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 free writing, drafting, revision, and editing to achieve polished prose.
- Identify and correct common sentence level errors.
This course will run in 14 one-week modules with an introductory week at the beginning and a conclusion week at the end. The BYU-Idaho Learning Model is integral to each week, including Teach One Another activities. 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 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 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 will take advantage of the various opportunities within this course to strengthen your ability to write well and increase your understanding of English, then you will find that the insights and skills you acquire will 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 are 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 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 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 2–3 page persuasive essay. 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. In Unit 1 you will complete two shorter assignments that focus on personal experience, to practice for this paper.
Assignment Due Dates
Please see the calendar for due dates.
- Each week will open two days before the end of the previous week to accommodate students who want to get started early. For example, if I lived in a time zone where the week ended at 11:59 PM on a Saturday, the coming week would have been opened to me the previous Thursday.
- See the calendar and Modules area of the course for more details on due dates.
- Each week you will be focusing on a grammar skill used for improving your writing. These short quizzes will assess your understanding of the chosen skill.
Reading and Discussion
- Study/Reading Assignments: Each week you will be assigned readings that will be connected to a class discussion where you can talk about your ideas with your classmates.
- Additional Reading (Optional): These optional readings 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 Discussions: You will use this Discussion Board to discuss the weekly 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 apply them to your understanding of basic writing.
Paragraph and Essay Development
- This activity serves to enhance your understanding of writing concepts you will be learning each 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 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 Instructions.
- Gathering Preparation
- The purpose of the gathering is to take what you have learned from the reading and writing assignments to create a deeper understanding of the concepts and apply them to your understanding of basic writing.
PathwayConnect students need to attend all Thursday gatherings during the semester. They may not use Skype, phone, or similar means to attend the gathering (unless enrolled in a Virtual Gathering site). After each gathering, students must complete the Attendance Report that can be found at the end of each lesson.
If students do not attend the weekly gatherings, they will not be able to:
- Meet with peers
- Complete important assignments
- Teach one another
- Earn a full grade for attendance
If traveling, students may visit another gathering location and still obtain credit. However, this should be an exception. This exception does not apply to religion courses though. Before visiting a site, students should tell the missionaries at both sites. Contact information can be found on the BYU-Pathway Worldwide website or by contacting Pathway Support.
Students should contact the instructor in cases of extenuating circumstance such as:
- death in the family,
- medical emergency,
- the birth of a child,
- or other serious or unsafe situations.
Pathway missionaries may cancel a gathering due to a national holiday, severe weather, or other unsafe situations. If such a situation occurs, students SHOULD NOT complete the Attendance Report for the week. Instead, students should email the instructor to explain the reason for the cancellation, so the instructor can excuse the report. All other assignments should be completed by normal due dates.
The BYU-Idaho Learning Model emphasizes "teaching one another." Teaching and learning from each other helps students to understand the content more effectively. It also fosters unselfish service. Students will teach one another in the gathering and during the online discussion boards. This can be effectively done by:
- Arriving early to the gathering and staying until the end
- Participating early and often during the online discussions
Speaking Partner Appointment
Note: All English 106G students must register as a speaking partner mentor. Depending on the demand for mentors this semester, there is a possibility that you will not be matched to a speaking partner learner. If you have not been assigned to a learner by the beginning of Week 03, start working on the speaking partner alternative assignment. You will not lose any points for the speaking partner assignments through Week 02 as long as you report that you have registered and are waiting to be matched.
- For 30 minutes each week (Week 02-13), you will meet with a fellow PathwayConnect student who is learning to read, write, listen to, and speak English. Your partner will use the appointment time to practice speaking English in a face-to-face setting while you learn about your partner, your partner's culture, and the importance of English. You should take notes during each appointment in preparation to write about your experience at midterm and the end of the semester. You will reflect on what you have learned from this experience: What have you discovered about yourself? How has this experience enriched or challenged you? How has this experience changed your understanding of your own culture? How will you continue to serve others or learn about the cultures of God's children around the world? You may also reflect on the sense of community or connections you felt during your appointment.
- Your PathwayConnect Speaking partner will use the discussion materials from their PathwayConnect course to lead your conversation.
To be a speaking partner you must:
- Speak English fluently.
- Have access to the internet and video chat setup.
- Be 18 years of age or older.
- Be available for a 30-minute appointment once a week, for 12 consecutive weeks, in a given semester of PathwayConnect.
Note: If you do not meet the fluency or age requirements, or you have extreme circumstances that would keep you from reasonably fulfilling this requirement, contact the Pathway Support Center right away. In most cases, "extreme circumstances" do not include lack of a webcam or time constraints.
There are two accountability reports due each week:
- Attendance Report: This will allow you to report on your level of participation and work completed at the gathering.
- Reflections: This will allow you to report on your level of participation in various activities including reading/viewing of the course materials, discussion board activity, and the speaking partner assignment.
Note: Some weeks have additional assessment activities such as the Mid-Semester Instructor Feedback, Final, or End-of-Semester Instructor Feedback.
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 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.
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."
You must have consistent access to a computer with a reliable Internet connection. In order to complete the Speaking Partner Appointments, you will need video chat capabilities. Many newer computers have built-in webcams and microphones; however, 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 need further assistance, contact the Online Support Center.
Final Grade Breakdown
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 and the instructor of the issues you find, and allow the proper people to correct them for everyone. Please check these announcement 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.
Note: 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 use the questions/problems/concerns 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 complicates 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, preferably before the beginning of the semester or first few weeks, in order to insure that you receive appropriate accommodations.
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.