Welcome to this course in academic writing. It is aimed at high-intermediate to advanced non-native speakers of English who want to write better essays.
Hi, my name is Frank Bonkowski, college English language teacher, online-course creator, and writing specialist. I might also add lifelong learner and lifestyle athlete, who loves swimming, running and biking but especially playing basketball.
If you are like the typical second-language student I teach, you are probably very good at speaking and listening in English, but less so at reading as well as at writing.
That’s understandable because it is not easy reading and understanding complex, authentic texts on a variety of subjects.
Writing is even harder. Composing college-level essays is a challenge, for even the native speaker of English. As a second-language learner myself–Spanish in my case–I understand your anxiety and stress with writing essays in English.
That is why we created this course–to help you to be more confident in writing and get top scores. I believe that if you know exactly what you have to do and how to do it, you will succeed.
There are many different kinds of essay writing, such as expository and narrative writing.
This course will focus on writing critical, argumentative essays. You will learn the six steps you need to know and practise to write a good essay.
Notice that I subtitled the course “Learn six essential steps for getting top scores in writing in English without staying up all night.”
The subtitle of the course doesn’t mean you don’t have to do any work. What I mean by this is that if you work regularly and seriously at the course, you will write better essays in English–guaranteed and stress-free.
A key part of each of the six steps is knowing what you need to do for best results. In other words, you need to know the criteria or standards by which your teacher or evaluator is using to grade your work.
In writing an excellent argumentative or literary essay. you have to know how to play by the rules. You should be aware of what’s expected of you.
Let’s compare writing an essay with going on a trip. If you know where you’re going, you will get there quicker and with a lot less stress.
Stephen Covey, author of the influential book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” called his second habit, “Begin with the end in mind.”
What did he mean by this? He explained it this way, and I quote:
"To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you’re going so that you better understand where you are now and so that the steps you take are always in the right direction." (Covey 98).
A few words about the course structure, or curriculum:
Each section has a short video introduction, several recorded lectures, a quiz, and an activity.
The course is project-based. There is one activity per section as part of an ongoing essay-writing project. The activities will help you practise your understanding of the material covered in all the lectures of each of the six sections.
When you do the activities, you reinforce your understanding of the lecture and put your knowledge into practice.
The course includes a lot of material, resources, tips and worksheets: all yours to take advantage of.
At the end of each of the six sections, there is a Self-Assessment Worksheet. which is helpful, because you will be able to rate your performance for each section. So do take the time to complete these.
You will rate your understanding of the concepts covered and your performance on the tasks that you did in the section.In the next lecture, we will go into detail on what is expected of you in each of the six steps for writing a good argumentative essay.You can now begin with the pretest. Check your prior knowledge of the writing process.