Semester Fall 2009 Lecturer Dr. Ron Scheer Email

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WRIT 340 Advanced Writing: Health Sciences


Semester Fall 2009 Lecturer Dr. Ron Scheer Email

Section 65115 Office JEF 261 Voice mail 213-821-1206

Time TTh 11:00 Office hours MW 9:00 Fax 213-740-4100

Classroom GFS 213 and by appointment

Course description

This course is intended to strengthen and broaden your research, writing, and oral presentation skills for upper division course work and your eventual career path, including graduate study.

The course will be organized around group discourse. It will require you to participate through the written and spoken word with other class members as you formulate and communicate your opinions on a topic and on issues of your choice.

The purpose of the course is to help improve your ability to:

  • address current issues and critical controversies in your discipline and, as appropriate, consider matters of ethical, civic, and professional responsibility;

  • write effectively for cross-disciplinary and general audiences;

  • select a writing style and a rhetorical strategy that will be most persuasive for the intended audience;

  • use the writing process to explore complex ideas and reach conclusions that will benefit others who read your work; and

  • make oral presentations that are fluent and persuasive.


Classes will be devoted to workshops, discussion of writing samples and other handouts, peer review of work in progress, in-class writing, small groups, exercises and oral presentations.


There is an online section for this course at Blackboard, which will post copies of all course materials. The class will make use of the Discussion Board there, and postings will count toward class participation. Plans are to include access to additional online resources.


There is not a required text for this course; however you will need up-to-date guidelines for citing sources from your research. A quick reference guide for APA documentation and a sample paper can be found online at .

For more extensive guidelines and an all-around useful writer’s handbook, choose any recent edition of one of the following:
Muriel Harris, Prentice Hall Reference Guide to Grammar and Usage, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Diana Hacker, A Writer’s Reference, Boston: Bedford-St Martin's.


You will choose a subject related to your academic field that strongly interests you and that you already have some knowledge of. This topic should meet the central objective of this course: addressing current issues and critical controversies in your discipline and, as appropriate, considering matters of ethical, civic, and professional responsibility.

You will be asked to research the subject in depth and submit all of the following:

  • Research proposal (min. 1,500 words)

  • Literature review (2,000-2,500 words)

  • Analysis essay (2,000-2,500 words)

  • Call to action (video, 2-5 min., plus written rationale of 500-1,000 words)

  • End-of-course portfolio, containing revisions of the literature review and the analysis essay

You may not submit for credit work that you have done for a previous research project or for another class.

Turnitin. To assist in measuring the accuracy of quoting and paraphrase in your assignments, you will be asked to submit your written assignments using turnitin on Blackboard.
Evaluation. Essays will be evaluated on the merits of:

  • Addressing the issues

  • Argumentative force and coherence

  • Organization and structure

  • Support and development

  • Style and tone

  • Syntax and format

Plagiarism. While you are encouraged to discuss your assignments with peers and others, throughout the writing process, essays submitted must be your own original work. Be both responsible and professional as you use other sources. Verbatim wording from another source must be carefully quoted, using quotation marks. If not quoted, ideas taken from another source must be thoroughly paraphrased. For both quoted and paraphrased material, be sure to provide accurate citations for documentation. Plagiarized assignments receive zero credit and risk a failing course grade.
If you are in doubt about what plagiarism is, talk to the instructor or consult Sections 11.11 and 11.12 of the Student Conduct Code, which is available in the SCampus student guidebook and online at

Course grade

15% Research proposal

20% Literature review

20% Analysis essay

10% Call-to-action assignment

25% Portfolio

5% Oral presentations

5% Class participation


This is a workshop course. To take the course, you have to come to class and participate. More than three absences after the first week will affect your course grade. If unavoidable circumstances require you to miss a class or scheduled conference, notify the instructor promptly by email.

Library research. Most essay assignments will require some research. You are encouraged to use online resources, as they are abundant, up-to-date, and readily available. For best results, use online resources from the databases subscribed to by the University. One class period will be devoted to library research and the use of the library databases.
Use the Web only to get general ideas about issues. Besides the websites of professional organizations, much of what’s on the Web is unreliable as accurate and documented information.

Make printouts or photocopies of the sources you use and turn them in with your paper. Highlight sections that you use so the instructor can see how well you are using your resources. Use standard APA documentation for your papers.

Conferences. Individual and group conferences will be scheduled to discuss work in progress. Come prepared to each conference with questions for the instructor. Plan on four conferences during the semester. A sign-up sheet will be circulated regularly in class.
Due dates

Papers are due on the due date. In the event of an emergency, a paper may be turned in by the end of the day at the Writing Program desk in JEF 150. There will be no extensions.

Assignment 1, Research proposal Thursday, September 17

Assignment 2, Literature review Thursday, October 8

Assignment 3, Analysis essay Thursday, October 29

Assignment 4, Call-to-action assignment Thursday, November 19

Portfolio (Revision of essays 2 and 3) Thursday, December 3
Late papers. Essay assignments submitted later than the day they are due will be penalized one grade step for each calendar day they are late (for example, B+ to B). There are no provisions for late submission of the final portfolio; it must be handed in on or before the day it is due. Even if an assignment is late, it must be fully completed and submitted. You cannot pass the course unless all essay assignments and the portfolio are done.

Oral presentations. When each essay is due, members of the class will give a short oral presentation on the paper they have written. All presentations must be prepared beforehand, delivered standing at the front of the class, speaking from notes as needed. They may not be a walk-through or reading of the paper.
Writing Center

The Writing Center is the Writing Program’s consulting service for the whole university, providing one-to-one conferences and workshops to help all students – of all abilities – to improve their writing and critical thinking skills. The Writing Center is located in Taper Hall on the third floor and has hours Monday-Thursday 9am to 6pm and 7pm to 9pm and Friday 9am to 3pm.

The Writing Center consultants provide basic assistance in argument, organization, and idea development, and for this reason it is good to use this service several days before your assignments are due, while you have time to take full advantage of their advice. (They do not, however, proofread finished papers for correctness.) Take with you the work you’ve done, even if you’ve only sketched out a few ideas, plus a copy of the assignment, and be as specific as you can about the help you need. For more information go to the Writing Center website: To make an appointment, drop by or phone: 213-740-3691.
Academic accommodations. Any student requesting academic accommodation based on a disability should register with Disability Services and Programs (DSP) each semester. A letter of verification for approved accommodations can be obtained from DSP. Please be sure that the letter is delivered to your instructor as early in the semester as possible. DSP is located in STU 301 and is open 8:30am - 5pm, Monday - Friday. Phone: 213-740-0776.

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