Fundamentals of Academic Essay Writing

WRIT 125/3.0

Overview

WRIT 125: Fundamentals of Academic Essay Writing is a study of the basic principles of academic writing, including a series of assignments and learning activities that emphasize logical organization, stylistic clarity, and grammatical precision.

The course focuses on the basic elements of the academic essay: thesis statement, topic sentences, paragraph structure, and basic grammar and style. When you understand these elements, take time to practice using them, and receive feedback on your attempts, you will produce better essays.

But producing better essays is not an end in itself. The process of planning, preparing, and writing an academic essay helps you engage with a topic, think critically about it, find your own perspective and opinion on it, and present that perspective to your readers in a clear, logical way.

In WRIT 125 you will be guided through every stage of the essay writing process. As you complete pre-writing exercises, create drafts, and revise your work, you will get valuable practice using the basic elements of the essay. The feedback and coaching you receive from your teaching assistant (TA) and the peer-review process you take part in with other students will all help you sharpen your skills.

In this course, we will not only help you develop and organize your writing, but also offer instruction and exercises in basic grammar and style. Our feedback will focus on specific areas where you (as an individual writer) need to improve and the process of revising, editing, and proofreading your work based on the grammatical and stylistic principles you have learned.

As you complete WRIT 125, you will practice writing types of essays common in undergraduate courses: the critical review essay, the compare and contrast essay, and the research essay.

Learning Outcomes

After completing WRIT 125, students should be able to do the following:

  • Identify the differences between an argumentative and an expository essay
  • Identify the basic parts of the academic essay and use them effectively in your own essay assignments
  • Analyze writing (yours, your peers’, and professional writers’) to identify argumentative strategies and assess how effective they are
  • Recognize common grammar and style errors and how to correct them
  • Apply strategies to revise, edit, and proofread your own work to make it more polished and clear
  • Assess research material and use documentation techniques to integrate source material effectively into your own writing
  • Apply the elements of effective essay-writing to evaluate full essays and their parts
  • Interpret feedback received from peers, TAs, and instructor and apply that feedback to your own writing to make it more persuasive, coherent, and clear

Terms

Fall 2022
Course Dates
Exam Dates
Delivery Mode
Online

Evaluation

25% - Learning Activities (3 Peer Review Forum Activities)
10% - Assignment 1 (Outline, Introductory Paragraph, Body Paragraph)
10% - Assignment 2 (Critical Review Essay)
20% - Assignment 3 (Two Grammar Exercises + Revision of Assignment 2)
15% - Assignment 4 (Comparison/Contrast Essay)
20% - Assignment 5 (Research Essay)

**Evaluation Subject to Change**

Students will receive considerable feedback on their written assignments; for some students it will be a new experience to have their writing examined so closely. However, the best way to improve one's writing is to understand and put into practice the suggestions of those who are experienced teachers of writing. The marking in this course will reflect students' proficiency in writing and, particularly, the efforts they make to improve. Essay assignments are marked according to a detailed rubric developed in accordance with Queen's marking guidelines.

Instructor Information

Professor Lori Vos (vosl@queensu.ca)

Instructor Message

Welcome to WRIT 125. This online course allows you to practice writing the kinds of essays often expected at university and provides you with individual feedback on your own work so that you can become a better writer. In preparing the five interesting and varied assignments, you will have plenty of opportunity to plan, write, and edit your work; and the online resources such as quizzes and model essays will help you understand what effective (and ineffective) academic writing looks like.

If you want to write better essays or just learn more about the purpose, format, and components of an essay, this is the course for you.

Lori Vos
Email: vosl@queensu.ca

Textbook and Materials

ASO reserves the right to make changes to the required material list as received by the instructor before the course starts. Please refer to the Campus Bookstore website at http://www.campusbookstore.com/Textbooks/Search-Engine to obtain the most up-to-date list of required materials for this course before purchasing them.

Required Textbook

  • Fit to Print: The Canadian Student’s Guide to Essay Writing: 8th Edition by Joanne Buckley (Nelson Publishing).
  • Or you may prefer to purchase the textbook in electronic format:

All assignment instructions, supplementary exercises, and links to online resources are available on onQ.

Supplementary Material

We recommend that you have access to a comprehensive dictionary, such as the Gage Canadian Dictionary, the Concise Oxford Dictionary, or Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary.

Time Commitment

To complete the readings, assignments and course activities, students can expect to spend on average, about 10-12 hours per week (126 hours per term) on the course.

Winter 2023
Course Dates
Exam Dates
Delivery Mode
Online

Evaluation

25% - Learning Activities (3 Peer Review Forum Activities)
10% - Assignment 1 (Outline, Introductory Paragraph, Body Paragraph)
10% - Assignment 2 (Critical Review Essay)
20% - Assignment 3 (Two Grammar Exercises + Revision of Assignment 2)
15% - Assignment 4 (Comparison/Contrast Essay)
20% - Assignment 5 (Research Essay)

**Evaluation Subject to Change**

Students will receive considerable feedback on their written assignments; for some students it will be a new experience to have their writing examined so closely. However, the best way to improve one's writing is to understand and put into practice the suggestions of those who are experienced teachers of writing. The marking in this course will reflect students' proficiency in writing and, particularly, the efforts they make to improve. Essay assignments are marked according to a detailed rubric developed in accordance with Queen's marking guidelines.

Instructor Information

Drew MacDonald (md108@queensu.ca)

Textbook and Materials

ASO reserves the right to make changes to the required material list as received by the instructor before the course starts. Please refer to the Campus Bookstore website at http://www.campusbookstore.com/Textbooks/Search-Engine to obtain the most up-to-date list of required materials for this course before purchasing them.

Required Textbook

Fit to Print: The Canadian Student’s Guide to Essay Writing: 8th Edition by Joanne Buckley (Nelson Publishing).

Time Commitment

To complete the readings, assignments and course activities, students can expect to spend on average, about 10-12 hours per week (126 hours per term) on the course.

Summer (May–July) 2023
Course Dates
Delivery Mode
Online

Evaluation

5% - Module 1 Learning Activity (Self-Introduction. Thesis Statement, and Peer Review)
10% - Assignment 1 (Drafting an Outline, Introduction, and Body Paragraph)
10% - Module 2 Learning Activity (Assignment 2 Outline and Peer Review)
10% - Assignment 2 (Critical Review Essay)
20% - Assignment 3 (Revising, Editing, and Proofreading)
15% - Assignment 4 (Compare and Contrast Essay)
10% - Module 5 Learning Activity (Assignment 5 Introductory Paragraph and Peer Review)
20% - Assignment 5 (Research Essay)

**Evaluation Subject to Change**

Students will receive considerable feedback on their written assignments; for some students it will be a new experience to have their writing examined so closely. However, the best way to improve one's writing is to understand and put into practice the suggestions of those who are experienced teachers of writing. The marking in this course will reflect students' proficiency in writing and, particularly, the efforts they make to improve. Essay assignments are marked according to a detailed rubric developed in accordance with Queen's marking guidelines.

Instructor Information

Lori Vos (vosl@queensu.ca)

Instructor Message

Welcome to WRIT 125. This online course allows you to practice writing the kinds of essays often expected at university and provides you with individual feedback on your own work so that you can become a better writer. In preparing the five interesting and varied assignments, you will have plenty of opportunity to plan, write, and edit your work; and the online resources such as quizzes and model essays will help you understand what effective (and ineffective) academic writing looks like.

If you want to write better essays or just learn more about the purpose, format, and components of an essay, this is the course for you.

Lori Vos
Email: vosl@queensu.ca

Textbook and Materials

ASO reserves the right to make changes to the required material list as received by the instructor before the course starts. Please refer to the Campus Bookstore website at http://www.campusbookstore.com/Textbooks/Search-Engine to obtain the most up-to-date list of required materials for this course before purchasing them.

Required Textbook

 Fit to Print: The Canadian Student’s Guide to Essay Writing: 8th Edition by Joanne Buckley (Nelson Publishing). 

All assignment instructions, supplementary exercises, and links to online resources are available on onQ. 

Supplementary Material 

While it is not required, we recommend that you have access to a comprehensive dictionary, such as the Gage Canadian Dictionary, the Concise Oxford Dictionary, or Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary. 

Time Commitment

To complete the readings, assignments and course activities, students can expect to spend on average, about 10-12 hours per week (126 hours per term) on the course.

Testimonials

"My approach to writing has completely changed in the past few months. I entered the course enjoying my creative and somewhat disorganized prewriting stage, and am leaving it with an outline format that I can use in future writing endeavors to organize my thoughts and ultimately create more effective pieces. I will also take with me a new outlook on the proofreading stage. I began the course thinking that proofreading was all about detection of grammatical errors, but quickly discovered that there are more elements to consider. Assignment 3 helped me to better understand tone and voice, and made me appreciate the fact that making an impact requires more than grammatically correct sentences. I will continue to try to find the appropriate tone and voice to match each piece of writing that I produce. My degree allows me to explore classes from many disciplines and I now feel better equipped to determine the appropriate writing style for each."

-Claire Dans (ArtSci 2019, Physical and Health Education)

"This is my first university course after nearly 18 years - I think this is an essential course for people in similar situations. It really helped me feel more confident about academic writing and I am sure it has paved the way for my success at Queen's."
- Course evaluation, WRIT 125: Fundamentals of Academic Essay Writing (2014)