Writing in English
Online Course for Non-Native Speakers
Imparte: Mary Williams
Duración: 45 horas (12 semanas)
Fechas: del 9 de noviembre de 2020 al 21 de febrero de 2021
Periodo vacacional: del 14 de diciembre de 2020 al 3 de enero de 2021
Contrary to a common belief that writing in English is not as important as reading, listening and speaking, the need to deal competently with all types of written English is increasing steadily. There will always be a need for high-quality writing in English, whether it comes from the academic and professional sectors, journalism, story-telling, or relating a personal experience. The main aim of the on-line course is to addresses these needs. However, the growing need for high quality written English comes at a time when technology facilitates the wide-spread and instantaneous transmission of both sound and images (moving or still), which appear to render writing redundant. Again, this is a long way from the truth, as messaging technologies have generated new, additional uses of writing in English. These are used in both professional and social settings, and have to be addressed by on-line courses. In this way, the Writing in English course responds to diverse needs. Most of these are the traditional requirement for high quality written documents, but there are also new needs that respond to changing social circumstances. They also respond to the social, ideological and gender diversity that characterizes our age.
It is also true that, whilst men and women from all sectors, including students, professionals, academics, and business people, have steadily improved their reading, listening and speaking skills, their writing in English frequently lags behind. Writing is often the most problematic skill to acquire as it requires the coincidence between our personal way of expressing ourselves and thinking clearly. In this sense, the on-line Writing in English course addresses a series of inter-related needs, including grammar, structure, and content for a range of texts, as well as developing appropriate responses to on-line stimulus.
The three-month Writing in English course intends to address the following issues:
a) developing essential writing skills, including, structure, brainstorm, introduction and conclusion, avoiding repetition, grammar issues and spelling, using correct and appropriate writing style, and emphasizing the role of re-writing.
b) the wide-ranging uses of written English in today’s world. This could be an academic text, report writing, or a personal profile, among others. This broad range of uses responds to the anticipated needs of the participants. Additionally, the course incorporates the use of email and other technology-driven services e.g. Twitter
c) the individual projects of the participants. Some students wish to develop an individual research project, or business plan, or article of some sort. The course can provide guidance and support for these projects, particularly with regards to the issues outlined in a) above.
READING AND THINKING
There is no writing without reading: the two skills are inseparable. There is no point in enrolling for a writing course unless a participant is prepared to read. As the actual process of writing is relatively quick, participants can expect to spend more time reading and thinking than actually writing.
Participants must be prepared to read the course materials. Some of these explain the technical process of writing with examples, while others provide other types of information on which the participants are expected to respond to in specific ways.
It is also very important that participants are prepared to read and comment on the texts of (a selection of) their fellow participants. The role of peer-group feedback for the writing tasks set by the course is equally important as the feedback from the course tutors. Feedback should be appropriate, supportive, and precise.
On the other hand, some texts are approached with relatively little thinking behind them. These are more likely to be a fast reactions to a stimulus, such as twitter or an email. These also form part of the course and are important as, in today’s fast-moving world, the written word often reflects speech patterns, whether these come from fluent native speakers or not.
GRAMMAR AND STYLE
The course is directed at writing, which includes structure, development, expression, and clarity. In other words, the course is not specifically directed at grammar. However, participants will be directed to grammar rules as and where necessary, and specifically to the grammar manual(s) that accompany the course. Here participants can study grammar rules with accompanying exercises. It is equally important that participants read the course texts carefully to appreciate the use of verbs, prepositions, pronouns, phrases, etc. that occur in them.
PARTICIPANT PROFILE AND ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS
The course is interesting and useful to a wide range of professionals, students, academics and business people whose first language is not English.
It is necessary that all participants have a good level of English reading comprehension as well as a good level of English grammar.
All applicants have to take a 25 minute entrance exam in order to be accepted onto the course. In addition, applicants are asked to submit a 150-word text that they have developed during the previous year.
All participant have to have sufficient time available to undertake the 3-month online course. It is estimated that the course will take up to 5-6 hours per week during three months. This includes reading, writing, commenting, and re-writing activities, along with some time for commenting on the work of fellow participants.
Unit 1 (one month)
The unit consists of three writing exercises of between 150 and 250 words each.
- What type of reading is most important to you?
- Presenting factual information. Not expressing an opinion
- Personal profile
At the end of the module, participants should select ONE exercise for REWRITING, considering the comments from three fellow participants and those of the course organizers, grammar, structure and content. This version has to be posted as a Turnitin finished piece of work which receives an evaluation and a mark.
Unit 2 (one month)
- Explain a complex situation in a letter/email, using appropriate language, including one of the following: changes of plans, complaint, an appraisal of a text or a movie, a request, an explanation for a specific result. It is imperative that these texts use appropriate language.
- Presenting two points of view
- Expressing your own point of view
At the end of the module, participants should select ONE exercise to REWRITE, considering the comments from three fellow participants, the comments of the course organizers, grammar, structure and content. This version has to be handed in as a Turnitin finished piece of work which is commented on and evaluated.
Unit 3 (one month)
There are two options for module 3. The first is that participants develop their own project, and the second is that they write two informed opinion texts based on readings provided for the purpose.
A) Some participants have a specific project that they wish to develop in the last month of the course. This can be an application for a scholarship or a job, a synopsis, a short article, a profile, a critique, or another type of document that corresponds to an individual need. This document should not exceed 1,000 words. Unit 3 gives an opportunity to students and professionals to develop these texts to a high level.
B) The second option is to read and comment on two complex texts that address important issues in our economic/social/political/cultural environment.
There are several evaluation mechanisms for the course, including the following: a) the participant’s own course work for the three units; b) the participant’s ability to correct, restructure and improve their own work in accordance with the suggestions by the course tutors and the other participants in the course; c) the participant’s response to the work of other participants; d) the participant’s use of twitter and email.