The Academic Writing course focuses on the fundamental ingredients of a clear, interesting, and rigorous science research paper. In addition to the central idea of rhetorical positioning and the significance of narrowing the problem space, we talk about the construction of logical arguments, strength of claim in the reporting of data, reader-oriented writing, precision, tone, grammatical usage, and editing strategies. We also focus on the development of content and fluency through practice with timed, unedited journal-type writing. Students work on a variety of subsections of a scientific text including introductions, data commentaries, results commentaries, conclusions, abstracts, and bio-data statements. A special feature of the coursework is the analysis and editing of student writing-in-progress. During each class session we spend time discussing and editing student texts that we project on a screen in front of the class. Students receive detailed feedback on their writing through this group editing activity as well as through peer-editing and individual conferences throughout the course.
The guiding principle in the Great Presentations course is the refinement of each participant’s individual and unique speaking style and manner. We analyze the essential components of an excellent formal presentation including the development of the presentation story, the use of appropriate language and discourse for technical content, the best use of visuals, transitioning through the slides, coordination of movement with content, connection with the audience, timing, and fluency. We also look at job talks, interview sessions, and the art of asking and responding to questions. Students give individual talks of varying lengths from their research. Detailed feedback is given following each talk and listener preferences are discussed and evaluated. Each presentation is videotaped, and all video clips are posted on a class website for student reference and review.
All Writing and Presentations 1:1 sessions are conducted as one-on-one individual conferences. Participants work solely on their writing-in-progress and current presentation projects.
© Copyright 2014. All rights reserved. Janet L. Kayfetz.