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Introduction to Academic Writing - 1st year

A writing workshop designed to reinforce essay composition skills and introduce students to the practice of writing for academic purposes. It will prepare students for work in high level English courses in which research writing is a requirement. It introduces basic research writing skills including: conducting research, note taking, paraphrase, summary, direct quotation, positioning, and MLA or APA style citation. The course will place equal or greater emphasis on macro-level composition skills such as: essay structure, paragraph structure, coherence, unity; and micro-level skills such as: sentence structure, grammar, vocabulary, spelling and mechanics.


By the end of the course, students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate and apply knowledge of basic essay structure, including introduction, body and conclusion;

2. Employ the various stages of the writing process, including pre-writing, writing and re-writing

3. Employ descriptive, narrative and expository modes;

4. Demonstrate ability to write for an academic audience

5. Demonstrate understanding of and apply the principles of effective paragraph structure;

6. Write concise sentences;

7. Employ quotation, paraphrase and summary;

8. Introduce, position and integrate source material into the body of an essay;

9. Recognize and correct basic grammatical errors, specifically errors of subject/verb agreement, verb tense, pronoun agreement, usage of prepositions and articles;

10. Improve academic and idiomatic vocabulary;

11. Employ socially appropriate language

12. Read, analyze and respond to assigned readings with an understanding of structure and mechanics;

13. Identify effective writing techniques in his or her own work and in peer writing.

14. Employ correct MLA or APA citation style, including parenthetical, in-text citation and works-cited pages.

15. Evaluate sources for relevance and reliability

16. Avoid plagiarism


Course topics will include the following:

1. Paragraph structure (topic sentence, supporting examples, transition sentence)

2. Basic rhetorical modes (narration, description, exposition)

3. Writing process (pre-writing, writing, re-writing)

4. Effective use of quotation, paraphrase and summary

5. Stylistics (vocabulary, conciseness)

6. Correct paper formatting

7. Grammar & mechanics as needed

8. Reading and responding to assigned readings

Method of Instruction:

1. Lecture

2. Seminar discussion

3. In-class composition

4. Peer-revision

5. Assigned readings

6. Computer-assisted instruction

7. Independent reading

8. Journal writing

Types of Assignments:

1. Short papers

2. Assigned readings

3. Independent reading

4. Class presentation

Sample Text:

1. Hairston, et al. The Scott, Foresman Handbook for Writers (San Francisco: Longman 2002 or latest edition)