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Writing about Academic Issues

Course Code: ELLA 0230
Faculty: Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Department: English Language Learning and Acquisition
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Seminar
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course is the second level of an academic series designed to help students upgrade their writing skills. It is most appropriate for students who have experience writing expository paragraphs, informal reflective texts and social messages and who have reasonable control of grammar and sentence structure. Students will work on improving their reading, composing and organizational skills for writing a short cause/effect essay, a summary, and a response about a topic related to education and academic life. Students will also work on revising and editing skills.

Course Content

Throughout the process of preparing for a range of college assignments, students will receive instruction in skills and strategies in the following areas:

Writing Skills

A. Prewriting    

  • Understand assignment instructions, including audience, purpose, and format.
  • Generate ideas from written and spoken texts on a topic related to education and academic life, such as practices at Canadian post-secondary institutions, student success and motivation, access to education, the nature of learning, digital literacy, or alternative education.
  • Select and narrow a topic.
  • Create an outline.

B. Writing

  • Develop and support one idea in a multi-paragraph composition.
  • Write well-structured introductory and concluding paragraphs.
  • Write a focused thesis statement.
  • Write a topic sentence with a specific controlling idea.
  • Develop unified, specific support in body paragraph(s) by discussing causes and/or effects, and by providing relevant examples.
  • Reduce information to key ideas in a summary with no major omissions, paraphrasing accurately.
  • Demonstrate an emerging level of critical thinking by responding to main ideas in a text and by relating ideas in a text to own experience or to ideas in other texts.
  • Use appropriate text organization and discourse markers to signal narration, description, extended definition, comparison/contrast, or cause/effect.
  • Create coherence within and between paragraphs using appropriate transition signals, pronoun references, conjunctions, and linking words and sentences.
  • Use a range of vocabulary, idiomatic language, and cultural references appropriate to the context.

C. Revising

  • Re-draft and revise with peer and instructor feedback.
  • Proofread, edit and re-draft on own.


  • Use the conventions of standard written English grammar for intra- and inter-clause accuracy.
  • Follow academic writing conventions for organization and form.
  • Use modals and real conditionals to express various levels of possibility, warnings, prediction, and advice.
  • Increase text density by extending the nouns with prepositional phrases.
  • Use complex sentences with adequate control.

Classroom Skills

Take responsibility for:

  • Attendance and punctuality
  • Class work and assignment
  • Participation and teamwork

Use common software to communicate and to complete information management tasks such as word processing assignments, sending emails, or signing in to an online learning management system.

Methods of Instruction

Some or all of the following methods will be used:

  • whole-class instruction
  • large- and small-group discussion
  • pair work on tasks
  • peer review
  • computer-assisted learning
  • in-class writing
  • instructor feedback on written work
  • revision of submitted writing

Means of Assessment

Student achievement will be measured using formative assessment tools and the mastery system in accordance with College policy. Students will receive on-going feedback from the instructor throughout the course. Evaluation will be based on learning outcomes as well as instructor-specified criteria. Mastery will be granted to students who achieve an average of at least 70% on the items listed below. Evaluation will include, but may not be limited to, completing the following tasks:

-A collection of writing tasks demonstrating consistent attention to instructor and peer feedback. Assignments could include single and connected paragraphs, or group work resulting in individual written work.

-A collection of reading tasks in preparation for writing a summary and a response, demonstrating comprehension of mostly familiar and partly predictable texts that are 1 – 2 pages long. Assignments could include question types such as short answer, multiple-choice or true/false to help students determine main ideas in texts.

-At least 1 group project, such as the following:

  • a handbook/guide for new students about educational practices at a Canadian college
  • a class newspaper focusing on campus issues and events
  • a school brochure summarizing events, facilities, and services, and explaining how these promote student learning and success
  • a blog on campus life, including events, facilities, online resources and services available for students

-At least one in-class cause-and-effect essay that has at least 3 paragraphs and up to 600 words.

-At least one in-class summary of a new text that is 1 – 2 pages long.

-At least one in-class response to an important idea in a new text that is 1 - 2 pages long.

-At least 1 self-assessment of learning strategies, progress, and classroom skills (to be discussed with the instructor).

Sample grade breakdown:

Writing tasks worth up to 25% (total)

Reading tasks worth up to 15% (total)

In-class writing worth up to 30%

Project worth up to 20%

Participation worth up to 10%

Total: 100%

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, successful students will

Reading and Writing Skills

  1. Write at least 3 connected paragraphs about causes and/or effects of a topic related to education and academic life.
  2. Read about education and academic life to develop a full understanding of rhetorical patterns: narration, description, comparison/contrast, and cause/effect.
  3. Apply paraphrasing skills to write a summary of a text that is 1 – 2 pages long.
  4. Discuss main ideas of a text by writing a 1-paragraph response.
  5. Monitor and apply strategies to an instructor-specified level of accuracy in grammar, sentence structure, and word choice.

Study Skills

  1. Assess own progress.
  2. Participate effectively in a college classroom.  

course prerequisites

ELLA 0130 and ELLA 0140, or ELLA assessment





curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.