EN 200 Syllabus

Essentials of Effective Writing

Fall 8 week 2, 2001


Instructor:   Caroline Marwitz          E-mail:   cmarwitz@regis.edu   

Online course address via WebCT: http://regisonline.net:8900

Textbooks:     Nordquist, R. Passages: A Writer's Guide, Third Edition, 1995. New York: St. Martin's Press.

Recommended grammar book:   The New Century Handbook

Denver office:   Lowell campus, ALC Room 305  

Phone: 1-800-967-3237 ext. 5202           

Branch office:   Fort Collins campus

Phone: 1-970-493-6554

Mailing Address:         SPS Undergraduate Program
                                        Mail Code K-28
                                        Regis University
                                        3333 Regis Blvd.
                                        Denver CO 80221
(If you miss this deadline, call me or e-mail me and I will make sure you are not changed into a toad or dropped from the course.)


Assignments {These are also available online at the course site under "assignments," and "week by week."


Week 1--


  1. Course Study Guide and Syllabus
  2. Week by Week content{THIS IS AT THE COURSE SITE ONLINE}: Week One
  3. Nordquist: pages 1-43, 217-226, 366-378


  1. Exercise 1.1: Writing Background (40 points)
  2. Exercise 1.2: Time Management (40 points)
  3. Exercise 1.3: Paragraph Development (40 points)
  4. Exercise 1.4: Paragraph Structure (40 points)
  5. Exercise 1.5: Descriptive Paragraph and Grammar (40 points)


  1. Post an introduction on the Forum. Include the following information:
        Peer Review: Observation and Description
  1. Pick a common object from your office or home environment and describe it fully in a well-developed paragraph.

  2. Post your paragraph in the Forum under the Week One topic.

  3. As others post paragraphs to the Forum, review two of your classmates' paragraphs by using the "Reply" option.

  4. Be supportive, constructive, and complete in a well-developed paragraph. Reference paragraph development and observation/descriptive strategies from the week's material.


Week 2--


  1. Week by Week content: Week Two
  2. Nordquist: pages 51-61, 87-99, 226-235, 236-264


  1. Exercise 2.1: Descriptive Narrative (40 points)
  2. Exercise 2.2: Incident Exercise (40 points)
  3. Exercise 2.3: Responses to "Journalist's" Questions Process Memo (40 points)
  4. Exercise 2.4: Process Development (40 points)
  5. Exercise 2.5: Instructions (40 points)


Peer Review: Process Analysis

  1. Look at each of the changes listed below and think about the type of process that might have brought about that change. Select one of the three. Then, in two paragraphs explain the process of changing.
  1. Post the paragraph on the Forum.

  2. Review at least two of your classmates' work by using the "Reply" option.

  3. The review should be supportive and constructive. In a well-developed paragraph, examine the peer's submission for relevant/irrelevant information, complete steps in process, organization, etc. Also discuss the peer's writing style, paragraph development, and approach to the subject. Give specific examples from the peer's work to support your comments.


Week 3--


  1. Week by Week content: Week Three
  2. Nordquist: pages 41-51, 265-286, 333-341


  1. Exercise 3.1: Paragraph with Examples Exercise (50 points)
  2. Exercise 3.2: Paragraph and Topic Sentence Placement (50 points)
  3. Exercise 3.3: Essay Analysis (50 points)
  4. Exercise 3.4: Paragraph with Examples (50 points)


Peer Review: Explaining by Example

  1. Write two or three paragraphs explaining why violence is both impractical and immoral. Use as many examples as possible to support your theme.

  2. Post the paragraphs to the Forum.

  3. As others post instructions to the Peer Review, review at least two of your classmates' work by using the "Reply" option.

  4. The review should be supportive and constructive. In a well-developed paragraph, examine the peer's submission for organization, relevant and accurate examples, logical development.


Week 4


  1. Week by Week content: Week Four
  2. Nordquist: pages 143-156, 342-351


  1. Exercise 4.1: Definition Development (40 points)
  2. Exercise 4.2: Alliance Definition (40 points)
  3. Exercise 4.3: Definitions and Classifications - Readings (40 points)
  4. Exercise 4.4: Classification and Division Assignment (40 points)
  5. Exercise 4.5: Twain Analysis (40 points)


Peer Review: Definition, Division and Classification

  1. Pick an abstract term that you find intriguing or that you have always wanted to pin down (e.g., "anger,' "courage," "friendship," etc.). Write at least two well-developed paragraphs on the term. Watch out for wordiness.

  2. Post paragraphs to the Forum using the Week Four topic.

  3. As others post paragraphs to the Peer Review, review at least two of your classmates' paragraphs by using the "Reply" option.

Week 5--


  1. Week by Week content: Week Five
  2. Nordquist: pages 130-142, 287-301


  1. Exercise 5.1: Problematic Phenomena Exercise (40 points)
  2. Exercise 5.2: Real Life Analysis (40 points)
  3. Exercise 5.3: Causal Analysis Development (40 points)
  4. Exercise 5.4: Multiple Causal Analysis (40 points)
  5. Exercise 5.5: Essay Prewriting Steps (40 points)


Peer Review: Causal Analysis

  1. Draft two or three paragraphs about why teenagers join gangs, arranging your discussion from the least important cause to the essential or primary cause.

  2. Each student will then respond to at least two submitted peer paragraphs and comment in the response on whether or not he or she agrees with the peer paragraph in question. Students are not limited to two responses. You may respond to the paragraph in question as often as the debate you create demands it.

  3. The commentary should include whether or not you agree with your peer's claim that his or her assignment of essential cause is correct or incorrect.

Week 6--


  1. Week by Week content: Week Six
  2. Nordquist: pages 100-116, 302-322


  1. Exercise 6.1: Compare/Contrast: Point-by-Point (40 points)
  2. Exercise 6.2: Compare/Contrast: Block Method (40 points)
  3. Exercise 6.3: Comparison/Contrast Analysis (40 points)
  4. Exercise 6.4: Sentence Generation - Coordination (40 points)
  5. Exercise 6.5: Sentence Generation: Subordination (40 points)


Peer Review: Comparison and Contrast

  1. Consider any two objects that figure prominently in your life. Brainstorm a comparison for the two objects, and then write two paragraphs showing that comparison. This object comparison is in addition to that of your online exercises and should be a completely different object. Post on the Forum.

  2. Critique at least two of your classmates' drafts posted using the "Reply" feature on the Forum.

  3. Use the information contained in this week's lessons, the Internet sites, and your text when developing your comparison and when you review your peers' comparisons.

Week 7--


  1. Week by Week content: Week Seven
  2. Nordquist: pages 157-174, 323-332


  1. Exercise 7.1: Product Persuasion (40 points)
  2. Exercise 7.2: Stacking the Deck Exercise (40 points)
  3. Exercise 7.3: Letter of Complaint (40 points)
  4. Exercise 7.4: Persuasion - Business Focus (40 points)
  5. Exercise 7.5: Persuasion Hostile Audience (40 points)


Peer Review: Writing Persuasively - Argumentation

  1. Read the scenario below.
  2. Based on your readings for this week, design a proposal to be submitted to Mr. Smith that discusses the need to install a central air conditioning system in your office space. The proposal should be no longer than three paragraphs and should be based on one of the following strategies: motivational, stacking the deck, or rational argument. Put your proposal in memo format. Submit the proposal to the Forum.
  3. Reply to at least two peers. In each of your peer responses, include the following:

If the peer has included any logical fallacies, note them. Finally, address the tone that the peer used in the proposal. Was it positive? Threatening? Post your peer responses to the Forum.

The Scenario:

Harry Heet is the president of Forthright Enterprises. You all work in Jacksonville, Florida, where the mean temperature in the summer is 92 degrees Fahrenheit daily and the humidity is 90% or more for 89 of the 90 days of summer. Mr. Smith, a Vice President of the company, doesn't seem to mind the heat or humidity; in fact, he seems to thrive on it. Right now, his business in advertising antiperspirants, soap, and other grooming products is at a low ebb; profits are down, and contracts difficult to come by. His place of business has no air conditioning, but is instead cooled by electric fans of the overhead and desk type, and by keeping the windows open at night. You decide as work force that you just can't stand the lack of air conditioning any more and you decide to formally propose internally to Mr. Smith that he install central air conditioning to the two-story building in which you work.


Week 8--


  1. Week by Week content: Week Eight
  2. Review Week Five:
  3. Your Final Essay


Due Friday

  1. Proofread and complete your essay draft and submit it to your facilitator.

Forum: N/A

Complete online evaluation.

Essay Assignment Overview

Your assignment for this Week Eight will entail writing a short, but inclusive essay. Review the following Week Five topics: Writing Effective Essays – The Basics and Your Final Essay. In addition, browse the suggested Internet sites for further information.

Below is a brief overview of the steps to follow when developing your final essay.

Choosing a Topic

By now, you should have your topic fine-tuned. Go back to the exercise you did Week Five on Essay Prewriting Steps. Review your submission. Of course, you may need to revise your responses, but you should have a fair idea of how you are going to proceed.

When choosing a topic, let it be something you are interested in or something about which your curiosity has been roused. Try to select something that is confined and narrow enough that you can deal with it in 300 to 500 words.

If you are having difficulty, check out ResearchPaper.com for dozens of interesting topics. If one doesn't strike you as perfect, feel free to use the suggested topics as a springboard to one of your own. If you decide to do research on your topic, you will need to cite your sources. Ask your facilitator about footnote and bibliography guidelines.

Deciding on Your Purpose

Before moving on, make sure your purpose is clear. For this course, your purposes are informational. You want to describe, explain, or relate (as in a narrative) something about your topic. Do you want to explain a process? Define a concept? Narrate an incident in your life where you learned something powerful? Explain the differences among the kinds or species of a concept or idea? Explain and describe the causes for a problem that occurs in your life or world? Compare and contrast two or more things or ideas? If you want to review any of these strategies, just click on the keywords above and the link will take you to the week where the strategy was discussed.

Who is in Your Audience?

After you have clarified your purpose, consider the needs of your audience. Don't get hung up on trying to think of what YOU need to say, think of what THEY NEED TO KNOW!

Your audience is your course facilitator and your peers.


  1. What do you want your readers to know or do after they read your paper?
  2. How do you want your readers to feel after reading your paper? What should your tone be?
  3. What do they already know? What can you show or teach them? (Include several items)
  4. What kinds of questions will they need answered in your paper? (Who? What? When? Where? How? Why?) Formulate the questions they might ask that you would need to answer in the paper.
  5. What evidence will you use to support your central point? (Facts, personal stories, experts' opinions?)

Brainstorming and Generating Ideas

Some of us are ready to begin writing by the time we have gotten this far in the process; some are not. If you are not, try one of the following strategies:

Remember, a rough draft is VERY freewheeling, open, and will be full of errors. That is good; you can handle them later in the process. Remember to save your rough draft to a file on your computer before submitting it to your facilitator. Always have at least one backup of your essay.

Revising the Draft

Now it is time to move on to revising. Use the guidelines discussed throughout the last seven weeks and in the text as the bases "fine-tuning" your essay.

Editing Your Draft

At this point, everything should be in order, and your support evidence and information should be adequate or complete. Now, you need to shift your attention to editing, making your sentences clear and your tone appropriate.

Collaborate and Confer

It never hurts to have another pair of intelligent eyes look over your drafts before you publish them. Others often have useful insights into how we can improve our writing. This is not cheating. Cheating is allowing others to do all the work for you or accepting their choices when you don't believe they are right or you haven't thought about them clearly for yourself. All writers get support from other writers. Good writers incorporate advice and select out useless comments.

At this point in writing a document, it is a good idea to let others make a contribution to your producing a clear and effective document. Access the Forum and request feedback from your peers. Let them see your draft as it is so far, and ask them for feedback on how it is going.

Here are questions they might answer for you:

  1. Is my point clear?

  2. Does my paper "flow," or is it choppy?

  3. Is there anything you want to know more about?

  4. Is there anything you did not understand? Should I explain more?

  5. Am I making any serious sentence or punctuation mistakes?

Try emailing your peers and get answers to these questions. Do this activity before moving on to the last phase of the writing process.

Proofreading and Spell Checking

If the whole blank page is the unit of drafting, and if the paragraph is the unit for revising, and if the individual sentence is the unit for editing, then the individual line is the unit for proofreading. You do not read the paper for sentence accuracy although you may spot inaccuracies. You read through each and every line for errors in that line. Here are four strategies. Use a hard copy of your paper - proofreading from the screen does not work well.

  1. Read the paper through in hard copy silently. Correct any obvious errors.

  2. Read the paper through again aloud with a pencil in hand, holding it over each word as you go. Correct any other errors you find.

  3. Read the paper again out loud, pen in hand, from the last word in the text backwards to the first word. Correct any errors you find.

  4. Have someone else read it out loud while you listen and make notes.

The new technology saves us much tedious effort when it comes to spelling. But be careful. Spell checkers still cannot catch homonyms: words that sound alike but are spelled differently and mean different things (principal-principle; their-there; to-too-two).

Spell checkers often give you a number of choices for a word they find spelled incorrectly, and we often just click on the first one they show in the choice window. Be careful. It is not always the correct one. Look before you click.

Submit Your Final Draft

When you have gone through all of these steps, submit your final draft via e-mail to your facilitator.