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

INSTRUCTOR: Fenella Joan Collins Smith
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 8:30 AM 9:45 AM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: Placement via JCU English Composition Placement Exam

This course concentrates on the development of effective paragraph writing in essays while introducing 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. Students must receive a grade of C or above in this course to be eligible to take EN 110. Individual students in EN 105 may be required to complete additional hours in the English Writing Center as part of their course requirements.

The emphasis of this course is more focused on critical thinking and logical analysis employed in reading texts, and planning and writing your own. It will involve reading a variety of essays and articles in order to deconstruct the elements and stimulate our own writing skills. There will be a prevalence of writing activities, peer reviews and workshops aimed at skills development. Structural and grammatical issues will be dealt with on an ad hoc basis.


This will be done through:

  • An analysis and practice of building a variety of paragraph structures to form a range of essay types

  • Looking at the 5 stages of the writing processplanning, drafting, revising, editing and proofreading

  • Developing an understanding of research techniques and sources, as well as correctly citing sources

  • Discovering how to effectively formulate and develop ideas, using appropriate rhetorical modes, while employing relevant appeals to the reader

  • Working on the clarity of writing through; the use of appropriate language, the balancing of ideas, and useful transitional words and expressions

  • Understanding the pitfalls to avoid in English writing, and typical mistakes to be aware of


All of this will be realized through:

  • analytical exercises carried out through pair-worksmall groups and plenary feedback

  • interactive workshop activities

  • practical writing sessions

  • Peer review sessions

  • Assessed and non-assessed essay writing


This course focuses on:

  • Planning and writing essays

  • Understanding of and developing the Introduction/Main body/Conclusion structured essay

  • Critical thinking employing sound deductive and inductive logic

  • Understanding logical fallacies

  • Critical reading and analytical skills

At the end of the course, the student will be able to

Understand rhetoric and write:

  • grammatically & idiomatically correct sentences

  • a strong Thesis Statement

  • Topic Sentence & supporting arguments

  • a detailed outline

  • cohesive paragraphs using a variety of rhetorical modes

  • developed argumentative, persuasive and analytical essays

  • critical summaries

  • and, plan and write an essay following all the 5 stages: planning, drafting, revising, editing and proofreading

Read critically:

  • critically analyse viewpoints in a text

  • understand challenging materials

  • and annotate texts

Grammar issues will be dealt with on an ad hoc basis:

Develop advanced academic vocabulary:

  • use correct and appropriate vocabulary in academic register

  • subject specific terminology

  • transitioning words and expressions

  • using techniques to expand your vocabulary

Research sources:

  • evaluating sources

  • using databases

  • web-based sources

  • basic library tools

  • MLA format for correct citing of sources

  • avoiding plagiarism


In-Class Essays (2)Two In-Class Essays (1 hour 15 minutes) that will test your ability to plan and write an essay under timed conditions. Focus will be on paragraph structure and unity of sentences.20
At-Home Essays Two at-home essays that will test your ability to plan and write a response to the essay question, using synthesised sources to support your argument. 1200-1500 words. MLA 9th edition (in-text citations and works cited) required.30
Final Exam Final exam that will test your knowledge on all composition matters covered over the course.20
Final Essay Research essay of choice that will test your ability to think critically on a given topic, using sources to support/refute your argument. 1500-2000 words with MLA 9th edition referencing30

AWork 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.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
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.
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.
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.

You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed. The final exam period runs until ____________
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.


Introductions / Syllabus / Academic Honesty / Deadlines & Assessment / Study Techniques Peer Editing / Writing – Product v Process Writing / Graphic Organizers / Summarizing

The Paragraph – Structure / Topic Sentence & Supporting Sentences / Supporting Details / Fact v Opinion / The Concluding Sentence 

The Paragraph –Unity & Coherence / Staying on topic / Logical Order / Transitions / Key Nouns / Pronoun consistency

From Paragraph to Essay – 3-Part Structure / Introduction / Thesis Statement / Main Body / Conclusion / Transitions / Logical Division 

The Writing Process - 2. Drafting your Essay

Research & Sources – Reliable, Primary & Secondary / Using the Library / MLA Formatting / Citations. The Writing Process 5 Stages – 1. Planning – two Phases, many Stages

Quotations & Citations / Plagiarism / Summarizing & Paraphrasing

Assignment 1

The Writing Process 5 Stages – ‘Rewriting’ - Revising / Editing / Proofreading

Rhetorical Modes – Process Essays / Organization / Key lexis / Revising your Essay

Rhetorical Modes – Comparison & Contrast Essays – Patterns (Point-by-point v Block)

Signal Words (Comparison/Contrast/Concession)

Assignment 2

The Sentence – Elements of a sentence / types of Sentence / Transitions Conjunctions / Punctuation / Parallelism

Sentence Problems – Run on sentences / Comma Splices / Wordy / Stringy & Choppy Sentences

Assignment 3

Rhetorical Modes – Cause & Effect Essays - Structures (Block or chain) / Key Lexis / Transitions / Proofreading your Essay

Assignment 4

Academic Language – Elements of good style / Being Concise / Tips for Clearer Expression

Rhetorical Modes – Argumentative Essays – Elements of Argument – Being Persuasive / Thesis Statement / Key Lexis / Transitions

Reasoning – Inductive v Deductive / Appeals – Ethos, Logos & Pathos / Logical Fallacies

Assignment 4

Final Exam