Course Syllabus Fall 2015

Office Hours: Tuesdays 2 – 4pm (or by arrangement)


Course Description and Purpose

This three-credit course will train students in advanced composition and academic writing needed during university and for their future career. It will challenge students to master the vital writing skills necessary for effective writing, such as summarizing, paraphrasing, quoting and citing sources, as well as examining the use of rhetorical devices to argue persuasively. It will also provide an in-depth examination and practice of common forms of academic texts, including abstracts, annotated bibliographies, as well as the research argument paper. As part of the training to evaluate sources, critical reading skills will be encouraged. Grammar will not be a focus of this course, but grammar accuracy will be dealt with as particular points or problems arise in class.

Prerequisite:  Successful completion of Composition I (or its equivalent at another institution). Students are expected to have a solid understanding of the basic components of essay writing.

Required Text

The textbook will be Sourcework (available at Rossi’s)

Additional Materials

UNYT’s version of the APA Style Guide

Additional Readings/Handouts (Distributed in class)

Monolingual English Dictionary (Webster’s, Longman, Oxford, Cambridge or similar)

Internet access


Teaching philosophy

As I believe that students learn best by doing, you will be expected to be active in the classroom. This will include: taking a critical approach to the readings, participating in class discussions, being involved in co-operative group work, and making presentations of new material.



Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Use the steps of writing in your academic assignments: researching, organizing, pre-writing, drafting, revising, and editing.
  2. Write more effectively, in particular be able to express ideas, summarize, analyze topics, and present solutions to problems.
  3. Locate appropriate research resources and integrate them (without plagiarizing!) into written work using APA style.
  4. Analyze audiences and use persuasive techniques that convince others.
  5. Have more confidence in speaking through making presentations.
  6. Be able to apply techniques learned to write for other courses.



Tentative Course Outline


In the first half of the semester, you will go through the steps and conventions of writing an effective academic paper, using a topic and sources chosen by the instructor, based on Chapters 1-5 of Sourcework. The mid-term exam will be the final draft of your first paper. In the second half of the semester you will write a research paper with the freedom to choose your own topic and your own reliable sources, demonstrating your knowledge of argumentation and APA style.


Week 1                                    Introductions. Overview of course and syllabus.

12–16 October             Placement essays.   Academic style conventions.


Week 2                                    Summarizing and paraphrasing. What makes a good summary?

19–23 October             H/W: summary of recent news article.


Week 3                                    Reading sources for use to support your arguments.

H/W: Outline of essay.


Week 4                        Creating coherence and cohesion within and between paragraphs.

2–6 November             H/W First draft of essay.


Week 5                        Peer review of papers. Effective introductions and conclusions.

9–13 November                       H/W Second draft.


Week 6                        Using APA conventions to cite sources correctly.

16-21 November


Week 7                                                MIDTERM EXAM


Week 8                                    Feedback on exam. Revision of APA style conventions.

30-4 December


Week 9                       What makes a good topic for research? Brainstorming topics.

7-11 November                       H/W Writing research proposals.


Week 10                      How to choose and evaluate reliable sources for your research paper.

14-18 December          H/W Annotated bibliography.


CHRISTMAS RECESS (23 December – 4 January)


Week 11                      Intro to argumentation. Using logos, pathos, and ethos in your writing.           Academic style: moderate your language and hedging.

5-9 January                  H/W Write first draft.


Week 12                      Toulimin model. Types of claims and proofs.

11-15 January              H/W Write second draft and abstract.


Week 13                      Strengthening your arguments; Logical fallacies, emotional proof,

.                                   communicating proof through language and style.


18-22 January             Peer revision, revising drafts. What makes a good presentation?


Week 14                      Student presentations of research paper topics.

25-29 January


Week 15                      FINAL EXAM WEEK (2-8 February)




Course Requirements


Participation/Attendance (15%): Participation is an important part of the course and will be graded. I will keep track of how often you contribute to class discussion as a whole week by week. You may miss up to three class hours without penalty. Each absence beyond the first three will cost you points off of your participation grade.


Reading assignments/homework (20%): Every class the students are expected to be prepared for the readings as assigned in the syllabus. Reading assignments will be checked via different means such as; quizzes, discussions, oral presentation, class paragraphs, and/or exercises.


Research Paper (15%) including an abstract (a short summary of your completed research). In your paper you will need to use at least five valid academic sources and cite them correctly using APA style.


Annotated Bibliography (5%) of the subject of your research paper.


Presentation (5%) of the subject of your research paper.


Exams (Midterm 20%, Final 20%): Two examinations will be taken, one during week seven of the course and a final exam.






General Requirements


Assignments are due at the beginning of class in hard copy and submitted through LATE papers will receive a 10% per day penalty.  BUT, the student is still required to complete the assignment in order to pass.


NOTE: All papers submitted through will be submitted in Microsoft Word (doc or docx format).  PDF files will be treated as a non-submission.


In the event of illness or emergency, contact your instructor IN ADVANCE to determine whether special arrangements are possible. The University’s rules on academic dishonesty (e.g. cheating, plagiarism, submitting false information) will be strictly enforced. Please familiarize yourself with the STUDENT HONOUR CODE, or ask your instructor for clarification.



Criteria for Determination of Grade


Letter Grade Percent (%) Generally Accepted Meaning
      A 96-100 Outstanding work
      A- 90-95
      B+ 87-89 Good work, distinctly above average
      B 83-86
      B- 80-82
      C+ 77-79 Acceptable work
      C 73-76
      C- 70-72
      D+ 67-69 Work that is significantly below average
      D 63-66
      D- 60-62
      F 0-59 Work that does not meet minimum standards for passing the course



Learning Difficulties: If you feel that you have encountered special learning difficulties or serious problems that interfere with your studies, please make an appointment with UNYT Counseling Center, Dr. E Cenko ( and/or the Academic Support Center, Dr. A Canollari (  For more information, please contact the above professors or your academic advisor.