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COURSE NAME: "Intensive English Composition"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2023

INSTRUCTOR: Anthony Jennings
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MTWTH 6:00 PM 7:15 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 begins with a discussion of why we write, what constitutes effective writing, and what we can gain from writing well. The concept, purpose and form of the ‘academic essay’ will be examined, alongside other types of written discourse. The focus will be on developing a critical mindset in order to question unexamined orthodoxies and develop participants’ individual voices, while enabling them to adapt their writing to the requirements of different communicative situations.

As the semester progresses, students will produce a number of writing assignments, principally short narrative, descriptive and opinion pieces (approximately 500 words). By the end of the course, participants should be able to present a convincingly argued viewpoint in a short essay.

Regular exercises will focus as needed on grammar, punctuation, spelling, register and cohesion. Participants will also learn how to cite sources correctly, and master basic formatting for electronic text documents.

Essays written in class and for homework will be reviewed by peers.


Students who successfully complete EN103 (with a grade of C or higher) should be able to

write clear, concise and correct English prose, avoiding excessive repetition and using a wide lexical range with a sensitivity to collocation

distinguish spoken and written registers, and write in a semi-formal academic register

comprehend and summarise increasingly complex material

develop an arguable thesis on a topic

evaluate evidence for and against a thesis

construct an essay outline in order to structure a complex argument effectively 

write a strong thesis statement

construct topic sentences and supporting arguments

utilize transition signals and connectors to assist the reader in following an argument

research a topic in order to develop a thesis and support it with authoritative evidence

avoid plagiarism and cite sources correctly


In-class writing assignmentsthree in-class essays30%
At-home writing assignmentstwo at-home essays20%
Final exam2-hour writing assignment20%
In-class teststwo in-class grammar, reading and use of English tests20%
Class participationAttendance, punctuality, contributions to class activities10%

AA 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 novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course. (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 not simply a repetition of standard lecture and reference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments. (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. (70-72 = C-; 73-76 = C; 77-79 = C+)
DThis 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. (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. (<60) Each assignment handed in late will be capped at 75%. It is the student's responsibility to approach the instructor to schedule a makeup for any missed in-class work within one week of the missed work.


Attendance is compulsory for this course. In cases of unavoidable absence, it is the student’s responsibility to find out what was missed and to come to the next class fully prepared. The final exam period runs until the end of the week after the last day of class.

Late submission will result in grade reduction and assignments will no longer be accepted if more than one week late.

Repeated absences will lead to a lower grade. Three late arrivals will be counted as one absence. At five absences, the student will be asked to drop the course. 

In the case of illness, a doctor’s note is required or the absence is unexcused. If you are seriously ill and will be out for more than one class, please contact the professor via email.


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.


Please note that the schedule is tentative and subject to change. There will be numerous readings assigned throughout the semester both in and out of class, each connected to the topic for that week. Moodle much better reflects the definitive schedule for this class each semester.

  •  Week 1: Introductions and the syllabus; mutual expectations; assessment criteria; academic honesty, turnitin.uk, Writing Center
  •  Week 2: Developing and exploring your own ideas; originality, plagiarism and cliché
  •  Weeks 3-13: A total of six topics will be chosen with the class for discussion, debate and ultimately as the subject of a writing assignment. Topics may include films, music, topical events and controversies, or other issues of shared interest. Essay types may include fictional or factual narrative, summary, analysis, opinion and argument.
  •  Week 14: Final Exam discussion and preparation