• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site
Bachelor 2020/2021

Critical Thinking and Academic Writing

Type: Compulsory course (Philology)
Area of studies: Philology
When: 2 year, 2 module
Mode of studies: distance learning
Open to: students of one campus
Language: English
ECTS credits: 3

Course Syllabus

Abstract

This is a two-module course which develops and refines academic English skills of those students who specialize in Arts and Humanities, namely, philology. By combining the basics of academic style, punctuation, and grammar with critical reading and academic writing, this course enables students to gain an awareness and understanding of the key features of writing about their research. By the end of the course, students will be able to write a good academic essay in MLA style. Pre-requisites: to fulfill the requirements of the course students need to have a good command of written and spoken English (required CEFR language proficiency level is from upper-intermediate (B2) to advanced (C1)).
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • To introduce students to the basic principles of critical reading and academic writing and to raise their linguistic awareness, comparing conventions in Russian and English writing.
  • To prepare students for further academic activities in English as part of their HSE bachelor’s programme (i.e., disciplines in English, Academic English course in their final year of bachelor’s studies, MOOCs etc.) and in a wider English-speaking academic environment.
  • To develop and practise students’ skills in the areas of academic essay writing, essay organization, citations, and research.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Students know the basic principles of English academic writing and the most important differences in-between Russian and English writing conventions; know and apply principles of critical reading; organize and adapt texts appropriately for audience, purpose, and type of task; identify the author’s main claims and supporting points; reduce the text to main ideas; evaluate arguments and evidence critically; use pre-writing strategies.
  • Students recognize and apply the rhetorical conventions of academic discourse (i.e., paragraph structure, unity, coherence, argumentation); produce clear and appropriate topic sentence as well as supporting sentences; write a well-rounded paragraph conveying their argument to a general reader; demonstrate their professional skills and assess both their own writing and their colleagues’ writing through peer review.
  • Students are familiar with the stylistic conventions of academic discourse and employ them appropriately in their own writing.
  • Students articulate and assess the author’s thesis, purposes, audiences, writing strategies, contexts, bias, and credibility; write a critical review essay according to the instructions given; demonstrate their professional skills and assess both their own writing and their colleagues’ writing through peer review; use electronic environments to draft, revise, edit, and share texts; use writing processes to explore, think, and learn.
  • Students know the basic principles of English punctuation and the most important differences in-between Russian and English punctuation and employ these principles appropriately in their own writing.
  • Students find and analyze academic texts to assess their relevance to their own research; synthesize appropriate source material from both print and electronic environments; signal and integrate basic quotes, paraphrases, and summarized ideas; avoid plagiarism; document and cite in MLA format accurately.
  • Students write an analysis essay according to the instructions given; produce clear and focused thesis statements supported by logical arguments; incorporate and document sources appropriately; demonstrate their professional skills and assess both their own writing and their colleagues’ writing through peer review; use electronic environments to draft, revise, edit, and share texts; use writing processes to explore, think, and learn.
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Course introduction
    What is critical reading? Why should one study academic writing? Recognizing one’s audience. Free writing assignment. Critical reading as a precursor to writing: finding key points, understanding the context, identifying logical structures in argument within every paragraph and within the whole text. Organizing one’s glossary of terms. Journal writing.
  • Paragraph structure
    What is a paragraph? Supporting one’s statements: evidence, what it is, why it is important, and how to provide it. Unity and coherence. Repetition of key nouns, key noun substitutes, consistent pronouns, logical order.
  • Style and register
    Expressive means: morphological, lexical, syntactical. Academic style. Caution.
  • Critical review
    What is a critical review? Its functions, typical structure, and possible focus questions. Evaluating points of view. Peer reviewing.
  • Syntax and punctuation
    Types of sentences: simple, compound, and complex. Connecting words and transition signals. Punctuation. Using parallel structures and fixing sentence problems. Typical problems: sentence fragments, choppy and stringy sentences, run-on sentences, and comma splices.
  • Finding, evaluating, and using sources
    Logic and relevance. Common knowledge and plagiarism. Generic writing skills: paraphrasing, summarizing, integrating quotations. Reporting verbs and phrases. Using (online) sources. Referencing systems. Documenting sources in MLA style. MLA in-text citations. MLA list of works cited. MLA manuscript format.
  • Analysis essay
    What is an analysis essay? Essay structure. Developing an argument and drafting a working thesis statement. Writing a formal essay outline. From thesis to introduction. The purpose of introduction and how to achieve it. Types of introduction. Drafting the main body of the essay. Writing an effective conclusion. Peer reviewing. Finalizing and polishing the essay.
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Ungraded written assignments (free writing, exercises, peer reviews etc.)
    Active participation in in-class assignments is required during most seminars. Students should inform their instructor about their excused absences before the class (not after) by email, and provide the doctor’s notes and other documents about them. An excused absence is an absence due to a number of accepted reasons such as a medical or personal issue beyond one’s control, participation in a significant extracurricular university event, conference etc. If the absence is excused, the grade for in-class assignments will not be reduced. However, even if a student is absent, they are still responsible for home assignments; because they will have at least several days’ lead time, the due date for these remains the same regardless of one’s absence. Students should try and meet home assignment deadlines by all means. In case one’s home assignment is 1-2 days late, they lose 50% of their grade. In case one’s home assignment is 3 or more days late, it is not accepted or assessed – the grade is a 0. One’s home assignments should be either neatly handwritten or typed. Students should not discard any papers they produce during the year until they receive their final grade.
  • non-blocking Quizzes
  • non-blocking Critical review
    Plagiarism will not be tolerated. For each plagiarized sentence, the essay loses one point (for example, 8 → 7). If there are more than three plagiarized sentences in one’s work, the grade for the essay is a zero. For further information visit https://www.hse.ru/studyspravka/plagiat
  • non-blocking Analysis essay (exam)
    Plagiarism will not be tolerated. For each plagiarized sentence, the essay loses one point (for example, 8 → 7). If there are more than three plagiarized sentences in one’s work, the grade for the essay is a zero. For further information visit https://www.hse.ru/studyspravka/plagiat
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (2 module)
    0.29 * Analysis essay (exam) + 0.26 * Critical review + 0.16 * Quizzes + 0.29 * Ungraded written assignments (free writing, exercises, peer reviews etc.)
Bibliography

Bibliography

Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Bailey, S. (2017). Academic Writing : A Handbook for International Students (Vol. Fifth edition). London: Routledge. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1650435
  • Murray, N. (2012). Writing Essays in English Language and Linguistics : Principles, Tips and Strategies for Undergraduates. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=438550

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • MacDonald, S. (2010). Professional Academic Writing in the Humanities and Social Sciences (Vol. Paperback ed). Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=367965
  • Murray, R., & Moore, S. (2006). The Handbook of Academic Writing : A Fresh Approach. Maidenhead, England: McGraw-Hill Education. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=234234