Basic Writing Syllabus
This course teaches basic writing conventions for crafting effective sentences, paragraphs, and short essays. It is recommended for individuals who do not feel prepared for the required English Foundations writing course, FDENG 101. While this course counts as three elective credits, it does NOT fulfill the university Foundations writing requirement.
In this course you will learn to do the following:
- Think, speak, and write critically about meaningful topics that affect your life.
- Discover truth, beauty, and enjoyment through writing.
- Share your thoughts and writings with fellow classmates, thus creating a real sense of audience (and community) while developing interpersonal skills.
- Analyze examples of effective and ineffective writing in order to emulate what works and avoid what doesn't work.
- Understand how audience and purpose guides style, content, and organization in writing.
- Generate a thesis and organize relevant support using rhetorical strategies appropriate for the context.
- Use principles of freewriting, drafting, revision, and editing to achieve polished prose.
- Identify and correct common sentence level errors.
This course will span fourteen weeks with an introductory week at the beginning and a conclusion week at the end. The BYU-Idaho Learning Model, including Teach One Another activities, are integral to each week. There are three main units of study: Writing Effective Sentences and Paragraphs, Writing the Persuasive Essay, and Writing the Personal Essay. There are consistent due dates, and accountability reports are due each week. Failure to complete assignments and activities by their due date will significantly affect your final grade.
BYU-I online courses are designed with 3–4 hours of activities weekly for each academic credit received. Therefore, you will need to be able to devote at least 9–12 hours each week to this course in order to do well. If you know you will not be able to devote this much time to the class this semester, please consider taking the course at another time when you can make such a commitment.
Teach One Another is a vital part of the BYU-I Learning Model, and BYU-I online courses are not exempt. Teaching others what you have learned helps you to understand and remember ideas/concepts/insights much better. Additionally, learning to have your views challenged and improved through the perspective of others is an important way to improve. If you take advantage of the various opportunities within this course to strengthen your ability to write well and increase your understanding of English, you will find that the insights and skills you acquire will be useful long after you have finished the course.
Besides the introductory and concluding weeks, the course consists of three units.
Weeks 2–7 (Writing Effective Sentences and Paragraphs) focus on writing effective sentences and paragraphs to express yourself clearly and concisely. The writing assignments will allow you to practice the writing and grammar skills highlighted in each week and demonstrate your understanding of them.
Weeks 8–10 (Writing the Persuasive Essay) focus on persuasion, but rather than just taking a stand on an issue you will propose a solution to the problem you are addressing. The culminating assignment for this unit is a 2–3 page persuasive essay paper. An explanatory essay assignment will help you develop this paper.
Weeks 11–13 (Writing the Personal Essay) shift the focus to writing about personal experiences and beliefs. The culminating assignment for this unit is a 2–3 page personal narrative essay. To practice for this paper, in Unit 1 you will complete two shorter assignments that focus on personal experience.
Assignment Due Dates
In order to allow students around the world to use the weekend to study while still honoring the Sabbath Day, the end-of-week assignment deadline has been set to end-of-week. Therefore, unless otherwise noted, due dates in this course have been set for midweek and end-of-week. Please refer to the Calendar to see the due dates/times for each assignment. Please be aware that because this course is available to students all over the world, the exact time that assignments are due is dependent upon your timezone.
- Will open near the end of the previous week in order to accommodate students who want to get started early.
- Includes the following due dates:
- Midweek - Study materials, quizzes, class discussions (initial posts), writing skills tutorials and essay drafts.
- End-of-Week - Class discussions (response posts), essay finals, and accountability quizzes.
- Accountability quizzes open around midweek of the week in which it is due.
Grammar Study Materials
(Due Midweek and End-of-Week)
- Study: Each week you will be focusing on a grammar skill used for improving your writing.
- Note: All of the videos in this course are available in transcript form. Links to the transcripts are provided in the assignment and can also be accessed in the "Course Resources" folder.
- Quiz: These short quizzes will assess your understanding of the grammar lesson each week.
Reading and Discussion
(Due Midweek and End-of-Week)
- Discussion: Each week you will be assigned readings that will lead to a class discussion where you can talk about your ideas with your classmates.You will use this discussion board to discuss the lesson materials, readings, and discussion questions. This will help you build community with your online class as well as develop the skill of appreciating and responding to other points of view. The purpose is to create a deeper understanding of the concepts so you can apply them to your understanding of basic writing.
- Further Reading (optional): These optional readings are supplemental and complement the course material you are studying. They will be a powerful enhancement to the class lecture and practice activities. They have been provided to help you extend the reach of your understanding in each individual area.
Writing Skills Tutorials
(Due Midweek and End-of-Week)
- View Presentation on Writing Principle: This activity serves to enhance your understanding of writing concepts you will be learning each week.
Essays (Draft and Final)
(Due Midweek and End-of-Week)
- This assignment will allow you to practice and apply the skills you learn, improve your writing, and sharpen your thinking. As with all good writing, expect to compose more than an initial draft in order to complete this assignment.
- Accountability Quiz: This short report will allow you to give important feedback about how you are doing in the course and allow you to report the completion of certain assignments.
- Because the quizzes are a summary of what you have done throughout the week, they will not be accessible until later in the week that they are due.
Some weeks have additional assessment activities such as: Midterm Feedback, Final, or Course Evaluation.
Preparation and Interaction
This course is designed to engage both your mind and your heart. Thus, it is important to prepare both intellectually and spiritually each week. Consistent personal prayer, scripture study, and attention to your covenants will provide a great support to your academic studies. While this is not a religion course, what you study here will help you to grow spiritually. When you are prepared, the Holy Spirit can provide guidance and direction that will make a great difference in your life.
As you interact with others in various assignments, please remember to be kind, considerate, and respectful of differing viewpoints. You can differ in opinions (sometimes the best learning comes when others challenge your thinking) but still be civil and loving. Respect one another's opinions and avoid using racist, bigoted, homophobic, sexist, or aggressive language in class discussions, writing assignments, or in reporting problems or concerns. Any violation of basic common courtesy —including interaction with peers, the instructor, or others monitoring the course—will negatively impact your grade.
- Writing a Love Letter
- Overlooked Beauty
- "River Tooth"
- "This I Believe" Reflection
- Opinion and Response
- Critical Thinking Essay
- Explanatory Outline
- First Draft Persuasive Essay: Problem Solution
- Personal Essay Outline
- First Draft of Personal Essay
- Persuasive Essay: Problem-Solution
- Personal Essay
- Accountability Quiz
- Plagiarism or other forms of cheating will not be tolerated. From BYU-Idaho's Academic Honesty policy statement: "Intentional Plagiarism is the deliberate act of representing the words, ideas, or data of another as one's own without providing proper attribution to the author through quotation, reference, or footnote." To avoid unintentional plagiarism consult with me on the text in question.
Final Grade Breakdown
|Letter Grade||Percentage Range|
This course has an Announcements page on the left-hand menu where you are encouraged to post general course questions/problems/concerns, etc. Using this page will inform other class members, the instructor, and others of the issues you find and allow the proper people to correct them for everyone. Please check the Announcements throughout the semester—particularly as your instructor will also use it weekly to communicate expectations with you (e.g., W05 Student-Teacher Conference). If you are experiencing the same problem as another student who has already reported it, you can make an additional post so others know the seriousness of the problem. If you know the answer to a question, you are encouraged to post solutions. Helping to solve your classmates' problems is another way to teach one another. Your instructor is monitoring the Announcements and can inform you of fixes and solutions there.
You should only email your instructor directly if the problem is of a personal nature. Sometimes your instructor has a reason he/she would like to be informed of problems another way. If this is the case, your instructor will explain the change. Otherwise, please use the Announcements board as the preferred way to report any problems.
Late Work Policy
Assignments are due on the day indicated. No late work will be accepted without permission from the instructor. Work that is late hampers your ability to fully participate in the course and will be accepted only at your instructor's discretion. Inform your instructor before the assignment is due. Any late work that is accepted is subject to a penalty as determined by your instructor.
In compliance with applicable disability law, qualified students with a disability may be entitled to "reasonable accommodation." It is the student's responsibility to disclose to the teacher any special need she/he may have as soon as possible as accommodations are not retroactive."
The instructor reserves the right to change any part of this syllabus at any time during the semester in order to adapt to changing course needs. You will be notified prior to any changes that may take place.