Academic Writing: Fundamentals  -  Course Syllabus

Spring Semester, 2017

Instructor: Prof. Robert Cooper

Group class time: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM in Classroom: _TBA_

Office hours: Wednesday, 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 for All Students.


"The focus of this course will be basic English communication skills, including reading, writing, listening, speaking, and thinking. Through presentations and essays, students will learn to communicate effectively in the academic setting. Special attention will be given to problems in syntax, grammar, and mechanics in oral and written assignments. An elective credit not applicable to a major in English. Students cannot retain credit for more than one of ENGL 1801, ENGL 1501 and ENGL 1101. (LANG 4.5) (3 cr)”



This course emphasizes writing, English usage grammar, syntax, and rhetorical modes, which may include description, narration, comparison/contrast, cause/effect, definition, classification/division, exposition, and argument/persuasion. Students will be introduced to the library. Weekly assignments may include in-class and out-of-class assignments, group-work, at least two major essays, and one final essay and/or report.

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.


Required Text:

Reinking, J.A. et al.  (2007). Strategies for Successful Writing.  Toronto: Pearson Canada.  Any other edition will be fine.

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.


Assignments (assorted)






Quizzes (assorted and unannounced)


Writing Folder #1


Writing Folder #2


Attendance and participation




Please note that a missing assignments will result in a grade of zero (0) for that assignment until that assignment is handed in, which must be within one (1) week of the date the assignment was due.  A penalty of 10% per day, including weekends, will be assessed on all late assignments.  No make-ups will be permitted for in-class quizzes, announced or unannounced.

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% 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 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.

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

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








May   1


Introductions       Diagnostic testing

Essay Topic      Develop a topic

Summary  (F1)   Writing Folder  (F1 and F2)

Buy your textbook






Writing Process      


Writing Lab presentation  -  M. Ross

Intro to the library  -  T. Spurway

 Summary Draft

pp. 21-25





Research   Plagiarism                      Research Proposal  (F1)

Research Prospectus

Bibliography DUE  






Description (F1)                                


Comma Use

Proposal Draft

Ch. 8





Narration     Narration ppt      (F1)    

Toulmin's Framework

Proposal DUE

Description Draft

Ch. 6





Toulmin Continued


Narration Draft

Ch. 9






Semicolon Use     Apostrophe Use


Ch. 12





Workshop Folder #1

Workshop Paraphrase (F1)                

Folder #1







Introductions and Conclusions


Folder #1 Due (20%)

Ch. 13




 Victoria Day  -  No Class







Process Analysis (F2)  Powerpoint

Presentations  and Powerpoint  

Bullshit  Write a one paragraph summary for Friday 

Working Outline 






Comparison/Contrast (F2)

Workshop Process Analysis

Conditions of Truth, Evidence, Belief


Process Draft

Ch. 10, 11





Cause/Effect  (F2)  PowerPoint

Workshop Comparison/Contrast Analogies   (F2)

Comparison Draft





Workshop Causal Analysis (Cause/Effect)

Definition  PowerPoint (F2)

Practice Presentations

Cause/Effect Draft



June 1


Workshop Definition

"Picking off the lint"  in-class editing exercise

Conditions of Truth, Evidence Belief                           

Definition Draft 

Ch. 13




Workshop Folder #2







Workshop Argument Draft #2 (Penultimate)

Folder #2 Due (20%)





Final paper Due   

Review  and Reflection                        


Final Paper  -Argument  (30%)



12 - 13


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

No exam for this course.

Final Examinations



The Chaos Of English Pronunciation by Gerard Nolst Trenité

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