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ENGL-103 - Critical Reading, Writing, & Thinking - Annie Aboulian

Course:Critical Reading, Writing, & Thinking
Professor:Annie Aboulian
  • Online
Course Length:
  • 16 Week


Hello, my name is Annie Aboulian and I will be your instructor for English 103 online— welcome! I’m looking forward to reading and thinking about your writing this semester. This letter serves as our orientation since we are not formally meeting on campus. Below, I will give you a basic overview of the course and how it will function. Make sure to note the required textbooks (which you should purchase immediately) and other various resources available to you to help you succeed in English 103.

In this course, you can expect to read and examine arguments; think critically about your own arguments; and craft persuasive, credible, and well researched arguments of your own. This course will give you an opportunity to examine your own beliefs and think critically about why you think the way you do. It will also equip you to better understand why others may think differently from you and thus be better able to build bridges and enact change in your own lives. With such wonderful educational opportunities comes the expectation of empathy, open-mindedness, and the ability to see beyond our limited experiences and be able to accept and truly understand the perspectives and lived experiences of others.

I strongly believe that a college-level critical thinking course requires students to confront significant social issues that are essential to living in a diverse, democratic, and tolerant society such as ours. It is important for us to learn about concepts and issues that broaden our horizons and even push us out of our comfort zones at times. That is one of the wonderful benefits of receiving a college education. I hope this class presents you with fascinating and important opportunities to engage in discussions that have a real impact on our lives.

As an instructor and a person, I believe in equality, equity, and social justice. I believe in actively fighting against hate, bigotry, and oppressive systems. This course, like all my courses, will reflect those values.

Course Description

This 100% online 103 course focuses on close textual analysis, argumentative/persuasive writing, and critical thinking skills involving current and controversial social issues that are relevant to our lives and modern society. COC’s online courses are held on the learning management site called Canvas, which you can access at the same login and password that you use for MyCanyons.

This course meets CSU/UC transfer requirements. A "C" or better in English 101 is a prerequisite. Class time will be used for discussion, analysis, and evaluation of assigned readings and for writing activities concerning various rhetorical concepts and strategies.

What to Expect in this Course


The course 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.


We will use Canvas and/or COC email to communicate online. You should make a habit of checking Canvas and your email at least 3 times a week.

Course Overview

  • This course requires a substantial weekly time commitment: You should expect to spend several hours per week logged into the class Canvas shell viewing Pages with reading and viewing material, reading handouts and articles, submitting work and participating in discussions to replace the “classroom” time this class would have spent if it met face to face. You also should expect to spend approximately 9+ hours per week completing writing assignments and reading the material to be prepared for class, just as you would for any other 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.


  • Please do not take this class because you don’t have time in your schedule to take a “real class.” This is a real college class that requires the same time commitment as a class that meets face to face – 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, not synchronous, meaning that you can log in at a time of day convenient to you as long as you post or respond by a predetermined deadline. To successfully complete this course, you will need to log onto our class website several times per week to view documents, submit assignments, and participate in discussions. Meeting the multiple weekly deadlines and carefully reading everything I post will be crucial to success in the class.


  • 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 syllabus, assignment instructions, your textbook, or elsewhere on Canvas. Also, take advantage of the information and resources provided by the college: the COC Writing Center (TLC), the COC Distance Learning services, and the Canvas Resources services, all of which are linked above and on the course homepage. Part of being a professional college student is taking responsibility for your own learning and discovering how to find the resources needed to succeed. You have a lot of available support, but you must seek it.


  • This course requires patience. Your best chances for getting a quick response from me are during my availability hours listed on the syllabus. Generally, I will try to respond within 24 hours to emails sent Monday-Friday. The grading window for your smaller assignments (Journals, Discussion Board Assignments, and Prewriting Assignments) is 3-5 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 do not have this access at home (or if you have temporary technical difficulties at home – it happens to all of us!) you should identify an alternate location or multiple locations (a friend’s house or a coffee shop with wifi, for example) where you will have reliable computer and Internet access. College of the Canyons’ computer labs, including the TLC and library, are excellent resources if you need computer/Internet access.


  • 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. For example, you should save your work to your hard drive, and consider purchasing a jump drive (thumb drive), which will give you more flexibility and a back-up to your hard drive should your computer be infected by a virus or suffer hardware failure. Google Docs or Dropbox are other great options for backing up/ saving your work. 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.

Types of Assessments

Journal assignments, discussion posts, essays, projects, online quizzes

Textbook Information

You have one required textbook for this course. It is:

From Critical Thinking to Argument: A Portable Guide, 6th Edition (ISBN: 9781319194437)

  • Important Note: Please purchase the correct (6th) edition of your required text.

Other Relevant Course Information

Getting Started & Next Steps

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 goes live 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 in the Module for Week 1. 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 print and 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.

One of the most helpful things you can do in this course is to ask questions. That is why I have created the “Ask Course Questions Here” discussion board (linked on the Announcements for Week 1 on Canvas), which everyone in the course will have access to. I will check this board regularly to see if anyone is having concerns or problems. If you see a question there you can answer, feel free to help your classmates. I very much want all of you to succeed in this course, and I look forward to working with you this semester!

Thanks and please let me know if you have any questions.


Professor Aboulian

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: 12/24/2021 Sub#: 1194