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ENGL 103 - Critical Reading, Writing, and Thinking - Dr. Chase Dimock

Course:Critical Reading, Writing, and Thinking
Professor:Dr. Chase Dimock
  • Online
Course Length:
  • Applies to All Course Lengths


Dodger and Dr. Dimock

Welcome to ENGL 103. I am Dr. Chase Dimock and I will be the professor. My dog, Dodger, will be my Teaching Assistant. 

Because you have met the requirements to enroll in this advanced writing course, I know that you all have the writing abilities and study skills necessary for succeeding in my class. I am looking forward to getting to know all of you and working with you on your assignments. Remember, if you have questions, or need guidance, I am always just an email away. 

This class is designed to teach writing and critical thinking skills by exposing you to a variety of perspectives on controversial, modern ethical problems. We will read articles written by scholars on many different ethical problems including euthanasia, the death penalty, free speech, and many other issues. The goal is to increase your understanding of how these issues impact our society and to help you develop your own informed opinions on these topics.

Writing is a skill best developed through constant practice and multiple revisions. You will have many opportunities to develop your writing abilities though discussion posts, short response assignments, and formal, academic essays. In each assignment, you will evaluate arguments on a variety of contemporary ethical problems and argue your own perspective. The goal of these writing exercises is for you to grow in your ability to clearly organize ideas and express arguments precisely and persuasively.

In addition to developing writing skills, this class is also geared toward teaching critical thinking skills. We will devote plenty of time toward studying logical fallacies. These are the common errors we find in arguments that sound persuasive, but lack solid evidence and logic when we look deeper into their claims. By being able to detect logical fallacies in an argument, you will become more skilled at dismantling weak arguments and better at arguing against stances that oppose yours.

Finally, I want this class to stress the joy of reading and writing. We all read and write for pleasure, even if it’s just as simple as writing a funny one liner on social media. I want to build everyone’s skills and confidence as writers to the point where each student has learned to take pride and satisfaction in their writing. Writing is more than just conveying information; it is a product of presenting and crafting a self. Writing allows us to express who we are and present ourselves as reflective, thoughtful human beings. It is not just the mechanical process of presenting these thoughts. Rather, the process of writing allows us to better understand our own beliefs and we reveal new facets of ourselves as we express them on paper.

Course Description

Here are the course descriptions and learning outcomes for all ENGL 103 courses:

Course Description: 

Examines the principles of critical thinking as applied to writing and reading arguments on complex issues. Focuses on close textual analysis, argumentative writing, and logical reasoning.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Evaluate the strength of written, visual, and multimedia arguments on a range of different issues and controversies. 

2. Compose logical, well-reasoned arguments on selected topics such as popular culture, politics, social issues, and moral and ethical issues.

At the end of the class you will be able to:

  1. Identify the issue of an argument. 
  2. Recognize the conclusion/claim of an argument. 
  3. Delineate the different types of evidence and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. 
  4. Explain the importance of assumptions, ambiguous language, and hidden premises in arguments in general and recognize them in specific arguments. 
  5. List the most common logical fallacies (errors of thinking) and analyze them in specific arguments, including one's own. 
  6. Differentiate different types of appeals, such as pathos, ethos, and logos. 
  7. Evaluate the soundness of assumptions in specific arguments. 
  8. Select reliable sources for the evidence in an argument. 
  9. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a written argument, and a visual or multimedia argument (such as an ad, an image, or a film). 
  10. Analyze one's own thinking for various forms of bias, such as the mine-is-better perspective or similar types of ethnocentric/egocentric perspectives. 
  11. Support an opinion with adequate, valid and well organized reasoning and evidence. 
  12. Demonstrate good writing skills, including control of sentence structure, minimal subject-verb and noun-pronoun agreement errors, consistent point of view , proper punctuation,  correct spelling, and correct MLA documentation style for material from external sources.

What to Expect in this Course

At the beginning of each week, you will see a “guide” to the week on our canvas front page. It will give you an overview of what we will work on for that week. You will see my learning objectives, a reading list, and a schedule for assignments that are due. This will allow you to familiarize yourself with the week’s objectives as early as possible so that you will have plenty of time to budget for completing the assignments. 

Each week has a predictable schedule of assignments. Expect to have short composition assignments due every week on the same days and times each week. I will write feedback to help you with your understanding of the material and to provide guidance toward improving your writing skills. Your grade on these will depend on your ability to write in an organized and clear manner that satisfies all the content requirements in the prompt. A well-structured and grammatical response that fulfills all the prompt’s requirements will usually earn near to full credit. All of the weekly writing assignments are designed to help you better understand the articles you will use in your essay and to help you start generating the ideas and arguments you will employ in your essay.

In addition to the weekly writing assignments, you will compose essays on topics related to the readings and a longer research essay on a topic of your choice. There will be prompts for all of the essays. Make sure to read them extensively so that you satisfy all of their requirements. I will always provide extensive feedback on your papers so that you can grow as a writer and improve on the subsequent essay.

Before you write your paper, you will want to consult my handbook, Dr. Dimock’s Guide to Writing. This will cover everything you need to know to write successful papers in my class. 

Types of Assessments

Essays, Short Responses, Discussion Boards, Research Assignments, Quizzes

Textbook Information

There is one required textbook for this class: 

From Critical Thinking to Argument (7th Edition) By Barnet et al. ISBN: 9781319332129

Other Relevant Course Information

My Commitment to Student Success:

As your professor, my top priority is your success as a student. I understand that all of you enter the classroom from diverse backgrounds with your own sets of challenges and goals. My mission is to help you meet the challenges that the course presents and to show you how to integrate the skills and content from class into aiding your broader goals as a student. I know that every student has unique talents and perspectives and it is my hope to provide a forum for you to showcase and develop them in a way that enriches the learning experience of your fellow students. 

I also realize that reading and writing can be difficult for many students and that people learn in different ways and at different paces. While I have to keep the course moving along at a predetermined schedule in order to meet our learning outcomes, I will do what I can to individualize my instruction to meet your needs. If you reach out to me with reasonable requests, I will do my best to meet you where you are. If you are having trouble with the material, or if other circumstances are affecting your studies, please let me help. 

My success as a professor is dependent on your success as a student. I need engaged, motivated, and thoughtful students for my class to become a great learning environment. When you give it your best effort, you in turn enable me to use my most effective teaching techniques. Together we can achieve our full potential in creating an exciting and enlightening learning experience.

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.


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Last updated: 02/01/2024 Sub#: 1011