Wednesday, March 06, 2013

English Composition I: Achieving Expertise

Thinking about higher ed in an English speaking country? Preparing for TOEFL? Or just want to improve your English writing skills? Take a look at this free online course from Duke University. 

You will gain a foundation for college-level writing valuable for nearly any field. Students will learn how to read carefully, write effective arguments, understand the writing process, engage with others' ideas, cite accurately, and craft powerful prose. We will create a workshop environment.

About the Course

English Composition I provides an introduction to and foundation for the academic reading and writing characteristic of college. Attending explicitly to disciplinary context, you will learn to read critically, write effective arguments, understand the writing process, and craft powerful prose that meets readers’ expectations. 
You will gain writing expertise by exploring questions about expertise itself: What factors impact expert achievement? What does it take to succeed? Who determines success? Since personal investment yields better writing, you can select an area of expertise meaningful to you (a hobby, trade, profession, discipline, etc.) for your major writing projects, which will be drafted and revised in sequenced stages: a critical response to an argument about expertise (2pp.); an explication of a visual image (2pp.); a case study of an expert (4pp.) and an Op-Ed (2 pp.). Your writing will be central to the course as we create a seminar/workshop structure with peer response and selected instructor feedback.  
Two overarching assumptions about academic writing will shape our work:  1) it is transferable; 2) it is learnable. Being an effective academic writer involves asking meaningful questions and engaging in complex dialogue with texts and ideas. These skills are useful across virtually all academic disciplines and they provide a valuable means for making sense of non-academic experiences as well. 
Perhaps even more important, though, is that learning how to write effectively does not require inspiration or genius, but hard work, reflection, and feedback. This means that, with practice, dedication, and working with others, you can be an effective academic writer and contribute your ideas to important, ongoing conversations. Let's start now.

Check out video and syllabus, register at English Composition I: Achieving Expertise | Coursera. Learn more about Duke's Thompson Writing Program. Check out the ESL/EFL resources too

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