First Day

Welcome to your English 1101 course! I hope this semester will be both fun and challenging for you! Your professor's name is Dr. Matthew Horton (that's me!), but you can call him Dr. H. I have high hopes that this semester will help you improve your skills as a college-level writer!

Click on these icons and see what you can do! This course is about writing, sure, but it is also about using technology to help you discover new possibilities with writing. Writing's not all just about typing papers and turning them in. In fact, this course strives to be as PAPERLESS as possible! This might be a little scary for some of you, but I assure you, the skills you'll learn will be just as important as effective writing!

Also, go ahead and look through some of the most important resources on this course website:

How to do well in this course
Read the syllabus
Check the calendar
Learn how to use Google Drive
Resources on Google Drive (permission required)

Additional resources are available by clicking the tabs across the top and various links in the right-hand margin. As much as you can, familiarize yourself with this course website. My contact info is in the right-hand margin at well, towards the top.

Check out these articles related to college and writing:

Death to High School English
Office Hours
The Ivy League, Mental Illness, and the Meaning of Life
Spirit Guides
The Rise of the Helicopter Teacher
Why Teach English?
Inescapably, You're Judged By Your Language
The Perfect Essay
In College, Nurturing Matters
My Little Bag of Writing Tricks
Young Minds in Critical Condition
The Streamlined Life
The Value of College: It's Not Just Correlation
College, the Great Unleveler
Class, Cost and College

How to Do Well

First things first. I want everyone in this class to make an "A" or "B"--let's make it happen! This class will help you succeed through effort. So if you follow instructions, come to class every day, turn in work on time, and fix work that has mistakes, you will make at least a "B." If grades mean something to you, you can relax because all you have to do is work hard in this course.

You will like make at least a "B" in this course if you come to every class and turn in all assignments complete and on time.

If an "A" is your goal, come have a chat with me. I like students who want to do well, but it is difficult to explain how to make an "A" on a website. So let's have a conversation. Or you can ask about it in class.

Succeeding in this course depends on the mindset that works for you to help you succeed. What are your career goals? Are you the creative type? Do you like to be told what to do and follow the rules? Do you think of yourself as a boss or an employee? Do you like to know the right answer? What kind of student are you?

If you ask me, I will tell you the kind of student and teacher I am, and what I hope you can achieve in this course, but what really matters is what kind of student YOU are and what YOU hope you can achieve in this course. It's a hard question to answer if for most of your life, older people have always told you what you should want and the kind of student you should be.

Here are some mindsets that have hurt students before you::
  1. "This course will be like my past English courses."
  2. "I'm already a good writer, so I'll be fine."
  3. "Attendance isn't really a big deal."
  4. "I'd much rather be texting right now."
  5. "I don't have time for all these assigments. I have a job."
  6. "I'm not sure what he wants in this assignment."
  7. "I need an 'A' in this class."
  8. "I'll figure it out eventually."
  9. "I don't feel like fixing this assignment right now."
  10. "That's probably good enough."

Students who make an "A" or "B" in this course are students who like to learn and try hard.

Syllabus - Spring 2018

Description of Course
English 1101 is English Composition I, a 3-credit hour course offered by the English Department in the College of Arts and Letters that fulfills one of two Area A "Communication Skills" requirements. You must earn a "C" in English 1101 in order to move on to English 1102.

Writing for Teacher, Writing for School, Writing for What?

Students entering First-Year Writing courses often feel intimidated by the composition tasks thrown their way, in part because the writing methods they practiced prior to college keep them trapped in a routine of “school writing” and uninspired thinking. Based on this idea and others from The Transition to College Writing, we will explore how writing can be learned, how writing might be taught, and the barriers to learning and teaching such a complex skill. Topics of discussion will include the overthrow of grading, some cures for self-censorship, the myth of “practice makes perfect,” and the unexpected benefits of messing up. To aid in our reflection on ways to learn and teach writing, students will use Google Drive to compose, and to share what they compose, in the paperless freedom of the cloud.

In this course, you can achieve the following goals:
  • Approach writing as a process of improvement
  • Discuss your thoughts and concerns about current issues that interest and involve you personally
  • Develop a helpful writing process for yourself
  • Learn the parts of an essay to compose smart, lively papers
  • Gain confidence in communicating to help an audience
  • Use Google Drive to produce, share, revise, and respond to digital documents, including your own.
  • Evaluate secondary sources on a recent issue of personal importance to you


Each item on the agenda can be clicked to reveal a description, if any. All assignments are due on their deadline days, but the times will vary depending on the assignment.


In addition to the book we are reading, The Transition to College Writing, your reading material will consist of sources that you choose. Whatever you choose, the source must allow you to think about a serious issue that you have some kind of experience with. Please choose a thought-provoking source that fits your interest but also challenges you to analyze your own experience so that when you develop your Paper Topics and write your Assigned Reading Responses, you will be engaged and excited.