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Introduction to Academic Writing


Course Code: SOED 1513

Overall Objective

This course, which is a requirement for all first year students, focuses on systematic and analytical reading and writing, as well as methods of summarizing and paraphrasing effectively. Subsequently, students are expected to develop practical writing skills needed for academic success, which would also be utilized in various social and professional situations beyond college. In addition, grammar is taught in context as the need arises, and in response to key challenges exhibited by students.

 

Teaching Methods

Introduction to Academic Writing will be covered during a learning period spanning 3 hours x 14 weeks. Lectures will be accompanied by extensive reading and comprehension, as well as a review of basic principles of writing and proper word usage. Students will be acquainted with model university level essays that would serve as illustrations of what is expected of them. It will be their responsibility, however, to be creative and to draft, revise and share their work with their peers in and out of class. A breakdown of four key components of the course further demonstrates how the above teaching goals will be realized.

  1. Collaboration, aside from being integral to instruction, is essential to enhancing writing skills. For this reason, at least one essay by each student will be read and assessed by the instructor before being turned in for a final grade. Peer feedback (including in-class reviews) and timely consultation with tutors at the Learning Centre are also strongly encouraged.
  2. Students will be introduced to the basics of major documentation styles, including American Psychological Association (APA), Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), Modern Language Association (MLA) and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The goal is to ensure steady progress towards a mastery of the style recommended for the student’s major discipline. It is expected that familiarity with methods of documenting external sources will avert plagiarism and facilitate the attainment and preservation of a culture of integrity.  
  3. Students will be required to complete three essays for this class:
    1. A personal narrative (double-spaced, approximately 1-2 pages (400-500 words) on 8 x 11 inch paper with margins of one inch—top, bottom, left, right—with standard Times New Roman font and font size of 12)
    2. A persuasive paper (approximately 2-3 pages (600-700 words) with same print specifications as indicated above)
    3. An analytical/research paper (approximately 5-8 (2000-2500 words) with same print specifications as indicated above)
  4. In addition to the above assignments, students will be encouraged to participate in group and individual, in-class, writing-to-learn activities like reflective writing, freewriting, developing micro-themes, journaling and keeping reading logs. Also, students should anticipate a final exam consisting of reading comprehension and a Basic English Grammar test. Alternately, the final exam may take the form of a multiple choice test comprising English comprehension, lexis and structure. Final grades will be determined by a compilation of scores earned in essay assignments and the final exam, which will be distributed on a 10%, 10%, 20% and 60% arrangement, with 10% going to attendance.

 

Learning Expectations

At end of the course, students are expected to have a full grasp of academic writing as:

  • A non-lineal, multiple stage process
  • A communication process involving extensive reading and summary as effective tools for learning, thinking and reflection
  • A confidence booster

Students will also be expected to develop skills in:

  • Critical thinking, reading and writing
  • Applying stages of the writing process
  • Writing informed and compelling arguments
  • Multi-drafting, editing and revision of personal essays
  • Responding objectively to, revising and editing fellow students’ drafts and essays
  • Collaborating intellectually

 

Reading List

Title: Handbook for Writing Skills for Academic Purposes

  • Author: Jane Opoku-Agyeman
  • Publisher: Ghana Universities’ Press.
  • Priority: Required

Title: Reading and Study skills

  • Author: John Langan
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill
  • Priority: Optional

Title: Elements of Writing

  • Authors: James L. Kinneavy & John E. Warriner
  • Publisher: Harcourt Brace and Company
  • Priority: Optional

The Little Brown Handbook

  • Authors: H. Ramsey Fowler & Jane E. Aaron
  • Publisher: Longman
  • Priority: Optional

Title: Critical Thinking

  • Authors: Brooke Noel Moore & Richard Parker
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill
  • Priority: Optional

Title: Reasoning and Writing Well

  • Author: Betty Mattix Dietsch
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill
  • Priority: Optional

Title: Everyone Can Write

  • Author: Peter Elbow
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Priority: Optional

Title: The Student Writer, Editor and Critic

  • Author: Barbara Fine Clouse
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill
  • Priority: Optional