Instructor: Olivia Wood (she/her/hers)
Class Time and Place: M/W 4:30 pm-5:45pm, NB 1.114
Email: (fastest way to get in touch)
Office Hours: Before class on Mondays or by appointment/via email; NB 7.63.40 (English department adjunct office)

**A General Note**
I love getting emails from students! It means you’re engaged in the class. I invite you to email me whenever you have a question or want to talk about something further, or if you have anything you just want to give me a heads up about (like an upcoming absence). If I promised to send you something (like feedback on an assignment) and it’s taking more than two class periods, email me a reminder! I won’t be annoyed.

Course Description

 This composition course introduces students to the skills, habits, and conventions necessary to prepare inquiry-based research for college.  While offering students techniques and practices of invention and revision, this theme-based composition course teaches students the expectations of college-level research, academic devices for exploring ideas, and rhetorical strategies for completing investigative writing.

English Department Course Objectives

At the end of the semester, students will be able to:

  • Invention and Inquiry: Students learn to explore and develop their ideas and the ideas of others in a thorough, meaningful, complex and logical way.
  • Awareness and Reflection: Students learn to identify concepts and issues in their own writing and analytically talk and write about them.
  • Writing Process: Students learn methods of composing, drafting, revising, editing and proofreading.
  • Rhetoric and Style: Students learn rhetorical and stylistic choices that are appropriate and advantageous to a variety of genres, audiences and contexts.
  • Claims and Evidence: Students learn to develop logical and substantial claims, provide valid and coherent evidence for their claims and show why and how their evidence supports their claims.
  • Research: Students learn to conduct research (primary and secondary), evaluate research sources, integrate research to support their ideas, and cite sources appropriately.
  • Sentence Fluency: Students learn to write clear, complete and correct sentences and use a variety of complex and compound sentence types.
  • Conventions: Students learn to control language, linguistic structures, and punctuation necessary for diverse literary and academic writing contexts.

 Required Texts

Links and PDFs posted to our course site. You should always bring the readings assigned for the class period, either in hard copy or through an electronic device.


Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O’Neil
**Many of the articles we will read this semester are articles O’Neil cites in her book, and we are covering the same topics as her chapters. You do not have to buy the book to succeed in this course.**


Paper 1: 15%
Process Assignments: 20%
Paper 2: 20%
Rhetorical Devices: 10%
Short Assignments/Participation: 15%
Portfolio: 20%

Course Policies

Attendance and Participation

Everyone has a unique perspective and set of experiences that brings value to the classroom. If you are absent, you cannot share your perspective and knowledge with us, and you cannot learn from the perspectives and knowledge that others share during class. Many activities are designed so that we can learn from each other as well as from our participation in the activity itself. Everyone benefits from your presence!

Therefore, both attending class and participating in other ways contribute to your grade. To receive full participation credit this semester, you must earn 80 participation points over the course of the semester. Each participation activity is worth up to 2 points.

The purpose of this participation policy is to both encourage attendance but also build in flexibility for students who are unable to make it to class regularly. The easiest way to get full participation credit is to attend class regularly, but if you are unable to do so, you are still able to participate in other ways for full credit.

Please see the separate Ways to Earn Participation page for more information.

If you are running late, emailing me from the train/bus/etc. to let me know you are on your way is not required, but I do appreciate it! It helps with planning activities.

Late Work

Rhetorical devices assignments may be turned in late, but you will receive a partial score for each late post. While I would prefer you do the assignment late than not doing it at all, part of the purpose of the assignment is to develop a habit of noticing rhetoric in the world around you.

Turning in drafts on time will be part of the final grade for each major writing assignment. You cannot make up these points, but you can still receive full credit for other parts of the rubric.

You are permitted UNLIMITED revisions of your papers up until the end of the semester, so I strongly encourage you to turn in a draft on time, even if it is incomplete, and plan to revise it later.

Classroom Conduct

As rhetoric students, it is your responsibility to choose the best way to express your ideas. However, I have the following expectations for you in this regard:

  • Respect everyone in our classroom community and keep an open mind about their experiences.
  • When considering your words, ask yourself, “Am I contributing to the learning environment, or am I hurting the learning environment?”

Phones, Laptops, and Tablets

Please keep your devices on silent during class. Feel free to use your devices for class-related activities or urgent personal matters that cannot wait until after class. This will be done via the honor system unless you are doing something disruptive to the rest of the class. If you are using your device for something unrelated to class, please be mindful of how you may be distracting others from their own learning. (Keep your volume off/low!)


Plagiarism is the act of presenting another person’s ideas, research or writings as your own. The following are some examples of plagiarism, but by no means is it an exhaustive list:

  • Copying another person’s actual words without attributing the words to their source
  • Presenting another person’s ideas or theories in your own words without acknowledging the source
  • Using information that is not common knowledge without acknowledging the sources
  • Failing to acknowledge collaborators on assignments

For an overview of John Jay’s academic integrity policy and a link to the full policy, please visit 



The Office of Accessibility Services provides resources to students with accessibility needs. It is located in NB, L.66.01 and can be reached at or by calling 212-237-8031. Students seeking accommodations for this semester can contact the office or fill out this form online: For more information, please visit: Or you can just email me with your accessibility needs.

Mental Health

Mental health is very important and mental illness should be treated with the same seriousness as physical illness. There are many steps you can take to maintain your mental health, ranging from practicing positive life habits, to talking with a loved one about your feelings, to seeking professional therapy and/or psychiatric medicine. Just like you may need to miss class if you are physically ill, you should also prioritize your mental health above coming to class in a similar fashion. Rhetoric and writing are important life skills, but having a healthy brain is more important.

John Jay’s Wellness Center offers FREE confidential counseling services and psychiatry to all students, available in English and Spanish. The Counseling Center is located at NB L.68.00. The Counseling Center phone number is 212-237-8111 and their email is

For immediate after-hours assistance in crisis, you can call the National Hope Line at 1-800-784-2433 or the LIFENET network at 1-800-543-3638 (available in multiple languages). If you are unable to use the phone or if you have phone anxiety, you can speak with a crisis counselor via texting at the Crisis Text Line ( by texting HOME to 741741.

Students may also call The Trevor Project hotline at 1-866-488-7386 for LGBTQ-specific support.

For more mental health crisis resources, please visit:

Academic and Other Support

John Jay has many Centers on campus that offer free support in a variety of academic areas and for specific populations, some of which are listed below. For a full list, visit

The Writing Center

The Writing Center is located in New Building 1.68 and offers both in-person and online consultations for anyone who wants to talk about their writing with someone! The required ACE workshops are run through the writing center, but I encourage you to visit them other times as well! Writing centers are not just for people who are “bad” at writing. They’re for anyone who wants an outside opinion on their paper. Throughout undergrad and my master’s degree, I both worked in the writing center AND visited it weekly to talk about my writing!

Students are required to visit the writing center at least once this semester and will receive participation credit. You can earn additional participation credit by visiting multiple times.


All ENG 101 students are encouraged to attend the SpringStart workshops sponsored by the John Jay Writing Center. There are 4 workshops, but each are offered multiple times so that you can choose one that fits your schedule. You can receive participation credit for attending these workshops, one from each of the 4 series. If you have been individually referred to SpringStart, you will be required to attend one workshop from each series.