Writing your World: Finding yourself in the academic space

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About this course: Throughout the world, writing serves to express, record and even create meaningful moments. In academic spaces, writing becomes the bridge between ourselves and the world of ideas. In this course, we provide practical insights into how to write an academic essay. We show you how to develop the academic skills needed to be a competent academic writer. You will have an opportunity to engage with texts written by academics, and to see how some of the ideas in these texts are used by students in constructing an academic essay. We address some of the challenges these students face with respect to academic writing and offer you the opportunity to practice and to develop you…

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Didn't find what you were looking for? See also: Reading & Writing, Exam Preparation, English (FCE / CAE / CPE), C/C++, and French.

When you enroll for courses through Coursera you get to choose for a paid plan or for a free plan

  • Free plan: No certicification and/or audit only. You will have access to all course materials except graded items.
  • Paid plan: Commit to earning a Certificate—it's a trusted, shareable way to showcase your new skills.

About this course: Throughout the world, writing serves to express, record and even create meaningful moments. In academic spaces, writing becomes the bridge between ourselves and the world of ideas. In this course, we provide practical insights into how to write an academic essay. We show you how to develop the academic skills needed to be a competent academic writer. You will have an opportunity to engage with texts written by academics, and to see how some of the ideas in these texts are used by students in constructing an academic essay. We address some of the challenges these students face with respect to academic writing and offer you the opportunity to practice and to develop your own writing style. For this course, we centre our lessons around a specific topic - the concept of identity, since it forms such an important feature of how we locate ourselves in an ever-changing global world. In other words, this course teaches academic writing skills through getting you to write and reflect on your understanding of identity. So if you are thinking about studying at a tertiary institution, or if you just want to brush up on your academic essay writing skills, this course is for you!

Who is this class for: This is a gateway course aimed at anyone exploring their options to study at university. Students in their final year of high school, those taking a gap year or professionals moving back into the academic space could use the course to familiarise themselves with university expectations, particularly with regard to academic writing in English. The course may also be of interest to anyone wishing to engage with debates around identity, culture and mobility in an ever-changing world.

Created by:  University of Cape Town
  • Taught by:  Gideon Nomdo, Lecturer

    Centre for Higher Education Development
  • Taught by:  Aditi Hunma, Lecturer

    Centre for Higher Education Development
Level Beginner Commitment 2-3 hours of study per week Language English How To Pass Pass all graded assignments to complete the course. 課程作業

每門課程都像是一本互動的教科書,具有預先錄製的視頻、測驗和項目。

來自同學的幫助

與其他成千上萬的學生相聯繫,對想法進行辯論,討論課程材料,並尋求幫助來掌握概念。

證書

獲得正式認證的作業,並與朋友、同事和雇主分享您的成功。

University of Cape Town The University of Cape Town is the oldest university in South Africa and is one of the leading research universities on the African continent. UCT has over 25 000 students, of whom 30% are postgraduate students. We offer degrees in six faculties: Commerce, Engineering & the Built Environment, Health Sciences, Humanities, Law, and Science. We pride ourself on our diverse student body, which reflects the many cultures and backgrounds of the region. We welcome international students and are currently home to thousands of international students from over 100 countries. UCT has a tradition of academic excellence that is respected world-wide and is privileged to have more than 30 A-rated researchers on our staff, all of whom are recognised as world leaders in their field. Our aim is to ensure that our research contributes to the public good through sharing knowledge for the benefit of society. Past students include five Nobel Laureates – Max Theiler, Alan Cormack, Sir Aaron Klug, Ralph Bunche and, most recently, J M Coetzee.

Syllabus


WEEK 1


Starting to write: Understanding definitions of identity



This week we will consider practical aspects of academic writing such as structure and the importance of defining terms in an essay. The term we will focus on is identity. After hearing Kath Woodward’s ideas on identity, our three virtual students, Ada, Ziggy, and Joey will write their own definitions of identity. Emphasising that writing is a process, we give feedback on the students’ definitions, and provide an occasion for you to give your own definition of identity and give feedback to and receive feedback from other learners’.


11 videos, 5 readings, 1 practice quiz expand


  1. Video: Writing your World: Finding yourself in the academic space
  2. Video: About this course
  3. 閱讀: How this course works
  4. 閱讀: Meet your instructors
  5. 討論提示: Introduce yourself to your peers
  6. 閱讀: Week 1: What to expect
  7. Video: Thinking about your essay
  8. Video: Meet our student writers
  9. Video: Through the looking glass: Who am I?
  10. Video: Woodward on identity: I, me and the world
  11. Video: Woodward on identity: Roots and routes
  12. 閱讀: Summary of Woodward's interview
  13. Video: How do definitions work?
  14. Video: Definitions in context
  15. Video: Drafting your definition
  16. Video: Giving feedback on definitions
  17. 練習測驗: Week 1 practice quiz
  18. 討論提示: Share your definition of identity
  19. 閱讀: Week 1 recommended readings

Graded: Write your definition of identity

WEEK 2


Developing an argument: shifting identities



Week 2 further develops the concept of identity by considering the effects of mobility on one’s identity. Throughout history, as individuals moved across borders, they were either welcomed or perceived as an outsider or a threat. In South Africa during Apartheid, people within the country were further separated into ‘homelands’, and those who challenged the boundaries such as Nelson Mandela were labelled as criminals and terrorists. To help you formulate ideas on such concepts in your essay, we now consider the features of a good academic essay focusing on the introduction. We also introduce a three-part strategy to approach your readings: preview, overview and inview. The task for this week is drafting an introduction at university level. We identify key features of an introduction, then look at introductions written by our three student writers, and provide them with constructive feedback.


10 videos, 3 readings, 1 practice quiz expand


  1. 閱讀: Week 2: What to expect
  2. Video: Recap on identity
  3. Video: Identity and mobility through the ages
  4. Video: Nelson Mandela: Terrorist or freedom fighter?
  5. 討論提示: Share an example of movement across borders
  6. Video: Reading strategies
  7. Video: Applying reading strategies: Sichone’s chapter
  8. 閱讀: Required reading - Xenophobia by Owen Sichone
  9. Video: Applying reading strategies: Blommaert’s chapter
  10. 閱讀: Required reading - Discourse by Blommaert
  11. Video: Understanding the course essay
  12. Video: Drafting your introduction
  13. Video: Giving feedback on introductions
  14. Video: Relationship between the introduction and conclusion
  15. 練習測驗: Week 2 practice Quiz
  16. 討論提示: Share your introduction with your peers

Graded: Write your introduction

WEEK 3


Supporting the argument: situating identity within culture



This week begins with a discussion of culture and its relevance when individuals become mobile, moving between geographical and social contexts. We look at a case study of a student from the United Kingdom who comes to Johannesburg, South Africa. The case study helps us to think about who owns culture and how different or similar we are across contexts. Next, we consider Thornton’s arguments about culture. He argues against the view that there are many cultures and notes that there is only culture. Thornton considers culture as a resource to which people have different degrees of access. Some examples of cultural resources are clothes, money, beliefs, ideas. Individuals draw on these to construct their identity, but unequal access to these resources that are valued gives some people more possibilities to construct identities that are dominant and more valued. This creates a semblance of difference between groups of people. As people move across borders, these differences may become heightened, because some of the cultural resources that an individual carries with her, may cease to be relevant or may be seen as threatening. So, when supporting one’s argument about what happens to identity as individuals move across borders, it is important to delve into culture and how culture creates differences, how it may accentuate boundaries, and how these may or may not impact on identity. Writing paragraphs in support of one’s argument requires close attention to how the paragraphs link with the position, and with other ideas across the paragraphs. Hence, we offer practical guidelines on paragraphing, coherence and cohesion. We give an example of a well-written paragraph and analyse its form to see why it is good. We then review paragraphs submitted by our three student writers and note what is strong and what could be improved in each. We introduce the core aspects of referencing in essays. We also explain why referencing is an important part of academic writing when we are referring to different people’s views (or voices) and distinguishing these from our own.


12 videos, 3 readings, 1 practice quiz expand


  1. 閱讀: Week 3: What to expect
  2. Video: Recap on identity and mobility
  3. Video: Case study of an international student
  4. Video: Pool of abundance: Understanding culture
  5. 閱讀: Required reading: Culture: A contemporary definition by Thornton
  6. Video: Round table discussion on culture
  7. 討論提示: Thinking about cultural resources
  8. Video: Writing paragraphs
  9. Video: Quotes and paraphrasing
  10. Video: In-text referencing
  11. Video: Coherence and cohesion
  12. 閱讀: Cohesive devices - Linking words
  13. Video: Student writers drafting their paragraphs
  14. Video: Giving feedback on Ada’s paragraph
  15. Video: Giving feedback on Ziggy’s paragraph
  16. Video: Giving feedback on Joey's paragraphs
  17. 練習測驗: Week 3 practice quiz

Graded: Writing your paragraphs

WEEK 4


Starting to finish: writing the first draft



This week we sum up the ground we have covered in this course. The week is about crafting your final essay draft. We recap the building blocks of writing an academic essay, relooking at the features of an introduction, body, conclusion and the purposes of cohesion, coherence and referencing. We also consider and provide engaged feedback on the draft essays written by our three virtual students. There is detailed feedback on the strengths, improvements and opportunities for further improvement on the essays. The feedback is aligned with the core skills introduced in the course, such as writing the topic sentence, linking sentences and ensuring coherence and cohesion. Thereafter we sum up the course with a discussion on the ideas of the four thinkers you were introduced to in this course, namely Woodward, Sichone, Blommaert and Thornton.


8 videos, 1 reading, 1 practice quiz expand


  1. 閱讀: Week 4: What to expect
  2. Video: Looking back on the course
  3. Video: Round table discussion: Reflection on the readings
  4. Video: The essay building blocks
  5. Video: Referencing and managing sources
  6. Video: Giving feedback on Ziggy's draft
  7. Video: Giving feedback on Joey's draft
  8. Video: Giving feedback on Ada's draft
  9. Video: Looking forward
  10. 練習測驗: Week 4 practice quiz

Graded: Writing your first draft
Graded: Revising and reflecting as a writer
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