English 1A: Composition  
Spring 2013

Jimmy Santiago Baca
Jimmy Santiago Baca, author of
A Place to Stand, poet, and man of nature and soul

Women's Rights Advocates (Elizabeth Cady Stanton & others)

Thomas Jefferson, politician, thinker, farmer, philosopher

Sandra Cisneros, writer extraordinare

Welcome to your class site. 

Please log into the online classroom (instructions below) and complete your student agreement as confirmation of your participation in the course. Then, post immediately to student introduction forum and begin to meet and converse with your fellow students.


Click here to enter your classroom:

Section 40387

Click here for classroom log on instructions:

how to log on



Contact Information:
Cheryl Chaffin       
Gavilan College English Department
Voice mail: 408.846.4900, x5151; or, 831.840.2842 (mobile)          
Email: cchaffin@gavilan.edu or chaffinwriter@gmail.com                 
Mailbox: located in Admin. Bldg.

Office hours: if you would like to schedule a phone or Skype appointment, please email the instructor. I'm also online frequently in our classroom.

Please note that I do not regularly check voice mail.  Email is the best way to reach me.

Date, Time, & Place  
Spring 2013 Online (Monday, January 30 - Friday, May 24)

This class meets entirely online. This means the class website is our "classroom." Students will be required to complete assigned readings, writings, online discussion, short assignments, and projects each week. There will be frequent due dates (assignments are mostly due on Mondays), but students may log on to complete work at any time during the week. Students are required to meet all assignment due dates and to participate regularly and continually in the class.  Expect to work online for about fifteen to twenty hours each week—about the same amount of time you would spend attending and studying in a traditional class. Please let me know immediately if you are having problems, as an online course can be confusing at first.


If you do not log into the class by Tuesday, January 31 at or before 11:59 p.m., you risk losing your place to a student on the waiting list. 


English 1A

College Composition      

This course prepares students to think, read, write, and research at the university level.  Students practice writing with an emphasis on expository essay and read prose selections and two memoirs as models of high-quality writing and topics for discussion.  The focus in our composition course is on the writer as social critic and thinker. I've chosen autobiographical and political narratives to examine writing as a tool of social and political discourse (speaking/speech) and change.

This course helps students todevelop essential tools to think critically about the connections between language, literature, and society.  Upon completion of English 1A, students should possess the ability to perform satisfactorily in transfer-level college courses that require academic writing infused with creative and critical thinking.  Students learn to express strong opinions with clarity and conviction, and with individual style and creativity. The major work required for this course breaks down into four areas:

Forum discussions            30%    
4 Essay Proposals             20%    
3 Essays                            30%     

1 Research Paper               20%     

Moodle Orientation 

If you have never taken an online course, you make take the online orientation in Intro to Online Gavilan.  This is a free, non-graded course that will help you learn the online course system at Gavilan and refine your online learning skills and ability to succeed in online courses.  Highly recommended.

Students are responsible for learning how to navigate and utilize the Moodle online classroom, and for arranging daily access to computer and Internet.

Required Texts   

These books are available at the Gavilan College Bookstore under my name, the course name, and section number.  Please check syllabus to see what you will need to read in each book and for specific assignments in them.

Patterns for College Writing by Kriszner & Mandell (12th edition)

Choose one of these autobiographical texts:

A Place to Stand  by Jimmy Santiago Baca (Grove, 2001) -- This is a narrative memoir written by former prisoner and poet activist from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Jimmy Santiago Baca.

Remembered Rapture: The Writer at Work by bell hooks (Holt, 1999) -- This is a series of autobiographical and critical essays on writing, literature, and the writing life by social critic, academic, and creative writing, bell hooks.

Both books are two of my favorite! I recommend either one. The essays in the Patterns textbook will form the basis of many of our online discussions. This textbook also includes an appendix to composing a long research paper and an MLA citation guide.

Syllabus For more details, see the class syllabus.  Syllabus will be visible the first day of class, Mon, January 30, 2013. I will also email registered students an introductory message with a syllabus file attachment.