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English 101 - English Composition - Alene Terzian-Zeitounian

Course:English Composition
Professor:Alene Terzian-Zeitounian
  • Online
Course Length:
  • 16 Week


Portrait of instructor

Hello English 101 Students! My name is Alene Terzian-Zeitounian, and I am so happy to be your instructor this semester. I want to start by telling you a little about me. I've been teaching at College of the Canyons for the past 22 years. I served as the English Department Chair from 2017-2022 and learned a lot about myself and the college in this role. In addition to teaching, I've been the advisor for COC's Literary and Arts Magazine, cul-de-sac, for the past 17 years and was recently selected to be the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Anti-Racism Guided Pathways Faculty Liaison. I have an M.A. and M.F.A. in creative writing and an EdD in Innovation and Leadership. I live in Torrance, California with my husband and 10-year old daughter. When I'm not working, you will find me cooking, going to my daughter's swim meets, playing poker, watching the Lakers, reading, writing poetry, and traveling.

The course syllabus, containing important course policies and procedures, the calendar of weekly assignment deadlines and much more detailed information about how the course is structured overall, can be found on our course Canvas shell when it becomes available to you at 9am on the first day of school. On that day, you will have access to the course in Canvas, and should log in to view the course syllabus and assignment instructions. I will be sending the syllabus and other instructions to you via email a few days before our semester starts so you can begin working on the assignments that are due during the first week of instruction. Be sure to read the syllabus thoroughly as soon as I email it to you so I can clear up any questions about the course you may have.

Below, I've provided an overview of the course and how it will function--please read all of the sections carefully as they will likely answer some questions you may already have about the course. Make sure to note the required textbooks (which you should purchase before the semester starts) and other various resources. I very much want all of you to succeed in this course, and I look forward to working with you this semester!


Course Description

The catalog description for this 100% Online, 16-week course states that English 101 "builds critical reading and expository writing skills through the analysis and evaluation of college-level texts and the composition of well-organized, full-length essays containing properly documented evidence." English 101 teaches students to read critically, think logically, and write intelligently for a variety of academic, professional, and public audiences. 

Our book for this course, Hanif Abdurraqib's essay collection They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us, uses music as a vehicle for asking questions about culture, history, and what it means to live in America at this time in history. In order to more deeply engage with this text, we too will pay special attention to how popular culture--specifically, popular music--acts as a channel for cultural shifts, fears, and desires. We will also pay particular attention to how music and pop culture can lead to "deeper" conversations about what we value and why.

What to Expect in this Course

For this class, we will be using Canvas, which can be accessed via Canvas at the first day of the course. Login using your same credentials from MyCanyons. If you are unfamiliar with Canvas, you can go to to view a multimedia tutorial about how to access Canvas. This is not the orientation, but it will give you a chance to get used to how Canvas works early on, before the semester starts. Canvas staff is excellent and tries to keep our network functional; however, problems seem inevitable. If you ever have technical difficulties, you should call the Canvas Student Support line at (661)362-3344 during college business hours, or (877) 889-9052 for 24/7 support—please take a moment to put these numbers into your cell phone.

On Canvas, you can access the course syllabus and the weekly modules with all the materials found inside, such as power-point lectures, handouts, essay prompts, essay rubrics, homework schedule, and helpful links. It is also where you'll submit all your work. I will also post important weekly Announcements each Friday at 8pm on Canvas that explain the assignments and expectations. All instructional materials and the assignment submission links can be found under the weekly "MODULES" on Canvas. You do not have access to the modules all at once--they are released week by week. Modules will be made available at 8:00pm the Friday before the following week's assignments are due. Each week you have the chance to get a jump-start on the following week's assignments and turn them in early.

A "Week" in this class runs from Wednesday to Tuesday; this is to allow students who work 9-5 jobs enough time on the weekends to complete assignments, and students who work weekends enough time during the week to complete assignments. All assignments are due on Canvas by 11:59pm on their specified due dates, which will always be on Wednesdays, Saturdays, & Tuesdays. For the Discussion Board Assignments, you post on Wednesday and reply to your classmates by Saturday each week. Journals, Prewriting Assignments, and the final drafts for the major papers in the course are all due on Tuesday (the last day of our week).

While an online course offers students more flexibility in terms of where they do their work, some students are surprised to find that an online class has strict assignment deadlines, just like a traditional course. Therefore, it’s important that you are self-disciplined and diligent about completing your work.

This is a 100% online class. Please do not take this class if you are too busy to take a regular one, as it requires just as much—if not more—time and effort. You will be expected to complete the same amount of work that is required in a face-to-face class (class time plus homework). Therefore, expect to spend 9-10 hours a week on work for this course.

Types of Assessments

Weekly Discussion Board posts and responses, journals, prewriting, a timed Midterm Reflective Exam, and 4 major essays.

Textbook Information

  1. They Say, I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing (5th Edition), edited by Cathy Birkenstein and Gerald Graff. ISBN: 9780393427516. Note: Make sure to purchase the version of this textbook without the "readings"--The version with readings is more expensive and the chapters will be off from what I assign on our syllabus. Print (hard copy) and E-book versions of this text are acceptable.
  2. They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us, Essays by Hanif Abdurraquib. ISBN 978-1-937512-65-1. Print (hard copy) and E-book versions of this text are acceptable.


Other Relevant Course Information

  • This course requires a substantial weekly time commitment: To successfully complete this course, you will need to log onto our class Canvas shell several times per week to view documents and PowerPoints, submit assignments, and participate in discussions. Meeting the multiple weekly deadlines and carefully reading everything I post will be crucial to your success in the class. You should expect to spend approximately 12 hours per week completing writing assignments and reading the material to be prepared for class, just as you would for any in-person course. This course meets the IGETC Arts and Humanities requirement for transfer to CSU and UC and therefore requires the same amount of total work hours as a regular face-to-face section--the only difference is that the time of day that you complete your work is more flexible when you take an online class. Our class-wide discussion boards (where much of our class work will be conducted) will be asynchronous which means you can log in at a time of day convenient to you as long as you post or respond by a predetermined deadline.

  • This course has an "Attendance" Policy: Although it may seem strange to have an attendance policy when no physical attendance is required, your completion of weekly assignments and participation in the weekly discussion boards serves as your attendance because weekly participation is vital to your success in English 101. Falling behind, by even 1 or 2 assignments, often jeopardizes a student's ability to pass the course. As a former student myself, I understand how your time outside of English class quickly fills up with homework, job, family, and other obligations. This is why everything we do for this class builds towards the goal of writing--and passing!--the 4 major essays and the Midterm. Plus, if everyone is engaged, class is more fun and interesting! Here is what you need to know about the attendance policy:
    • Attendance, Add, & Drop Policies: If you anticipate extended or multiple missed assignments, please reach out to me as soon as possible, and we can figure out the best way for you to make up the work.
    • Add Codes: If you'd like to add the course, please request an add code from me over email within the first 2 weeks of the semester. If there is an open seat, I'll send you a code. 
    • First 2 Weeks Rule: Meeting ALL assignment deadlines for the first two weeks of class is important to stay in the course. If an emergency should occur during this time and you wish to remain in the class, please email me; otherwise, you may be dropped from the class. 
    • Drop Policy: After the first two weeks, students who miss 3 assignment deadlines in a row (in other words, a week's worth of deadlines) without contacting me will be dropped from the course. Please know that I am flexible and empathetic and want you to succeed in my course, but if I don't know what's going on, I can't help. 
  • This course requires much self-discipline. Although I am providing you with instruction and feedback every week, you will shoulder much more responsibility for reading and completing assignments in a timely manner than a student in a normal class. People who fall behind, even by one week, have a much higher withdrawal and failure rate than those who miss a similar amount of time in a face-to-face class. Thus, it is crucial that you stay current with weekly assignments. If you fall behind, contact me immediately. Again, this class requires a substantial time commitment. We will work at a reasonable pace and build toward our major papers, but I want to warn you now—this is a composition and critical thinking course—that means A LOT of reading and writing, every week.

  • This course requires self-reliance. I am happy to answer your questions, but before you send me a question, check that the answer is not already available to you either in the class notes/instructions, your textbook, or on the Ask Course Questions Here discussion board on Canvas. Also, take advantage of the information and resources provided by the college: the COC Writing Center (TLC), the COC Online Learning services, and the Canvas Resources services, all of which are linked below and on the course homepage. Part of being a professional college student is taking responsibility for your own learning and discovering the resources you need to succeed. You have a lot of available support, but you must seek it.

  • This course requires much patience--patience with your professor when it comes to our correspondence and your grades. For email: Your best chances for getting a quick response from me are during my availability hours, which are Monday-Thursday, 9am-5pm. If you email me during that time, expect to hear back within 24 hours. For grading: The grading window for your smaller assignments (Journals, Discussion Board Assignments, and Prewriting Assignments) is 3-7 days after the due date. For major papers, expect your grade within 12-14 days after the due date.

  • This course requires weekly computer and Internet use. You should have regular and consistent access to a computer with word processing software, email, and a high-speed Internet connection.  If you have temporary technical difficulties at home (it happens to all of us!), please contact me as soon as you are able to, and please refer to the late work policy on our course syllabus. 

  • This course requires you to learn and use basic technology skills. While you do not need to be a computer "expert" to take this course, you should have a certain level of comfort and competence with computers. To succeed in this class, you should be able to: Navigate the Internet, send and receive email attachments, upload work to Canvas, cut and paste text from documents, compose and format documents in a word processing program, and save documents as PDF files. You should also be able to back up all of your course work as you prepare it. If you are not able to do these things independently, this online class is not the best format for you. Some of the initial challenge of this course involves learning the technology. It takes some getting accustomed to it all, but don't worry--after the first couple of weeks, it will all seem very natural to you.

Additional Resources


This course can be accessed on the first day of class via Canvas at Log into Canvas using your CanyonsID single sign-on:

  • CanyonsID Username is your COC student email address (Ex:
  • CanyonsID Password is your COC student email password

Please visit the Get to Know Your Online Classroom page for help logging into Canvas and for tips on using Canvas and Zoom. Canvas Chat Support is also available 24/7 for any Canvas related issues.

Online Education

Check out the Online Education website for more information on a variety of topics that can help you be a successful online student such as: exam proctoring, learning styles, computer skills, and tips for student success. If this is your first online course, feel free to take our online learning readiness assessment to assess your skills.

The Learning Center (TLC)

The TLC provides FREE online tutoring resources to COC students!

Academic Accommodation Center (AAC)

College of the Canyons AAC provides educational services and access for eligible students with documented disabilities who intend to pursue coursework at COC. A variety of programs and services are available which afford eligible students with disabilities the opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of the college programs and activities through appropriate and reasonable accommodations. For more information on their services visit the Academic Accomodation Center website.

Online Counseling

The Counseling Department offers appointments online. You can schedule an appointment by visiting the Online Counseling website. Counselors can help you map out a plan to reach your educational goals as well as advise you on course selection and registration.

Management of Stress and Mental Health

Often the pressure on our students is very strong, involving academic commitments, relationships, outside jobs and family pressure to name a few. The staff and faculty of College of the Canyons are here to see you succeed academically and care about your emotional and physical health. You can learn more about the broad range of confidential student services, including counseling and mental health services available on campus by visiting the Student Health & Wellness Center in the Student Services Building (across from the bookstore). The phone number is 661-362-3259 that you can call 24/7. You can also e mail for an appointment at At the Canyon Country Campus the Health Center will be in the new Student Services Building.

Also, the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline number is now 988. All students at COC are encouraged to enter that phone number in their cells. You can call it when you, or someone you know, is having thoughts of suicide or is in severe distress.

You can also now use the Crisis Text Line: Just text "Courage" to 741741. Someone will get back to you immediately. Its free, 24/7, and confidential.

Veterans Resource Center

The College of the Canyons Veterans Resource Center is a department within the Student Services Division at the college, created to help veterans and veteran dependents with applying to College of the Canyons, enrolling in classes, and requesting VA Education or Vocational Benefits. For more information please visit the Veterans Resource Center website, email or phone (661) 362-3469.


The Library provides live online and in-person research help, access to a full range of e-resources and physical materials that support the curriculum, individual and group study areas, and much more!

Last updated: 01/19/2024 Sub#: 1452