Introduction to English 1130: Academic Writing (Fall 2019)

Course Site - How to Get a Good Mark

Welcome to Academic Writing! This site contains all the information you need for the class, most of the texts, examples of analysis, etc. Initially, the site can be a bit overwhelming, yet if you read this page carefully you’ll get a good sense of where to find things. Also, because you know exactly what to read and prepare, you should be able to structure your time efficiently during the term.

Course Site


The table of contents lists all course site pages along with their contents. For general course information and requirements — office hours, participation, attendance, grading policies, etc. — see the outline.


Detailed requirements for each class and for the essays and peer edits are in the schedule.

higher learning

This page explains the general goal of post-secondary English courses: to increase writing skills, analytical skills, original argument, and critical thought. It also explains the rationale behind the academic essay format.

essay structure — samples

Look closely at the pages on essay structure and the samples of rhetorical analysis and evaluative analysis. I suggest returning to these pages before handing in a paper or doing the in-class essay. Pay attention to things such as how to connect thesis statements to topic sentences, how to integrate quotes, and how to make arguments rather than observations or assertions.


Because we’ll be examining material that includes musical and graphical elements, I’ve added several pages dealing with description of music and use of graphics. The latter includes samples of boardwork from previous literature classes, yet we’ll be doing similar boardwork in Academic Writing.

I’ll require that you use and create structural charts during group work. Here are portions of two charts we’ll be looking at in class:

  • on the first episode of Mad Men:

smoke chart grab.jpeg
  • on the history of communication technology:

tech hist grab.jpeg

I’ll be asking you to create original structural charts and to integrate graphic elements into them.

How to Get a Good Mark

Make Time for This Course

Reserve at least 30 minutes of distraction-free time every day to work on this course.

Do the Assigned Reading & Viewing

Acquaint yourself early with all the assigned readings and viewings. Check the schedule often.

Spend Extra Time on Three Key Readings

Make sure to read very carefully 1) “The Farthest Channel,” 2) “Is Google Making Us Stupid?,” and 3) “So Much Woman.” We’ll be looking at these three texts on numerous occasions throughout the course.

Take Group Work Seriously

Group work is crucial to the classroom learning process and to your participation mark. Students who read the assigned material for the first time in class will lower the quality of group learning.

Think Ahead

1. Your rhetorical analysis is due at the start of class, Week 5. Get on it right away.

2. Your evaluative analysis will be written in class, Week 10. Start ASAP watching Mad Men and reading Cox. As you watch the show, ask yourself, Is Cox right? Why or why not? Viewing requirements: Season One plus “The Mountain King” (S2 E12) and “The Summer Man” (S4 E8).

3. Your research paper is due Week 14. Look ASAP at the topics under Week 14 and at Research, especially the sub-section, “Things to Remember for Essay #3." Feel free to discuss your topic with me — or show me an outline — at any time. Do as much preliminary research as you can.

Avoid Summary and Mere Observation or Assertion

The biggest problem students have is summarizing, observing, and asserting when they should be analyzing, arguing, and proving. If you’re repeating content, explaining something that’s obvious to an educated reader, or asserting something without giving the reason why what you’re saying is true, then you’re not making a successful academic argument.


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Introduction - Contents - Outline

SCHEDULE: Week 1-5Week 6-10Week 11-14