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ENGL-103 - Critical Reading, Writing, & Thinking - Mary Powell

Course:Critical Reading, Writing, & Thinking
Professor:Mary Powell
  • Online
Course Length:
  • Applies to All Course Lengths


Decorative Photo of Food

Welcome to English 101!  My name is Mary Powell, and I will be the instructor for this class.  I have been teaching English at COC since 2005 and am excited to help you achieve your educational & career goals.

Course Description

ENGL103 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.

What to Expect in this Course

As this is an online class, we will be using technology extensively.  Be prepared to check your email regularly, submit typed assignments, access materials online frequently, access PDF files, and navigate Canvas.  In case of technology failures, have a Plan B.  College of the Canyons provides computer access at The Learning Center and the ASG Computer Lab. 

In addition, attendance is essential to your success.  Attendance in an online environment is based on participation in the week’s discussion boards and completion of online assignments.  Students who do not log in and complete the discussion board by 11:59 p.m. on the first day of class will be dropped from the course as “No Shows.”  Students who miss six or more online assignments prior to the drop or withdrawal dates will be dropped for excessive absences.

Course Information/Philosophy

GROWTH MINDSET:  With practice, everyone can improve his or her writing, reading, and learning processes.  Quality writing is not the result of innate talent but of hours of focused practice and hard work.  If you practice and work hard and consistently, your writing and reading skills WILL improve.

TEAMWORK:  Teamwork is essential to improvement. To improve your reading and writing, utilize the help and guidance that classmates, instructors, and other resources (tutors, counselors, etc.) provide.  Make sure you are an asset to your team, both your class as well as the small groups to which you will be assigned during the semester. Do not hesitate to ask for help from your teammates (instructor, classmates, etc.).  Any difficult task, including writing, requires hard work, dedication, and a willingness to learn from others.  Teams work best when we respect everyone on our team even when we disagree.

Types of Assessments

Essays (including prewriting, outlines, drafts, peer review), quizzes, journals, discussion posts, online presentation project, timed writing

Textbook Information / Link to ZTC Textbook

  • Mendel in the Kitchen: A Scientist's View of Genetically Modified Foods. Nina V. Federoff. Joseph Henry Press, 2004. ISBN: 978-0309097383
  • Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love. Simran Sethi. HarperOne, 2015. ISBN: 978- 0061581076

Other Relevant Course Information

I usually open up my Canvas courses a week early so that students can get started early if they like.  I can’t guarantee this will always happen, but there is a high probability.

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

College of the Canyons cares about your emotional and physical health. Learn more about the broad range of confidential student services, including free counseling and mental health services available during this time by visiting the Student Health & Wellness Center website or by calling them at: 661-362-3259.

The National Suicide Lifeline number is 1-800-273- 8255 (TALK). Please call it if you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide or is in severe distress - it could save someone's life.

You can also use the Crisis Text Line: Just text "Courage" to 741741. It's free, available 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: 02/08/2022 Sub#: 1300