2016 Advanced Writing in Physics

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Academic unit or major
Graduate major in Physics
Instructor(s)
Tilma Todd 
Course component(s)
Lecture
Mode of instruction
 
Day/Period(Room No.)
Wed1-2(H104)  
Group
-
Course number
PHY.P610
Credits
2
Academic year
2016
Offered quarter
1-2Q
Syllabus updated
2016/4/27
Lecture notes updated
2016/6/16
Language used
English
Access Index

Course description and aims

The course teaches the basics of writing informative essays through more comprehensive peer-learning, questioning, and short-essay writing to the doctoral students. It is clear that English is important for those pursuing careers in the physical sciences, engineering, life sciences, and other specialized disciplines.
Thus, in this course, students will be asked to research, explain, or summarize various scientific concepts by writing various-length of essays in English.

Students will develop their technical writing skills and will understand how to apply them to their chosen specialties.

Student learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
1) Analyze experiments and communicate their observations in clear, concise English.
2) Be able to evaluate a scientific concept in clear, concise English.
3) Be able to explain a scientific concept in clear, concise English.
4) Be able to summarize a scientific concept in clear, concise English.

Keywords

General technical writing, assessing an idea, explaining a concept, summarizing results

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

At the beginning of each simulation class, students will be given a virtual experiment to analyze via whatever means they wish, as long as they collaborate and ask questions. At the end of each simulation class, students will be given a question about the virtual experiment that they will need to answer in the following class. Following each simulation class specific types of essays will be discussed, and students will be expected to write various-length essays in English based on the question asked in the previous simulation class.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Review of technical writing for physicists Review the basics of writing an informative essay. Explain the importance and properties of the introduction, body, and conclusion.
Class 2 pHET Simulation One Analyze an experiment through peer-learning and questioning.
Class 3 Assessing a scientific idea or concept - I Assess simulation one by writing a 225-word English essay.
Class 4 pHET Simulation Two Analyze an experiment through peer-learning and questioning.
Class 5 Explaining a scientific idea or concept - I Explain simulation two by writing a 250-word English essay.
Class 6 pHET Simulation Three Analyze an experiment through peer-learning and questioning.
Class 7 Summarizing a scientific idea or concept - I Summarize simulation three by writing a 275-word English essay.
Class 8 Mid-term simulation and essay Be able to asses, explain, or summarize a given scientific concept by writing a 300 word essay in English.
Class 9 pHET Simulation Four Analyze an experiment through peer-learning and questioning.
Class 10 Assessing a scientific idea or concept - II Assess simulation four by writing a 325-word English essay.
Class 11 pHET Simulation Five Analyze an experiment through peer-learning and questioning.
Class 12 Explaining a scientific idea or concept - II Explain simulation five by writing a 350-word English essay.
Class 13 pHET Simulation Six Analyze an experiment through peer-learning and questioning.
Class 14 Summarizing a scientific idea or concept - II Summarize simulation six by writing a 375-word English essay.
Class 15 Final simulation and essay Be able to asses, explain, or summarize a given scientific concept by writing a 400 word essay in English.

Textbook(s)

None

Reference books, course materials, etc.

As needed, appropriate course materials and references will be made available before class via OCW-i.

Assessment criteria and methods

Students will be assessed on their ability to express themselves in written English.

Simulation journal write-ups : 30%
Mid-term essay : 35%
Final essay : 35%

Related courses

  • PHY.P410 : Basic Writing in Physics

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

Students must have successfully completed PHY.P410 or have equivalent knowledge.

Other

Before coming to class, students should read the course schedule and check what topics will be covered. Required learning should be completed outside of the classroom for preparation and review purposes.

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