4. Overview

This course will focus on essay writing, including such issues as development using specific support, coherence (making sure everything supports a thesis) organizational skills and correct grammatical form. It is an overview of the writing process –¬†how you get from an idea to a complete, thorough essay. It will also include a detailed look at researched writing: how to find sources, cite sources and incorporate sources into text.

You will receive instruction and practice in writing a variety of essays, including argument, narrative, process and classification. You will also work on writing in-class, in a time-controlled setting. The ultimate goal for all of you is to do well in the final timed-writing, which is an essay evaluated by the English Department at the end of the semester. You have to do well with this assignment to do well with the course. We will spend a lot of time working on the timed-writing.

As you plan, draft and polish your writings, you will work with me and your classmates to identify the most effective content, style, tone and design for each assignment you are working on. We will constantly analyze your writing from both the writer’s and the reader’s perspective, and we will emphasize a simplistic approach to writing rather than a complicated style. Modern writing demands that readers understand what you are trying to say without difficulty and without using a lot of time.

You will write eight essays for this class. At least one (the final argumentative paper) will include a research requirement, which we will discuss thoroughly over the next several weeks. Research is an important tool in many venues, both within and outside school. I want you to be able to use research to grow, to learn and to succeed. Although it is required for only one essay, you may learn that it is valuable for many essays.

We will also spend some time on different grammatical issues. I don’t like to focus on a lot of specific grammar rules. I like to concentrate on those that students are having trouble with. But there are some basics in word choice, sentence patterns and paragraph development that I would like to cover and share with you. There will be some “quizzes” on such grammatical issues as complete sentences, comma usage and plural/possessives.

During the next 15 weeks, you will become a strong student writer. It will benefit you in your education and career goals. I really do believe that learning to communicate via the written word will always be important, made even more so with the expanded use of computers and on-line communication. I hope my experience in school and the business/professional world will be a benefit for you. If you have any questions or concerns, never be afraid to ask or bring them up. Let’s all enjoy the semester together.