WRTG101 Syllabus

WRTG101 Syllabus
University of Maryland University College

WRTG101 Syllabus

Term 2138
Course Title Introduction to Writing
Class Section C851
Start and End Date Sep-16-2013  to  Nov-17-2013
Education Center Online via the Web
Faculty Member Diane Yule - diane.yule@faculty.umuc.edu

Faculty Contact Information:

Diane Yule - Diane.Yule@faculty.umuc.edu

Course Materials:

Title: Steps to Writing Well (ISE)
Author: Wyrick
Edition: 12
Copyright: 2014
Publisher: Cengage Learning Intl
ISBN: 9781133955184

For textbooks, visit the webText nearest your location:
webText Asia https://webtext.asia.umuc.edu.
webText Europe https://webtext.europe.umuc.edu.

Course Description:

(Formerly ENGL 101.) Prerequisite: Satisfactory performance on a placement test or EDCP 103. The course practices effective writing and clear thinking at all levels, including the sentence and paragraph, with emphasis on the essay and research report. The objective is to apply specific steps within the writing process, including formulating purpose, identifying an audience, and selecting and using research resources and methods of development. Revision and recursive writing practice are emphasized and encouraged. Assignments include comparison-contrast and research essays, as well as other rhetorical tasks. Students may receive credit for only one of the following courses: ENGL 101, ENGL 101X, WRTG 101, or WRTG 101X.

Course Outcomes:

After completing this course, you should be able to

1. apply the writing process to develop essays, using various rhetorical patterns in order to inform and persuade an audience

2. construct unified, coherent, and well-supported paragraphs, using principles of persuasion and exposition

3. demonstrate accurate grammar and mechanics in writing

4. analyze source material in order to integrate valid and reliable sources, using accepted documentation style

Course Introduction:

A very warm welcome to Writing 101! The skills you will develop in this class will be of enormous benefit to you in both your professional and academic lives. You will be able to apply what you have learned to a myriad of different situations both in and out of the workplace. In this world of ever increasing communication, good writing skills will set you apart from the next guy or gal. These skills can expand your choices and opportunities and maybe help clinch that promotion. What I’m really saying is that this course should not be viewed as a mandatory, eight week pain in the neck which, when ended, is immediately forgotten.

During the course you will write four essays, each focusing on the various writing techniques of narrative, exposition and argumentation. Your work this semester will culminate in a research-supported essay that combines these modes of writing. Research-supported writing gives you practice in gathering, evaluating, integrating and documenting sources of evidence to support your own ideas.

Don’t be daunted by the thought of taking a writing class. The textbook we will be using is excellent; one of the best I have ever worked with. I hope you find it informative, interesting, engaging and fun (yes, fun!). I am a great believer in making the learning experience something to be enjoyed, not endured.

This is a fast paced course and you will hit the ground running. You will run slowly at first but I will run every step of the way with you. The more energy and commitment you put into the class, the more benefits you will receive from it.

Grading Information and Criteria:

On this course you can earn up to 1,000 points. Your final point/grade will break down as follows:

900 – 1,000 A

800 – 899 B

700 – 799 C

600 – 699 D

Below 600 F

Your final grade on this course will be based on the following criteria:

Descriptive/Narrative Essay: 100 points (10%)

Expository Essay: 200 points (20%)

Argumentative/Persuasive Essay: 200 points (20%)

Research Paper: 300 points (30%)

Discussion, Exercises, Participation: 200 points (20%)

Grading Criteria:

Grading will be criterion-referenced in accord with the UMUC Guide to Writing and Research, Chapter 7 "Assessing Your Writing," Section "How Is Writing Graded?" You can access the guide through the UMUC Library Homepage:

"An A paper is characterized by outstanding informative writing marked by superior readability and competent handling of content. These traits are demonstrated in the following ways: "The substance and organization follow a clear, logical sequence that makes the information easily accessible to the reader. The purpose is clearly expressed, and the selected details of the assignment reflect this purpose. The audience is accommodated throughout the assignment as reflected in effective communication and style. Words are chosen and sentences are constructed to make the information understandable. The grammar, mechanics, and format are flawless.

"A B paper is characterized by distinguished writing that successfully fulfills the requirements but contains one of the following weaknesses: "Although the writing is essentially well organized, the audience analysis, the statement of purpose, or the handling of the content is flawed. Although sentences are grammatically correct, their structure or length or both sometimes cause readers to work unnecessarily hard. Ambiguous or vague wording hinders precise communication. A small lapse in audience accommodation causes reader distraction. Grammar, mechanics, and format flaws interfere with reading and comprehension.

"A C paper is characterized by satisfactory writing that is generally effective but contains any one of the following weaknesses: "Although satisfactorily written, the body of the assignment is not clearly organized, or some material is not clearly explained; the audience and purpose are not clear. Sentences, although they are grammatically correct, often make information difficult to extract; editing key words or converting nouns to verbs could solve such problems. Wording interferes with readability, but the reader can still glean the meaning; rereading is often required. Repeated grammar, mechanics, or format errors mar the paper.

"A D paper struggles to communicate information and contains weak writing. In a professional working environment, such writing would be considered incompetent because it suffers from any one of the following problems: "Any two of the problems listed under a C paper. Minimal evidence of audience accommodation. Serious wording problems, such as garbled wording gives the reader repeated and serious difficulties in understanding. Serious sentence problems, such as run-on sentences and comma splices, damage the readability. Grammar, spelling, or format problems create frequent obstacles to understanding.

"A failing grade on a writing assignment usually means that your paper contains any two problems from the list for a D paper."

Other Information:

Weekly Conferences

Every week I will post a new set of topics in the Conference center that are typically made up of one or more main topics. You will be asked to read, research and/or react to them. The conference topics will often require you to submit a brief written response.

Discussion questions and exercises are outlined every week in the conferences. These include grammar and prewriting activities, and discussions on assigned readings.


It is very important that you participate strongly in the course conferences. 20% of your final grade rests on the quality and quantity of your participation. In distance education, it is vitally important to connect with your peers by initiating your own conversations, responding to their posts, and giving support and constructive criticism. It is a win/win situation; this interaction will not only help to improve your classmates’ writing skills, but also your own. The more energy and commitment you put into the conferences, the more you will benefit. It is also a lot of fun.

As we are in a cyber classroom and not meeting in a traditional classroom on a regular basis, it is very important that you log onto the Conference center several times each week. You must then read and respond to the various questions, topics, comments and assignments. As I have previously stated, strong participation accounts for up to 20% of your final grade.

Accepting Assignments

For all assignments (except conference responses), it is very important that you include the following in the top right hand corner of your paper: name, date, and title of assignment.

Deadlines: Please ensure all assignments are in on the due date indicated. This is a fast paced class and if you fall behind, it may be difficult for you to catch up. Also, it is unfair to your classmates if they submit on time and you don’t. Therefore, a half grade per day for submission of work after the deadline will be deducted from your assignment score. If you have genuine problems about submitting work on time such as illness or a sudden TDY, please let me know as soon as possible and we can work around it.

Submitting Assignments

Assignments are to be submitted electronically to your assignment folder using the Submit Assignment option on the class main menu. Microsoft Word is the preferred format, but you can use WT's text editing feature. In which case write your paper offline and cut and paste it directly into the block. You can also save the paper as an RFT (Rich-text Format) document (you see this option when you hit "Save As" -- in the bottom "Save as Type" box, choose "Rich-text Format").

Please keep a copy of all your papers (which you should have if you work offline), both the originals and graded copies.

Project Descriptions:

You have four essays to write during the course of the semester: 

1. Narrative essay: An essay of at least 500 words that incorporates writing in a personal, descriptive, and narrative style.

This assignment is an opportunity for you to tell a good story (a narrative) that is full of interesting details (description). This could be a situation or event that changed your life or left a lasting impression on you. It could be happy, sad, wonderful, frightening, exhilarating – the choice is yours. Your narrative could be from a real life situation or from your own imagination – let it run riot!

2. Causal analysis or other type of expository essay: An essay of at least 1000 words that explains and/or analyzes information. While the primary purpose is to convey information rather than persuade, expository essays will include a thesis and organized support.

This assignment is an opportunity for you to write about a subject using one of several rhetorical styles. These include classification, comparison and contrast, cause and effect, and process.

There are endless examples you could use for the classification model. You might write about different classes of motor bikes, painting styles, butterflies, movies, computers … the list is endless!

For the comparison/contrast model there is also an endless list of subject matter. You could compare and contrast downhill skiing and cross country skiing; Indian and Chinese cuisine; football and rugby; or, perhaps two cities, Paris and Rome.

In a cause and effect essay you could explore the cause of the Second World War, poverty in any given third world country, the Great Depression, or apartheid in South Africa. Again, there is an enormous choice of topic.

In a process paper you could discuss how to prepare your favorite recipe, how to make a quilt, how to physically prepare for a rigorous sporting event, or how to give a room a makeover on very little money. Again, the possibilities are endless.

3. Persuasive essay: An essay of at least 1000 words that presents a logical argument with supporting evidence in order to persuade readers to accept a view or a course of action. 

This is an opportunity for you to take a position on a current event or issue and then develop a logical argument backed up by credible sources and evidence in order to convince readers to accept your point of view or course of action. Topics here could include legalizing marijuana, reducing the alcohol drinking age to 18, women in frontline military positions, or gun laws.

4. Research-supported essay: An essay of at least 2,000 words that uses more than one of the preceding types of writing to examine a subject, incorporates research findings into an effective argument, and includes appropriate citation and documentation.

In this paper you will write on a subject or topic that incorporates multiple sources. The subject can be in the field of literature, politics, sports, science, medicine, or technology; the choices are many.

Academic Policies:

For UMUC policies on Academic Integrity, Student Conduct, Grades of Incomplete, Withdrawals, Grade Appeals, Non-discrimination, Services to Disabled Students, Services to Veterans, and other policies relevant to studying with UMUC, please see the UMUC Online Policy Manual.

Course Schedule:

Week 1 - 16-22 September

Overview of the writing process 

Techniques for avoiding plagiarism 

Prewriting, Thesis Statements and Narrative Essays

Introduction to Assignment One: The Narrative Essay 

Introduction to audience, analysis and purpose 

Reading: Chapters 1, 2, and 12

Week 2 - 23-29 September

What is an essay? The Paragraph /Achieving Style 

The Discovery Draft 

Reading: Chapters 3 and 4 

Writing: First complete draft of Assignment 1 

Revision Workshop I 

Writing: Final draft, Assignment

Week 3 - 30 September-6 October

Leads Workshop 



Reading: Chapters 5, 6, and 9 

Writing: Assignment 2 - Expository Essay begins 

Qualities of Good Writing 

Writing: Draft I, Assignment 2

Week 4 - 7-13 October

The Art of Revision 

Revision Workshop II 

Grammar Fundamentals: Using our Handbook 

Reading: Chapters 7, 8, and 10 

Writing: Final draft, Assignment 2

Break - 14-20 October

Week 5 - 21-27 October

Midterm reflection 

Introduction to Source Documentation: MLA 

Introduction to Research. 
Introduction to Essay Assignment 3 - Argumentative/Persuasive Essay Introduction to the research-supported paper (Assignment 4) 

Reading: Chapters 11, 13, and 14 

Writing: First draft, Assignment 3

Week 6 - 28 October-3 November

Revision Workshop III 

Finding the Research Question 

The Research Process 

Reading: Chapters 16 and 17 (Literature and Art) 

Writing: Final draft, Assignment 3 

Writing: One-page research proposal (Assignment 4)

Week 7 - 4-10 November

Writing the Research-supported Essay cont. 

Reading: Chapter 18 (Film) 

Writing: First draft of the Research Essay - Assignment 4 

Revision Workshop IV

Week 8 - 11-17 November

Writing: Final Research Essay due 

*Reading assignments may vary slightly. Up-to-date reading assignments as well as exact deadlines for papers will be announced in class.

Faculty Bio:

Diane Yule holds a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and an M.A. in the same subject from The Open University, the leading distance-learning facility in the United Kingdom. Her master's thesis adopts Gender and Feminist theories to explore the concepts of 'male' and 'female' space and the gendered 'gaze' in the works of the eighteenth-century English novelists Samuel Richardson and Frances Burney.

A holder of both a Certificate and Diploma in English Language Teaching, Diane has taught in some of the most renowned English Language Colleges in the United Kingdom. These include Cambridge Academy of English and The Bell School. She has also taught in Russia, in schools and colleges in both Moscow and Siberia. As well as adults, she has also taught children and teenagers. These experiences have highlighted both the importance of engaging students and making the learning experience relevant and dynamic.

Having achieved her master's degree through distance-learning, Diane is aware of and sympathetic to the demands of self-discipline and self-motivation and also the occasional frustrations which students experience in the virtual classroom.

As the proposed subject of a future Ph.D dissertation, she is researching the works of Mona Caird, a fin-de-siecle feminist writer, whose novels explore the role of marriage in controlling women's lives at the end of the nineteenth century.

Diane currently works as a freelance English language teacher in the Stuttgart area where she lives with her husband, John, and their Golden Retriever, Toby.

Last updated by Diane Yule: September 2, 2013, 4:48 pm
Find this syllabus linked from the schedule at:
Asia: http://webapps.umuc.edu/soc/asia.cfm
Europe: http://webapps.umuc.edu/soc/europe.cfm