Course Advanced professional writing and editing in English for natural sciences and technical sciences

ECTS: 2.5

Course leader: Morten Pilegaard

Language: English

Graduate school: Course collaboration

Course fee: 3,000.00 DKK

Status: Course is open for application

Semester: Fall 2022

Application deadline: 27/09/2022

Start date: 25/10/2022

Administrator: Thilde Møller Risgaard

Prerequisites

This course requires course participants to engage actively with their own and fellow course participants’ texts through writing-editing-feedback-rewriting processes to improve their own texts and writing practices. Each student may contribute to the course with at least two texts (e.g. one or more sections of a research paper; a poster and/or a conference abstract; and a communication exchange with reviewers). The course is therefore intended for participants with work in progress.

The course Advanced professional writing and editing in English for natural sciences and technical sciences is being offered by the Graduate School of Natural Sciences/GSNS and Graduate School of Technical Sciences/GSTS, Aarhus University, fall 2022.

No. of contact hours/hours in total incl. preparation, assignment(s) or the like: Contact hours: 16; 2.5 hour per contact hour for preparation, 6 hours for assignments: 40; grand total 62 hours

Criteria for participation: Participants are expected to have basic command of written English and some knowledge, including preferably own experience, of English professional writing and editing English. This course requires course participants to engage actively with their own and fellow course participants’ texts through writing-editing-feedback-rewriting processes to improve their own texts and writing practices.

Each student may contribute to the course with at least two texts (e.g. one or more sections of a research paper; a poster and/or a conference abstract; and a communication exchange with reviewers). The course is therefore intended for participants with work in progress. Course materials will consist of a virtual compendium of texts, slides, drills and a collection of exercises and answer keys for in-course use and post-course training of advanced English skills on a self-study basis.

Aim: The aim of this course is to train the students’ general and disciplinary writing ability to enhance successful disciplinary writing and editing in conformity with contextual/situational, discoursal and genre- and text-type conventions and requirements of written academic English in natural sciences and technical sciences.

Learning outcomes: The advanced English professional writing and editing course with a particular focus on text production, peer feedback and advanced editing, wherefore outcomes and competences are focused on abilities:

  1. Ability to use existing guidelines and conventions governing the structuring of research papers in natural sciences and technical sciences.
  2. Ability to analyse and describe typical structural and linguistic features of poster, abstract and paper and to produce said genres in contexts relevant to natural sciences and technical sciences
  3. Ability to apply principles of cohesion and thematic structuring in own texts.
  4. Ability to analyse and produce select text types.
  5. Ability to trace and correct errors of composition and grammar in English-language texts within natural sciences and technical sciences.

Compulsory programme:

To achieve this aim, the student will take as their starting point previously acquired knowledge and abilities within the field of natural sciences and technical sciences, viz. 1) Knowledge about guidelines and conventions governing the structuring of research papers; knowledge of principles of cohesion and thematic structure in general and in research papers within the field of natural sciences and technical sciences in particular; knowledge of some of the main differences between native and non-native English language users’ use of syntax and grammar; and ability to avoid common errors of syntax and grammar in English-language texts written by non-native English language researchers and scholars; and ability to produce structurally and linguistically appropriate posters, abstracts and papers.

To achieve the aim of the advanced course, participants will acquire proficiency in 1) producing and revising one’s own and others’ academic texts to optimize their structure, form and conformity with existing conventions at the level of text genre (macro structure), text type (presentation, argumentation, summarizing, etc.) and form (formality and grammatical correctness); 2) tracing and optimizing non-academic language at paragraph, sentence and word level, including enhancing text cohesion; 3) tracing and correcting unidiomatic English and any mother-tongue interference from non-native writers of English.

Course participants are expected to attend a minimum of 80% of lectures, show active participation in on-site or on-line discussions and complete a minimum of two written assignments.

Content:

Day 1

Topics

  1. Presentation of participants and course.
  2. Conventions in quantitative and qualitative research dissemination in natural sciences and technical sciences
  3. Writing and text targeting processes. Practice & training: pre-writing, drafting, feedback & revision of sample texts.
  4. Building written proficiency, tools & techniques; including introduction to self-study materials, drills and answer key for the advanced English professional writing and editing course.

Day 2

Topics

  1. Natural sciences and technical sciences: Research paper, conference abstract, poster.
    Practice & training: Determining macro-textual form from verbal clues; tools for establishing textual macro-structure using verbal and syntactical clues.
  2. Natural sciences and technical sciences text types: Production and optimization of text types of own choice for publication purposes.
    Writing exercise: produce and optimize text types applying writing steps (pre-writing, drafting, feedback/revision, evaluation).
  3. Grammar: Cohesion, coherence and textuality; using parallel structures and fixing sentence problems.
    Exercise
    : Trace, fix and present parallel structures and sentence problems in sample texts.
  4. Conference abstract: Lecture on persuasive writing.
    Writing exercise
    : Produce own conference abstract using persuasive writing techniques. Swap for peer feedback.

Day 3

Topics

  1. Grammar: Clause structure and challenges: Managing noun clauses, adverbial clauses, adjective clauses and participial phrases.
    Exercise: Trace and revise clausal errors and mother tongue interference in sample texts and own text(s).
  2. Poster: Design and poster language.
    Writing exercise: Optimize own poster or write sample poster introduction or comment on sample poster language and presentation.
  3. Research paper I: abstracts. Summarizing, paraphrasing and condensing.
    Exercise:
    Analyze structural and linguistic features of abstracts; revise own and sample abstracts.
  4. Research paper II: materials & methods, results sections of research paper.
    Building paragraphs while maintaining focus; descriptive and argumentative text types; comparison and contrast.
    Exercise: comment on sample texts; produce and/or optimize own descriptive text types based on on-going work; linguistic variation in comparison and contrast; typical pitfalls. 

Day   4

Topics

  1. Research paper III: introduction and discussion sections of research paper. Writing expository texts, rhetorical structure; presenting causal analysis and proposals; argumentation and discussion.
    Writing exercise:
    Comment on sample texts; produce and/or optimize own introduction and/or discussion based on on-going work.
  2. Consolidating overview: Guidelines; overview of the IMRaD structure (anchor paragraphs – last in the intro, first and last in discussion, interpretation); tables and figures; references; key words; title.
  3. Working with co-authors, revising, editorial process, (re-)submission (e.g., cover letter), intro to peer review, journal metrics Own texts: Plenary with discussion at ‘students’ discretion and individual questions and counseling students’ papers in progress.
  4. Odds and ends & introduction to supplementary exercises for post-course advanced English professional writing and editing self-study.

Teaching methods: Activities and materials: The course will consist of a mixture of lectures and presentations, followed by exercises and discussions – either conducted as on-site or on-line sessions according to current university policies and - all based on relevant texts in natural sciences and technical sciences. Course materials will consist of texts, slides, drills and a collection of exercises and answer keys for in-course use and training on self-study basis for three months post course; students with work in progress are invited to have one or more sections of their texts discussed in plenary.

Literature: A comprehensive compendium of texts, including slides, research papers and scholarly presentations will be available on-line

Instructors: Morten Pilegaard

Venue: 25 October, 2, 8 and 15 November 2022, meeting room 2.3, AU Conferencecentre, Fredrik Nielsens vej 4, 8000 Aarhus  

No show fee:
Course participants on our transferable skills courses, who do not show up at the course or cancel their course participation after the course cancellation deadline (without providing a doctor’s note), may have to pay a no-show fee, unless someone from the waiting list is able to take part in the course instead.

The no-show fee is DKK 1,200 (the price of one ECTS). The no-show fee has been introduced due to many late cancellations, thus preventing people from the waiting lists to have a seat at the courses.

Registration:

  • Participation in the course is without cost for PhD students from Aarhus University

Due to an Agreement between Danish Universities coming into force as of 1 January 2011, participants from other universities than Aarhus University will have to pay DKK 1,200 per ECTS. In principle this also applies to external parties, but exemption can be granted under specific circumstances.

Please be aware that your registration for the course not necessarily equals your admission for the course. You will receive an e-mail after the registration deadline regarding whether you are admitted for the course or if you are registered on the waiting list. Please note that seats are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

Course dates:

  • 25 October 2022 08:30 - 12:30
  • 02 November 2022 08:30 - 12:30
  • 08 November 2022 08:30 - 12:30
  • 15 November 2022 08:30 - 12:30