English Department FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions (Students):

Q: How do I apply to take English classes if I am a brand new student? What if I am a high school student? What if I am an international student?

A: In order to take English classes if you are a brand new student, please be sure to visit the following link: East Los Angeles College.  This will take you directly to the online application for East Los Angeles College. If you are a high school student, upon submission of Application, you will be asked to submit a YS-1 Form. For international students, please contact the International Student Office.

Q: I am new to taking classes online. When I am searching for classes, I notice that there are options under “Class Search Type.” What is the difference between Asynchronous, Hybrid, and Async and Sync online?

A: Asynchronous means that there are no scheduled meeting times and that the entire class will be conducted online (even if there is a scheduled time on the schedule).

Async and Sync online means that you will meet online (via Zoom usually) during the scheduled time indicated in the class schedule once or twice per week.

Hybrid means that there may be a combination of both, so ask the instructor of record for details on whether the class will meet both days and times listed in the schedule or only on one of those days.

Q: I am undocumented. Can I take classes at ELAC? Can I get any kind of financial aid?

The Dream Resource Center (DRC) is a safe and caring place for undocumented student to receive personalized support as they navigate college. The Dream Center staff provide a welcoming experience while students navigate matters related to AB-540 / SB 68 petitions, DACA renewals, California Dream Act, EOPS (Extended Opportunities Programs & Services), scholarships, referrals to counseling and other supportive services and resources available to students on and off campus.

Q: How can I challenge ESL classes so that I can take English 101?

A: There are a couple of ways to do this: (1) Students should ask their current ESL professor to recommend them to a certain level (which is the best procedure) (2) Students may make the request without a recommendation by a professor, but the process would be based on the last level they took and the level they are attempting to take.

Q: I have a BA Degree, how do I challenge English 101 so that I can take other literature classes?

A: They would need to complete a Course Prerequisite Verification form from Admissions and Records and attach a copy of the course syllabus and the course description from the previous college/university, indicating what was taught and the work completed. You can also email the English Department Chair, Patricia Godinez. Once you have completed the form and all the required documentation, email to the Department Chair for approval.

Q: Do you offer an English major?

Yes. We offer an AA Degree in English and the English Degree with transfer. To learn more about the English major or the English transfer degree.  For more information, contact any full time English faculty or call or visit the department Chair/CoChair.

Q: How do I drop/add this class?

A: For detailed instruction videos for the process of adding or dropping classes, visit the campus Welcome Center.

Q: Where can I get my textbooks?

A: East Los Angeles College Store makes it easy to find and buy the exact textbooks you need for every class. To shop for textbooks, visit ELAC’s bookstore for more information. Each instructor will provide textbook information on his or her syllabus before the class starts to get the booklist and ask whether the class will be offering FREE TEXTBOOKS using OER (Online Educational Resources). Note: When searching for classes, you can search for classes that will be using OER.

Q: Do I have to pay for my textbooks?

A: Yes. However, there are book grants given by the EOPS office if you are an EOPS student. Please visit ELAC’s EOPS website for more information. Some instructors use Online Educational Resources (OER), which are free online textbooks, so email your instructor to find out if OER is being used.

Q: I have never used CANVAS before and I have never taken an online class. I am having trouble with CANVAS. How can I get help?

A: ELAC offers a 1 unit online class titled: How to Succeed in an Online Course: CAOT 133. This course is an advisory course, and for students wishing to enroll for the first time into an online class. To take online classes at ELAC, you must first apply to the campus, and go through the matriculation process. 

Q: I want to transfer to a CSU/UC. Who has a good English department?

A: The UC/CSU system has an excellent reputation, and each of its English departments will provide a good foundation for a bachelor's degree in English. The UC system has a more competitive selection process than the CSU which may influence your application decisions. However, both systems will serve you well as you complete your English major.

Q: I have a complaint about my instructor. To whom should I complain?

A: You should first make sure that you have discussed the issue with your instructor. It could be that there is a misunderstanding, and speaking to your instructor about it can help to resolve the issue.

In the event that you are not able to resolve the issue with your instructor, your next step would be to contact the department chair, who will work with you and your instructor to come up with a solution to the problem. The department chair can advise you regarding additional options if necessary.

Q: English is not my first language and I want to take ESL (English as a Second Language) classes. Is there a placement test? What’s the best way to sign up for ESL classes?

A: Contact the Assessment/Enrollment office, E1-183.

Q: What's the difference between English 101 and English 101H?

A: English 101H is the honors section of English 101. Either English 101 or English 101H can be used for the AA/AS degree class. English 101 is transferable to all CSUs and most UCs. However, only English 101H will be counted for transfer at UC Berkeley. Students who plan on transferring to UC Berkeley should plan on taking English 101H and not English 101. Only one section of English 101H is offered each semester, so students planning on completing an Honors degree or transferring to UC Berkeley should plan ahead to take the course. The class size for English 101H is limited to 25 students, to encourage increased faculty-to-student and student-to-student connections. 

English 101H covers all of the material in English 101, but includes additional work in the form of literary analysis and critical thinking. English 101H coursework includes a long research essay and literary analysis of two book-length works of fiction.

Q: How will improved writing skills help me in the future?

A: Good writing skills reflect a high level of literacy, and a high literacy level is required in many areas. For example, to continue your education at a university, you will want good writing skills to be able to do well in class assignments, research papers, and tests.

Furthermore, after you graduate, good writing skills will increase the likelihood of you landing a good job and enhance the chances of your being promoted once hired.

Q: My counselor told me that I could take either English 102 or 103 to fulfill my transfer requirements. What's the difference between English 102 and 103?

A: Both English 102 and 103 meet the Critical Thinking requirement for the AA/AS degree and for transfer to CSU and UC. Both of these courses have a prerequisite of English 101. English 102 teaches these skills through the reading and analysis of literature, while English 103 does so through nonfiction essays. Some transfer schools and/or majors require English 102 specifically, and others may require both 102 and 103 so be sure to check with the counseling office about your specific transfer needs.

Q: The class that I need is full and closed. What can I do about that?

A: The best thing that you can do is join the waitlist for the class. If there are openings before the semester begins, you will be automatically added to the class. You will be notified by email, so you should check your email regularly so that you will know if you are added and can arrange to pay your fees. If you are still on the waitlist and the term is beginning, you should attend the first day of class. Students on the waitlist will be added (in the order they appear on the waitlist) if enrolled students do not attend the first day. If you do not attend the first day, other students who are not on the waitlist but who did attend the first day will be allowed to add if there is room. You should also consider alternative days/times/locations that the course is offered. If there is an open space in another section even if it is not at your preferred day/time or location that is often a better choice than staying on a waitlist, especially if you are not among the first few students on the waitlist. The further down the waitlist that you are, the more unlikely it is that there will be room for you to add the class. If you really need the class, you should sign up for a section that has space available.

Q: How can I contact my instructor?

A: Instructors will usually post their contact information on their syllabi. However, if you do not have a syllabus from your instructor.  Click on the following link to find your instructor's name and contact information.  You can also call or visit the English department front desk @Building E3-360 Tel: 323-265-8632

Q: My instructor keeps talking about MLA format. What's that?

A: The Modern Language Association (MLA) answers this question with the following statement: All fields of research agree on the need to document scholarly borrowings, but documentation conventions vary because of the different needs of scholarly disciplines. MLA style for documentation is widely used in the humanities, especially in writing on language and literature. Generally simpler and more concise than other styles, MLA style features brief parenthetical citations in the text keyed to an alphabetical list of works cited that appears at the end of the work.

MLA style has been widely adopted by schools, academic departments, and instructors for over half a century. The association's guidelines are also used by over 1,100 scholarly and literary journals, newsletters, and magazines and by many university and commercial presses. The

MLA's guidelines are followed throughout North America and in Brazil, China, India, Japan, Taiwan, and other countries around the world.

Q: What's plagiarism?

A: Many people think of plagiarism as copying another's work, or borrowing someone else's original ideas. But terms like "copying" and "borrowing" can disguise the seriousness of the offense:

According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, to "plagiarize" means

  • to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own

  • to use (another's production) without crediting the source

  • to commit literary theft

  • to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.

In other words, plagiarism is an act of fraud. It involves both stealing someone else's work and lying about it afterward. But can words and ideas really be stolen? According to U.S. law, the answer is yes. The expression of original ideas is considered intellectual property, and is protected by copyright laws, just like original inventions. Almost all forms of expression fall under copyright protection as long as they are recorded in some way (such as a book or a computer file).

All of the following are considered plagiarism:

  • Using Chatbot or AI to write your work

  • turning in someone else's work as your own

  • copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit

  • failing to put a quotation in quotation marks

  • giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation

  • changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit

  • copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not (see our section on "fair use" rules)

Most cases of plagiarism can be avoided, however, by citing sources. Simply acknowledging that certain material has been borrowed, and providing your audience with the information necessary to find that source, is usually enough to prevent plagiarism. See our FAQs on MLA citation for more information on how to cite sources properly. The text above comes from Plagiarism.org at http://www.plagiarism.org/