tutoring assistance. (See below.) You may take as many working drafts to the Writing Center as you like, but you will receive the extra credit only once for that particular assignment. 


Assignment Revision

During the semester you may take one and only one of the three graded writing assignments to the Writing Center for additional revision, then resubmit it to me for another grade that will replace your old grade on that assignment.  Note:  This one-time opportunity is due by Final Examination. If you neglect to submit proof of a Writing Center visit, or you don’t submit the previous final draft (the one I graded) with the revision, you WON’T receive extra credit; this is a non-negotiable.  Papers that contain any degree of plagiarism will fail.


Other Opportunities

A calendar of extracurricular events is provided on this syllabus and on-line, on the course website.  For some of these events you may negotiate an extra credit assignment, but the demands and value of that assignment will be determined by the instructor (with your consent, of course).  The assignment, however, will always take the form of a written composition. If content is plagiarized in any amount or degree, extra credit will be denied.  


Tutoring and Reading/Writing Help Centers

I want nothing more than to see you succeed and flourish in your writing skills.  The standards of English 098 may seem demanding, but the extra credit opportunities are designed, not merely to improve your grades, but rather to improve your skill sets.


Room 70-202 (Tech Mall/LRC 2nd floor)
Contact Lucy Price: (619) 644-7387
Fall 2014 Hours by Appt. only:
Monday -Thursday 9:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Friday 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Some extremely important sources for such opportunities are the campus Tutoring Services, which should be considered an informal Lab component to this course.  Your handbook and your textbook should always be your first resort so that you at least acquire the vocabulary to discuss your writing needs with a tutor or with your instructor.  Under no circumstances should these services be used to take the place of my counsel on such matters as assignment interpretation and content development.  Do not seek tutorial assistance simply for the services of proofreading or ESL corrections. Campus writing counselors will be glad to help you with thesis development, paragraph development, sentence development and other problems of grammar, with personal attention and computer assisted instruction.



Students are encouraged to use the English Writing Center, but to bear in the mind the following:

  • A tutoring session lasts 30 minutes.
  • Students can have no more than 2 tutoring sessions daily.
  • There are no tutor requests.
  • Students are advised to be prepared for the tutoring sessions with both the assignment and a type-written draft of the work to be reviewed with the tutor.
  • Tutoring services are provided on a walk-in basis.  During peak times, students may experience a wait prior to seeing a tutor.
  • Working with a tutor does not guarantee a passing grade on a paper.
  • Computers in the English Writing Center are for students enrolled in English 51 or English 52 only.
  • Disruptive behavior in the English Writing Center will not be tolerated.


Contact Info

Learning Assistance Center Specialist
Cynthia Koether
(619) 644-7516
English Department Learning Skills Coordinator
Cathy Harvey
(619) 644-7494
Reading Center
Room 545
(619) 644-7464
English Writing Center (EWC)


ENGLISH 61, 62, 63 and 64 (Writing Skills I-IV)

1 unit, 1 hour lecture, 1 hour laboratory
Pass/No Pass (Nondegree credit only)
Students are invited to enroll in English 61, English 62, English 63, or English 64, which are all basic writing skills classes. Taught by an instructor, students receive individualized and/or group help in writing, spelling, and vocabulary. Instructors develop specialized programs tailored to meet students’ individualized writing concerns.  All 4 courses are offered for 1 unit, and students are required to spend 16 classroom hours in a small-group instructional setting and complete 16 hours working on individualized assignments in the English Writing Center as per the instructor's directions.

English 061: Writing Skills I (formerly English 051A)
This is the first course in a four-course sequence. This course focuses on a review of correct written expression through the study of sentence level language skills. This course is offered on a Pass/No Pass basis only.

English 062: Writing Skills II (formerly English 051B)
1 unit, 1 hour lecture, l hour laboratory
This second in a four-course sequence, English 062 focuses on correct written expression through the continued study of sentence level language skills complemented with basic paragraph writing. This course is offered on a Pass/No Pass basis only. (Nondegree credit only)

English 063: Writing Skills III (formerly English 051C)
1 unit, 1 hour lecture, l hour laboratory
The third in a four-course sequence, English 063 focuses on using the writing process necessary to organize well-developed cohesive paragraphs with particular attention to sentence level editing skills. This course is offered on a Pass/No Pass basis only. (Nondegree credit only)

English 064: Writing Skills IV (formerly English 051D)
1 unit, 1 hour lecture, l hour laboratory
The last in a four-course sequence, English 064 focuses on correct written expression through the continued study of language skills coupled with basic essay development. This course is offered on a Pass/No Pass basis only. (Nondegree credit only)

IDS 198 (Supervised Tutoring)
Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.; Friday 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Students requiring reinforcement of concepts or additional help to achieve the stated learning outcomes for English 098 are referred to enroll in IDS 198, Supervised Tutoring, for assistance in the English Writing Center (70-199).  To add this course, students may obtain an Add Code for the English reading or writing sections of IDS 198 at the English Writing Center (70-119). To add this course, students may obtain Add Codes for the English reading or writing sections of IDS 198 at the English Writing Center.  Students may also enroll in other section of IDS 198 to secure assistance for other content areas (i.e., biology, history, sociology, etc.).  Add codes may be obtained in the Tutoring Center (70-229).  In addition, students may receive tutoring in general computer applications by enrolling in the appropriate IDS 198.  Add codes may be obtained in the Tech Mall.  All Supervised Tutoring courses are non-credit/non-fee. However, when a student registers for a supervised tutoring course, and has no other classes, the student will be charged the usual health fee.


Tutoring Center Appointment Request Form



Students facing food or housing insecurity are encouraged to request info or assistance from a Grossmont College Basic Needs Liaison at Additional information on basic needs resources, including Gizmo's Kitchen (Grossmont College's food pantry), is available on the Grossmont College main website, under Student Services:

Special Accommodations

Students with disabilities who may need accommodations are encouraged to notify the instructor and contact ARC the Accessibility Resource Center (a.k.a., Disabled Student Services & Programs) early in the semester so that reasonable accommodations may be implemented as soon as possible.

Students may contact the ARC in person in Room 60-120 or by phone at 619-644-7112 (voice) or 619-644-7119 (TTY for deaf).


A Word of Encouragement

I'd like to encourage you to become a better, more confident writer this semester. Yeah, I know: sounds like the same empty words you've heard before. Not to me. To "encourage" literally means to put courage into: to inspire boldness and bravery. The "-cour" part of the word comes from coeur, the French word for "heart." Some of you feel disheartened by having tested into English 098, as though it's some sort of punishment for not being smarter, or you regard mastery of basic skills to be an annoying bureaucracy because grammar and sentence mechanics are, after all, "just arbitrary rules." Some of you feel as though you've been unfairly "stuck" in this class; your time could be better spent in "legit" courses, or your assessment into English 098 doesn't jibe with your high school English grades.

Let me state the plainly encouraging facts: regardless if you pass or do not pass this course, you are neither stupid nor stuck having to take English 098. What you know or don't know isn't a measure of how intelligent or capable you are as a student. However (and you knew there had to be a "however"), access to information isn't the same as education. If it were, you wouldn't need to be a student; you could just access the info yourself and fill in the little boxes that qualify you for a degree. At the beginning of this semester, you might not be inclined to believe me when I tell you, you don't yet know what it is you don't know, but I ask of you to take a leap of faith and remain open to the idea of a course like English 098 doing more than merely informing you of things you need to pass the class. If you set out to be educated, not just about what the requirements of good writing are, but what the advantages of good writing are, then you'll come to agree with me that English 098 is fundamentally the most important step you'll have taken toward your academic goals and beyond. 

It'll take a little courage, though, to make that happen. For starters, you're going to have to be an active participant in your own development as a writer. You can't expect to pass the class just because you paid for the tuition. Remember what happened when you thought you could pick up a guitar for the first time and play like a rock star, or the first time you got into skis and expected to slalom down the mountain like an Olympic medalist, or that time you picked up a hairbrush and start singing scales into it thinking you'd sound like the next big vocal talent? These expectations are dreams, not waking realities. Practice and studying—these are waking realities, and it's just as important to practice and study how you practice and study! Analyze what it is you do to be a successful and effective student and writer this semester, and look for opportunities to improve your methods whenever possible. In the classroom, keep up with your assigned reading and written assignments, and participate. Active participation is the most effective means to learning because—well, because it's not passive! No matter how interesting the subject matter is, no class can engage you if you don't engage yourself. 

On that note, then, be more engaged with your instructor! Be proactive. If you are having trouble, either with the lessons or with the pace of the course, NEVER hesitate to speak with me or USE MY OFFICE HOUR! I want you to succeed in this course and come out of it, not only a more prepared person, but a more educated person. I'm here to help and root for you! However, I can't want you to succeed more than you want it for yourself. If you put more effort into visualizing yourself as someone with the heart and stamina to be an active learner, rather than as someone who just passively collects a diploma, you'll be on your way to becoming a kick-ass student in this and all your other classes.

Take some courage from that, and let's start.


Last Updated: 01/31/2018


Karl J Sherlock
English / Creative Writing
Office Hours: M/W 6-7pm T/Th 3:30-5pm 52-558A (inside, corner office)
Phone: 619-644-7871

  • Grossmont
  • Cuyamaca
A Member of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District