Spring 2014 Course Schedule

Hi! Welcome to English 101C: Critical Thinking & Composition! This blog will be the central information hub for the course. Come here to access your syllabus, course handouts, and assignment details/deadlines. Below you will see a section titled “Essential Course Documents,” where you’ll find the syllabus and other key documents. Below that, you’ll see a section called “Writing Help,” with links that are designed to help you succeed at the writing in this course.

Scroll down a little more and you’ll see our course schedule, arranged by date. Please note that the date above each reading/writing assignment is the due date. You should be able to click on each reading assignment to open it. If a link is broken, email me and I will fix it ASAP.

Be sure to print all online readings and bring them to class, unless I state otherwise. You are welcome to print double-sided or shrink the text to save paper. A useful tool for saving paper while printing is the browser add-on Cleanprint, available here for Firefox and here for Google Chrome. I always prefer if you print the readings so we can easily refer to particular passages, but if you can’t print a reading and have a laptop, you can bring your reading to class on your laptop. However, please don’t rely on your phone to refer to the readings. For long readings in particular, using your phone is not very productive.

If you ever have questions about something on the blog, please email me at jhurley@ohlone.edu. The course schedule shouldn’t change much, but in the event that I have to revise an assignment or a deadline, those changes will appear on the blog. Thus, it’s a good idea to check the blog regularly so that you always know what’s going on in the course. If you have the blog bookmarked on your phone or computer, be sure to refresh the page so that you get the most current version. Thanks, and welcome to the course!


Final Exam Prep Sheet

Rogerian Essay Assignment Sheet

Course Syllabus

Homework Requirements

Principles of Good Evidence

Collaborative Quiz

handout on Cognitive Biases

Frontline film: “A Death in St. Augustine”

Frontline film: “Death By Fire”


MLA Format

Thoughts on Writing

Documenting and Integrating Quotes

Four Types of Support

Thesis Statements

Writing Introductions

Thoughts on Revision

Tips on In-Class Writing

Can I Use “I”?

Procrastination: The Number One Reason Why Students Fail


T Jan. 28

Introduction to the course

Adult Intellectual Development Lesson in class

Due Th Jan. 30

Read Course Syllabus

Read the first half of “Two Gunshots on a Summer Night” (up to the section titled “A Mysterious Blogger”)

As stated on the syllabus, please print this article or bring it on your laptop to class. Please don’t just bring the article on your phone. Thank you.

Open Activity Sheet and save as a new file on your computer. Complete the sheet (typed), print, and bring to class.


Due T Feb. 4

Finish “Two Gunshots on a Summer Night”

Read Homework Requirements

If you need to review MLA format before completing your homework, go here

You may also want to review my tips for Documenting and Integrating Quotes

Complete Homework #1: Does the evidence presented in “Two Gunshots on a Summer Night” suggest that Michelle O’Connell’s death was suicide or homicide? Explain your reasoning.

Due Th Feb. 6

Read “My Facts, Your Facts”

Be prepared for a Collaborative Quiz


Due T Feb. 11

Review for In-Class Writing #1. Please bring all of your notes, readings, and in-class activities to class. Reread all of the assigned readings before coming to class today.

Read my Tips on In-Class Writing

Due Th Feb. 13

In-Class Writing #1 (10 points) will be today. Please bring all notes and readings, plus a laptop if you have one. You can also prepare by setting up a document up in MLA style.

If you haven’t already done so, read my Tips on In-Class Writing

Read the In-Class Writing Grading Rubric


Due T Feb. 18

Read  Legal definition of “burden of proof”

Read “Eyewitness Testimony on Trial”

Due Th Feb. 20

Read ONLY Part I of “Trial By Fire” (Look for the “II” to know when to stop reading. For this assignment, please don’t read ahead.)

Complete Homework #2: Based on what you have read so far in “Trial By Fire,” do you think that Cameron Todd Willingham was guilty of killing his children?

Read about the upcoming Paired Presentations. We will sign up for groups today.


Due T Feb. 25

Read the rest of “Trial By Fire”

Due Th Feb. 27

Read handout on Cognitive Biases

Complete Homework #3: Explain at least two cognitive biases that you have experienced (or have seen in others), giving specific examples. OR, find and discuss two cognitive biases that you see in “Trial By Fire.”

Assignment sheet for Take-Home Essay #1 will be handed out in class.

In class we will watch the film “Death By Fire”


Due T March 4

Bring in a typed, 2-page draft of Take-Home Paper #1. To receive credit for your draft (2 points), be sure to bring a printed copy.

Before writing your draft, read:

My Thoughts on Writing

Four Types of Support

Tips on Thesis Statements

Due Th March 6

Read  “The Fracas About Fracking”

Read My Thoughts on Revision and start revising your essay for Tuesday.

Pair A (Jose and Rebecca) presents


Due T March 11

Take-Home Paper #1 (15 points) due today. Please be sure to arrive to class on time with your paper printed and stapled (final drafts only). Thank you!

Read the following:

“The Fracturing of Pennsylvania”

Correlation vs. Causation

Complete Homework #4: Does the article “The Fracturing of Pennsylvania” prove that fracking causes problems with drinking water?

Pair B (Michael Good and Elizabeth Le) presents “The Fracturing of Pennsylvania”

Due Th March 13

“Is Fracking Safe? The Top Ten Controversial Claims About Natural Gas Drilling” (You don’t need to print this one, but please do take notes as you read. Thanks.)

You may want to work ahead on Tuesday’s homework. It is difficult!

Pair C (Gleyfor and JC) presents


Due T March 18

Read this sheet on conflict of interest

Listen to the podcast from the radio program This American Life (about 60 minutes)

NOTE: Please either print the podcast transcript (click on transcript) OR take notes on the podcast to bring to class. The podcast is long, so if you prefer to take notes, that’s fine. Thank you!

Complete Homework #5: How does conflict of interest play a role in the issue of fracking, as explained in the podcast “Game Changer”?

Pair D (Stephen and Mike S.) presents the podcast

Due Th March 20

Read the following:

“Seismologist: Fracking Doesn’t Cause Earthquakes” (Pair E (Nicholas and Michael Hu) presents this article)

“A Scary New Study Erases Doubts That Fracking Causes Earthquakes” (Pair F (Cierra and Kiara) presents this article)

SPRING BREAK! Classes will not meet on T March 25 or Th March 27. Enjoy your break!


Due T April 1

Read the following:

“The Precautionary Principle” (Pair G (Salma and Joshua) presents this article)

“Throwing Precaution to the Wind” (Pair H (Ingrid and Alicia) presents this article)

Also read (no need to print) “Some States Erring on the Side of (Pre)caution in the Fracking Debate”

Complete Homework #6: Would you support the precautionary principle with respect to fracking?

Due Th April 3

Review for In-Class Writing #2: Please come to class having reread and marked up all of your fracking articles. There will be a quiz.


Due T April 8

Extra Credit Prep Quiz for In-Class Writing #2. Reread/review all readings related to fracking and bring them to class.

Due Th April 10

In-Class Writing #2 (15 points) will be today. Please bring all notes and readings, plus a laptop if you have one. You can also prepare by setting up a document up in MLA style.


Due T April 15

Read this website about Aristotelian Appeals:

Read this excerpt from Martin Luther King’s “Letter From a Birmingham Jail”

Complete Homework #7: Explain how Martin Luther King uses Aristotelian Appeals in his letter.

Pair I (David) presents

Due Th April 17

Rogerian Essay assignment sheet (I recommend printing a copy to have on hand in class)

Website on Rogerian argumentation

“Reason Seen More as Weapon Than Path to Truth”

Listen to San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom offer his argument in favor of gay marriage

Listen to President Obama’s remarks on same-sex marriage


Due T April 22

Read “The Worst Thing About Gay Marriage” 

Read “Why Gay Marriage Is Good for Straight America” (Pair K (Ellen and Alex) presents this article)

Complete Homework #8: Which article do you think makes a better argument? Explain your reasoning. Note: You can do this homework as a drawing, if you prefer. If you choose this option, you will want to answer the homework question through a drawing (your own original art). You can include captions or dialogue in your drawing to help express your point. You won’t be graded on your drawing skills, just on your expression of your ideas.

Due Th April 23

Read “New Insight into the (Epi)Genetic Roots of Homosexuality” (Pair L (Travis and Elizabeth) presents this article)

Read “Is Cynthia Nixon’s Sexuality Really a Choice?” (Pair M (Rabiah and Lauren) presents this article)


Due T April 29

Read “What Marriage Is For” (Pair N (Lisa and Louanne) presents this article)

Read “What’s Good for Kids”(Pair O (Brianna and Iris) presents this article)

Read “What Happens to Kids Raised by Gay Parents?”  

Watch this video

Be prepared for a quiz on Maggie Gallagher’s article.

Rogerian Biography due:  In preparation for writing your Rogerian Essay, write a 2-page typed biography of the person you will be directing your Rogerian argument towards. In your bio, focus specifically on what views your reader holds about same-sex marriage and why.

Due Th May 1

No class today. Presentations and readings rescheduled to Tuesday. If you haven’t shown me your Rogerian bio yet, please be sure to email it to me so that I can see if you’re on the right track.


Due T May 6

Begin working on your Rogerian template (due on Thurs.)

Read “Gay Couples Say Civil Unions Not Enough” (Pair P (Audriana and Elias) presents this article)

Read “Civil Unions Are Enough” (Pair Q (Jill and Kelly) presents this article)

Due Th May 8

Rogerian Template due (please type)

Read “Separation of Church and State: Same-Sex Marriage Is a Civil Matter”

Read “Gay Marriage Is a Civil Rights Issue”

Read “A Gay-Marriage Solution? End Marriage”


Due T May 13

Read “Gay Marriage: NFL’s Brandon Ayanbadejo, Chris Kluwe Play Offense”

Be sure to click on all of the blue links in the article and read/watch those also.

Read “Why NBA Center Jason Collins Is Coming Out Now”

Bring a printed 3-page draft of Rogerian Essay for peer review

Read and print the Final Exam Prep Sheet.

Due Th May 15

Final draft of Rogerian Essay due. Please attach your bio to the final draft for full credit. (Place the bio on top.)

This will be our last day of class. We will spend the class session preparing for the final exam.


The final exam is scheduled for Tuesday, May 20, between 2:30-4:30pm, in our regular classroom. The final exam will be in-class writing #3. Remember, your lowest in-class writing score is dropped, so if you are already happy with your grades on in-class writings #1 and #2, you don’t need to take the final! If you wish to improve upon those scores, I will see you at the final.