Year 2017 Term Spring Day Monday Period 3 Credit 2 Code 129
Course Title Academic Writing Skills I
Major Common Subjects
Instructor(s) Peddie
Purpose & Description

The aim of this course is to develop students’ writing skills and familiarize them with the conventions relating to academic writing in English. We will focus on cleaning up common errors of grammar, collocation and word choice. We will use paragraph structure as a start point to expand in to longer essay formats, focusing on how to formulate sound topic and concluding sentences and provide supporting information. Some of the classes will also be conducted like workshop sessions, where the instructor works closely with the students in small groups. Evaluation will be based on in-class and homework assignments as well as some short writing assignments. Students will use workshop sessions to formulate topics for their writing assignments. The small-group sessions will also feature peer review and revision to encourage collaborative habits and allow students to learn from and assist their classmates.


1. Introduction to the course: How is writing like a hamburger? Goals of the course and introduction to paragraph structure. Diagnostic assignment: write a short paragraph with an appropriate topic sentence, supporting sentences, and concluding sentence.

2. First-language interference

3. Word choice and collocation

4. Academic vocabulary, vocabulary misuse and overuse

5. Writing style

6. Mechanics

7. Unity and Coherence. Conjunctions, transition words, and narrative tenses. Assignment: chronological order paragraph "My morning routine"

8. Workshop #1: Prewriting and the process essay. Instructor provides a guideline for essay structure and how to expand from a paragraph to an essay. Using the previous assignment as a base, discuss the steps of prewriting and apply in small groups toward the goal of writing a process essay. Review narrative tenses and transition signals for chronological order.

9. Peer review workshop. Pair assessment of homework assignment and revision. Examining paragraphs for problems of clarity, word choice, grammar and appropriate signposting.

10. Fact, opinion and conjecture. How to identify strong and weak arguments, supported and unsupported statements, and verifiable facts. Final version of process essay due.

11. Workshop #2 Cause and effect essay. The instructor will provide a guideline to how to structure a cause and effect essay, and students will use time in class to generate a prewriting plan. Homework assignment: write the first draft of a short cause and effect essay.

12. Peer review workshop. Pair assessment of homework assignment and revision. Examining paragraphs for problems of clarity, word choice, grammar and appropriate signposting.

13. Reflecting on the writing process. In-class assignment: Begin writing a short essay discussing the issues you have encountered with your own writing and possible ways to address these problems. You can complete it as homework if necessary. Final version of cause and effect essay due.

14. Presentation and discussion. Each student briefly describes the main writing issue or problem s/he has identified through reflection, and how s/he plans to address it. Final version of reflective essay due.

Texts & References

Alice Oshima and Ann Hogue, Writing Academic English (Pearson Longman, 2006). Fourth edition. In-class exercises will be provided by the instructor.


Week 1 diagnostic paragraph: 10% Week 7 paragraph (completion): 10% Process essay: 20% Cause and effect essay: 20% Reflective essay: 15% Reflection presentation: 5% Class performance (participation in discussions, participation in peer review, etc): 20%

The outline above is subject to change.

Language(s) for instruction & discussion; Others

This class will be taught in English. Attendence in class on a weekly basis is essential to student progress in this course.