A beginners’ guide to writing in English for university study!


Join Steve, Anne and Seb – the three educators on this course to find out what you will learn over the next five weeks and how you should approach this course. Good luck with this week and we hope you enjoy the course!

Welcome to Week 1

Hi. Welcome to the Beginner’s Guide to Academic Writing for University. My name is Steve Thomas, and I teach EAP, English for Academic Purposes, here at the University of Reading. This course is all about writing.

We know there are lots of people like you from countries all around the world, who would like to take a degree in English, but you’re worried that your English isn’t good enough. Well, this is a beginner’s guide so your writing skills only need to be good enough for a pre-university course. If you know IELTS, that’s about IELTS 4.5. But even if your writing skills are stronger than this, we still think this would be a useful course for you. In fact, this week we’ll be showing you the very first piece of writing that a student did on our course a few years ago. And then we’ll show you the final piece of writing he did at the end of the course, and you’ll be able to see just how much he was able to improve in a few short weeks. The student’s name is Xiao, and he went on to complete his undergraduate degree here at University of Reading, and then take a masters. And he’s currently taking a PhD at the University of California in Los Angeles in the United States.

If you follow this course closely, we think that you’ll be able to make the same kind of improvements that Xiao has. It won’t make you an expert writer, but what it will do is give you a solid base for you to build on in the future. Together with my colleagues, Anne Vicary and Sebastian Watkins, we will be showing you how to write with good academic style, how to organise your ideas effectively, and we’ll also be working on some of the most important areas of grammar. There will be plenty of practise activities, and by the end of the course, you’ll have written a complete essay, which you’ll be able to share with your fellow students. You’ll receive feedback on that writing, and hopefully you’ll be able to give useful feedback to others. So let’s meet Anne and Seb.

Hello.

My name’s Anne, and I am a teacher of English for Academic Purposes at the University of Reading. I want to talk to you about how to approach this course. Firstly, make sure you do all the exercises. Try and do them in the right order. Try and have a go at not looking at the answers before you’ve actually done the exercises. Secondly, it’s really important that you have a go at posting to the discussion board because in that way you’re going to learn more. So put your ideas on the discussion board, don’t be scared, and give feedback to the other students whenever you want.

Hello.

My name’s Seb Watkins, and I’m an Academic Writing tutor at the University of Reading. I’ll be working with you more closely in weeks two and four of this course when we look at essay organisation and the stages in writing an essay. During the course, we’ll ask you to do a range of activities. Some of these will be online and some of them will be paper based. You’ll be able to check your answers to the activities and tasks we give you as you go along. Good luck, and I hope you enjoy the course. OK. You’ve met the team, and now we’d like to meet you. The first activity is for you to get used to using the discussion board. So introduce yourself, and then answer a couple of questions. Enjoy the course.

Let’s begin!

What do you think academic writing is?

Being able to write well in English is a big part of this course, so let’s get some practice! Introduce yourself on the discussion board below and answer the following two questions in your post:

  • What are your experiences so far of writing in English?
  • What do you think academic writing is?
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