Department of Linguistics University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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ESL 115

Dept/Number/Title: ESL 115 - Principles of Academic Writing

Credit:3 hours

Contact hours:3 hours

Prerequisite: Students take ESL 115: 1) upon successful completion of the prerequisite course ESL 114; or 2) if they proficiency out of ESL 114. In order to fulfill the university undergraduate rhetoric requirement, students may not proficiency out of this course.

Relation to other courses: ESL 115 is the final course in the undergraduate sequence of required courses (ESL 113,114 and 115). This course is the second of two courses (ESL 114 and 115) for non-native speakers of English which fulfill the university's undergraduate Rhetoric requirement. They are therefore equivalent to Rhetoric 105 and SpeechComm 113 in the native speaker Rhetoric track.

Audience: Non-native speaker degree-seeking undergraduate students and international exchange students enrolled at UIUC.

Textbook: TBA (varies per instructor)

Abstract: This course is an "all-skills" course which focuses principally on developing students ability to use academic sources to write multi-paragraph essays.

Course contents:

Major writing assignments of this course include:

  • annotated bibliographies related to research paper
  • 1-2 formal essays
  • 1 guided research paper, 5-7 pages in length
  • 1 individual research paper, 7-10 pages in length

The course discusses American academic writing in terms of its general characteristics (directness, clarity, conciseness) and its structure (including the thesis statement, specific support, organization, unity, coherence, and cohesion). Common rhetorical patterns are reviewed. The conventions of writing in various academic disciplines are discussed and analyzed. A strong emphasis is placed on developing effective strategies for writing source-based papers in the academic environment. Critical thinking skills in reading and writing are developed through the analysis of various types of writing. Readings are used as a stimulus for discussion of a topic and/or as a source of support in writing assignments. The library research paper is the major project in this course. The research process is team-taught with an instruction librarian at the Undergraduate Library. Students learn how to choose a focused topic, develop a thesis statement, and to find and evaluate library materials to use as support in their writing.

Type of work: Students do a variety of individual, pair, small group and whole class activities, which are supplemented by home work assignments.

Grading basis: Letter grades are based on performance of students in class assignments and participation in class. A passing grade for this course is a grade of C- or higher.

Representative Syllabus

Week 1-2 Introduction and Diagnostic and Revision

Assignment: revise diagnostic exam

Content: peer editing, revision process

Week 2-4 Comparative/Contract (Westernization)

Assignment: 3-4 page comparative/contrast paper

Content: summary of sources, mini-presentation, brainstorming, outlining, drafting, informal group article presentations

Week 5-6 Introduction to Research Paper

Assignment: N/A

Content: library days, topic selection, narrowing, brainstorming, source exploration

Week 7-8 Argumentation

Assignment:5-7 page argumentative essay

Content: argumentative essay structure, source evaluation, finding sources, logical fallacies

Week 9 Review of Plagiarism/Citation

Assignment: article response

Content: review of concept of plagiarism and proper citation, focusing on common mistakes, MLA

Week 10 Research Paper Preparation

Content: source gathering, source evaluation, annotated bibliography, extended definitions

Week 11-13 Oral Presentation

Assignment: impromptu speech, 10 min summary of research paper with questions from audience

Content: academic presentation, practice, execution on final research paper topic

Week 14-15 Research Paper Wrap-Up

Assignment: 8-10 page paper

Content: individual conferences, peer editing