ENGL 112 (3 cr): Strategies for University Writing

ENGL 112

Course Overview

English 112 is designed to introduce you to the conventions of academic writing and develop your ability to do the following:

  • read and write attentively and critically
  • develop a process for dealing with the sorts of written assignments encountered in undergraduate coursework
  • recognize and employ academic discourse
  • summarize an academic argument/article
  • develop a critical response to an academic argument/article
  • develop and support a reasonable argumentative position
  • construct a research-based essay through a process which comprises developing a topic, performing research, drafting, editing and revising

English 112 is not simply a composition course, nor is it designed to provide remedial instruction for students who are not good writers. We assume that you know how to write and that you have experience with many styles of written communication. But you are unlikely to have spent time studying the conventions of university-level writing, or to have been provided with opportunities to practice reading, responding to and producing this type of writing, or discourse.

Calendar Description of English 112

Through the study and application of the principles of university-level discourse and with emphasis on expository and persuasive writing, this course will introduce students to critical reading and university-level writing. Through readings, exercises and writing assignments, students will learn to recognize and apply rhetorical principles and strategies central to university-level discourse. Students will examine methods for discovering and arranging ideas, and they will consider ways in which style is determined by the rhetorical situation. Reading and writing assignments will require students to study, analyze, and apply principles of exposition and persuasion.

Course Format

This 13 week course is divided into four Units, and each Unit is subdivided into Weeks and individual Lessons. Each Week includes 2-3 Lessons. You must work through each Unit, Week and Lesson sequentially.

At the beginning of each Unit, you will find a list of objectives, readings and assignments. An Introduction and Summary of each Unit is also provided. Weeks begin with an Introduction, followed by individual Lessons, each with an Overview and Conclusion. Here’s what the format looks like: I. Unit a) Week (i) Lesson. Each Lesson involves specific readings and activities.

You should expect to spend approximately 10 hours a week on this course. This includes reading, responding, collaborating with other students, carrying out research, and writing. You will find that the pace of an online course is similar to that of a classroom course; you cannot choose your own pace, and will have to develop the habit of checking the Vista site at least every weekday, and meeting not only assignment but also participation deadlines. You are expected to manage your time accordingly. If you notice that an assignment due date is at a busy time (e.g., during midterm exams), you should start working on the assignment in advance.

Course Requirements

You will be required to complete a range of activities in English 112. These include:

  • assigned readings on the nature of university writing and the skills involved in writing an effective academic essay
  • the study of a selection of formal essays
  • an online Response Journal (including informal responses to readings, study questions and exercises)
  • participation in an online discussion forum
  • independent library research (this may be completed online, using the library databases)
  • five written assignments (including a major research paper)
  • a 3 hour final examination.

Graded Assignments:

  • Summary – Unit #1: Week 3 – 10%
  • Research Proposal/Annotated Bibliography – Unit #2: Week 5 – 10%
  • Research Essay Progress Report – Units #3 & 4 – 5%
  • Analysis – Unit #3: Week 9 – 15%
  • Formal Research Paper – Unit #4: Week 13 – 20%
  • Participation (ongoing) – 10%
  • Final Examination (invigilated) – 30%

There is at least one assignment due during each of the four units.

All assignments are to be submitted to the appropriate Assignment Dropbox before or on the due date noted on the course schedule.

There will be late penalties for overdue assignments (2% per day late). Assignments more than one month late will not be accepted and a score of zero will be assigned.

Final Examination:

The 3 hour final examination (which follows a common format for all sections of English 112, and will take place during the formal examination session) comprises 30% of the total mark and consists of two sections. The examination will test critical reading and composition skills; you will be asked to write two clear, coherent, well-developed essays: one summarizing a passage of university-level prose, and one responding to a question requiring analysis of that passage or development of a reasonable argument on a topic of general interest.

Course Readings


Faigley, Lester, Roger Graves and Heather Graves. The Brief Penguin Handbook. Canadian Edition. Toronto: Pearson, 2006.

The Brief Penguin Handbook will serve as a resource, providing you with information about MLA format, research techniques, essay writing and points of grammar. You may be directed to specific usage and grammar sections in response to errors in your written work.

Roberts, Tammy, et al, eds. The Broadview Anthology of Expository Prose. Peterborough, Ont: Broadview, 2002.

The Broadview Anthology of Expository Prose will provide a variety of essays, both academic and non-academic, from various periods and genres. You will engage with the ideas and issues in these pieces, and analyze the rhetorical and argumentative strategies employed by the writers.

You will be required to read the following essays in this anthology:

  • Milgram, Stanley. “Behavioral Study of Obedience.” 151-62.
  • Gould, Stephen Jay. “Entropic Homogeneity Isn’t Why No One Hits .400 Anymore.” 367-83.
  • Singer, Peter. “Speciesism.” 277-82.
  • Harris, Judith. “Where is the Child’s Environment? A Group Socialization Theory of Development.” 546-63.
  • Martin, Emily. “The Egg and the Sperm: How Science has Constructed a Romance Based on Stereotypical Male-Female Roles.” 423-40.
  • Klein, Naomi. “The Swoosh.” 611-24.
  • Gourevitch, Philip. “We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families.” 574-81.
  • wa Thiong’o, Ngugi. “Decolonising the Mind.” 384-92.
  • Hurka, Thomas. “Philosophy, Morality, and The English Patient.” 539-44.
  • Barthes, Roland. “The World of Wrestling.” 219-28.
  • Franklin, Ursula. “Silence and the Notion of the Commons.” 443-49.

Custom Course Package Readings:

Giltrow, Janet et al. Chapters 1-2. Academic Writing: An Introduction. Peterborough, Ont: Broadview, 2005. 1-25.
Behrens, Laurence et al. Chapters 2 & 5. Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum. Canadian Edition. Reading, MA: Longman, 2003. 15-32; 82-100.
Graff, Gerald. “Hidden Intellectualism.” They Say/I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. New York: Norton, 2006. 142-8.

Online Reading:
Aristotle, Rhetoric, Book I—Chapter 2 (http://www.public.iastate.edu/~honeyl/Rhetoric/rhet1-2.html).

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