Topic Name Description
Course Syllabus Page Course Syllabus
1.1.1: Active Reading Strategies Page Active Reading

This course is designed to prepare you for the demands of college-level reading and writing. One of the foundational skills of this course – and of effective readers, writers, and learners – is active reading. Read this brief article for your first introduction to the concept of active reading. Once you are familiar with the concept of active reading, you will explore active reading strategies throughout this unit. We will return to these strategies throughout the course as you strengthen your reading comprehension skills.

1.1.2: Active vs. Passive Reading Page Active vs. Passive Reading

Watch this video, which walks through different active reading strategies to improve your ability to understand and recall the material that you read. As you watch, try adopting the active reading advice you learned in the last article.

  • As you watch, make brief notes of key ideas, as well as any words or concepts you don't understand well.
  • Next, take a few moments to reflect on the video. What was the most memorable part of the video? What is one new piece of information you learned? What questions do you have about the video?
  • Review your notes. If you do not understand all of the main points, watch the video a second time. You don't have to watch the whole thing again – it's okay to just review sections that address the specific questions you have.
  • Finally, add to or revise your initial notes. Were you able to answer your unresolved questions? Can you list the most important "take-aways" from the video? In other words, what are 2 or 3 things from this video that you want to remember?
1.1.3: The Reading Environment Page Online Reading Strategies

You will be doing a lot of reading in ENGL000. If you take a traditional college course with face-to-face instruction, it is likely that many of your assigned readings will be provided online. Reading in online environments is somewhat different than reading on the printed page. How can you apply active reading strategies to get the most out of your online readings in this course and beyond?

In this article, you will learn more about reading online. If you'd like some extra practice with your active reading skills, you may complete the "Explore a Web Page" activity in the middle of the page.

1.1.4: Taking Effective Notes Page The Cornell Note-Taking System

Taking effective notes while reading a text or listening to a lecture is an important part of active reading. This resource will teach you about one strategy for effective note-taking called the Cornell Note-Taking System. After you read, try reading it again and practicing your active reading by implementing this system. 

1.2.1: Identifying the Main Idea Page Finding the Main Idea

The active reading strategies you practiced earlier are designed to help you identify, understand, and remember the most important ideas in an article or lecture. Now, you will learn to identify the main idea, topic sentence, and theme of a paragraph. To begin, read this lecture and complete the included activities, in which you identify the main ideas from the excerpts of "A Scandal in Bohemia", which is part of the active reading assignment later in this unit.

1.2.2: Supporting the Main Idea Page The Main Idea and Supporting Sentences

In this course, you will practice writing analytical paragraphs in which you state the main idea clearly in a topic sentence and support the main idea with evidence and examples. Read this lecture and complete the included activities, in which you identify the main ideas and supporting details of different paragraphs. When you are done, check your work against the Answer Key.

1.2.3: Topic Sentences URL Organizing Your Ideas: Topic Sentences

Now that you understand how to break down a paragraph into the main idea and supporting sentences, we'll learn some tips for developing effective topic sentences in your own writing. After you read, take a few moments to reflect and apply what you've learned. For practice, try writing a topic sentence that summarizes the main idea of Unit 1 of this course.

1.3.1: The Basic Sentence Page The Sentence

Writing effective sentences is crucial for writing effective paragraphs. But what makes a sentence effective? Read this lecture on the basic structure of a sentence and complete the practice activities, in which you identify subjects and verbs, revise clauses as complete sentences, and revise sentences to include proper punctuation. Once you complete the practice, check your answers against the Answer Key.

1.3.2: Strategies for Variation URL Using Varied Sentence Lengths and Styles

Now that you've mastered the basics, it's time to practice using a variety of sentence types. Follow the link to a section about sentence style. You only need to read section 16.1, "Using Varied Sentence Lengths and Styles", and complete the accompanying exercises. You should keep this material in mind for future assignments. After you finish the exercises at the end of the section, compare your answers with this guide to responding.

1.3.3: Sentence Types URL The Structure of a Sentence

Continue building your understanding of sentences by following this link to read the section of the page about the variety of sentence structures. Pay attention to the information about simple, complex, and compound sentence structures. Be sure to take good notes by implementing the active reading strategies you learned earlier in this unit – you'll need to understand the difference between these sentence types to complete the quiz!

1.4.1: Introduction to Prewriting Page Pre-Writing Activities

One challenge for many writers, be they beginners or seasoned professionals, is how to get started. Reflect on your own experiences with writing – have you ever had trouble organizing your ideas? Many writers find prewriting activities useful. Prewriting is important because writing is a process that helps you learn, not just an exercise in which you set down on paper the things you already know. Prewriting can help you figure out what you know, what you still need to know, and how various pieces of your argument fit together. Read this lecture introducing two common prewriting techniques and complete the practice exercises.

1.4.2: Prewriting Questions URL Apply Prewriting Models

Earlier, you tried out two prewriting techniques: freewriting and idea mapping. This section introduces additional techniques and reviews what we've covered so far. As you read, complete Exercise 2 and Exercise 3, which focus on two new aspects of prewriting: asking questions and narrowing your focus. After completing these exercises, take a moment to reflect on your experiences with prewriting so far in this unit. Have you used any of these prewriting techniques in the past? Which ones were new to you? Which technique or techniques do you plan to implement in the future? 

URL Steps for Planning to Write an Argument

You may want to proceed through several stages of prewriting as you develop a topic. Different types of writing assignments may be suited to different prewriting processes. Watch this short video, which outlines a prewriting process for developing an argumentative essay. You will practice argumentative writing in Unit 2.

1.5: Active Reading Practice URL A Scandal in Bohemia

This unit introduced one of the foundational skills for college-level learning: active reading. You should now be able to implement active reading strategies to improve your understanding and retention of the material you read. See if you can recall the active reading steps that you learned earlier. If you need a refresher, revisit your notes before completing this active reading practice exercise. 

When you're ready, open this document to actively read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's short story "A Scandal in Bohemia". After you read, take the quiz to assess your comprehension of the story. Did you use your active reading skills to take effective notes and gain a deeper understanding of the story?

2.1: Developing Relationships Between Ideas Page Developing Relationships Between Ideas

In Unit 1, you mastered the basics of writing effective sentences. In this unit, you will learn how to combine ideas across sentences to build well-organized paragraphs. Read this article about connecting sentences within a paragraph in a meaningful way. Complete the practice activities, in which you will identify the relationships between ideas in a paragraph and practice developing a paragraph that connects ideas. You will continue to develop these skills throughout the course, and we will revisit expressions for linking sentences when we learn about transitions in Unit 4.

2.2.1: Fragments Page Fragments

In Unit 1, you learned about the components of a complete sentence. Can you recall what they are? If not, this would be a good opportunity to review your notes. In the next two activities, you will learn more about constructing grammatical sentences. Read this article on sentence fragments and complete the practice activities, in which you identify both subjects and verbs that make a sentence a complete thought. Once you complete the practice activities, check your answers against the Answer Key.

2.2.2: Comma Splices and Run-on Sentences Page Comma Splices and Run-on Sentences

Next, read this lecture on how to fix comma splices and run-on sentences, and then complete the practice activities in which you correctly punctuate sentences to avoid the errors of comma splices and run-ons. Once you complete the practice activities, check your answers against the Answer Key. You will learn more about using commas and other punctuation to craft complete sentences in Unit 3.

2.3.1: Thesis Statement Basics Page Choosing and Focusing a Topic

Many types of academic essays require a thesis statement: a statement that clearly outlines the topic and argument of your essay. In this learning module, you will learn what a thesis statement is and how to develop a strong thesis statement to anchor your argument.

2.3.2: Developing Strong Thesis Statements Page Developing a Thesis

Now that you are familiar with thesis statements, take a few minutes to review by taking notes on what you know about thesis statements.

  • How would you define the term "thesis statement" in your own words?
  • What is the purpose of a thesis statement?
  • Have you used thesis statements in your writing before? When?
  • What do you think makes a thesis statement effective?
  • What is something you don't know about writing thesis statements?

Once you complete this brainstorming activity, read this article to continue learning about developing strong thesis statements.

2.4.1: Outline Basics Page Outlines

You already learned about prewriting techniques to help you craft an argumentative paragraph or an essay. Now you will learn about the important prewriting step of creating an outline. This article will teach the basics of what an outline is, why it is useful, and how to get started outlining an essay.

Page Sample Outline

Before you begin practicing making outlines to support your own writing, review this sample outline. This is just one model of a successful outline; as you will see in the following activities, the basic principles for creating effective outlines can be applied differently in any number of writing contexts.

2.4.2: How to Outline URL Outlining

Earlier, you practiced prewriting techniques to develop a paragraph about one of three topics: Why do dogs make great pets? Should children be given chores? or Which holiday is your favorite? In preparation for learning about outlines, review your notes.

In the following activity, you will create a sample outline based on the prewriting you did for one of these topics. You may build on the prewriting work you already completed, or you may want to spend a few minutes prewriting on one of the topics you did not explore in the previous unit. 

After you select a topic and complete a prewriting activity, read this chapter about developing an outline. After you read, choose one of the outline types described in the article and create an outline for an essay on the topic you chose.

2.4.3: Types of Outlines URL Components of a Speech

The previous activity asked you to develop a sample outline for an argumentative essay. Outlines can be used to develop many different kinds of writing. While the basic principles of outlines apply to many writing contexts, the way you apply those principles will be different depending on the type of writing you are producing. Read this section about creating outlines for a speech. After you read, spend a few minutes reflecting on what you learned.

  • In your own words, how would you describe the purpose of an outline?
  • What are some similarities and differences between an outline for an argumentative essay and an outline for a speech?
  • Have you used outlines to develop your writing in the past? Do you plan to use them in the future?
2.5: Active Reading Practice URL The Red-Headed League

Have you been applying the active reading strategies you learned in Unit 1? This would be a good time to review your notes about active reading. Once you've refreshed your memory about how to use active reading to improve your understanding of a text, read this short story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle called "The Red-Headed League". When you finish, take the quiz.

3.1: Making Inferences Page Making Inferences

In this unit, we will focus on making inferences. What is an inference? What's the difference between an inference and a guess? And what does any of this have to do with college-level reading and writing? Read this article and complete the practice activities to learn about making inferences as a reading comprehension strategy.

Page Making Inferences – Advanced

This article builds on your knowledge of making inferences to explore "if-then" statements. Read the article and complete the practice exercises. When you're finished, take a few moments to reflect on what you've learned in this unit so far.

  • In your own words, what does it mean to make an inference?
  • What's the difference between an inference and a guess? 
  • How can making inferences help you in your reading? What about your writing?
3.2.1: Semicolon and Colon Page Semi-colons, Colons, and Dashes

Throughout the course, you've learned about creating complete, grammatically sound sentences to communicate your ideas clearly and effectively. In unit 1, you learned about the basic elements of complete sentences. In unit 2, you learned how to use punctuation to avoid fragments and run-on sentences. It may be helpful to review your notes before continuing. When you're ready, read this page about using semi-colons, colons, and dashes. Remember to apply your active reading strategies and take notes to help you remember key points.

3.2.2: Advanced Comma Rules Page Advanced Comma Rules

There are many rules governing punctuation, but using appropriate punctuation isn't about following rules just for the sake of it. Rather, the rules for using punctuation act as a shared set of expectations between writers and readers. As a reader, you look to punctuation for signals about what the author intended to say. In your own writing, you will want to use punctuation appropriately to express your ideas as clearly as possible. In this way, punctuation is a tool that helps you inform, persuade, or entertain your audience. 

Read this information about comma rules and complete the practice activities. When you finish, check your answers against the Answer Key.

3.2.3: Subject and Verb Agreement URL Subject-Verb Agreement

As you know, there's more to constructing a grammatical sentence than just punctuation. Read this article to learn about subject-verb agreement and why it is important for communicating effectively in writing.

3.2.4: Proofreading Page Editing and Proofreading

You should be able to understand and apply grammatical principles to ensure subject-verb agreement and effective use of commas, colons, semicolons, and dashes. Even writers who understand grammatical principles very well make some errors while they write. That's why it's important to proofread your writing. In this article, you will learn about proofreading, including tips for proofreading your writing.

3.3: Active Reading Practice URL The Five Orange Pips

It's time to practice your active reading again. Using the active reading strategies you learned in unit 1, read the short story "The Five Orange Pips" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. After you read, take the quiz.

4.1.1: Writing Transitions Page Transitions

Throughout this course, you learned techniques for writing effective sentences and combining ideas into well-organized paragraphs. First, you mastered the basic elements of complete sentences in unit 1. Next, you practiced combining ideas in unit 2. After that, you learned to connect ideas through the effective use of punctuation in unit 3. Now that you've mastered these techniques, you will learn how to use transitional words and phrases to signal relationships between ideas to your readers. Then you will practice the art of summary, which is also part of creating effective transitions in your writing.

The previous paragraph used transitional words and a summary to introduce the material covered in this unit. Read this article about organizing your writing with transitions, then complete the practice activities at the bottom of the page. You will use transitional phrases, which you can find answers to on the answer key. When you finish, test yourself by re-reading the paragraph above and identifying the transitional words.

4.1.2: Transitional Devices Page Transition Words

Refer to this chart for more transitional words and expressions. Practice by writing a paragraph that explains why transitions are important for communicating effectively in writing. Try to use transitions from at least three of the categories listed on the chart when writing your paragraph.

Page Transitional Devices

You've seen many examples of transitions that signal different types of relationships between ideas. This page lists transitional words and expressions that signal types of logical relationships such as addition, cause and effect, comparison, concession, contrast, special features or examples, summaries, or time relationships.

Before you read, test your knowledge of transitions by writing down as many transitional words and phrases as you can think of for each of the logical relationships listed above. Then, read this page see some examples. Note any transitional words or phrases that are new to you.

4.2.1: Summarization Basics Page How to Summarize

One of the most important skills for any writer (and any active reader!) is summary. You may be familiar with the concept of summary already; writing effective thesis statements and crafting logical transitions require writers to summarize their ideas. Read this article to learn more about the art of summary. At the end of the article, complete the practice activity to summarize Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's story "The Five Orange Pips", which you read at the end of unit 3.

4.2.2: Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing Page Paraphrasing and Summarizing

Now that you understand how summary works, you will learn about two related strategies: quoting and paraphrasing. Read this tutorial, which explains the difference between quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing. Later, you will learn how quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing can help you avoid plagiarism.

Page When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Part of becoming a confident and effective writer is knowing how to tailor your writing for different contexts. Follow up on what you learned in the previous tutorial by reading this short article that explains when to quote, when to paraphrase, and when to summarize.

4.3.1: Understanding Plagiarism Page What Plagiarism Is and How to Avoid It

You've used quotation, paraphrasing, and summarizing to incorporate others' ideas into your own writing. In many types of academic writing, it is important to use facts and ideas from outside sources to support your own analysis and conclusions. Whenever you introduce an idea from an outside source, it is important to attribute that idea to that source. Otherwise, you are taking credit for someone else's work. This is called plagiarism.

Different writing communities may have somewhat different norms when it comes to avoiding plagiarism. Watch this short introduction to how colleges and universities in the United States define plagiarism and how students can avoid plagiarizing.

Page Plagiarism

Take a moment to reflect and check your understanding. Write a short paragraph that defines plagiarism, explains why plagiarism is unacceptable, explains how to avoid plagiarism in your writing, and identifies at least one question you still have about plagiarism. Then, read this article to check your understanding and learn more about implementing strategies for avoiding plagiarism.

4.3.2: Citation Styles URL Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing

Citation is the most important strategy for avoiding plagiarism. Read this overview of how to cite sources in three of the main citation styles (APA, MLA, and CMS) and see examples of ways to format citations in an essay. Don't worry too much about the specifics of each style right now. In most cases, your professor will tell you which styles they want you to use for a particular course or assignment.

4.4: Grammar Practice Page Quotation Marks

So far, we've focused on using quotation marks to signal when you are quoting directly from another text, such as a scholarly article, a short story, or a film. This is not the only scenario where you should use quotation marks. Read this article, which explains how to use quotation marks. Then, complete the practice activity to add quotation marks to make sentences grammatically correct. When you finish, check your answers against the answer key.

Page Apostrophes

The final type of punctuation you will study in this course is the apostrophe. Read this article about the apostrophe and then complete the practice activity. When you finish, check your answers against the answer key.  After you check your work, review commas, colons, semicolons, dashes, and quotation marks.

  • Which type of punctuation are you most confident using in your writing? Why? 
  • Which type of punctuation are you least confident using? Why?
  • Write down two specific questions you have about using punctuation effectively.
  • Review your notes about all of the punctuation marks you studied in this course. Can you answer your two questions?
4.5: Active Reading Practice URL The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle

Without looking at your notes, try to write a 2–3 sentence definition of the term "active reading". Check your work by reviewing your notes from unit 1 or re-reading the first article in this course. 

Now, read this story using active reading strategies. When you're done, take the quiz.

5.1: Beginning and Ending an Essay Page Writing Introductions and Conclusions

Earlier, you learned about the importance of guiding your reader through by using transitional words and expressions. This principle applies at all levels of an essay – you must signal to your reader what your argument will be, how it will be organized, and how your conclusions follow from the evidence you presented. In this unit, you will learn how to write effective introductions and conclusions to frame your essay for your readers. This article gives a brief overview of writing introductions and conclusions.

5.1.1: Writing Introductions Page Introduction Strategies

This article offers strategies for writing engaging and effective introductions. Earlier, you wrote a short essay about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's short story "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle". After you read this article, go back and revisit your essay. Write a new introduction for the essay using one of the strategies suggested in the article.

5.1.2: Writing Conclusions Page Conclusions

Effective conclusions require their own strategies. This article offers strategies for writing conclusions and notes some ineffective approaches to avoid. After you read, revise your essay again, this time focusing on conclusions. Write a new conclusion using one of the strategies suggested in this article.

5.2: Types of Essays Page Types of Essays

In a college English class, you may be asked to write several different common essays, including reflective essays, research essays, and expository essays. This page lists several common types of essays. Some of this terminology can be confusing, but don't worry. There's no need to memorize every type of essay. In almost every case, the writing assignment will identify the type of essay you are being asked to write and give instructions about what elements should be included in your essay.

Page Elements of Expository Essays

Expository writing is meant to explain and inform. Most writing assignments you will encounter in a college-level course will ask you to complete some form of expository writing, in which you craft a clear thesis statement and support your ideas with evidence and examples. Compare-and-contrast, persuasive, and argumentative essays are all types of expository writing. Watch this short video about the elements of a typical expository essay.

Page Reflective Writing

Another common type of writing assignment is reflective writing. You may not realize it, but you've already written reflective writing assignments in this course. Watch this short video for an overview of reflective writing. Then, see if you can identify a reflective writing assignment you wrote earlier.

Page What is a Research Paper?

In a college writing course, as in many disciplines, you may be asked to write a research paper. Read this article that explains the components of a research paper.

5.3: Revision and Proofreading Page Reorganizing Drafts

Even if you carefully plan out your essay, your plans may change as you write. Maybe you discover a new piece of evidence in your research that changes your thesis. Maybe you realize that you have a lot more to say about one subpoint than you do about the others. Maybe something just doesn't seem to "flow" right, even if you can't figure out exactly what the problem may be. These scenarios call for revision.

Revision is an important step of the writing process. Often, your instructor will ask you to revise your writing after receiving feedback. As a result, many students approach revision by simply making minor changes suggested by the instructor without considering why they are making those changes or what effect those changes may have. Effective writers, from students to professional authors, will often revise throughout the writing process. They approach revision as an opportunity to re-envision the essay as a whole. This article outlines five strategies for reorganizing and revising an essay draft. 

URL Revising

Once you have a complete draft of your essay, you will want to engage in a final round of revision and proofreading your work. Read this chapter about the revision process. Pay attention to section 8.2 on editing and proofreading. After you read, make a list of grammar, punctuation, spelling, or stylistic issues that you struggle with as a writer. For example, you may notice that you have a hard time remembering the difference between colons and semicolons, ensuring subject-verb agreement, or varying your sentences' length and structure. Next, make yourself a proofreading and editing guide: for each issue, write a quick overview of best practices for writing effectively. Use your personalized guide when revising the essay at the end of this unit.

5.4: Active Reading Practice URL The Adventure of the Speckled Band

It's time to complete your final practice activities for this course. Read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "Adventure of the Speckled Band" using active reading strategies. After you finish, take the quiz. Think of this as practice for the final exam. If the quiz is difficult, be sure to review active reading strategies and then retake the quiz. This will help you prepare for the final exam.

Study Guide Book ENGL000 Study Guide
Course Feedback Survey URL Course Feedback Survey
Answer Keys and Quiz Rubrics Page Guide to Responding for Paragraph Writing Assignments

Grading rubric for the following: 

Page Main Ideas and Supporting Sentences Answer Key

Answer Key for Main Ideas and Supporting Sentences activity.

Page Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges: "The Sentence" Answer Key

Answer key for The Sentence activity.

Page Guide to Responding to Using Varied Sentence Lengths and Styles Practice Exercises

Answer key for Using Varied Sentence Lengths and Styles Practice Exercises

Page Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges: "Fragments" Answer Key

Answer key for Fragments activity.

Page Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges: "Comma Splice and Run-on Sentences Answer Key"

Answer Key for Comma Splice and Run-on Sentences Activity

Page Guide to Short Essay Response Rubric

Grading Rubric for: 

Page Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges: "Advanced Comma Rules" Answer Key

Answer key for Advanced Comma Rules Practice.

Page Guide to Responding to the Sherlock Holmes Writing Prompt

Grading Rubric for Sherlock Holmes Writing Prompt Activity.

Page The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: "Transitions" Answer Key

Answer key for The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Transitions Practice problems.

Page Guide to Responding for Summarization Paragraph Assignment

Grading rubric for the following Summarization Basics Paragraph Writing Practice.

Page Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges: "Quotation Marks: Answer Key"

Answer key for Quotation Marks practice problems.

Page Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges: "Apostrophe" Answer Key

Answer Key for Apostrophe practice problems.

Page Guide to Responding for "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle" Reflective Essay Assessment
Page Guide to Responding to Essay Based on the Works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle