Indiana University Northwest

Course Description

 Douglas Swartz

Douglas Swartz
Senior Lecture, Director of the Writing Program

Office: HH415
Phone: 219-980-6569

Online Course Offered:
Fall Semester

ENG-W 131 Elementary Composition 1

Course Description  

This online course will prepare you for the writing and reading assignments you will encounter in the university and beyond. Not surprisingly, you can expect to be doing a lot of writing, and several different kinds of writing. This writing will require close observation, critical reading and analysis; improving your writing skills will also require working on your thinking. You will learn to use writing as a means to discover, develop, test, and refine ideas, techniques for expressing and organizing those ideas effectively and clearly, and the expectations of effective, ethical, and accurate integration, citation, and documentation of (mostly written) sources. You will also be working with different modes and forms of writing for a variety of settings, audiences, and purposes. Much of this writing will involve working online in discussion forums and blogs as an essential part of producing more formal academic papers.

For a complete Description for this course, click on the Course Syllabus tab.

Course Goals and Objectives  

In this course, you will learn to:

  1. Read actively, thoroughly, thoughtfully, and carefully, annotating the text as you read.
  2. Accurately summarize written texts.
  3. Effectively analyze and respond to the visual and verbal texts.
  4. Work through each step of the writing process: invention, drafting, revision, editing.
  5.  Write thesis-driven essays that are developed with logically arranged and rhetorically effective reasons, evidence, and supporting examples. 
  6. Correctly incorporate others’ words and ideas into your own writing, and provide accurate documentation.
  7. Develop writing that is clear, correct and persuasive.

For a complete listing of Objectives for this course, click on the Course Syllabus tab.

Course Activities  

In addition to a series of papers involving summary, analysis, and synthesis of sources, students will engage in a number of activities to develop their skills as readers, thinkers, and writers:

  • Discussion Forums: Students will make frequent posts to weekly discussion forums, responding to reading and viewing assignments. Students will be expected to develop in writing their understanding of sources and their responses to them, and to respond to the understanding and the views of others. Each week an original post of 150-250 words will be expected, along with two 75-100-word responses to the posts of others.
  • Reading Blog. Students will maintain a reading blog, in which they record significant ideas and quotations from the sources we are reading and watching, along with questions, observations, responses, and comparisons and contrasts with other sources. The blog will help students learn to use writing as a means of keeping track of their reading and thinking, and as a tool of inquiry. The length requirement will vary: as the semester progresses, we will be moving from examining single sources to synthesizing multiple sources, so the expectations for using the blog will increase.
  • Quizzes and exercises: There will be weekly quizzes on assigned material that will be designed to assess the thoroughness of your reading and preparation, and to provide an initial occasion to begin to formulate ideas about what you have read. There will also be a variety of exercises assigned to help with specific issues of grammar, punctuation, and sentence style, to foster your creativity and fluency in writing, and to experiment with templates and paragraph forms.

For a complete list of Activities/Assignments for this course, click on the Course Syllabus tab.

Course Syllabus  


ENG W131: Elementary Composition 1

Online Course Syllabus

Time: Online

Place: Online

Instructor: Douglas Swartz, Ph.D.

Office: Hawthorn Hall 415

Phone: (219) 980-6569