English Language and Basic Writing Syllabus
Welcome to PathwayConnect!
Purposes of PathwayConnect
- Help students get the gospel down into their hearts.
- Help students become capable learners.
- Prepare students to lead and support families.
This course teaches basic writing conventions in crafting effective sentences, paragraphs, and short essays. It will also strengthen your English listening, speaking, and reading skills.
In this course, you will meet the following objectives:
- 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 guide 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.
- Further strengthen your English listening, speaking, and reading skills.
This course will run in fourteen one-week modules, 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. The gathering is also an important component of this course. There are three main units of study: Writing Effective Sentences & Paragraphs, Writing the Persuasive Essay, and Writing the Personal Essay. There are consistent due dates with accountability reports due each week. Failure to complete assignments and activities by their due dates 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 15-20 hours each week to this 5 credit 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 better understand and remember ideas, concepts, and insights. Additionally, learning to have your views challenged and improved through the perspective of others is an important way to improve. If you will 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 the insights and skills you acquire to be useful long after you have finished the course.
Accessing Course Content
This course is built so that you, as the student, will access the course material most often via the "Modules" area. While there are other areas of the course where you can access course content (i.e. through the calendar) the Modules area provides all activities in the order and context in which they were meant to be completed. If you become heavily reliant on accessing course content through another area, you may miss out on things that will help you to be successful in this course.
Besides the introductory and concluding weeks, the course consists of three units:
Weeks 02–07 (Writing Effective Sentences & 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 08–10 (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 500–750 word persuasive essay paper. An explanatory outline 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 500–750 word personal narrative essay. To practice for this paper, you will complete four shorter assignments in Unit 1 that focus on personal experience.
- Will open 10 days before the week runs, in order to accommodate students who want to get started early.
- Weekly Reports, Attendance Reports, and Reflections are an exception and open and close in the week in which they are due (see the calendar for detailed information).
- See the calendar, and Modules area of the course, for more details on due dates.
- Grammar Exercises: 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 Student Resources module.
- Grammar Exercise: These short quizzes will assess your understanding of the grammar exercises each week.
Reading and Discussion
- Reading Assignments: Each week you will be assigned readings that will lead into a discussion where you can talk about your ideas with your classmates. After completing the readings, you will take a quiz focused on vocabulary and reading comprehension.
- Additional Reading (Optional): These optional reading(s) are supplemental and complement the course material you are studying during most weeks. 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.
- Topic Discussion: You will use this discussion board to discuss the weekly materials, readings, and discussion questions. This will help you build a community with your online class as well as develop the skill of appreciating and responding to other points of view as you further your English language skills.
Paragraph and Essay Development
- This activity serves to enhance your understanding of writing concepts you will be learning each week.
- These assignments 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 well.
- All final assignments should be submitted in a format that all instructors can read like docx/doc or pdf. To do this you do have access to a free version of Microsoft Word: Microsoft Word Download Instruction.
- Learn a Hymn: Each week you will strengthen your English skills by learning a hymn in English and taking a short quiz to demonstrate your retention of the words of the hymn. You will also sing the hymn at the gathering.
- Scripture Study: The scripture passages in each week will help you connect your secular learning to principles of the gospel as you strengthen your English skills. After studying the scriptures, you will complete a short comprehension quiz.
- Gathering Preparation: Bring three copies of your writing assignment draft to the gathering and participate in the peer review activity.
- PathwayConnect Gathering: Come prepared and ready to teach one another as you receive and offer support to your local peer group. Sample lesson plans are provided for the lead student to help him or her lead the gathering.
Speaking Partner Appointment
- For 30 minutes each week (Weeks 01–12), you will meet with a volunteer and practice conversing in English according to the appointment instructions provided in the course. You will find the registration information in the Introduction week of this course. You will meet using online video chat technology or through in-person meetings. Take notes during each appointment in preparation to write about your experience at the end of the semester. Pay particular attention to the cultural items you learn.
Peer Discussion Appointment
- For 30 minutes each week (Weeks 01–12), you will meet with a fellow PathwayConnect student in your local peer group who is also learning to read, write, listen to, and speak English. Your local missionaries will assign you a peer discussion partner at the first gathering of the semester. You and your partner will meet outside of the gathering time to complete your appointment discussions. You may meet in person, by phone, or by video chat technology. During the appointment, practice speaking English according to the instructions provided in the course.
- Attendance Report: This will allow you to report on your level of participation and work completed at the gathering.
- Weekly Report: 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.
- Reflection: This has you reflect upon your learning for the week.
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.
Netiquette is internet etiquette or acceptable social behavior when using the internet. First, remember there is a real person on the other side of your computer screen, so you should always treat others courteously. Behavior such as calling someone a derogatory name, making threats, or being demanding is always inappropriate. Treat your classmates and your instructor in a respectful and professional manner just as you would if you were seeing them face-to-face. This counsel applies to any type of communication including discussion board posts, emails, participating in video conferences, or any other methods of communication.
Netiquette guidelines specific to using technology include the following:
- Use correct spelling and punctuation instead of abbreviations, text language, or slang. Using conventional spelling and punctuation will help ensure that your meaning will be understood by others.
- Don’t use all capital letters. When you use all caps, IT IS LIKE YELLING AT SOMEONE AND IS CONSIDERED RUDE BEHAVIOR.
- In an online environment, it can take time to receive answers to your questions. To help decrease the amount of time needed to obtain an answer, be specific when making a request or asking a question. (Remember to ask your question or make your request in a respectful and professional manner). Also, plan ahead. If you procrastinate your work until the deadline, you won’t have enough time to ask questions and receive an answer before your assignment is due.
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 your instructor if you have a plagiarism question.
The use of any language translation software, apps, or online programs, such as Google Translate, in order to translate sentences, paragraphs, or whole essays is not permitted in this course. However, the use of these translation programs to look up a single word or short phrase, is generally allowed.
You must have consistent access to a computer with a reliable Internet connection.
In order to complete the Speaking Partner appointments, you need video chat capabilities.
Many newer computers have built-in webcams and microphones; however, if your computer is not equipped with these components, you may need to purchase them. You may use Skype or another video chat format. Use this link if you would like a free Skype download.
If you have any Speaking Partner technology-related questions, check for an answer on the Speaking Partner FAQ page. If you need further assistance with the technological aspect of the Speaking Partner Appointments, contact the OSC.
Note: If you have questions about the Speaking Partner component of this course or need help connecting with your partner, go to the Pathway Support page.
If you do not have Microsoft programs on your computer, such as Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, go to http://pathway.lds.org, log in and then click on your name in the top right hand corner. You will see a link for downloads that when clicked, will bring you to the free Microsoft Office download page.
You are expected to be an active learner in this course. This means completing assignments on time, coming prepared to your local gathering, and actively participating in the course.
Final Grade Breakdown
|Letter Grade||Percentage Range|
|A||100% – 94%|
|A-||93% – 90%|
|B+||89% – 87%|
|B||86% – 83%|
|B-||82% – 80%|
|C+||79% – 77%|
|C||76% – 73%|
|C-||72% – 70%|
|D+||69% – 67%|
|D||66% – 63%|
|D-||62% – 60%|
|F||59% – 0|
Weekly PathwayConnect gatherings are a source of spiritually and socially empowering experiences. As a PathwayConnect student, you are expected to attend all gatherings during the semester. Plan your schedule accordingly and make any necessary arrangements to attend the Thursday gatherings in person.
Students who are traveling and are unable to attend their assigned gathering(s) may attend another gathering in the city they are visiting and still obtain attendance credit. Traveling students are encouraged to attend a gathering with the same course as their own; however, students who do not have that option may attend any PathwayConnect gathering. (This does not apply to institute courses.) Students should direct any attendance-related questions to their online instructors for BYU-Idaho courses or their institute instructor for institute courses.
If illness or another temporary issue arises and you do not attend a gathering, you will miss the opportunity to meet with your peers, engage in important coursework and assist in teaching one another. Because of this missed opportunity, your grade will be negatively impacted, so be sure to attend each gathering and then report your attendance using the Attendance Report located in each week. Also, be aware that attendance can impact grades differently from one PathwayConnect course to another, so please read the course grading section of this syllabus carefully.
If a rare circumstance arises such as a natural disaster, death in the family, medical emergency, birth of a child, or other serious or unsafe situation that prevents you from attending a gathering, contact your instructor immediately for more information and to discuss your situation.
In very rare instances, your Pathway missionaries may cancel a gathering due to a holiday (U.S., national, or local), extreme weather, or other unsafe situation. If such a situation occurs, you will do the following:
Review the week's gathering Lesson Plan. It may include information that will be helpful when completing your post gathering assignments.
You are still required to complete, and report, all assignments during the week.
DO NOT complete the Attendance Report for the week. Instead, email your instructor to explain the reason for the cancellation. They will "exempt" your grade for this quiz in the gradebook. You MUST email your instructor in order to be excused from the assignment! You will receive 0 points for your attendance until your instructor excuses the report. Your instructor should excuse the report within a few days of receiving your email.
If you have any questions regarding the weekly material or assignment due dates, ask your instructor for further assistance.
For more information on the attendance policy, please read the Pathway Handbook, section 5.5. Contact your instructor or Pathway Support if you have questions.
In this course, the instructor posts an announcement each week. You are encouraged to post general course questions/problems/concerns, etc. in response to each week's corresponding instructor announcement. Using this board 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 these announcements conversations throughout the semester. 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. Additionally, your instructor is monitoring these announcement discussions and will inform you of fixes and solutions there.
You should only email your instructor directly if the problem is of a personal nature. OR 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 respond to your instructor's weekly announcement 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 inhibits 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 he or she 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.