2017 Basic 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.)
Wed3-4(H104)  
Group
-
Course number
PHY.P410
Credits
2
Academic year
2017
Offered quarter
1-2Q
Syllabus updated
2017/3/17
Lecture notes updated
-
Language used
English
Access Index

Course description and aims

This course teaches the basics of writing informative essays through peer learning, questioning, and short-essay writing to beginning graduate students. It is clear that English is important for those pursuing careers in the physical and life sciences, engineering, and other specialized disciplines. Therefore, in this course, students will be asked to assess, explain, or summarize various scientific concepts by writing simple essays in basic 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 basic English.
2) Be able to assess a scientific concept in basic English.
3) Be able to explain a scientific concept in basic English.
4) Be able to summarize a scientific concept in basic English.

Keywords

Basic 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 Introduction to technical writing for physicists Understand the basics of writing an informative essay. Explain the importance and properties of the introduction, body, and conclusion.
Class 2 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 25-word English essay.
Class 4 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 50-word English essay.
Class 6 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 75-word English essay.
Class 8 First-half review Review the basics of writing an informative essay. Discuss the importance and properties of the introduction, body, and conclusion.
Class 9 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 25-word English essay.
Class 11 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 50-word English essay.
Class 13 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 75-word English essay.
Class 15 Second-half review Review the basics of writing an informative essay. Discuss the importance and properties of the introduction, body, and conclusion.

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 write-ups : 100%

Related courses

  • PHY.P610 : Advanced Writing in Physics

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

There are no prerequisites.

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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