2016 Academic Writing A

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Academic unit or major
Graduate major in Energy Science and Engineering
Cross Jeffrey Scott 
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Course description and aims

This course uses a task-based learning approach to teach scientific writing skills to science and engineering graduate students. The classroom time is divided into lecture, group discussion/work on lecture topics, and student-student peer review/editing of written assignments. The tasks covered in the course consist of writing e-mail messages, conference abstracts, business letters, research paper writing guidelines and ethics. The course will also use video lectures in place of lecture during class time using the blended or flipped classroom teaching model. The number of students that can enroll in this course is limited to 20.

Student learning outcomes

The learning outcomes of this course is for non-native English language speaking energy course doctoral students to learn basic technical English writing skills for academic communications.


Academic writing, scientific publishing

Competencies that will be developed

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

Class will use lecture material including video recordings of past lecture, group work as well as individual assignments to learn about academic writing.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 1. Course introduction, self-introduction, course sign-up, syllabus, course questionnaire and Canvas LMS. course outline, communication
Class 2 Written personal communications and conversational strategies for group work communication and conversation strategies
Class 3 The written case study and research question approach vs. scientific method scientific method and case study learning
Class 4 Academic publishing, and online searching strategies of the published literature academic publishing, library database search strategy,
Class 5 Publishing impact factors, and online searching strategies of the published literature impact factors, online searching, open access literature
Class 6 Plagiarism, publishing ethics, retractions, and case studies of academic misconduct academic publishing ethics and what is misconduct
Class 7 Writing an abstract for workshop and peer evaluation of student workshop extended abstracts workshop and symposium oral and poster abstract writing


Materials for this course will be provided by the instructor

Reference books, course materials, etc.

1. "Academic Writing: A Handbook for International Students", Stephen Bailey, Routledge, 3rd ed. 2011.
2. "Writing Science: How to Write Papers That Get Cited and Proposals That Get Funded", Joshua Schimel, Oxford University Press, 2011.
3. "Science Research Writing: A Guide for Non-Native Speakers of English", Hilary Glasman-Deal, Imperial College Press, 2009.
4. "The Craft of Research (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing)"
Booth, Wayne C., University of Chicago Press, 3rd ed., 2008.
5. "A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations: Chicago Style for Students and Researchers", Kate L. Turabian, 8th Ed., University of Chicago Press, 2013.
6. Academic and Business Writing, edX MOOC from UC Berkeley,

Assessment criteria and methods

Course Grade Assessment: 30% attendance/participation, 70% writing assignments and quizes. Two or more unexcused absences from class will result in an "incomplete" as the course grade i.e. attendance is compulsory due in class group work. Late homework will be accepted after the submission deadline but assessed after taking into account a 30% point reduction or late penalty. All homework assignments must be submitted in order to receive a final grade for this course. No excused absence are given for missing class due to one's individual research activity.

Related courses

  • XEN.E301 : Advanced English Communication for Engineers

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

Touch typing (typing without looking at your fingers on the keyboard) is an important skill that is needed for this class, since real-time in-class group writing and data-entry is needed. Please bring your own notebook computer, smart-phone, iPad ... to class to access materials online.


This class is being taught for Energy Course Doctoral Students only. The course will use online materials including videos and a Canvas learning management system. Students who are preparing to submit a paper to a journal for publication or present their results at an international conference will benefit the most from enrolling in this class. This is the first part of a two course series taught on academic writing.

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