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Before taking English 317R, you should have successfully completed English 218, Creative Writing.

Course Learning Outcomes

Below are the official university learning outcomes for English 317:

  1. Demonstrate effort and discipline in crafting creative nonfiction and display a knowledge of its conventions.
  2. Read creative nonfiction models analytically, with an eye to authorial intention and technique and be able to articulate the same.
  3. Use correct grammar, punctuation, and an appropriate style in creative nonfiction.
  4. Write a variety of essays using literary models and following explicit instructions from the teacher.
  5. Revise intelligently, edit carefully, and share one's work with others in the class.

To accomplish these goals, you will read a lot and write a lot and talk critically about writing a lot. You will submit your best work for my critique, then you will revise passionately. You will critique other students’ essays with respect and precision, seeking to learn about your own writing as you do so. Finally, you will study literary journals and submit your writing to them.

Course Materials

Plus online readings (in HTML or PDF format) available at the Quotidiana website and other online texts as referenced in the lessons.

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Course Requirements and Assessment Methods

This course is likely different from others you may have taken. For one thing, it is a creative writing class. Each of the twelve lessons requires you to do extensive reading and writing. These readings will build from the rudiments and earliest origins of the essay to theoretical essays, from early English essayists to exemplary contemporary practitioners. It is my hope that you will continually be inspired and challenged by the assignments, that they will cause you to reflect on your own writing, and, through this self-awareness, lead you to improvement.

You will be graded on your writing for each lesson, but you should maintain your sights on improving—on learning how to write better. I expect you to give your best efforts, to fully complete the readings you’re assigned, and to write as best you can, with sufficient time, not in a rush late at night. Since you can pace yourself, I hope this will not be a problem.

I also expect that you may find, as I do, that reading and writing essays is a different kind of study, a different kind of work. For me, it’s not drudgery (as some other academic pursuits can be); it’s relaxing, a pleasure, the kind of thing I do when I want a break from studying. And writing is one of the greatest pleasures I know; it’s a chance for me to sustain my thinking on a subject, to search for connections and meanings, and to try to find words to express the awe I feel when I look closely at this wonderful world.


This course contains 12 lessons, all instructor-graded assignments, and one instructor-graded final exam. Throughout the course, you will read samples of critical essays and then complete a writing assignment at the end of each lesson.

Assignments by Lesson
Lesson Assignment Percent of Grade
Lesson 1: Autobiographical Introduction 5%
Lesson 2: Montaigne Exercise 5%
Lesson 3: Contemporary Theory Exercise 5%
Lesson 4: Eduardo Galeano Essay 10%
Lesson 5: Fact Exercise 5%
Lesson 6: Contemporary Essay Prompts 5%
Lesson 7: Essay on Place 10%
Lesson 8: Critiquing Others 5%
Lesson 9: Interview Exercise 5%
Lesson 10: Doyle, Frazier, Sanders Essay 10%
Lesson 11: Publishing Exercise 5%
Lesson 12: Final Essay Portfolio 20%
Final Exam 10%

Submitting Assignments

To ensure I can easily read and offer feedback on your assignments, please submit them as .docx. files (this is the standard MS WORD file format).

  1. NAMING YOUR FILE: Use the course number, your first and last name, and the assignment name for the filename.
    • For example, “ENGL317R_MarthaWashington_MountVernonEssay.docx.”
  2. If you do not have access to Microsoft Word, please submit files in .pdf format.
  3. Here’s how to save a word-processing file as .pdf. :
    1. Type your paper in a word-processing program such as TextEdit.
    2. When you save the file, click the FILE menu at the top of the screen.
    3. Select "EXPORT AS .PDF" in the drop-down menu.
    4. In the subsequent window, name your file. Use the course number, your first and last name, and the assignment name for the filename (see example above).
    5. Click Save.
  4. Submit your assignment file for grading through the appropriate assignment page online.

*Note. In some word processing programs the FILE menu will have a "SAVE AS" option. When you select this option, the subsequent window will include an option to select the file type you want to use. Select .PDF from the file format menu and save your assignment according to the instructions above.

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Most of your course work is in the writing and revising process and in the final writing portfolio. There is also a final essay exam that is worth 10 percent of your grade.

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I will use the standard BYU point scale for converting your total scores into a letter grade:

Grading Scale
A 94–100
A− 90–93
B+ 87–89
B 83–86
B− 80–82
C+ 77–79
C 73–76
C− 70–72
D+ 67–69
D 63–66
D− 60–62
E (fail) 0–59

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ENGL 317R Online Library Services Portal

This English course has an online library services portal. The online portal to the BYU Harold B. Lee Library accesses specific coursework resources, such as research guides, online access to full-text articles, research tips and tools, a writer’s toolbox, a link to the online catalog, book and article delivery services, subject librarian contact information, Ask a Librarian LIVE real-time chat service, and a feedback form. The portal is found here.

Copyright Notice

The materials used in connection with this online course are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated. Any copying or further dissemination of these materials may be subject to applicable U.S. Copyright Laws. For questions or more information, please visit the BYU Copyright Licensing Office website.

“Members of the BYU community who willfully disregard this Copyright Policy or the BYU Copyright Guidelines place themselves individually at risk of legal action and may incur personal liability for their conduct. The unauthorized use or distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject individuals to civil and criminal liabilities, including actual and statutory damages, costs and fees of litigation, fines, and imprisonment

Violations of the Copyright Policy may result in university disciplinary action including termination of university enrollment or employment.” (Emphasis added. Excerpt taken from the BYU Copyright Policy)

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University Policy - Title IX Statement

Preventing & Responding to Sexual Misconduct

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of "Sexual Misconduct" prohibited by the university.

University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Incidents of Sexual Misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at t9coordinator@byu.edu or (801) 422-8692. Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at https://titleix.byu.edu/report or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day).

BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by Sexual Misconduct, including the university’s Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at http://titleix.byu.edu or by contacting the university’s Title IX Coordinator.

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Accessibility Notice

BYU is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates persons with disabilities who are otherwise qualified to participate in BYU's programs and activities. In this spirit, BYU Independent Study aspires to improve web accessibility for users. While not required by law, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Levels A and AA provide a wide range of helpful recommendations to make Web content more accessible. BYU Independent Study strives to apply WCAG 2.0 recommendations where feasible, but may deviate from any recommendations that would result in an undue hardship to BYU Independent Study or alterations to program and course content and objectives. If you have questions about accessibility, or if you need to report problems with any accessibility features please see our Accessibilities and Accommodations Web Page.

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Course Policies

These policies are specific to this course. For additional information about general policies, please refer to Independent Study Course Policies page.


12 instructor-graded assignments, no resubmissions. You must pass the essay portfolio with 60%. 


1 proctored exam (essay question), may not retake, must pass the final exam to earn credit for the course.

Getting Help

Please use the help menu in this course to contact Independent Study or your instructor. You can find a list of free tutors available to BYU Independent Study students on the Free Tutoring Services website.

Note: The Harold B. Lee Library website provides a number of online resources and librarians are available via phone, chat, and email to answer questions about library-related issues.

Inappropriate Use of Course Content

All course materials (e.g., outlines, handouts, syllabi, exams, quizzes, media, lecture content, audio and video recordings, etc.) are proprietary. Students are prohibited from posting or selling any such course materials without the express written permission of BYU Independent Study. To do so is a violation of the Brigham Young University Honor Code.

© 2016 Brigham Young University. All rights reserved.

Published by the
Department of Independent Study
Division of Continuing Education
Brigham Young University
120 MORC
Provo, Utah 84602-1514