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COURSE NAME: "Intensive English Composition"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2019

INSTRUCTOR: Aidan Fadden
EMAIL: afadden@johncabot.edu
HOURS: TTH 10:00-12:45 PM
PREREQUISITES: This course carries 6 semester hours of credit. Prerequisite: Placement via JCU English Composition Placement Exam
OFFICE HOURS: by appointment

This intensive course has two components. One concentrates on developing the ability to write grammatically and idiomatically correct English prose, and includes an in-depth grammar review and examination of academic register. The other focuses on the elements of academic writing, from sentence structure through effective paragraph writing in essays, and introduces students to the various rhetorical modes. Elements covered include outlining, the introduction-body-conclusion structure, thesis statements, topic sentences, supporting arguments, and transition signals. Students will also become familiar with the fundamentals of MLA style, research and sourcing, as well as information literacy. To develop these skills, students will write in- and out-of-class essays. Critical reading is also integral to the course, and students will analyze peer writing as well as good expository models. Individual students in EN 103 may be required to complete additional hours in the English Writing Center as part of their course requirements. Students must receive a grade of C or above in this course to be eligible to take EN110. Students who receive a grade ranging from C- to D- can take EN105 or repeat EN103. Students who receive an F must repeat EN103.

The course aims to improve student's understanding of what constitutes good academic writing. A variety of strategies for producing clear and convincing prose are introduced. This will be achieved through in-class discussion, practical writing exercises, peer work and drafting and editing.  Academic and contemporary issues will be addressed. Particular areas of interest will be the influence of technology on our lives and contemporary socio-economic issues. The course will also involve analysis of ethical questions in which strong argumentative skills are required.



Write grammatically and idiomatically correct sentences and develop structural sophistication to an appropriate level to deal with the growing complexity of subject matter.

Read to understand increasingly more advanced, challenging material

Read and think critically to assess viewpoint, bias, authority.


Expand vocabulary through reading and writing

Develop subject specific terminology through reading and writing



Audience, Tone and Purpose: Who am I writing for, how am I writing, why am I writing?

Write effective paragraphs and essays

Understand the introduction-body-conclusion structure

Write a strong thesis statement

Develop topic sentences and supporting arguments

Understand how to recognize and utilize rhetorical modes: chronological development; cause/effect; comparison/contrast;

Summarize and Paraphrase

Utilize transition signals and other cohesive strategies to improve flow and conciseness 

Write a fully develpoed argumentative essay



Research and sourcing

Be familiar with research skills including:

Understanding databases, web-based sourcing, and source evaluation

Utilizing MLA format to cite sources

Understanding plagiarism and avoiding it.

In-class and at-home essaysEssays of between 4 and 7 fully developed paragraphs30%
Mid-term examHand-written in-class essay with a 75 word outline20
Final examHand-written, in-class, argumentative essay (with a 75 word outline).30
Homework 20

A:Work of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of genuine novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course. There are no grammatical or structural errors of any significance for this level. (90-92 = A-; 93-100 = A)
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised. There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluate theory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are supported to some extent by other sources when required. The student has read quite widely and errors are few and not impeding. (80-82 = B-; 83-86 = B; 87-89 = B+)
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings. There may still be some impeding grammatical errors or errors which persist, including inappropriate word choice. At C- level, mechanics are frequently not under control and/or the student has not fully engaged with the topic. (70-72 = C-; 73-76 = C; 77-79 = C+)
DAt the higher end of this category there may be work which, were it not for the frequency of errors, could have obtained a C grade for content. At the lower end, the level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material. Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included. In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail. Frequent grammatical errors, often basic, will impede readability. Sentence structure not always under control. (60-62 = D-; 63-66 = D; 67-69 = D+)
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.


Attendance is compulsory for this course. Any student who misses more than three lessons without having medical certification which has been validated by the relevant university authorities may risk failing the course. For obvious reasons of academic seriousness, clasess begin punctually and a student who is not present when the roll is called will be considered late. Two lates constitute an absence. In the event of their absence, students are responsible for finding out what has been covered in class and set for homework, first by checking MyJCU or by contacting the professor or other students on the day of absence.

Submitting Coursework


Students will submit hard copies of coursework and homework on the due date as well as electronic copies via Turnitin UK in the case of at-home essays or when required. Late work will be penalized by a reduction of half a grade for each late day. The granting of essay extensions is at the instructor's discretion. In the event of absence, the student is responsible for getting the hard copy to the instructor via a classmate on the day of absence. If this is impossible, students must send an electronic version via Turnitin UK before class. Late submission will result in grade reduction and assignments will no longer be accepted if more than one week late.

Students who miss class when an assignment is given must contact the instructor promptly (on the same day) to find out what the question is and what the required readings are.

As the final coursework grade will be an average, it is very important not to miss an essay as this will have a very significant effect on the final average score.


As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.





Possible Themes

(schedule is subject to change)

In Class Activity


(lesson 1)

Orientation and Intro.

The Book for the course 'Writing Academic English' 5th Ed. 'Essays to Research Papers' (ISBN 
0-13-291274-7) is available at the Almost Corner Bookshop, via del Moro, 5mins walk from Guarini.

Write about you and English

Discuss syllabus, book, writing program, academic honesty and plagiarism.

In-class writing

Peer editing and feedback

Intro to process writing approach and the paragraph as a 'building block'.

Study for quiz



Describing and explaining things and concepts

Quiz and correction

Pre-writing strategies

Organising Ideas for a paragraph

Sentence problems and review

Basic MLA layout – double spacing, 12pt, Times New Roman, indenting paragraphs, margins

Exercises or writing Task


Technology and You - trends in use of technology

Unity and Coherence

Staying on the topic

Key nouns – achieving balance

Typical problems – plurals, subject verb agreement, articles

Transition signals – addition, contrast, cause and effect etc.

Exercises or writing task


 Architecture and our Environment

Clauses – dependent and independent

Developing more complex sentences

Punctuation issues

Writing practice

(lesson 5)

Typical composition errors

Corrections and exercises

Exercises or writing task

Food, fashions, fads

Supporting Details: Fact versus opinion

Using support to strengthen your point – examples, extended examples, figures, quotations

Sources and plagiarism

Reporting verbs and structures

Sequence of tenses

More punctuation

Exercises or writing task

Contemporary Issues - e.g Drugs, Homelessness, Immigration

Using statistics

Verb structures

Conferencing and discussion


Exercises or writing task

Make an error log

Peer reviewing

From paragraph to essay

Intro, body, conclusion

Thesis statement

Types of organisation – logical division

Exercises or writing task

Types of introductions

Grabbing attention, making it interesting

Linking within and between paragraphs

Prewriting and outlining

Prepare an outline


Feedback on outline

Drafting from an outline

Peer editing

In class discussion

Free-writing on the theme

Exercises or writing task


Review of concepts so far

Exercises or writing task

A traditional Recipe or a Process

Processes and chronological order

Forming thesis statements

In class workshopping

Exercises or writing task


Improving flow with transition signals

Workshopping ideas and peer editing

Exercises or writing task

Review and practice

Exercises or writing task

Why do things happen?


Cause and Effect

Class discussions


Exercises or writing task

Midterm warnings

Peer editing


Exercises or writing task

Moral issues and Thorny questions

Comparison and Contrast

Discussion and idea generation

Organization strategies: block/point by point

Preparing an outline

Exercises or writing task

In- class essay

Exercises or writing task

Contemporary Issues

Summary and Paraphrase

Using other people’s arguments to strengthen yours

Avoiding plagiarism

Exercises or writing task

Using sources and integrating them correctly

Quotations – direct and in direct

Punctuation issues

MLA conventions

Exercises or writing task

International Controversies, Scientific Advances

Argumentative Essays

Classic argument structure

Debate as way of generating ideas

Thesis statement

Exercises or writing task

Subordination structures (although, despite etc.)

Anticipating and rebutting opposing views

In class practice

Exercises or writing task

Preparing an outline

Review of grammar issues


(lesson 25)


Intro to some types of argumentative models

Exercises or writing task

A video on how to argue

Exercises or writing task

Feedback and peer review

Introduction of exam topic

Exercises or writing task

Wrap up class

Revision and exam planning


Final Exam