Advanced Academic Writing

Fall 2013 Online


Let me begin with a brief introduction. I have been teaching English courses at the college level for eighteen years. The majority of this time was spent here in California, where I taught at Simpson University, National University, and Shasta College, but I also spent six years in Virginia. While on the East Coast, I taught at Southside Virginia Community College. I have been teaching courses for William Jessup for three years. In addition to teaching, I am a writer and playwright. I have had essays, poems, and stories published in a wide variety of magazines and anthologies, including The Blotter, Portfolio North, and Sweetbay Review, and my most recent play, Twice Fooled, was produced by the Shasta College Theatre in 2010.

This course is designed to help you become a better writer. You have met the basic requirements (ENGL 101A and ENGL 101B), and this class is meant to take you to the next level. By the end of this course, you should feel more comfortable using the documentation format required by your discipline, and you should be producing essays that are free of basic mistakes of grammar and punctuation. You should also be producing essays that are characterized by clear organization and smooth transition. To help you in this process, you will be writing multiple drafts of the formal essays, as well as regularly responding to assigned reading and course material in a written form.

The best advice I can give you about writing is twofold:

  1. Writing is hard work. There are no shortcuts, no easy solutions. You have to be prepared to spend a lot of time on your writing assignments--dashing off a draft the day it is due is inadvisable. The only way you will be successful in this course is if you are willing to dedicate a significant amount of time and effort.
  2. Don't forget your audience. This is one of the most basic truths of good writing, but it is also one of the most neglected by student writers. Pay attention to the first reading selection and the "Audience-Conscious Writing" Powerpoint presentation. These will help you in selecting your audience and with being conscious of that audience during the drafting process.

As you are working on your essays, glance through the textbook in order to find chapters that will be helpful (even before they are officially assigned as reading). You may also find it beneficial to look at Powerpoint presentations that are posted for future weeks - don't feel like you have to wait to view them.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me. You can use my William Jessup address: I check my email regularly and can usually respond within 24 hours.


Scott Foran