Current Course info and syllabus

Updated Tuesday 7/25/17

Syllabus Download: SEEKCritSyll_2017_2
2017 Coursepack download (PDF):

Required Texts (supplied by college):

• SEEK Coursepack
• SEEK Grammar coursepack
• The Norton Field Guide to Writing. Richard Bullock, Fourth Edition, 2016

Webster’s Dictionary iOS, Android, or Windows Phone apps. (Download to your device from Google Play or Appstore.

You should bring a notebook with pages that are easy to remove and a folder to hold completed assignments and readings that will be given out.

A note on electronic gadgets:

Please TURN OFF RINGERS ON CELL PHONES before class. Calls during class time are disrespectful and distract the rest of the class. iPods have no place here either, as they distract you from what’s going on and the sound distracts your classmates. iPads, Netbooks, etc are allowed provided that they are used for note-taking and/or access to online dictionaries ONLY. If you are caught checking Facebook, playing games, etc. during classtime, I will ask you to leave the class.

Course Description:

The objective of this class is to introduce you to college level work while by intensive practice in ways of analysis, questioning, close reading, writing, and research that are expected in college level work. We’ll do this by interpreting short reading assignments, audio, and possibly films. Expect several in class writing assignments of varying length per week, and some to be completed at home. You’ll also be expected to discuss readings, films, etc. with classmates. Much of our work will be done online or using web tools. By extensive practice reading and writing, you will become more familiar with the skills required for college courses and gain additional familiarity with web 2.0 tools and an intro to the WordPress platform, which is one of the most popular blogging and website creation platforms. There will also be occasional quizzes to keep you sharp and a final research paper.

Course Requirements:

• See the SEEK Coursepack, but note the following important points:

Attendance Policy

• Attendance is mandatory, though you are allowed two excused absences during the course of the class.
• 3 latenesses will count as an absence. You are expected to be here on time.
If you get sick or have some unforeseen emergency, it is considered polite to send an e-mail letting me know that you won’t be here.


• A-F for the research paper and final presentation.
• A-F for for the course based on 1) final project grade; 2) Final presentation; 3) blog posts
• To pass the course, you will need passing grades on the formal assignments, attendance meeting the course requirements, and completion of homework assignments


• Most of the course material will be online at our class website which you should check daily. I suggest bookmarking it on your phone and computer. You will also set up blogs of your own and link them.
• email is the best way to contact me and I check it several times a day. My address is hewilliams [at] ccny [dot] cuny [dot] edu. See Michael Leddy’s excellent “How to email a Professor” (also in the coursepack) as a guide.
• Class text message list: Send a message to 81010 with the message “@seekcr”. This service is powered by Remind. I’ll send important reminders/ announcements out when needed. Expect at most a couple per week. I delete all numbers after the class ends: there is no need to cancel.

CCNY Wi-Fi: Use your CCNY user name (the part of your email address before the “@” sign) and email password to log on to the CCNY wireless network and library databases.

Course Schedule note: separate assignment sheets will be distributed for all formal assignments and will be posted online. Detailed homework assignments will be posted online daily at “What’s New” page. Be sure to check this page daily to stay current!

Course Outline

Week 1: Course introduction and intro to Critical Inquiry

Monday, July 24: Introduction and biographies, Explanation of course requirements, Critical Reading strategies: annotation, interpretation, evaluation and questioning.

Tuesday, July 25: Presentation of Visual bios, Explanation of final research assignment.

Wednesday, July 26: Analytic methods for critical essays. Roland Barthes “The Kitchen of Meaning”

Thursday, July 27: Presentation by NY Historical Society on online research.  Workshop on paper topics.

Week 2: Research Strategies

Monday, July 31: Online Research Strategies continued; CCNY Library visit and presentation on library research techniques

Tuesday, August 1: MLA citation format intro; NY Public Library visit (tentative)

Wednesday, August 2:  Workshop on MLA format and group practice; The “quote sandwich:” and how to integrate properly the thoughts of others into our own texts.

Thursday, August 3: Outlining skills and methods of paper organization.

 Week 3: Presentation of research and critical analysis

 Monday, August 7:  Paper drafts due; Paper revision workshop; presentation skills and outline; Final written papers due at Midnight via email

 Tuesday, August 8: Workshop on presentations;

Day 11: Wednesday, August 9: In-class presentations of research assignments. Presentations due

Day 12: Thursday, August 10 (Final day of class): In-class presentations of research assignments.  Evaluation and wrap-up. Reflections.

Key dates

  • Monday, August 7: research papers due
  • Wednesday August 9 and Thursday August 10: in-class presentation of research topics
  • Trip to NY Public Library Hamilton Grange Branch: date TBA