Course Description

ENGH 121-122 is a two-semester composition course that integrates language instruction with composition instruction as a way of preparing you to be successful academic writers across the curriculum.


During the first semester, in ENGH 121, we will focus on critical reading skills across multiple genres. This process will involve annotating, summarizing, and analyzing texts and will serve as the foundation for academic writing in the International Pathway Program and beyond. We will also work to develop and hone the fundamental language skills that will help you write clear, well-formed, effective sentences. However, in this class, you will study language skills in a different way than you have before: the topics and concepts will be familiar, but we will focus on them in a way that connects them to the rhetorical elements found in the texts you read as well as the texts you write. Along the way, there will be many opportunities for you to practice and apply these language skills in your own writing so that the process of writing in English becomes more fluid and intuitive for you.


ENGH 122 is the second half of the two-semester ENGH 121/122 sequence. This course continues a focus on critical reading and writing skills, but all the texts we read and write about in ENGH 122 are academic texts. ENGH 122 will focus on the rhetorical elements of academic projects, giving you the tools to identify these elements in others’ writing and to produce them in your own. The course will also continue to focus on the fundamental language skills that will help move you from fluid, adequate sentences to writing complex yet effective and accurate sentences.


ENGH 122 carries a significant research component, allowing students to develop the kind of specific expertise expected in academic discourse. For this reason, you will explore your own intellectual curiosities and interests within a pre-determined course theme. You will read academic articles from a variety of disciplines and perspectives that explore or study the selected theme. Over the course of this semester, you will begin to learn the language scholars use to analyze our theme as you get a sense of the conversation and central questions surrounding this theme. As we begin to read academic work related to our theme, we will begin to notice that scholars tend to pose similar questions and that they engage in conversations with each other that either advance, counter, complicate or expand each other’s research and explorations.

Course Goals


If you actively participate in this class, you will learn how to

  • Rhetorical Knowledge (Developing a project):
    • Effectively develop object of study, purpose, problem, key concept, main findings and relevance
    • Build relationships among key concepts
    • Create driving questions
  • Summarize, analyze and synthesize texts
  • Language Knowledge (Developing a key concept):
    • Identify noun phrase subjects
    • Build a coherent paragraph
    • Produce the complex structures of academic writing (noun phrases + clauses)
  • Identify and build key concepts
  • Process Knowledge (Sustaining a project):
    • Produce a draft that effectively responds to a writing prompt
    • Respond to feedback on writing
    • Engage in peer-review
  • This course also satisfies the goals for ENGH 101, which can be found here.


In addition to the course outcomes listed above, this class is identified as a Students as Scholars Discovery Course, designed to introduce you to the conventions and culture of scholarship in the U.S. academic contexts[1]. To that end, with successful completion of this course, you should be able to:

    • Distinguish between personal beliefs and evidence
    • Articulate how scholarship influences society
    • Evaluate credibility of source information
    • Understand epistemological or historical perspectives of a specific body of knowledge
    • Understand research methods used in a discipline



    • Understand how knowledge is transmitted within a discipline, across disciplines, and to the public.
    • Be familiar with:
  1. How Mason faculty are engaged in scholarly work
  2. Undergraduate scholarly work at Mason
  3. Opportunities offered by the Students as Scholars initiative



Lemire, Jeff (2012). The Underwater Welder. Georgia: Top Shelf Productions.


Hacker, D. & Sommers, N. (2015) A Writer’s Reference: With Resources for Multilingual Writers and ESL, 8th ed. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s.


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Requirements and Evaluation


ENGH 121-122 is a yearlong course. The work that students complete in the first semester is weighted as 40% of the final course grade. Students who earn 65% or above in 121 will receive a temporary grade at the end of ENGH 121. This “IP” (which means “in progress”) grade will remain in place until the final grade for ENGH 122 is posted. Students who earn 64.99% or below at the end of ENGH 121 must re-take the course before being allowed to take 122; exceptions will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.


ENGH 122 is worth 60% of your grade for the course. At the end of ENGH 122, you will be assigned a final grade for the course combining the 40% grade from 121 with the 60% grade from 122. At that time, your ENGH 121 grade will be changed from “IP” to match the grade already posted for ENGH 122. In order to pass the ENGH 121-122 yearlong course, students must receive a 73% (C) or higher.


All assignments must be uploaded to Blackboard by their deadline.  Classwork is due at the end of class, and all other assignments are due one hour before the next class meetingWe do not accept any late work.  If you miss a deadline, please do not ask us if you can upload the assignment after the fact—you can’t, even if you only missed the deadline by one minute or if you had a major emergency.  Any conflicts you have with deadlines should be resolved by turning your work in early.  In other words, don’t wait until the last minute to complete your assignments.  If you miss a deadline, you will receive a zero for that assignment; however, no single assignment can cause you to fail this course.  Put another way, getting a zero on one or two assignments will not cause you to fail the course; instead, a pattern of missed assignments will cause you to fail the course.



ENGH 121 Assignments Weight Due
Classwork 20% due at the end of class
Homework and quizzes due 1 hour before the next class
Analytical summaries 25% due 1 hour before the next class
Analytical summary 1    




Analytical summaries 2-3    

peer review





Defining Academic Writing Essay 35%  
Data Collection Chart 10%
Error Editing 10%


Grading Percentages

Letter grades for English 121-122 are calculated as follows:


A+ 97-100
A 93-96
A- 90-92
B+ 87-89
B 83-86
B- 80-82
C+ 77-79
C 73-76
C- 70-72
D 60-69
F 0-59


Classwork, Homework, and Quizzes (20%)

You will do many in-class activities both individually and together in groups.  You should work to actively participate during class activities and discussions. You will also complete much classwork, which should be submitted to Blackboard by the end of the class period in order to receive a grade (graded as complete or incomplete).


Most of your homework will be related to the major assignments in this class (e.g. Analytical Summaries, Data Collection Chart, Defining Academic Writing Essay); however, occasionally you will have a minor assignment such as reading or annotating an article.  Completed homework must be uploaded to Blackboard one hour before the next class meeting.  For example, the homework from Tuesday’s class is due no later than one hour before Thursday’s class.


You will occasionally have unannounced quizzes in class.  These quizzes will focus on reading homework assignments and are meant to test your basic understanding of what you read.


Analytical Summaries (25%)

For one of the major assignments for this class, you will read and then summarize several of the texts that we provide for you.  You will be graded on your ability to apply the rhetorical and linguistic micro-skills that you are learning in class to your summary of a text.  However, we will guide you as you write these Analytical Summaries.  For each summary, you will write a first draft, revise that draft based on feedback from a peer and us, and edit the revised draft for language errors.  Your grade will be the sum of each of these components.


Data Collection Chart (10%)

After reading each text, you will be asked to fill in a Data Collection Chart. This worksheet will serve as a way of keeping track of and ultimately comparing and contrasting the rhetorical and linguistic features of the various genres we read.  You will be graded on your ability to recognize the rhetorical elements in each text, such as purpose, main idea, and audience, and on your ability to identify the linguistic cues that often accompany those elements. You will turn in your Data Collection Chart several times over the course of the semester, and you will turn in a final draft near the end of the term.


Defining Academic Writing Essay (35%)

For the most important assignment for this class, you will write an essay that compares and contrasts the ways fiction, nonfiction, and academic writing deal with similar themes. You will be graded on your ability to analyze and present the rhetorical and linguistic similarities and differences you’ve identified across the various genres you’ve encountered in 121. However, we will guide you as you craft your project.  For each step of the project, you will write a first draft, revise that draft based on feedback from a peer and us, and edit the revised draft for language errors.  Your grade will be the sum of each of these components.


Error Editing (10%)

Finally, you will also be learning a few common errors related to linguistic features that you have learned.  You will edit your own writing for errors based on feedback from us.  Your grade will be the sum of all error editing across all assignments.


You are expected to attend class. Attendance is checked and logged daily. Attendance data is often requested by advisors, sponsors, and the Office of International Programs and Services. Repeated absences can impact your visa status, and each absence will negatively affect your participation, classwork, and quiz grade (weighted at 20% of your final course grade).


In addition, early departures (leaving before the class period ends) and late arrivals count as half-day absences:  A late arrival is being one minute late to class.  Not paying attention and/or not participating in class work even if you are present counts as a half absence.