English 1130: Academic Writing


Topics & Assignments Due Dates — Course Site — How to Get a Good Mark

Welcome to Academic Writing! This site contains class information, assignments, texts, writing samples, 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.

Topics & Assignments Due Dates


Course Site


The table of contents lists all course site pages and contents. For general course information and requirements (office hours, attendance, grades, etc.) see the outline.


Assignments and class details are in Week 1-5 - Week 6-10 - Week 11-14.

higher learning

This page explains the rationale behind English courses and the academic essay format.

essay structure & samples

Look closely at essay structure, at rhetorical analysis samples and at evaluation samples. 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 instead of observations or assertions.

texts & samples

The following pages have explanations, texts, and samples: RHETORIC: Introduction & 3 AimsRhetoric: 16 StrategiesRhetorical Analysis SamplesLord of War Twain & GoreCalvino GandhiEVALUATION — Boston LegalEvaluation Samples — RESEARCH — Texts: Mad MenCoxMad Men Notes 

Look here for a PDF of the longer texts by Calvino, Migglebrink, & Havrilesky.

Look here for a PDF of Cox’s text.

music & boardwork

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 1 plus "The Gold Violin” (S2 E7), “The Mountain King” (S2 E12), “Meditations in an Emergency" (S2 E13), 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