ENGLISH 21: The Fundamentals of English


Professor Karin G. Burns                                                            Faculty Office 2503              

E-mail: burnskg@piercecollege.edu                                           Phone/Voicemail: 818/710-4325

Mailbox #20: College Services Bldg.                                         Office Hours: M-Th 9-9:30; F 9-12     


Course prerequisites: Passing English 20 or English 87, or satisfactory score on the English Placement Test.  Prerequisites must be verified by the second class. Plan your schedule carefully! Under new LA Community College District (LACCD) policy, only 3 W’s or F’s are allowed. The LACCD enrollment limit is capped at 90 units. Students must pay full price after 90 units.


Course description: English 21 emphasizes improvement of written English, especially sentences and paragraphs.  It reinforces basic communication skills, including punctuation, spelling, and sentence structure.  It will help students to develop the ability to write grammatically, read analytically, and think logically through various exercises, quizzes, and short essays based on the assigned readings.


Course requirements: Attendance is required and participation is rewarded.  We begin by learning how to write formal paragraphs, and then move on to short essays, ending with a final exam. Grammar quizzes are given as each chapter is covered, ending with a comprehensive grammar test. Questions on the readings in preparation for essays are assigned every period except when essays are due.  Homework answers must be written a greenbook or typed out and stapled. They are collected on “journal check” dates.


Course grade breakdown: (calculated on a 4.0 scale, pluses and minuses count)

paragraph assignment (5%);                   essay 3 - in class (15%);

essay 1—take home with draft (10%);    essay 4 - in class (15%);

essay 2 – take home with draft (10%);   final essay exam (35%);

misc: homework, exercises, quizzes, attendance, participation (10%)


Required materials:   

1.Pamela Arlov, Wordsmith: A Guide to Paragraphs and Essays 5th ed. ISBN#978-0-205-06023-8


Note: 1 copy is temporarily on reserve at the Pierce library circulation desk for two-hour use

2. Portable print or electronic college dictionary, NO CELLPHONE DICTIONARIES

3. Large greenbooks (for homework and/or essay exams); a class notebook and stapler


Tutoring: helpful for all students and required if I indicate tutoring is needed

1)  Center for Academic Success - Village 8401. Call for appointment (818) 710-6414

2) Office of Special Services.  Student Services Bldg., ground floor (818) 719-6430


Course policies:


1.       Courtesy is expected. Electronic devices must be OFF.  No texting in class.  Thank you!

2.       Tardies and absences lower your grade. Two absences by the census (beginning of week 2) or five absences total result exclusion from class.  Students must drop themselves after the census.

3.       Plagiarism is using others’ work or words as your own.  Plagiarized work results in failure of the assignment and a written report to the Dean.  All writing and editing must be your own. Don’t rely on outsiders for help. Work with a CAS tutor and/or me.

4.       Late take-home essays are accepted one period after the due date only and are penalized one grade.  Thereafter, they become an F.  Discuss schedule conflicts before the essay due date.

5.       Missed essay exams cannot be made up, except with a valid documented excuse.