Indiana University Northwest

ENG-W131 Syllabus

Indiana University Northwest





Fall 2012


Instructor Name: Doug Swartz
Phone: 219-980-6569


See the **Course Guide/Schedule**for
readings, resources, and all assignment due dates.

Course Description

 This 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.

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.
  7. Develop writing that is clear, correct and persuasive.


Course Materials 

Required Texts:

Graff, Gerald, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russell Durst. They Say/I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing with Readings. New York” W.W. Norton, 2009.

Lunsford, Andrea A. The Everyday Writer. Fourth Edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2009.

Behrens, Laurence J. and Leonard J. Rosen. What it Takes: Writing in College. New York: Pearson Longman, 2009.


Grading Information 

Grades will be determined as shown in the following assignment chart.  Detailed descriptions of assignments are available below and from the assignment links in the chart. Due dates are detailed in the Course Schedule.


of Grade


Research Log and Participation in Discussion Forums


8 Short Writing Assignments


 4 Longer Formal Essays


Argument Synthesis


Final Refection Essay






Class Policies Regarding Graded Work 

***Late Work***


In order to improve your writing, you must continue to write and to meet deadlines. All writing assignments must be submitted to Assignments 2 on time. If you are unable to meet the deadline, you must provide an explanation and make arrangements prior to the deadline.




***Original Work***

Plagiarism is a very serious academic offense, and the consequences are severe: depending on the nature of the offense, you may receive a failing grade for the assignment or a failing grade for the course and a referral to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. We will be discussing and working on the difference between an ethical and accurate use of a source and plagiarism so that you will understand the issues and the consequences.



Incompletes will be granted only in the circumstances defined by the university: you must have completed the majority of the work in the course and you must have a passing grade.




Course Requirements and Procedures

Discussion Forums


We will be making extensive use of the Forums on Oncourse to discuss and analyze assigned readings, to discuss rhetorical principles and writing techniques, and to discuss writing assignments and to report on progress and obstacles you are encountering. This will be a form of class discussion, and so in comparison to the writing assignments, they will be more loose and informal. However, they will also be a form of writing exercise and practice, so you will be expected to strive for clarity, definition, and development in your posts and responses, and you must strive for correct grammar and spelling. No texting abbreviations!

You should expect to post a minimum of three times per week: ideally early in the week, mid-week, and by the end of the week. You should be pushing yourself to expand your thinking and writing, going beyond immediate and one-dimensional responses to questions, asking yourself: What do I mean by that? What makes me think what I think? What examples or illustrations could I provide? How would someone who disagrees with me see this?

Post should be a minimum of 100 words, and more will be required frequently.

Writing Assignments

You cannot pass the course if you have not satisfactorily completed all of the writing assignments. Merely turning in versions of the essays will not be sufficient for a passing grade. Below are some general explanations of the requirements. Specific details concerning the expectations and evaluation of these essays will be provided in handouts, discussed in class, and posted on Oncourse.

These essays will require you to engage in all of the stages of the writing process:

  • Prewriting. Doing extensive annotating, note-taking, freewriting, listing, and clustering will help you discover and develop your ideas and significantly enrich your writing. Do not skimp on this stage! Your Research Log is key to this part of the process. There will be regular assignments for this log, but in order for you to get the maximum benefit, you will need to invest time and effort in writing about the implications and connections of our reading, discussions, and writing beyond the specific assignments. They Say/I Say describes to academic writing as a kind of “conversation”: in this log, you will be keeping track of the conversation and preparing for your participation in it. To earn a passing grade, you must do an adequate job of responding to the specific assignments, some of which appear on the schedule below, some of which will be impromptu writing done in class, and some of which will be added as we go. Your grade will improve as you use the log to prepare for the longer, more formal assignments.
  • Drafting. When a draft is due, you have to commit to producing a substantial but not final or finished version of an essay. This requires focus and discipline, and using the various techniques and heuristics we will develop in the course to help you get a draft written. If an assignment calls for three pages, and you have only completed one, you need to find ways of pushing yourself further.  Turning in significantly underdeveloped drafts will lower your grade.


  • Revising: This is much more than “fixing” or “correcting”: a revised draft will include new material, added examples and explanations, for instance, and improved focus and organization with a reformulated thesis and transitions. Papers that are resubmitted with only minor changes will be returned without comment. You cannot succeed in this class without extensive revision.


  • Editing. At this stage in the process, your focus is on the clarity of your sentences and grammatical and mechanical correctness. As the semester progresses, we will be looking at a number of issues and topics, but a lot of editing requires the writer to look carefully and closely at her own writing, reading out loud perhaps, and trying to catch obvious typos and garbled sentences. I will of course provide feedback and assistance, but each student must learn to be a sharp reader of his own texts.


These stages are often called recursive, meaning that they must be repeated in the course of producing a paper. In order to write effectively, you must learn to use them all—by which I mean each stage must be practiced.  Each essay will be evaluated on how extensively and effectively you have used all stages of the writing process. Prewriting work must be submitted with each draft. Drafts will be returned to you with comments and a provisional grade. If I return a paper with comments but no grade, this means that the paper has not met the minimum expectations for the assignment, or has not followed the instructions for the assignment, or in some other way is not acceptable. I will usually suggest that you make an appointment with me to discuss what needs to be done. I will also usually recommend that you make an appointment with the Writing Center. If you do not follow up on these suggestions, the paper will receive a failing grade.

 You need to have Microsoft Word. I am unable to open most other formats. The Microsoft Office Suite is available for download from IUware. Papers must be uploaded to Oncourse in Assignment 2 by the time and date specified on the schedule.

To summarize: Your papers will undergo a series of revisions. We will review first drafts of essays both as a class and in small groups. Based on those reviews, you will revise and resubmit the essay for my comments and suggestions. Papers that are not significantly different from their first drafts will not be acceptable. A grade will be assigned at this stage, but you are expected to continue to revise. A paper may returned without a grade because I judge it to be not sufficiently finished. If such a paper is not revised, it will become an F.





IU Academic Policies 

This course is governed by IU academic policies in the following areas:

  • Grading Guidelines
  • Writing Standards
  • Academic Integrity and Plagiarism
  • Course Evaluations
  • Students With Disabilities



Your essays will be graded on the following criteria:

  • Meets the requirements of the assignment, including purpose, format, type of essay and length.
  • Has a clear and specific thesis that provides the central claim and a plan for the paper’s organization.
  • Accurately and effectively summarizes readings associated with the assignment.
  • Sufficiently develops the paper’s main points through the use of any or all of the following elements:
  • Explanations
  • Examples
  • Details
  • Personal observations and experience
  • Counter-arguments
  • Quotes and paraphrases from the assigned readings
  • Outside sources (if required).
  • Correctly documents material from outside sources (including the assigned readings), following the assigned format.
  • Includes all informal writing, reading logs and drafts associated with the assignment (if required).
  • Is revised substantively and edited before submission.
  • Has no errors in grammar, punctuation and spelling, particularly comma splices, run-ons, sentence fragments, and subject-verb agreement errors.

Use this list to check every formal essay before handing it in.  If you aren’t sure you have followed all of these guidelines, continue to work on the writing.  Consult with your professor, a colleague, or a Writing Center tutor if you need help.



Additional Information 


The home page of Oncourse has links, video tutorials and several tips and updates to help you navigate the website. IU has prepared a reference page containing links to information about a variety of resources to help you function successfully in your online Oncourse class.

Right to Accommodation for Individuals with Disabilities

Indiana University is committed to creating a learning environment and academic community that promotes educational opportunities for all individuals, including those with disabilities. Course directors are asked to make reasonable accommodations, upon request by the student or the university, for such disabilities. It is the responsibility of students with documented physical or learning disabilities seeking accommodation to notify their course directors and the relevant campus office that deals with such cases in a timely manner concerning the need for such accommodation. Indiana University will make reasonable accommodations for access to programs, services, and facilities as outlined by applicable state and federal laws.

Campus support office:

Student Support Services, HH 239, (219) 980-6798
Student Support Services