INI204H1 Extended Course Description

INI204H1: The Academic Writing Process

Instructor: Roger Riendeau
Innis College Residence, Room 127A

Lecture / Seminar: Tuesdays 6:00-9:00 pm at Innis College, Room 312

INI 204H1 focuses on the strategy and structure necessary to write complete pieces of non-fictional prose at the university level. The course is specifically designed to enhance the student's ability to present clear, concise, coherent, and thoughtful exposition and argument. In the final analysis, the academic essay is considered not only as a formal writing assignment demanded in many university courses but also as a vehicle for developing skills of critical thinking, rational decision making, and logical problem solving, all of which will be essential in business and professional life beyond university study.

The basic concepts of planning and organization in the writing of essays, reports, and critical papers to be addressed in this course include: focusing, research and critical analysis, outlining, introduction and conclusion, paragraph development, use of supporting evidence, reasonable persuasion, revision, documentation, and final manuscript form. However, the course is not designed to provide instruction in the effective use of words and sentences, although occasionally it may be necessary to deal with elements of style as they affect the development of paragraphs. Because INI204H1 is not a "remedial" writing course, students for whom English is a second language should have achieved an advanced level of fluency before enroling in the course.

All students enroling in the course must demonstrate an ability to write at an acceptable university level. Specifically, students at the beginning of the course are expected to be able to write essays that

  • respond generally to the topic and show a tendency to address some aspects of the topic more effectively than others;
  • exhibit some clarity of thought about the topic, although only minimal depth of thought about the topic;
  • exhibit some control of focus, organization, and development of the topic, although they may show some tendency to ramble, to be repetitious, to adhere to a simplistic formula, to be overly descriptive, or to lack adequate supporting evidence;
  • exhibit sufficient control of expression (word choice, usage, tone, sentence structure, and sentence sense) and style (spelling, grammar, punctuation, and mechanics), committing errors that do not interfere with reader understanding;
  • exhibit some control of documentation and/or manuscript form by demonstrating a basic awareness of a particular format, although its application may lack consistency and precision.
Writing Assignment (60%)
  • brief statement of proposed self-designed research topic (5%)
  • 500-word formal essay-style research proposal (10%);
  • detailed (3-4 pages) formal outline of the 2,500-3,000-word research essay (10%);
  • preliminary introduction (200-300 words) of the 2,500-3,000-word research essay (5%);
  • first draft of the 2,500-3,000-word research essay (10%);
  • the revised final draft of the 2,500-3,000-word research essay (20%).
Peer Assessment Test (20%)

This in-class test at the end of the academic term in December requires students to demonstrate their grasp of the course content by critically evaluating two essays of about 1,000 words, each written anonymously by students. The critical evaluation of each student essay should include detailed comments and the assignment of a final grade.

Class Participation (20%)

Evaluation of a student's participation in the class will be based on (1) regularity of attendance at weekly classes, (2) willingness to contribute to class discussion, (3) quality of contribution to class discussion.

Students who ultimately achieve the learning goals of the course should be able to write essays that exhibit

  • a precise and perceptive response to the topic;
  • clarity, complexity, and depth of thought about the topic;
  • command of organization and interesting development of the topic;
  • command of expression and style;
  • command of appropriate documentation and manuscript form.

Enrolment is limited to 40 students who apply through the University of Toronto's ROSI system.