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ENGL 103 - Critical Reading/Writing/Thinking - Randy Gifford

Course:Critical Reading/Writing/Thinking
Professor:Randy Gifford
  • Online
Course Length:
  • 8 Week


I'm Professor Gifford. I look forward to working with you in English 103. I especially like this level as we get to work on the key skills of thinking in a critical way. Remember that learning is a process and things will come together when you trust in that process. 

Course Description

The official catalog description for the class is:  "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. Essay topics may include pop culture, politics, social issues, or moral/ethical issues."

What that means for you is a focus on these skills through materials on a variety of topics. We will use images, movies, articles, and literature. 

What to Expect in this Course

As this is an 8-week course, you have to expect a fast pace and a busy schedule! 8 weeks is not less work; it is the same content as a 16-week course done in half the time. That means the writing and analysis process will be much faster. 

Types of Assessments

While essays are key, you will also be assessed through discussion boards, and more integrated creative and critical thinking assignments (for example, a new Kindle).

Textbook Information

Informed Arguments: A Guide To Writing and Research 

88 Open Essays

Other Relevant Course Information

This class is only 8 weeks so we move quickly. I recommend regularly checking in so that you don't miss something.  Don't wait for things you don't understand; always reach out to me and I will be more than happy to help you. 

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: 10/05/2021 Sub#: 726