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ENGL-103 - Critical Reading, Writing, & Thinking - Dr. Deanna Davis

Course:Critical Reading, Writing, & Thinking
Professor:Dr. Deanna Davis
  • Online
Course Length:
  • 16 Week


The most important thing to know about me as a professor is that I want to help you improve your critical thinking abilities and skills because I honestly believe that these skills will help you not only in your college courses and future jobs and careers but also in your personal lives.

I have been teaching this course for many years; it is my favorite subject to teach.  It is a privilege to be able to witness the intellectual growth and confidence gained by students as they master these critical thinking tools and turn them to examination of the issues and controversies that matter to them. 

Another thing to know about me is that I take my instructional responsibilities seriously.  You can rely on me to be organized, responsive to emails and questions, and genuinely committed to your learning.  I will post many helpful Powerpoint lectures and other resources to help you throughout the semester, and I will always be available for Zoom office hours or emailed questions.

Course Description

Critical thinking is the study of arguments:  how to analyze and evaluate them as well as how to construct them.   You will be reading essays and watching films and videos that debate some of the most controversial questions of our time, and after analyzing these issues and researching them further, you will compose your own arguments in support of your judgments. 

The first cluster of issues will be on the question of whether our criminal justice system needs reform.  The second cluster of issues will be on the question of whether more stable and prosperous nations should welcome refugees fleeing war and persecution in other parts of the world.  The final cluster of issues will tackle the question of our treatment of non-human animals.

All of these issues will be presented fully and objectively through course materials and texts, and I will not offer my own opinions on them because the purpose of this course is for you to hone your own critical thinking skills and form your own positions on the issues, not accept and adopt my positions.

What to Expect in this Course

Every week, you will need to log in and complete the assignments for that week.  At the beginning of the semester, I will post a detailed schedule that shows you the assignments and due dates for the whole semester, but I will also post and email an announcement on Canvas on Sunday of each week that reviews what is due that week.  There will be no Zoom class sessions, though I will be available for Zoom office hours throughout the semester.

I will email you frequently throughout the semester to remind you of deadlines and provide clarification on course content and assignments.  If you regularly check your email and log in to our course Canvas page often, you will get a lot of help from me.

Types of Assessments

This course will include weekly online discussion forums, online quizzes, 3 major portfolios containing both analytical and persuasive essays and reflective writing, and a final exam. I also provide many opportunities throughout the semester for you to earn extra credit.

Textbook Information

The Mercury Reader for English 103, 3rd edition, by Deanna Davis. ISBN 978-1-323-35087-4. This is a custom text that is only available through the COC Bookstore; it has my name and our course number (English 103) on its title page and this ISBN number. 2. Beyond Feelings: A Guide to Critical Thinking, Vincent Ryan Ruggiero (9th Edition). ISBN 978-0-07-803818-1. Be sure to get the 9th edition. Required work using both of these books will begin during the second week of the semester, so it is good to get them as soon as possible.

Other Relevant Course Information

You must complete the first week’s assignments by Saturday of the first week in order to avoid being dropped from the course.

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: 10/08/2021 Sub#: 809