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:

Read the syllabus
Check the agenda
Using Google Drive

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:

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


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


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 various magazine articles about a few discussion-worthy themes, such as education, technology, and social responsibility.
The following magazines have free and interesting reads. If you choose an article that is not on the list above, be sure that it has a similar length and clear it with me first.

Mother Jones

  • The Chronicle of Higher Education

  • Education:
    Social Responsibility:

    How Your Grade Is Calculated

    I am using a flexible system that gives you almost complete control over the grade you earn in this class. My goal, actually, is to change your view of grading, at least as it applies to your pursuit of better writing skills. Your grade in this course will, very simply, reflect how hard you worked at making yourself a better writer than you are right now.

    You'll produce four longer writings (1000+ words) and many smaller writings (300+ words each). Timely completion of all assignments accounts for 500 pts. The final portfolio for this course is worth a maximum of 475 pts. A total of 900-975 points equals an "A" in the course (800-899 equals a "B" and 700-799 equals a "C").

    Timely completion means (a) meeting deadlines and content/length requirements for assignments and (b) participating in classroom activities designed around completion of these assignments. Why? Most students want a course grade to reflect their effort in a course; this approach to grading rewards effort without sacrificing academic rigor.