English 150 Composition

Section 15 Mondays and Wednesdays

Outline and Day-to-Day Schedule



ENGLISH 150 (Fall 2008)







Instructor                      Laurie Elmquist

Office/Hours                 Paul Building Rm. 332: Wed. and Fri. 10:00 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.

Phone                           370-3355 (24-hour voice mail)

E-mail                          elmquist@camosun.bc.ca (best way to contact me)




Texts:             Required

·        Birks, Eng and Walchi, Landmarks: A Process Reader, 2004.

·        Hacker, A Pocket Style Manual: Fifth Edition, 2008.

·        English 150 Course Pack



·        3-ring binder



Course Description

This course centres on organizing, and expressing ideas in clear and effective written prose. Instruction and practice in writing college-level expository prose, based on appropriate models, form the core. Individual assignments range from 500-2500 words in length (course total of 4,000 – 4,500 words)—Camosun College Calendar.




Students will:

·        write expository prose for various purposes and audiences

·        develop a mature writing process which may include prewriting, planning, drafting, conferring, revising, and editing/proofing

·        select and use rhetorical patterns purposefully

·        write correct, clear, cohesive, and effective English

·        vary style purposefully through manipulating sentence rhythms, sentence variety, vocabulary, and figurative language


·        read mature expository and persuasive prose by student and professional writers

·        vary their reading approach for different purposes

·        analyze expository prose by identifying controlling ideas, supporting ideas, dominant rhetorical pattern, tone and features of style

·        summarize expository prose in own words to reflect coherently the original’s ideas, organization and tone.


·        research topics for expository papers

·        use a variety of sources which may include personal knowledge, interview, print, and other media

·        choose to summarize, paraphrase, or directly quote from sources

·        integrate the results of research into expository papers

·        document sources fully and ethically, according to specified bibliographic conventions



Each assignment is accompanied by detailed instructions in your course pack:  


Descriptive/Narrative Essay                                                                  10

Persuasive Essay                                                                                  20

Comparison Essay                                                                                20

Grammar (10 mastery tests)                                                                  10                               

PowerPoint Presentation[1]                                                                  20

Research Essay                                                                                    20                               


                                                                                                          100 %


Grading System:

A+       = 90-100%                              B-        = 70-72%

A         = 85-89%                                C+       = 65-69%

A-        = 80-84%                                C         = 60-64%

B+       = 77-79%                                D         = 50-59%

B          = 73-76%                                F          = Below 50%



Students’ Responsibilities

1.      All assignments must be completed for credit in this course.  Failure to hand in an assignment will result in a failing grade in the course.  A late assignment may result in a zero grade, but it still must be completed and handed in.


2.      Students will be expected to attend class regularly (phoning or relaying a message if unable to be present), complete assigned readings, contribute to class discussions, set personal goals, choose topics they know and care about, request assistance, have drafts and final copies ready on-time, and encourage and assist other students.


3.      Attendance will be recorded each class. You cannot learn from the course and participate in class activities if you do not attend. Repeated absences will result in my request that you drop the course.


4.      A full draft of the writing assignment must be brought to class on the day designated for peer review. Students who skip a scheduled peer review will automatically receive a deduction of 10%. Peer reviews must be completed in-class by peers.  Format for final papers must follow MLA or APA style, which is fully explained in Hacker’s A Pocket Style Manual.


5.      Hand work in on time (at the beginning of class on the due date). Late submissions must be negotiated and will be penalized 5% per day, counting weekends, up to a maximum of 5 week days, after which they will not be accepted.


6.      Plagiarism is the conscious theft of another person’s ideas and/or words, presenting them as your own by not acknowledging their true source. Two of the principal goals of the academic experience are to foster original thought and intellectual honesty. Plagiarism is a violation of academic ethics which results in serious penalties. Therefore, it is vital to give credit where credit is due. Use research/reference materials to support your ideas, not replace them, and make sure your documentation is accurate. For College policies regarding plagiarism, see Student Conduct Policy, “Academic Misconduct,” in the Camosun Student Calendar.



Instructor’s Responsibilities


The instructor will adapt the course appropriately, function as a senior learner, share her own ideas and writing, stimulate and support the learning of others, give every opportunity for success, provide knowledge as needed, facilitate cooperation and community, provide clear instructions and examples for assignments, comment helpfully, return work promptly, and treat students with respect, fairness, and honesty.







[1] All assignments must be completed in this course.  Failure to do the oral presentation will result in a failing grade in the course.  No student will be excused from doing a presentation. 

English 150: 15                   Fall Schedule 2008   < xml="true" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" prefix="o" namespace="">

Monday and Wednesday < xml="true" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" prefix="st1" namespace="">11:30 a.m.  12:50 a.m.                                         




Assignments Due


Week One

Wed. Sept. 3

·          Letters of introduction and photos.

·          Introduction to the Course


Unit I: The Personal Essay


·          Invention Exploring the Landscapes of the Mind (text: Landmarks pp. 1-6)

·          In Praise of the Humble Comma by Pico Iyer (handout)


·          Description: Drawing on the five senses to make your writing vivid.

In-class Writing:

·          Freewriting about riding the bus (group exercise)



Week Two Mon. Sept. 8



·          Freewriting by Peter Elbow (Landmarks 12-17)

·          O Rotten Gotham by Tom Wolfe (course pack)

In-class Writing:

·          Freewriting about a moment of high stress or adrenaline.


 Mastery test of the Comma

At the beginning of class, hand in Exercise 33.8. 



Wed. Sept. 10


·          Read: Breathing Under Fire by Lorna Crozier (course pack)



·          Narrative: What are the characteristics of good story-telling?

Structure: A narrative essay usually follows the events chronologically. Let’s look at paragraphing, and writing openings and conclusions.


 Mastery test of Consistent Verb Tenses Rewrite the paragraph in the present tense. Hand in Exercise 31.5 at the end of class.


Week Three Mon. Sept. 15

Read: Simplicity by William Zinsser (Landmarks 45-49)


Discuss: Wordiness

Mastery test of Sentence Fragments: Exercise 25.7.

Rewrite the sentence for each question, correcting sentence fragments. Typed responses are appreciated. 

Due:  Personal Essay

(marks: 5%)

Hand in your descriptive/narrative essay describing a moment of high adrenaline or stress.

Wed. Sept. 17


Read: Gals and Dolls: The Moral Value of “Bad” Toys by Marni Jackson (Landmarks 87-90).




·          Using quick examples and longer examples

·          Using Statistics and statements by Authorities




Week Four Mon. Sept. 22

Unit II: Persuasive Essays


Read: The Goods on the Tube

(Landmarks 152-155)


Discuss:  Structuring the persuasive essay.



Argument film: PE1404E56 No. 19

Mastery test of Run-on Sentences Hand in Exercise 26.4 at the beginning of class.

Rewrite the two paragraphs, correcting the ten errors.

Typed responses are appreciated.


Bonus Marks rewarded for handing in an answer to one of the reading questions on Kaufman.  See your notes for further details.

Wed. Sept. 24

Read: Confessions of a Developer by Wallace Kaufman



·          Methods of Argument and Persuasion

·          Tone, Thesis Statements, Path Statements


Persuasion (film): PE1404E56 No. 17

Due:  Short Assignment #2 Rewrite of Descriptive/Narrative (marks 5%)


Week Five

Mon. Sept. 29

Discuss Coherence:

·          Explanation of Support

·          Transitions

·          Working in a Quote



Mastery test of Modifiers Exercise 27.6 Rewrite each sentence, correcting misplaced and dangling modifiers. 

Wed. Oct. 1


Read: The Maker’s Eye: Revising Your Own Manuscript by Donald  M. Murray

(Landmarks: 120-124)


Mastery test of Parallel Structure Exercise 28.5

We’ll do the lesson and exercise in class.  Rewrite the paragraph, correcting three main sentences.


Week Six

Mon. Oct. 6



In-class Persuasive Essay (marks 10%) This essay must be written in-class so it is important that you are not absent on this day. Title your work, Confessions of a …, and try to win your audience over to your position – one that you know is unpopular with the majority of your readers. Complete instructions are in your course pack.

Wed. Oct. 8

Unit III:

Comparison Essay


·          Discuss the preliminary assignments leading up to the essay (marks: 5%.)

·          Discuss the structure of the comparison essay.


Read: Catherine Pigott “Chicken-Hips” (course pack)

·          Hand in the answer to one question on Pigott’s essay at the end of class.


Mastery Test on Combining Sentences. We’ll do the lesson and Exercise 29.3 in class.  (If you want to prepare the assignment ahead of time, that’s fine).

Week Seven Mon. Oct. 13



Thanksgiving Day (no class)



Wed. Oct. 15


Read:  Karen Mazurkewich’s “Dove Story.” (course pack)


Read: Evelyn Lau’s “An Insatiable Emptiness” (Landmarks 157)


Discuss: Identifying the main argument.  



·          Hand in the answer to one question on Mazurkewich’s article and one question on Lau’s essay at the beginning of class.



Week Eight Mon. Oct. 20

Read:  Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” (Landmarks 99)


Discuss: Shaping a thesis and path statement.

Discuss: Sourcing and Works Cited


·          Hand in the rewrite of In-class Persuasive Essay (marks 10%)

·          Hand in the answer to one question on King’s essay at the beginning of class.


Wed. Oct. 22

Read:  Stephen Hume’s “The Spirit Weeps” Insatiable Emptiness” (Landmarks 76)


Discussion:  Identifying the main points of comparison 


·          Hand in the answer to one question on Hume’s essay at the beginning of class.

Mastery Tests of the Apostrophe

Hand in Exercises 41.2, 41.3 and 41.4


Week Nine

Mon. Oct. 27

Unit IV: Research Paper and PowerPoint Presentation


Read: Chapter 7 in Landmarks: Writing Research Papers (376 – 395)


·          The Research Paper

·          Getting Started

·          Choosing Your Topic

·          Ten Questions

·          Drafting the Outline


Due: Comparison Essay (Marks: 15%)

Hand in your comparison of two essays. Length: 5 pages   

Wed. Oct. 29


Film: Avoiding Plagiarism  by Taking Good Notes (Z711.2 A963 2004)

 Mastery test of Changing Passive Verbs to Active.  Hand in Exercise 31.7 at the end of class.



Week Ten Mon. Nov. 3

Last Day to Withdraw


Meet in the library classroom



·          Researching an online article

·          In-class research assignment


Due:  Outline for Research Essay The outline is worth 5%

Outline is due at the beginning of class. See detailed instructions.


Wed. Nov. 5


·          Annotated Works Cited


Mastery test of Pronoun Agreement

At the end of class, hand in Exercise 32.13. 

Week Eleven Mon. Nov. 10

Research Day

Individual time to gather articles and work on your Annotated Works Cited. No official class, but I’ll be in my office to answer any questions.


Wed. Nov. 12



·          The Presentation

·          Film: Al Gore’s “A Convenient Truth”


 Due:  Annotated Works Cited for Research Paper (marks: 5%)


Mastery test of the Colon

At the end of class, hand in Exercise 34.4. 

Week Twelve Mon. Nov. 17

·          Read: Sample Research Paper in Landmarks (396-404) by Maret Rehnby

·          Analyzing its strengths and weaknesses.

·          Checking in with your progress in terms of your main argument and structure.


Film: Research PE1404E56 No. 21





Wed. Nov. 19



·          The 3 “I’s” of Integration

·          Documenting Your Sources

·          Formatting a Research Paper

 Mastery test of Semicolons & Commas

At the end of class, hand in Exercise 35.4.


Week Thirteen Mon. Nov. 24



First Day of Presentations



Length: 8 minutes, approximately 10 slides (20%)

 1Research Essay is due the day of your presentation.

Length: 6-7 pages 

Essay = 15%


Wed. Nov. 26



PowerPoint presentations

Week Fourteen

Mon. Dec. 1




PowerPoint presentations

Wed. Dec. 3




PowerPoint presentations


[1] All readings are done before class.