Topic Name Description
Course Introduction Page Course Syllabus
Page Course Terms of Use
Unit 1: Redefining What It Means To Write Page Unit 1 Learning Outcomes
1.1.1: Writing as a Conversation between Reader and Writer Page Writing Commons: Michael Charlton's "Understanding How Conversations Change Over Time"

Read this article and watch the linked videos to learn how conversations develop over time and how writers enter into a conversation when making claims in their writing. As you begin to write, keep in mind the questions that appear at the end of this resource to help you consider how you may add new insights to the conversation through your writing. How can considering the conversation about your topic help during the research process of your writing?

1.1.2: Defining Your Audience Page Writing Commons: Amanda Wray's "What to Think about When Writing for a Particular Audience"

Read this article.

Page Writing Commons: "Rhetorical Appeals"

Study the definitions and reflective questions in this table. Keep in mind that you should consider to whom you are writing (your audience) and why (your purpose). How should your tone vary when writing an argumentative essay versus an informal email?

1.2.1: How Writing as a Process Differs from Writing as a Product Page Pavel Zemliansky's "Methods of Discovery: A Guide to Research Writing - Chapter 2: Research Writing as a Process"

Read this chapter. How does the process approach differ from the product approach? Which do you prefer when writing an essay?

1.2.2: "I Write So That I Know What I Think" - Writing as an Act of Discovery Page Writing Commons: Joseph Moxley's "Think Rhetorically"

Read this article.  What advantages can you see by approaching a decision with a rhetorical perspective?

1.3: The PWR (Prewrite, Write, and Revise) Method Page Utah State University: "Writing Process"

Read this article on the writing process from pre-writing to publishing. Do you find that you follow these steps when writing essays? Which pre-writing activity works best for you?

1.3.1: Prewriting Page Writing Commons: Joe Moxley's "Plan Your Writing"

Read this article. Asking friends and classmates for their opinions can be a helpful step in the writing process. Try the suggestion in the reading about using Microsoft Word's tracking and commenting features to help organize your peers' feedback.

1.3.1.1: Just Write: Freewriting Page Writing Commons: Joseph Moxley's "Freewrite"

Read this article on the pre-writing method called freewriting, and watch the linked video. Have you ever suffered from writer's block? Do you think freewriting would be a helpful technique to combat writer's block? Why or why not?

1.3.1.2: Brainstorming Methods Page The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Writing Center: "Brainstorming"

Read this page to learn about several methods of brainstorming. In the previous subunit, we took a look at freewriting to help combat writer's block. This reading will review the freewriting method, and you will discover several more techniques, such as creating lists, developing concept maps, thinking of journalistic questions, identifying topic levels, using cubing, as well as several other suggestions. Which of these techniques do you feel will be the most helpful when starting an essay?

1.3.1.3: Outlines/Blueprints for the Paper URL Handbook for Writers: "Chapter 5, Section 4: Outlining"

Read this section. Why is outlining important? Try the exercises at the bottom of the page to increase your outlining skills.

1.3.2.1: Introduction: The Funnel Approach Page The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Writing Center: "Introductions"

Read this article to learn more about the role of introductions and effective strategies for developing your opening paragraph. The introduction is the most important part of an essay because it provides first impressions for your audience. In general, your introduction should provide an overview of your topic and should lead into your thesis statement. Try using one of the "attention grabber" suggestions in the reading for the exercise below.

1.3.2.2: Body: The Skeleton of Your Paper Page Writing Commons: Joseph Moxley's "Paragraph"

Read this article, which will help you understand how to organize paragraphs in the body of your essay to help make your paragraphs cohesive and to smoothly transition between one discussion point to the next. Keep in mind that the paragraphs in the body of your essay should work to prove or address your main purpose or argument set out by your thesis statement.

1.3.2.3: Conclusion: What Is in the Conclusion? What Is Not? Page The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Writing Center: "Conclusions"

Read this article for an explanation of how to write a conclusion. Conclusions can be just as important as introductions. A conclusion provides the last opportunity to make your point to your audience. Which of the strategies provided in the reading do you feel would make the strongest conclusion? Which strategy would be best for an argumentative essay and why?

1.3.3: Revising Page The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Writing Center: "Revising Drafts"

Read this article on revision. How is revision different from proofreading? After reading the webpage, do you feel that revision is a necessary step in the writing process?

1.3.3.1: Answering Three Big Questions: Do You Need to Say It? Does It Say What You Want It to Say? Will Other People Get What You Are Trying to Say? Page The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Writing Center: "Reorganizing Drafts"

Read this entire article to learn strategies for improving the organization of ideas in your essay. When you have finished studying this information, bookmark the Writing Center's webpage, so you can refer to it as you complete your written assignments. In this reading, you will discover how outlining can be helpful before, during, and after you have written an essay.

1.3.3.2: Editing for Structure, Clarity, and Style Page Writing Commons: "Edit"

Click on the link above and read the information on the main webpage. Then, select "Read More” for each of the related subtopics and read the accompanying pages. Make sure to also view any embedded videos. This reading will provide you with tips on proofreading and editing your paper to enhance your style of writing, make your writing more concise, and ensure that you are using proper punctuation. How are revision, proofreading, and editing similar? How are they different?

1.3.3.3: Proofreading Method: Reading Aloud Page Writing Commons: "Read Your Paper Aloud to Check Cohesiveness"

Read this page to learn about reading your paper out loud as a method of proofreading. Do you think reading your work aloud is a helpful technique?

1.4: The Finishing Touches Page Writing Commons: Jennifer Yirinec's "Formatting the Works Cited Page (MLA)"

Read these guidelines on MLA formatting.

Page Writing Commons: "Formatting the References Page (APA)"

Read these guidelines on APA formatting.

1.5: Reading to Write: Reading and Writing as Complementary Activities Page The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Writing Center: "Reading to Write"

Read this article to learn about effective reading, note-taking, and writing strategies. Which of these writing strategies will work best for you?

1.5.1: Read, Read, Read Page Writing Commons: Joseph Moxley's "Literary Criticism"

Read this article on reading and interpreting literature. Reading and discussing literature will help improve your writing skills. Choose two or three of the examples of literary criticism links to gain a deeper understanding of this point.

1.5.2: Gathering and Organizing Evidence Page The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Writing Center: "Evidence"

Read this article. You can incorporate evidence into your essays in a number of ways. Try using various types of evidence in your writing including quotations, summaries, paraphrases, data, illustrations, and photographs.

1.6.1: Parts of a Sentence: Subject and Predicate URL Writing for Success: "Chapter 2: Writing Basics: What Makes a Good Sentence?"

Read this chapter, which covers the parts of a sentence, how to ensure grammatically correct sentences, and ways to vary sentences.

1.6.2: Adding to the Mix: Parsing a Sentence Into Its Various Constituents Page Writing Commons: "Sentence Construction"

Read this article. Varying sentence structure in your writing helps your writing flow for your audience and can help keep your readers' interest.

1.6.3: Identifying Fragments and Run-On Sentences Page Writing Commons: "Avoid Sentence Fragments"

Review this article on sentence fragments. 

Page Writing Commons: "Avoid Run-on Sentences"

Review this page on run-on sentences.

Page The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Writing Center: "Fragments and Run-ons"

If you feel you need additional help with fragments and run-ons, click on the link above and read this optional guide.

1.6.4: Subject-Verb Disagreement Page Writing Commons: Brogan Sullivan's "Subject-Verb Agreement"

Read this article. Subject-verb disagreement, where the conjugation of the verb does not match the point of view (first, second, or third) and number (singular or plural) of the subject, is a common error in writing.

Page Writing Commons: "Review Subject-Verb Agreement"

Review this page on subject-verb agreement.

1.6.5: Verb Tenses Page The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Writing Center: "Verb Tenses"

Read this article about when to use the following verb tenses: present simple, past simple, and present perfect. A common mistake in writing is to shift verb tenses, for example, by writing in the present tense and then shifting to the past tense. To avoid this, try to choose the appropriate verb tense and use it consistently throughout your writing.

Unit 2: Academic Writing Page Unit 2 Learning Outcomes
2.1.1: Defining an Argument Page Pavel Zemliansky's "Methods of Discovery: A Guide to Research Writing - Chapter 1: Research Writing and Argument"

Read this chapter to expand upon the discussion set out in the introduction to Unit 2 that academic writing is meant to be persuasive. Answer the questions raised in the Writing Activity. Do you agree that all writing is argumentative? Why, or why not?

2.1.2: Identifying the Uses of Academic Writing Page Wikipedia: "Academic Writing"

Read this article. Review the list of academic genres in which you could be expected to write.

2.1.3: Examples of Academic Writing Page Writing Commons: Jason Wirtz's "In the Moment"

Read this article, which looks at an example of a personal narrative. This resource annotates and gives advice on how to write a personal narrative, using the student essay "In the Moment." How does this type of writing differ from literary analysis or a research paper? When is this type of writing appropriate?

2.2: The Architecture of an Argument Page Writing Commons: Jennifer Yirinec's "Understanding Arguments"

Read this article about how to craft an argument.

Page Utah State University: "Toulmin's Schema"

Read this article. Stephen Toulmin designed his argument strategies to closely mimic the way that people are more apt to be persuaded. As long as you understand the various parts of an argument, you can arrange them in various ways to suit your needs.

2.2.1: Claim/Thesis - What Do You Think? Page Writing Commons: Rhonda Dietrich's "The Guiding Idea and Argumentative Thesis Statement"

Read this article and complete the exercises to learn about crafting a guiding idea or a thesis statement, depending on the genre of writing. Every essay needs a main point regardless of the genre. How are the guiding idea and the thesis statement different?

2.3.1: Identifying Audience Page Writing Commons: Joseph Moxley's "Consider Your Audience"

Read this article about taking your audience into consideration as you write. Remember to also watch the linked video. Great writers consider their audience first. Ask yourself the "Audience Analysis Questions” located on the webpage above before you begin your next writing assignment.

2.3.2: Adjusting Tone Page Writing Commons: "Use Appropriate Academic Language"

Read this page on using an academic tone in your writing. Why is it important to use appropriate academic language in college-level writing?

2.3.3: Warrant - How Do Your Reasons Support Your Claim? Page Connexions: The Cain Project in Engineering and Professional Communication: "Writing Module Three: Five Essential Parts of Argument"

Read this material on parts of an argument, focusing especially on warrants. How do warrants differ from reasons and evidence?

2.3.4: Qualify Your Claim Page Wikibooks: "Rhetoric and Composition: Argumentation"

Read the article for a review of the Toulmin method, focusing on the information on qualifiers. Do you need to qualify your claim to avoid overgeneralization or assertions that are too broad?

2.4.1: Reasons - Why Do You Think That? Page Writing Commons: Jennifer Yirinec's "Distinguishing between Main Points and Sub-claims"

Read this article on main points and sub-claims. How do main points differ from sub-claims? How can you support sub-claims in your writing?

2.4.2: Evidence - How Do You Know? Page Writing Commons: "Evidence"

Read this article and watch the linked video. Is it possible to over quote? How do you know if you are choosing the best information for your essay?

2.4.3: Ethos Page Writing Commons: Jessica McKee and Megan McIntyre's "Ethos"

Read this article. Ethos refers to a rhetorical appeal that relates to credibility of the author or orator. 

2.4.4: Logos Page Writing Commons: "Logos"

Read this article. Logos is the Greek word for "logic.” Logos refers to a logical rhetorical appeal when making an argument.

Page Utah State University: "Introduction to Writing: Inductive and Deductive Reasoning"

Read this article for a description of inductive and deductive reasoning.

2.4.4.1: Fallacies - Do Not Use These! Page Writing Commons: "Logical Fallacies"

Read this article to learn about logical fallacies and how to avoid them. Logical fallacies occur when the chain of reasoning breaks down, which invalidates the conclusion. Try to identify any logical fallacies in your writing by revisiting one of the writing activities for this course or another course

Page WikiEducator: "Obstacles to Clear Thinking"

Read this article.

2.4.5: Pathos Page Writing Commons: "Pathos"

Read this article to learn more about pathos. Pathos is the Greek word for "emotion,” and the rhetorical method of pathos refers to appealing to the emotions of one's audience in order to persuade. Without offering evidence, pathos can be little more than an invalid, emotional response in your writing; however, using all rhetorical appeals (ethos, logos, and pathos) is the best way to strengthen an argument. Make sure to provide appropriate evidence when using pathos in your arguments.

2.5: Rogerian Argument and Anticipating Counterarguments Page Writing Commons: Joseph M. Moxley's "Rogerian Argument"

Read this article. Rogerian argument can be an effective way to approach persuasive writing. By covering opposing viewpoints and finding common ground between the differing views, Rogerian arguments validate the reader's position and opens his or her mind to a different way of looking at the topic.

2.6: Rhetorical Strategies Page Pavel Zemliansky's "Methods of Discovery: A Guide to Research Writing - Chapter 1: Research Writing and Argument"

Read the sections titled "Definitions of Rhetoric and the Rhetorical Situation", "Elements of the Rhetorical Situation", "How to Approach Writing Tasks Rhetorically", and "Rhetorical Appeals".

2.6.1: Comparison and Contrast URL Writing for Success: "Chapter 10, Section 7: Comparison and Contrast"

Read this section to learn about a compare/contrast essay. How is this form of writing an important skill beyond the classroom? Attempt the exercises on the webpage to test your understanding.

2.6.2: Exemplification Page Writing Commons: "Provide Additional Support for This Point"

Read this article for information about supporting claims in your writing. Why is it important to provide support for every point or claim in your writing? Where can you find additional support?

2.6.3: Definition of Terms Page Writing Commons: "What Word Would Be More Appropriate Here?"

Read this article to learn about how to improve your diction (word choice) in your writing. Choosing appropriate words in your writing provides a sense of harmony and better understanding of your ideas for your readers.

2.6.4: Cause and Effect Analysis Page Khan Academy: "Correlation and Causation"

Watch this video to learn about cause and effect versus correlation.  How can learning about this type of writing help you beyond the classroom? What professions rely on cause and effect reasoning? 

Unit 3: Focus, Cohesion, and Style Page Unit 3 Learning Objectives
3.1: Choppiness: How to Detect and Fix It Page The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Writing Center: "Sentence Patterns"

Read this article, which provides you with a brief review of using various sentence patterns in your writing.

3.2: Wordiness: How to Detect and Fix It Page The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Writing Center: "Word Choice"

Read this article.

URL William Strunk, Jr.'s "The Elements of Style"

You may use this book as a reference for your writing. For this subunit, focus on Chapter 3: "Section 13: Omit Needless Words.” Writing clearly and concisely is an important skill to use for effective academic writing.

3.3: Parallelism Page Writing Commons: "Use Parallel Structure"

Read this article. Why is parallel structure important?

3.4: Active versus Passive Voice Page The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Writing Center: "Passive Voice"

Read this article concerning passive voice. When is passive voice an appropriate choice for writing? When should you use active voice?

3.5.1: Avoid "To Be" - Reaching for Colorful Verbs Page Writing Commons: "Avoid Unnecessary 'to be' Verbs"

Read this article. How can using stronger verbs in your writing keep your audience interested?

3.5.2: Gender-Sensitive Language Page Writing Commons: "Use Language That Is Sensitive to Your Audience"

Review this article. Be careful to use sensitive language in your writing so as to be inclusive.

3.6.1: Misplaced Modifiers Page Writing Commons: "Avoid Misplaced Modifiers"

Review this article. Proper modifier placement brings clarity to your writing.

3.6.2: Pronoun-Antecedent Disagreement Page Writing Commons: "Subject-Pronoun Agreement"

Read this article. Pronouns and their antecedents must agree in number and gender.

Unit 3 Essay Page John Muir's "The Yosemite, Chapter 16: Hetch Hetchy Valley"

Read this chapter and apply it to the assignment below.

Unit 4: Using The Work Of Others Page Unit 4 Learning Outcomes
4.1: How to Leverage the Work of Others Page Writing Commons: "Evidence"

Read this article and watch the video. This resource will teach you how to choose the best information for your papers and how to incorporate this evidence into your writing in order to support your ideas.

4.2.1: Quoting Page Writing Commons: "Follow MLA Guidelines for Block Quotations"

Read this article to learn about formatting longer quotations as block quotes.

Page Writing Commons: "Short Quotations (APA)"

Read this article to learn how to format shorter quotations.

4.2.2: Paraphrasing and Summarizing Page Writing Commons: Brianna Jerman's "When to Quote and When to Paraphrase"

Read these articles to learn about when to paraphrase and when to quote. What is the difference between quoting and paraphrasing? When should you choose one over the other?

Page Writing Commons: "Mix Quotes with Paraphrasing"

Read these articles to learn about when to paraphrase and when to quote. What is the difference between quoting and paraphrasing? When should you choose one over the other?

4.3: Plagiarism and How to Avoid It Page Writing Commons: "Use Solely Your Own Words to Paraphrase"

Read these articles. When does paraphrasing turn into plagiarism? How can you avoid plagiarism when incorporating the works of others into your writing.

Page The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Writing Center: "Plagiarism"

Read these articles. When does paraphrasing turn into plagiarism? How can you avoid plagiarism when incorporating the works of others into your writing.

4.4: MLA Documentation Page Writing Commons: "MLA"

Review this article. Read the associated content about MLA format, study the examples of MLA format, and complete the exercises.

4.4.1: Basic MLA In-text Citation Page Writing Commons: Jennifer Yirinec and Lauren Cutlip's "Formatting In-text Citations (MLA)"

Read this article to learn about the correct way to format in-text citations using MLA style.

4.4.2: MLA Works Cited Page Writing Commons: Jennifer Yirinec's "Formatting the Works Cited Page (MLA)"

Review this information on the correct format for your Works Cited pages.

Optional Course Evaluation Survey URL Optional Course Evaluation Survey

Please take a few moments to provide some feedback about this course at the link below. Consider completing the survey whether you have completed the course, you are nearly at that point, or you have just come to study one unit or a few units of this course.

Your feedback will focus our efforts to continually improve our course design, content, technology, and general ease-of-use. Additionally, your input will be considered alongside our consulting professors' evaluation of the course during its next round of peer review. As always, please report urgent course experience concerns to contact@saylor.org and/or our discussion forums.