Academic Writing 101 Course Template

Course Description:

ACWR 101 makes use of a content-based approach to initiate first-year students into the conventions of academic language and discourse. In addition to classroom interaction, the course supports students through one-to-one feedback sessions. While emphasis is placed on developing writing through a process-based approach, other linguistic and critical skills are also covered. Students are expected to improve their reading and writing abilities so that they can produce clear, linguistically accurate, sophisticated discourse suitable in a variety of academic settings. Ultimately, students are expected to develop their independent, authoritative, individual academic “voice.”

Over the course of the semester, students will:

  •  develop a process-based approach to academic writing;
  • acquire a basic knowledge of and ability to use APA documentation, including in-text citation and a works cited page;
  • organize and express ideas in a manner appropriate to audience and purpose;
  • familiarize themselves with strategies for different kinds of writing;
  • accurately employ the tools of summary, paraphrase and quotation;
  • present their writing in a format appropriate for formal academic writing that uses academic vocabulary and employs high standards of grammar, usage and mechanics.

Course Requirements & Grading:

Two formal academic essays: drafts, revisions, and final drafts  70%

Essay One (Summary/Analytical Response Essay):                      30%

First Draft:                                                                                        10%

Conference to discuss written feedback on First Draft:  required

Final Draft:                                                                 20%


This 2-3 page essay should demonstrate understanding of a specified text and provide a thoughtful response to that text. This essay must specifically use APA citation when referring to the text, which must include both in-text citation and a “References” page. It will focus on one main text, but may require the inclusion of, or response to, knowledge gleaned from additional course materials. The essay should selectively summarize material from the text, based on the task presented, provide an analytical response, and must refer substantially to the text. Students should refer to feedback and direction from the instructor and Rules for Writers with any specific APA citation questions.  The response may ask students to:

•       Apply ideas from the text to another context

•       Do a specific type of rhetorical analysis, such as analyzing the argument

•       Evaluate the persuasiveness of the text

•       Agree or disagree with a part or the whole of the text.

Essay Two (Analytical Synthesis Essay):                                                                          40%

First Draft (written instructor feedback and verbal feedback in conference)                         10%

Second Draft (includes a mandatory peer-review)                                                                10%

Final Draft:                                                                                                                              20%

In this 3-4 page essay, your response should focus on a synthesis and citation of two main texts. Supplemental materials and personal anecdotes may be included but only as approved by instructor. All textual sources used in the essay must be cited. The essay should summarize relevant parts of two texts, and then do one or more of the following:

•       Apply the ideas in the more theoretical text to a case study.

•       Compare the persuasiveness of the two essays.

•       Discuss how the two texts complement each other.

•       Discuss how one text might respond to another.

Participation                                                                                                                          10%

Participating in class is more than simply attending class. You are expected to come to class prepared and to contribute to discussions and activities. Consistent active engagement in class will have a positive impact on your participation score; however, texting or talking with your classmates at inappropriate times will have a negative impact on your participation grade.

Your participation grade will reflect your level of participation throughout the semester, which means you should make every effort to regularly participate in class.

A student who receives an “A” grade for participation typically comes to each class with questions about the readings already in mind. The student raises these issues for other members to consider and discuss, and listens to contrary opinions. An “A” student engages other students in discussion of their ideas, and responds to the comments of others with ideas that move the discussion forward in meaningful ways. The student also participates actively in classroom exercises and activities and provides learning assistance to other students whenever possible.

A student who receives a “B” grade for participation has completed all the readings before class, but does not always arrive prepared with questions and reflections. Often a “B” student waits passively for others to raise interesting issues. Nevertheless, “B” students are courteous and articulate in expressing their own views. A “B” student also participates actively in classroom exercise and activities.

A “C” student attends class on time, prepares, and listens attentively, but rarely enters into the discussion. This student often participates in classroom exercises and activities.

Students with late attendance, inconsistent preparation or participation should not expect more than a “D”. Students who are prepared but who do not respect the contribution of others will receive a “D” at best.

Students who are consistently unprepared, make no effort to enter into discussions or classroom activities, or are rude and/or disruptive should expect an “F”.

Adapted with permission from Joan Steigerwald, Division of Humanities, York University,


Other Assignments:                                                                                                              20%

Grading Criteria:

Essays will be graded based on the following criteria:



Organization and Development:


Grammar and vocabulary


 Note: All assignments done outside of class must be typed, double spaced, spell checked, printed on A4 paper, completed on time AND be your own work.

Required Course Materials:

1. Rules for Writers by Diana Hacker, updated 8th edition, (available at Pandora bookstore)

Note: The purchase of this book is optional

2. Course Packet – This is available at Copyland (located in the student center). Your course packet

will be under your instructor’s name.

3.   English/English dictionary

4.   Binder

5.   Writing Implements: pen or pencil, eraser, notebook

6.   Stapler

Class Attendance:

Class attendance is required, and any absences will negatively impact your participation grade. If you accumulate more than 3 unexcused absences, it will result in a reduction of your final grade for the course: 4 unexcused absences = 5% penalty, 5 = 10%, 6 = 15%, 7= 20%. If you accumulate more than 7 unexcused absences, you will automatically fail the course. Excused absence forms must be submitted within one week of the absence date, or they will not be honored.

Consult with your instructor if you believe there are extenuating circumstances that have made it impossible for you to regularly attend class. Please come to class on time; each three times you arrive to class more than five minutes late will count as one absence.

NOTE: excused absence requests and official health reports must be received within one week of the absence day and/or period.

Policy on Late Work:

No work submitted after the deadline for the next assignment has passed will be accepted. For example, the first essay submitted on or after the deadline for the submission of the second essay will not be accepted. No student work will be accepted unless all previous stages of the assignment have been completed. For example, a student who has not submitted a first draft on or before the deadline for the final draft may not submit the final draft. An instructor may accept work submitted late, but before the next deadline, in order to validate the grading of the next stage, but the instructor is not obliged to award a grade, read, or provide feedback on work that is excessively late (see below).

Students may hand in late work, but the student’s grade will be deducted by 5 points for each day late. No work will be awarded a grade after 5 days late. If you are not able to hand in work due to an emergency situation, please see your instructor as soon as possible.

Plagiarism and Collusion Policy:

Plagiarism is presenting someone else’s words or ideas as your own, without proper reference. You are graded on your own individual work, not another’s masquerading as your own. Any student found plagiarizing on or colluding in writing assignments may fail the assignment, fail the course, and/or be

referred to the university’s disciplinary council. This may result in suspension from the university. You commit plagiarism when:

•     You copy someone else’s writing and do not put it in quotation marks and identify the source.

•       You take someone else’s writing, change some of the words, and do not identify the source.

•       You take someone else’s ideas or sequence of ideas, put them into your own words, and do not identify the source.

•       Someone else writes your assignments or changes your writing and thus creates a false impression of your abilities.

You engage in collusion when:

•     You receive unauthorized help with your writing by paying or otherwise inducing another person to do the writing for you.

Grading Scale:

A = 100 – 90%

B+ = 86 – 83 %

C+ = 76 – 73 %

D+ = 66 – 63 %

A- = 89 – 87%

B = 82 – 80 %

B- = 79 – 77%

C = 72 – 70%

C- = 69 – 67%

D = 62 – 60 %

F = 59 – 0%

Grade Disputes:

If you dispute a grade for a formal assignment, you must contact your instructor or the Director of Academic Writing by email within two weeks of the date the grade has been issued to discuss the situation.

Note: The Academic Writing Program has a firm policy regarding petitions for re-grading assignments, and will not accept petitions filed after the two week deadline. For more information regarding this policy, contact your instructor.

Course Guidelines and Expectations:

•     Come to class prepared!

•       Behave respectfully toward the instructor and fellow students

•       Submit neat and professional work

•       Keep up with work and expectations