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English 101 - English Composition - Prof. Alexandra Dimakos

Course:English Composition
Professor:Prof. Alexandra Dimakos
  • Hybrid
Course Length:
  • Applies to All Course Lengths


Woman smiling at camera

Hello. My name is Professor Dimakos.  I will be your instructor for English 101 and I LOVE writing!

This semester we will be working together to sharpen your reading, writing, and thinking skills for a college-level audience and setting.

I understand that reading and writing can be challenging and often frustrating, but This class operates on a growth mindset.  This means that there is no such thing as a naturally good writer—someone who was born with writing talent and doesn’t have to work at it. 

We may all have subjects we prefer, but quality writing (or any other product) is the result of hours of practice, hard work AND not giving up when the material becomes difficult.  You can all be good writers, but you must be willing to put in the hours. 

Also, think of our class is a team. We will support each other’s learning and growth over the course of the semester.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns. I look forward to working with you this semester. 

Remember: You can do this!


About Me: I earned my bachelor’s degree in English literature from UCLA and my master’s degree in English literature at CSUN. I've been teaching a variety of courses at COC since 2009, including English 101, 103, 204, and 250 and Humanities 115 and 116. I’ve been teaching online and hybrid courses since 2012 and I really enjoy their flexibility and freedom. I’ve also found that online and hybrid learning options help students who may not always have the ability to take classes physically multiple times a week on campus and this allows for a truly diverse collection of students from a variety of backgrounds and locations. The diversity in my classes is just one of the things I love about teaching hybrid and online classes!

Course Description

This course 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.

What to Expect in this Course

So, what can you expect in our course?

In our weekly in-person class sessions, you will:

  • Listen to brief lectures and explanations of key composition concepts, skills, and techniques, such as how to critically read an article, how to compose a strong thesis, how to embed a quote, and many more.
  • Participate in class discussions and small group activities where you will practice skills and techniques.

On Canvas, you will:

  • Watch videos that elaborate on important techniques and strategies
  • Complete quizzes and activities
  • Submit major assignments, like final drafts of essays
  • Access a variety of helpful resources
  • Participate in some online discussion boards that will focus on assigned readings for each essay

Please note you may not only attend in-person sessions OR complete work in Canvas and be successful.

You must attend in-person classes AND complete Canvas assignments in order to be successful in this hybrid course.


In general, for every 1 unit a college course is worth, you will spend about 3 hours per week outside of class reading and practicing the skills you’ve learned.

This means that for a 4-unit course like ours, you should expect to devote about 12 (maybe more) hours PER WEEK reading, writing, thinking, researching, receiving tutor assistance, and completing homework assignments. While this number is an estimation, and everyone learns and works differently, this course will require a significant portion of your time.

Since this is a time-intensive course, you will want to be mindful of your time management from the very beginning of the semester. This means you should find time management techniques that work best for you, such as using a calendar (paper or electronic) to note important due dates, inputting reminders in your phone, considering giving yourself extra time for reading tasks and assignments, and avoiding waiting until the last minute to complete assignments. Time management can be challenging, but it is a key component to your success!  

TURNITIN.COM: ALL final drafts of your four essays will be automatically submitted to when you submit them to Canvas. will check for uncited material and potential plagiarism in your assignments.

Types of Assessments

In-class and Canvas writing exercises and activities

Four multi-paragraph argumentative essays


Rough drafts and peer reviews

Discussion Board assignments



Textbook Information

We have two required texts for this class. 

#1. They Say, I Say by Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russel Durst. (4th Edition) ISBN: 9780393631678

NOTE: You can also use the 3rd or 5th edition of They Say, I Say.

Do not purchase or rent They Say, I Say with Readings. You do not need the editions with readings; these versions are also more expensive.

#2. Popular: Finding Happiness and Success in a World That Cares Too Much About the Wrong Kinds of Relationships by Mitch Prinstein   ISBN-13: 978-0399563751.

You will be reading several pages from both texts and assignments will be based on the content in the assigned readings.

You can buy, rent, or borrow the texts in either print (hardcopy/paper copy) or electronic (eBook) versions.

Other Relevant Course Information

Students who do well in byrbid courses tend to share the following qualities:

  • They are incredibly self-motivated and consistently meet deadlines.
  • They are strong, critical readers, and communicate clearly and effectively in writing.
  • They have strong time management skills.
  • They enjoy active, cooperative learning experiences.
  • They have reliable access to the Internet
  • They have basic computer skills, including the ability to cut/copy and paste between documents, send and download email attachments, and create and save documents in Microsoft Word.
  • They use the free resources on campus to access computers, wifi, books, tutoring services, and any other support services they may need.

I look forward to working with all of you and helping you succeed in this course. Did I mention I love writing?

Best wishes and see you online on the first day of the semester!




Professor Dimakos


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: 08/14/2023 Sub#: 1629