Fundamentals of Academic Writing for International Students

Course Syllabus

Spring Semester, 2016

Instructor: Prof. Robert Cooper

Group class time: Tuesday/Thursday, 1:00 PM to 5:30 PM in Classroom: WW103

Office hours: Tuesday, 12:00 - 1:00 pm or by appointment

Office no: WW 106

Course Management System website:

CMS Password for this course: writewellnow

Email address:


Important Information in:  English, Arabic, Chinese. 

Course Description:

In this course the focus will be basic English language skills, including reading, writing, listening, speaking, and thinking. Through short presentations and essays, students will learn to understand and use all aspects of the English language as might be required in their courses at the university level. Students will read, discuss, and react to a variety of essays in English that reflect cultural diversity. Special attention will be given to problems in syntax, grammar, and mechanics in oral and written assignments. Students may not receive credit for both ENGL 1101 and ENGL 1501. This course is limited to students who have not completed their secondary education in a North American context and may be required as a condition of admission as approved by the University Registrar. (LANG 3) (3 cr)

Student Learning Outcomes:

Students who successfully complete this course can expect to have acquired the following skills:

1.     The ability to write university papers at an introductory level using correct grammar and punctuation, appropriate tone and diction, and suitable research methods and critical thinking.

2.     The ability to read academic literature in English at an introductory level and engage with it critically.

3.     Study skills for university courses including note taking, information and library skills, and an understanding of how to participate in class discussions.

4.     Intercultural skills for international students including an awareness of cultural differences and strategies for clarifying the expectations of different disciplines and professors.

5.     A clear understanding of and commitment to academic integrity.

Canadian Language Benchmark 8 is the minimum level for a passing grade in this course:

Students passing this course with a grade below 80% are advised to take ENGL 1501 before registering in ENGL 1502. (A revision to the Academic Calendar regarding the admission requirements for ENGL 1502 is in process.)

Required Text:

Anker, S.E. and Aitken, N. L. Real Writing with Readings: Paragraphs and Essays for College, Work, and Everyday Life,7e.  Boston Bedford St. Martins, 2016.  Print   ISBN-10: 1-319-00319-7.


This book can be purchased from the university bookshop.

Recommended Texts:

The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL):

Any good dictionary.  Internet access

All aspects of the course must be completed in order for a final grade to be issued.

Writing Lab


Attendance and Participation                                                                                           (10%)

Students will be awarded points for each they attend in full, and for their participation in class, including helping other students, asking and answering questions.

Weekly Assignments                                                                                                           (40%)

Students are required to have completed a well-formatted draft each Tuesday for work-shopping and evaluation on the following day.

Final Essay                                                                                                                             (20%)

Presentation                              Tuesday, 10 June                                                           (10%)

A short 5-8 minute presentation of your final research paper. A further handout giving you details and guidelines for your presentation will be given out during the semester.

Final Examination                      TBA: Official examination period: 13-14 June        (20%)

The final examination will test the skills that you will practice during the classes. The final examination will involve reading a piece of academic writing, summarizing it, analyzing it, thinking critically about the issues it raises, and writing your own piece of academic writing. It will also include some short answer grammar questions.  Exam conditions apply  -  You MUST be present or provide formal proof of legitimate reason for absence to be allowed to re-sit this exam.

Late Policy:

I will adhere to the Humanities Division late policy of a 2% deduction per day late unless you can provide documented evidence of a legitimate reason for having been unable to meet the deadline (e.g. a doctor’s note).  Assignments build upon each other in this course. If you get late with one, you will find it hard to keep up.

Lateness to Class:

Excessive and/or repetitive lateness will not be tolerated. It is very disruptive of the class when you walk in once the class has started. Anyone arriving more than 10 minutes late will be permitted into the class but they will be marked as absent. A student missing more than 20% (2.5 classes) of the classes will receive a “Fail” for the course.

Plagiarism & Academic Dishonesty:

Plagiarism is a serious offence. It will not be tolerated. The University takes a very serious view of academic offences such as plagiarism, cheating, and impersonation. Regulations and procedures stipulated in the AU Student Code of Conduct (Academic) will apply and are available in the AU Academic Calendar, available online at

This course will give you a clear understanding of plagiarism and how to avoid it. If you have any questions about plagiarism, please come and ask me. I reserve the right to process your work through plagiarism detection software such as Turnitin.


Please email me to arrange one-on-one consultations if you have concerns about the course, have questions about the course material, or wish to discuss your presentation and essays with me as you are working on them. Do remember to plan ahead and make arrangements to see me in time for it to be helpful! Brief or unexpected queries can be addressed in my office hours listed at the top of this course outline.

Submitting Work:

Please submit your out-of-class work both electronically to my email above and in paper copy in the class. It is your responsibility to retain a back-up copy of all work you submit for this course.

Conduct in Class:

Please remember the discussions we have in our first class about class expectations.

Cell phones must be switched off during the class as ringing telephones are distracting for the class and for the instructor. Laptops may be used for academic purposes only. Recreational use of Facebook and YouTube is not allowed in class. Again, this is because it is distracting for other students and is disrespectful to the instructor.  Students discovered using personal devices for personal communication and play will be asked to leave the class and will receive an absent for that class.

No computers, phones, or other PDAs will be permitted for use during tests, and other activities, as directed by the instructor.

Class Schedule:

Students must be available to sit the final examination in the official examination period from 13-24 June.  Do not book flights home until after those dates.


The Chaos Of English Pronunciation by Gerard Nolst Trenité

Subject to change depending upon the perceived needs of the students.

Items in blue indicate essay skills.

Individual writing problems will be addressed in an individual basis throughout the course.








May   3

1 Introductions                      Diagnostic testing Buy your textbook  




2 Writing Process       Essay Topic       Develop a topic           Synthesis, Analysis, Evaluation    Formats   pp. 21-25




3                                              Research   Plagiarism                                Summary                         

Research Proposal

Research Prospectus




4 Proposal                      Description                                   Note-taking                           Comma Use Summary Draft Proposal Draft Ch. 8



5 Narration     Narration ppt           Toulmin's Framework Description Illustration Draft Ch. 6



6 Process Analysis                     Paraphrase                                 Semicolon Use Narration Draft Ch. 9



7 Comparison/Contras Presentations                       Apostrophe Use                Toulmin Continued      Process Draft Ch. 12



8 Workshop Causal Analysis Outlines                                          Practice Presentations                   Comparison Draft Ch. 10, 11



9 Cause/Effect  PowerPoint                                                       Essay Working Outline Outline                                              Shitty First Drafts  Working Outline Ch. 13

June 2


10 Definition  PowerPoint                    Analogies                                Draft #1   Ch. 13



11 Argument Draft #2 (Penultimate)Practice Exam Cause/Effect Draft Definition Draft Ch.14

June 9


12 Final paper Due                              Review                           Resentations Final Paper  -  Argument  


 13 - 14



Final Examination


Exam conditions apply  -  You MUST be present or provide formal proof of legitimate reason for absence to be allowed to re-sit this exam.



The Writing Lab:

The Writing Lab is a student service that can help you with specific writing issues and with the writing and editing process. The Writing Lab Instructor is Marissa Ross. The service is run by appointment so contact Marissa early in the semester to make appointments before your assignments are due.
Office: WW201B (Library, 2nd floor); Email: or

Phone: (705) 949 2301 ext. 4226
Hours: TBA

ENGL 1101: Marking Outline*

(A+) 90% - 100%:

The assignment incorporates original and creative ideas that are clearly expressed. The writer demonstrates an excellent use of vocabulary by using a variety of word choices. The assignment shows clear organization and incorporates appropriate transitions. The writer pays close attention to agreement, word order, sentence construction and sentence variety. The assignment is virtually free of errors in grammar, spelling and punctuation.  Paragraphs are fully developed and the writer uses relevant details and examples as support. The assignment is written according to instructions and meets the length requirements.

 (A) 80% – 89%:

The assignment is effectively organized and clearly expressed. The writer demonstrates a good use of vocabulary. The assignment incorporates original ideas that are supported with effective examples and details. The writer pays close attention to agreement, word order, sentence construction and sentence variety. The writing is mostly free of errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation. The assignment is written according to instructions and meets the length requirements.

(B) 70% - 79%:

The assignment shows good organization and adequate clarity. Paragraphs are fully developed and sentences are all comprehensible. There are few spelling and punctuation errors. The assignment incorporates relevant examples and details as support. The writing contains some grammatical errors but generally shows successful grammar usage. The assignment demonstrates appropriate word choice. The assignment is written according to instructions and meets the length requirements.

(C) 60% – 69%:

The assignment is unclear or underdeveloped. Paragraphs are not adequately developed and some sentences may be incomprehensible. The writer does not demonstrate effective vocabulary, as the word choice may be repetitive or inappropriate. There are mistakes in grammar, spelling, and punctuation. The assignment generally follows instructions and is reasonably close to the length requirements.

(D) 50% – 59%:

The assignment lacks clear organization and appropriate word choice. The writing is generally unclear, and as a result, the assignment does not provide a coherent message. Paragraphs are underdeveloped and do not contain support. There are frequent errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation. The assignment is significantly short of the length requirements.

(F) Below 50%:

The assignment is disorganized and confusing. The writing demonstrates a poor use of vocabulary and is full of spelling errors. There are many grammar and punctuation problems. The assignment does not follow instructions because it is significantly underdeveloped and is far from meeting the length requirements.

* Developed by Professor Emily Andersen 

Algoma University Grading System:

The grading scale for all individual courses, effective September 1977, is as follows:

80-100% (A)

Excellent Performance: comprehensive knowledge in depth of the principles and materials treated in the course, fluency in communicating that knowledge and originality and independence in applying material and principles.

70-79% (B)

Good Performance: thorough understanding of the breadth of materials and principles treated in the course and ability to apply and communicate that understanding effectively.

60-69% (C)

Satisfactory Performance: basic understanding of the breadth of principles and material treated in the course and an ability to apply and communicate that understanding competently.

50-59% (D)

Marginal Performance: adequate understanding of most principles and material treated in the course, but significant weakness in some areas and in the ability to apply and communicate that understanding.

0-49% (F)

Failure: Inadequate or fragmentary knowledge of the principles and material treated in the course, or failure to complete the work required in the course.

Additional Resourcces

Comma Use

Apostrophe Use

Semicolon Use