English Conversation Partner Topics For Persuasive Essays

Welcome to Pathway English 106L Basic Writing!

Course Description

This course teaches basic writing conventions in crafting effective sentences, paragraphs, and short essays. It will also strengthen your English listening, speaking, and reading skills.

Course Objectives

In this course you will learn to:

  • Think, speak and write critically about meaningful topics that affect your life.
  • Discover truth, beauty, and enjoyment through writing.
  • Share your thoughts and writings with fellow classmates, thus creating a real sense of audience (and community) while developing interpersonal skills.
  • Analyze examples of effective and ineffective writing in order to emulate what works and avoid what doesn’t work.
  • Understand how audience and purpose guides style, content, and organization in writing.
  • Generate a thesis and organize relevant support using rhetorical strategies appropriate for the context.
  • Use principles of free-writing, drafting, revision and editing to achieve polished prose.
  • Identify and correct common sentence level errors.
  • Further strengthen your English listening, speaking, and reading skills.

Course Architecture

This course will run in fourteen one-week lessons. The BYU-Idaho Learning Model, including Teach One Another activities, are integral to each lesson. The Gathering is also an important component of this course. There are three main units of study: Writing Effective Sentences & Paragraphs, Writing the Persuasive Essay, and Writing the Personal Essay. There are consistent due dates and accountability reports due each week. Failure to complete assignments and activities by their due date will significantly affect your final grade.

BYU-I online courses are designed with 3-4 hours of activities weekly for each academic credit received. Therefore, you will need to be able to devote at least 15-20 hours each week to this course in order to do well. If you know you will not be able to devote this much time to the class this semester, please consider taking the course at another time when you can make such a commitment.

Teach One Another is a vital part of the BYU-I learning model, and BYU-I online courses are not exempt. Teaching others what you have learned helps you understand and remember ideas, concepts and insights. Additionally, learning to have your views challenged and improved through the perspective of others is an important way to improve. If you will take advantage of the various opportunities within this course to strengthen your ability to write well and increase your understanding of English, you will find the insights and skills you acquire to be useful long after you have finished the course.

Semester Overview

The course consists of three units.

Lessons 2-7 (Writing Effective Sentences & Paragraphs) focus on writing effective sentences and paragraphs to express yourself clearly and concisely. The writing assignments allow you to practice the writing and grammar skills and demonstrate your understanding.

Lessons 8-10 (Writing the Persuasive Essay) focus on persuasion, but rather than just taking a stand on an issue, you will propose a solution to the problem. The culminating assignment for this unit is a 2-3 page persuasive essay paper. An explanatory essay assignment will help you develop this paper.

Lessons 11-13 (Writing the Personal Essay) focus on writing about personal experiences and beliefs. The culminating assignment for this unit is a 2-3 page personal narrative essay. To practice for this paper, you will complete four shorter assignments that focus on personal experience.

Each lesson:

  • Opens 3 days before the lesson actually begins in order to accommodate students who want to start early. (I-Learn 3.0 uses "Start" to indicate an open lesson.)
  • Weekly Reports and Attendance Reports start mid-week, you have until the end of the week to complete these reports.
  • Before the Gathering: Due Mid Week  — Grammar lesson videos, reading assignments, reading discussion Board (Initial Post), paragraph and essay development videos, writing assignment (draft or outline), and Learn a Hymn.
  • At the Gathering: Due Thursday — Attend the Gathering bringing all relevant Gathering materials, including copies of the writing assignment for peer review.
  • After the Gathering: Due End of Week — Reading discussion board (Reply Posts), writing assignment (final draft), grammar exercise, scripture study, speaking partner report, peer discussion report, Attendance, and Weekly Reports.

Attendance Policy

Gathering with missionaries and peers is a spiritually and socially empowering experience. As a Pathway student, you are expected to attend all gatherings during the semester. Plan your schedule accordingly and make any necessary arrangements to attend the Thursday gatherings in person.

If illness or other temporary issues arise and you do not attend a gathering, you will lose attendance points. Meeting together each week during Pathway also satisfies the university’s residency requirement which must be met before you apply to the BYU-Idaho Online Degree program. Attendance counts for approximately 30% of your overall grade, so be sure to attend each gathering and then report your attendance on the Attendance Report.

In very rare instances, your Pathway Missionaries may cancel a gathering due to a holiday, extreme weather, or other unsafe situations. If such a situation occurs, this will not count against you as an absence and you will need to notify your online instructor. If you have questions or concerns regarding the attendance policy, please contact the Pathway Support Center at (855) 994-6721, 208-496-9898, or pathwaysupport@byui.edu


Grammar Lessons

(Due Mid Week and End of Week)

  • Grammar Lesson: Each week you will focus on a grammar skill to improve your writing.
  • Note:All of the videos in this course are available in transcript form. Links to the transcripts are provided in the assignment.
  • Grammar Exercise: These short quizzes will assess your understanding of the grammar lesson.
  • Workbook PDF - This PDF contains the grammar lessons for the course and lessons with additional grammar concepts. Download the PDF if you would like an offline copy of the lesson content. If you would like a printed copy of the workbook, you may purchase a copy from Amazon.

Reading and Discussion

(Due Mid Week and End of Week)

  • Reading Assignments: Each week you will complete reading assignments, participate in a reading discussion and take a reading quiz which focuses on vocabulary and reading comprehension.
  • Reading Discussion Board: You will discuss the lesson materials, readings and discussion questions. This will help you build community with your online class as well as develop the skill of appreciating and responding to others’ point of view in English.
  • Optional Readings: Some lessons include optional reading(s). Optional readings are supplemental and complement the course material. They are a powerful enhancement to the class. They are provided to extend your understanding and provide reading practice.

Paragraph and Essay Development Lessons

(Due Mid Week and End of Week)

  • View Presentation on Writing Principle: This activity enhances your understanding of the weekly writing concepts.

Writing Assignment(Due Mid Week and End of Week)

  • This assignment provides practice and applies the skills you learned, improves your writing, and sharpens your thinking. As with all good writing, write an initial draft, edit and revise before submitting.

Gospel Connection

(Due Mid Week and End of Week)

  • Learn a Hymn: Each week you will strengthen your English skills by learning a hymn in English and taking a short quiz to demonstrate your retention. You will also sing the hymn at the Gathering. (due Wednesday)
  • Scripture Study: The scripture passages in each lesson will help you connect your secular learning to principles of the gospel as you strengthen your English skills. After studying the scriptures, you will complete a short comprehension quiz. (due End of Week)

Pathway Gathering

(Due End of Week)

  • Gathering Preparation: Bring three copies of your writing assignment draft to the gathering and participate in the peer review activity.
  • Pathway Gathering: Come prepared and ready to teach one another as you receive and offer support to your local peer group. Sample lesson plans are provided for the lead student to help lead the gathering.

Speaking Partner Appointment

(Due End of Week)

  • For 30 minutes each week (lessons 2-13), you will meet with a volunteer and practice speaking in English. Registration information is located in Lesson 01. You will use online video chat technology or meet in person. Take notes during each appointment so you can write about your experience. Pay particular attention to the cultural items you discuss.

Peer Discussion Appointment

(Due End of Week)

  • For 30 minutes each week (lessons 2-13), you will meet with a fellow Pathway student from your local Pathway group. Your Pathway missionaries will assign you a peer discussion partner at the first Gathering. You and your partner will meet outside of the Gathering to complete your appointment discussions. You may meet in person, by phone, or by video chat. During the appointment, speak English and follow the instructions provided.

Accountability Reports

(Due End of Week)

  • Attendance Report: report on your level of participation and work completed at the Gathering.
  • Weekly Report: give feedback about how you are doing in the course and report the completion of assignments.
Note: You need to complete your work and attend the gathering before submitting these reports. Therefore, they will not start until mid week. Additionally, some lessons have additional assessment activities such as the Mid-term Feedback, or Course Evaluation.

Preparation and Interaction

This course engages both your mind and your heart. Thus, it is important to prepare both intellectually and spiritually each week. Consistent personal prayer, scripture study, and attention to your covenants will provide a great support to your academic studies. While this is not a religion course, what you study here will help you to grow spiritually. When you are prepared, the Holy Spirit can provide guidance and direction that will make a great difference in your life.

As you interact with others in various assignments, please remember to be kind, considerate, and respectful of differing viewpoints. You can differ in opinions (sometimes the best learning comes when others challenge your thinking), but still be civil and loving. Respect one another’s opinions and avoid using racist, bigoted, homophobic, sexist, or aggressive language in class discussions, writing assignments, or in reporting problems or concerns. Any violation of common courtesy—including interaction with peers, the instructor, or others monitoring the course—will negatively impact your grade.


Netiquette is internet etiquette, or acceptable social behavior when using the internet. First, remember there is a real person on the other side of your computer screen, so you should always treat others courteously. Behavior such as calling someone a derogatory name, making threats, or being demanding is always inappropriate. Treat your classmates and your instructor in a respectful and professional manner just as you would if you were seeing them face to face. This counsel applies to any type of communication including discussion board posts, emails, participating in a video conference, or any other method of communication.

Netiquette guidelines specific to using technology include the following:

  1. Use correct spelling and punctuation instead of abbreviations, text language, or slang. Using conventional spelling and punctuation will help ensure that your meaning will be understood by others.
  2. Don’t use all capital letters. When you use all caps, IT IS LIKE YELLING AT SOMEONE AND IS CONSIDERED RUDE BEHAVIOR.
  3. In an online environment, it can take time to receive answers to your questions. To help decrease the amount of time needed to obtain an answer, be specific when making a request or asking a question. (Remember to ask your question or place your request in a respectful and professional manner). Also, plan ahead. If you procrastinate your work until the deadline, you won’t have enough time to ask questions and receive an answer before your assignment is due.
By using common courtesy and showing respect to your classmates and instructors as you practice the netiquette behavior explained above, you will be a better disciple of the Savior and have a far better online learning experience as you help establish a safe learning environment for everyone.


Plagiarism or other forms of cheating will not be tolerated. From BYU-Idaho’s Academic Honesty policy statement: “Intentional Plagiarism is the deliberate act of representing the words, ideas, or data of another as one’s own without providing proper attribution to the author through quotation, reference, or footnote.” To avoid unintentional plagiarism, consult with your instructor if you have a plagiarism question.

The use of any language translation software, apps, or online programs, such as Google Translate, in order to translate sentences, paragraphs, or whole essays is not permitted in this course. However, the use of these translation programs to look up a single word or short phrase, is generally allowed.

Course Material

All materials can be accessed through the course; no additional textbooks are required. A digital copy of the entire course workbook can be found at this link, and a published copy is available here.

You must have consistent access to a computer with a reliable Internet connection.

In order to complete the Speaking Partner Appointments, you need video chat capabilities.
Many newer computers have built-in webcams and microphones; however, if your computer is not equipped with these components, you may need to purchase them. You may use Skype or another video chat format. Use this link if you would like a free Skype download.

If you have any Speaking Partner technology related questions, check for an answer on the Speaking Partners page. If you need further assistance with the technological aspect of the Speaking Partner Appointments, contact the Online Support Center.

Note: If you have questions about the Speaking Partner component of this course or need help connecting with your partner, go to the Pathway Support page.

If you do not have Microsoft programs on your computer, such as Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, go to http://pathway.lds.org, log in and then click on your name in the top right hand corner. You will see a link to the free Microsoft Office download page.

Class Policies



Grading Policies

You are expected to be an active learner in this course. This means completing assignments on time, coming prepared to your local gathering, and actively participating in the course. Your grade will be calculated based on the following categories:

Grading Category

Estimated Percentage

of Semester Grade

Intro Activities2%
Grammar Exercises4%

Readings and Discussions

(reading quizzes; discussion boards)

Writing Assignments33%

Speaking Activities

(Speaking Partner; Peer Discussion)


Gospel Connection

(Scripture Study; Learn a Hymn)


Attendance Reports

(Gathering attendance)

Weekly Reports6%

Final Grade Breakdown

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%; F = 0–59%

Instructor Notes/Q&A

This course has a discussion board called the Instructor Notes/ Q&A in each lesson. You are encouraged to post general course questions, problems, concerns, etc., there. Using this board will inform other class members, the instructor, and others of the issues you find and allow the proper people to correct them for everyone. Please check this board throughout the semester. If you are experiencing the same problem as another student who has already reported it, you can make an additional post so others know the seriousness of the problem. If you know the answer to a question, you are encouraged to post solutions. Helping to solve your classmates’ problems is another way to teach one another. Additionally, your instructor is monitoring this board and will inform you of fixes and solutions here.

Note:You should only email your instructor directly if your problem is personal. Or if your Instructor requests email communication. If this is the case, your instructor will explain the change. Otherwise, the Questions and Conversations board is the preferred class communication.

Late Work Policy

Assignments are due on the day indicated. No late work is accepted without permission from the instructor. Work that is late inhibits your ability to fully participate in the course and will be accepted only at your instructor’s discretion. Inform your instructor before the assignment is due. Any late work that is accepted is subject to a penalty as determined by your instructor.


Transcripts of the grammar or writing lesson videos are available in the Welcome folder, Course Documents.

Disability Law

In compliance with applicable disability law, qualified students with a disability may be entitled to “reasonable accommodation.” It is the student’s responsibility to disclose to the teacher any special need he/she may have as soon as possible as accommodations are not retroactive.


The instructor reserves the right to change any part of this syllabus at any time during the semester in order to adapt to changing course needs. You will be notified prior to any changes that may take place.

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