El Camino College

English Department

Online English 1C
Critical Thinking and Composition

English 1C

Dr. Y. Joy Zhao

Class Information
Couse Policies
Course Material
Online Resources
Instructor Home

Course Objectives and Student Learning Outcome (SLO)

for English 1C

  • Course Objectives:
  1. Read expository prose critically to distinguish between perception and inference, surface and implied meanings, fact and opinion. 
  2. Analyze the way arguments are presented in readings and the media. 
  3. Demonstrate the ability to organize and develop written arguments and compositions. 
  4. Refine writing skills developed in English 1A: focusing a topic, formulating a thesis, providing support, and developing unity and coherence.
  5. Evaluate the accuracy and cogency of arguments by identifying logical fallacies and drawing inferences from readings and media presentations. 
  6. Formulate and develop arguments and critical theories about issues, argumentative prose, and literary interpretations.
  • Student Learning Outcome (SLO):
  • Students will compose an argumentative essay that shows an ability to support a claim using analysis, elements of argumentation, and integration of primary and secondary sources. This essay will be well organized, follow proper M.L.A. format, and be technically correct in paragraph composition, sentence structure, grammar, spelling, and usage.


A Special Message to Students with Disabilities: 

It is the policy of the El Camino Community College District to encourage full inclusion of people with disabilities in all programs and services. 

Students with disabilities who believe they may need accommodations in this class should contact the campus Special Resource Center (310) 660-3295, as soon as possible.  This will ensure that students are able to fully participate.

If you prefer, you may also discuss the matter with your instructor in privacy.

More specific helpful info can be found at El Camino College website: www.elcamino.edu



How to Sign in to an Online Class

Step 1

Register for an online class:



Step 2

Set up a user account for an online class using ETUDES:



If unable to log in, verify user id:



Step 3

Log in ETUDES portal:


Once in, find and click on the class link.

Important Notes to Online Students:

1. Online classes use your ECC email account--please check it often.
2. Log in daily to access and do weekly assignments at the class site.


Dr. Joy Zhao

Course Description

English 1C aims to develop and strengthen your ability to think critically and to write persuasively. You will understand the main requirements and benefits of critical thinking, define values, examine assumptions, understand logical fallacies and peruse inductive and deductive reasoning. Moreover, you will apply your critical thinking skills to analyze and research a major controversial social issue, offer solutions, and argue for your well-informed opinion. The course focuses on definition, analysis, evaluation, research, and persuasion. You can gain success-conducive qualities and skills of a critical thinker and become a competent leader.


Course Objectives

  1. To understand how to become a critical thinker and why
  2. To understand basic concepts of logic and their relevance to writing (and life)
  3. To know how to analyze problems and create solutions, through independent thinking, teamwork, and research
  4. To know how to organize and verbalize logical and convincing arguments
  5. To know how to think as a citizen of the world and as a leader

Course Policies

  1. A paper receiving a grade below the C level can be revised to make up the needed points for a passing grade for the paper.
  2. Students are expected to turn in assignments on time. Except papers, late works will not be accepted. Late papers will be accepted anytime before the finals week but graded only at the end of the semester with a 20-point penalty on each paper.
  3. All the works that bear your name must be written by you. Works guilty of plagiarism—using others' words and ideas as if one's own—will not be accepted or graded.
  4. Students missing two (or more) weeks of work without any written explanation may be dropped from the class. Please contact Dr. Zhao ASAP for unavoidable absences.
  5. Students are expected to behave as mature and responsible adults in the class. No racist, sexist or offensive comments and hateful actions of any kind will be tolerated. Such unacceptable behaviors may result in disciplinary measures from the College and affect the offender’s academic record.
  6. Please be aware that it is your responsibility to drop yourself when absolutely necessary.

Course Materials


1. Humorous & Serious: A Guide and Reader for Critical Thinking, by Zhao

2. Humor Your English Grammar: A Trouble-Shooting Guide and Workbook, by Zhao

3. Star Student Essays: A Motivating Reader, by Zhao


1.  The books are available only at El Camino College Bookstore on campus and online.

              16007 Crenshaw Blvd., Torrance, CA 90506 
        (310) 660-3384

2. To search for them, use this: English 1C --> Zhao

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Online English 1C


Important Notes


1          New assignments are posted in 'Modules' and ‘Assignments’ by 1 p.m. on Mondays.

2          Assignments—reading, discussion, quiz—are normally given one week to complete and due by 11 p.m. the following Monday. A paper is often given 3-4 weeks to complete and due by the same time. If Monday is a holiday, the due date will be at the same time on Tuesday. Discussion threads are due by 11 p.m. on Wednesdays.

3          Etudes, by default, uses your ECC email address. Please check your ECC email daily.   


4         As is commonly known, the drop/failing rates for online classes are high. This is because it is even easier to fall behind and feel lost in an online class than in a face-to-face class. The most logical way to avoid stress and failure is to work steadily and consistently. If you take focused and organized steps on a daily or weekly basis, you tend to have a much better chance to learn and enjoy learning while earning a good grade. It is just illogical to wait till the last day to do everything and still expect a positive learning experience and outcome. The reality is that when rushed, most—if not all—learners cannot produce quality work and get a grade that can truly reflect their intelligence and potential. And we all know how sufferable that last-minute stress can be!

5          To help you stay up with this online class, I expect you to log in at least 3 times a week: on Mondays, to turn in assignments and to receive new ones; on Wednesdays, to post weekly discussion threads; on another day of your choice, to get things done.

6         You are expected to be open-minded, respectful and helpful to one another in this onlilne class. Let's apply the Golden Rule and offer only constructive criticisms so as to maintain a positive learning-conducive atmosphere.

7          My philosophy for online teaching is simple: I try to keep learners actively engaged and intellectually challenged. The weekly assignments, which are both manageable and challenging, are designed to help you gain critical thinking skills and qualities that can help you succeed and earn a good grade you deserve.

8      Please keep in mind that I am here to help you learn and succeed. I welcome you to contact me with any questions or problems you may have during the semester. You may email, call, ‘chat’ with me online, or come to my office during my office hours. Let’s work together for a rewarding semester!



Labeling System


We will use a number-letter-number coding system to label all works. These are the letters:


  • D for Discussion
  • Q for Quiz
  • P for Process work

 The number preceding a letter refers to the paper/project number and the number following a letter refers to the number of the work written for that paper/project.  These are some examples:  


  • 1D2: the 2nd discussion topic that relates to paper/project #1
  • 2P1: the 1st process work that relates to paper/project #2
  • Q3: the 3rd quiz



A.   Reading

1.       Reading assignments are issued by 1 p.m. on Mondays and expected to be completed within the week.

2.       How well you read and understand may be tested in a quiz.


B.   Discussion (30%)

1          A new Discussion topic is issued by 1 p.m. on Mondays.

2          Post your discussion thread by 11 p.m. Wednesday in the same week, and try to finish your responses to peers by noon Satuday and submit your Discussion Summary by 11 p.m. the following Monday. Always start a new thread on a new topic.

3          Discussion postings are graded on a 20-point system: 10 points for posting a complete thread on time plus 10 points for responding to 5 (or more) peers on time and handle the 3rd-layer responses when required. Responses that are short (fewer than 30 words), empty (meaningless) or offensive (mean-spirited) may be deleted. Late, inadequate, or/and offensive postings will receive penalty with points deducted each week. (For specific info, please see 'Bonus & Penalty Policies' in Modules in the class web at Etudes.)

4          Being the 1st to post a complete thread on the right topic will earn the writer 3 bonus points each week, and being the 2nd to post, 2 bonus points.  Giving the most  helpful responses in the semester will earn the writer 15 bonus points. (For more bonus opportunities, please see 'Bonus & Penalty Policies' in Modules in the class web in Etudes.)    

5          Towards the end of the semester, the class will nominate Star Post-Writers (among other categories) and the top 5 nominees will be recognized and awarded with more bonus points.

6          Follow the RECAP Requirements for discussion postings (see Module 1).


C.   Quizzes (25%)

1          Quizzes are posted in ‘Testing Center’ in Etudes.  

2     Each quiz is often given one week to complete.

3          Most quizzes can be done more than once.

4          Most, if not all, quizzes contain at least one bonus item (after midterm, 2 bonus items in each; the week before the finals, 5 bonus items).


D.   Papers and Revision (20+5%)

1.       You will do 5 papers/projects (including one in the final essay exam).

2.       Each paper is graded according to the writing standards—See Chapter 15 of Humorous & Serious and the “Itemized Essay Grading Form” at the end of the book.

3.       For a deep and well thoughtout paper, you will be led to do a couple of paragraphs each week. Then, you will organize all the ideas in the essay form. You are expected to write freely on a given topic and submit work on time.

4.       It normally takes 3-4 weeks to produce one paper. 

5.   By/in the finals week, you will revise one paper you have written in the semester and turn it into your 'Perpect Paper' which captures your best writing and thinking skills. More info later.


E.  Final Exam (20%)

1.       The final exam is an opportunity for you to show (off) what critical thinking skills and qualities you have gained in the semester—how well you can write, analyze, argue, and think!

2.       The 2-hour-long final exam often contains 2 parts: multiple-choice items and an essay.

3.       The final exam will take place during the finals week—more details later.


A Quick Summary:


Discussion (30%):                           300 Points 

Quizzes (25%):                               250

Papers & Revision(20%+5%):         250

Final Exam (20%):                          200


                                                     1,000 (Total Points)












(No 'Pass/No Pass' option for this course.)


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Brief Schedule (Subject to Change)      


W1-W4:       Becoming a Critical Thinker

W5-W7:       Becoming a Clear Thinker

W8-W10:     Becoming a Logical Thinker

W11-W13:   Becoming an Analytical Thinker

W14-W16:   Becoming a Global Thinker and Leader




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Online Resources:

  1. http://www.macromedia.com/resources/elearning/whitepapers.html (resources)
  2. http://www.tofp.org/ (open fiction project free)
  3. http://wdcrobcolp01.ed.gov/cfapps/free/displaydate.cfm (free photos, images)
  4. http://www.loc.gov/today/cyberlc/results.php?cat=1&mode=a (resources for education)
  5. http://www.loc.gov/today/cyberlc/results.php?set=41&cat=5&mode=z (literary speech videos)
  6. http://www.loc.gov/ (Library of Congress)

  7. http://www.wisc-online.com/objects/index_tj.asp?objID=CAS3706 (US budget—CT)
  8. http://tappedin.org/tappedin/joyz (for 'Discussion'; instant messaging; download files...)

  9. http://www.joy88edu.net/blog/wp-admin/post.php (Write with Humor)

  10. http://online-degrees-and-colleges.com/ (Online colleges and degrees)

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El Camino College, 16007 Crenshaw Blvd., Torrance, California 90506
Phone: 310-532-3670 Toll Free: 1-866-ELCAMINO (1-866-352-2646)
 Last Published 7/14/16