English (ENGL) 255

Introductory Composition (Revision 8)

ENGL 255

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online with eTextbook

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Humanities

Prerequisite: Students who have not done any formal writing for some time or who feel that their basic skills might be weak should consider taking ENGL 155 or, for ESL/EAL needs, ENGL 177 or ENGL 187. Students who feel uncertain which course to choose may consult the course coordinator or do a self assessment test, English Language Assessment.

Télé-université du Québec equivalency: ANG 4005: Effective Written Communication

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

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ENGL 255 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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ENGL 255 focuses on essay-writing at the university level. In order to improve the necessary skills, students study examples of good writing, do a brief introductory assignment, write two short summaries, participate in online discussion forums, and complete three essays covering a spectrum of styles and purposes. The course is designed to recognize students’ personal interests, objectives, and learning styles and to provide flexible scheduling options.

ENGL 255 provides some grammar review but assumes at least a senior high school level of competency in both grammar and composition.

Course Outcomes

By the end of this course, you should be able to

  • summarize essays.
  • use effective research methods and proper citation technique.
  • adapt to various writing requirements that call for a range of rhetorical approaches.
  • think and write critically.
  • write effective essays that meet first-year university expectations for content, organization, style, mechanics, and grammar.


  • Unit 1: Writing Paragraphs
  • Unit 2: Writing to an Audience (Discussion Forum)
  • Unit 3: Writing a Summary
  • Unit 4: Writing an Essay and Incorporating Research
  • Unit 5: Writing an Argumentative Essay
  • Unit 6: Writing a Rhetorical Analysis


To receive credit for ENGL 255, you must receive a grade of D (50 percent) or higher on the examination and an overall average of D (50 percent) or higher to pass the course. Assignments not submitted by the course contract completion date (end of active registration) receive a grade of 0. The weighting of the course assignments is as follows:

Assignment Weighting
Paragraphs 0%
Discussion Forum 15%
Summaries 10%
Personal or Expository Essay 15%
Argumentative Essay 20%
Rhetorical Analysis Essay 20%
Final Exam 20%
Total 100%  

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Registration in this course includes an electronic textbook. For more information on electronic textbooks, please refer to our eText Initiative site.

Brundage, David, and Michael Lahey. Acting on Words: An Integrated Rhetoric, Research Guide, Reader, and Handbook. 3rd. ed., Pearson, 2012.

A print version of the eText may be available for purchase from the publisher through a direct-to-student link provided on the course website; you can also acquire the textbook on your own if you wish.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university-level course.

Full information about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the ENGL 255 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least D (50 percent) on both the rhetorical analysis essay and the examination.

Activity Weighting
Rhetorical Analysis Essay 50%
Exam 50%
Total 100%

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 8, November 6, 2020.

View previous syllabus