Su Luopei (Robert Spence) Written Expression, WS 2021/2022

Last update: 2021-10-14 22:45 UTC+11:00

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Written Expression, WS 2021/2022

My “Written Expression” course for the English Department is completely identical with my course “ERASMUS – Written Expression”, which is offered in the Department of Language Science and Technology, so the situation is best thought of as ‘one course divided into two groups’.

Due to the uncertainty that characterizes this stage of the pandemic, the course has been organized so that it is possible to complete the first few weeks’ work as an asynchronous online learning experience. At some point still to be decided, we will transition to essential regular meetings, which will initially be held purely online via MS Teams, but after Christmas (perhaps) in hybrid mode (i.e. as face-to-face sessions that are streamed live for those not physically present in the classroom).

Meetings for the courses will take place at the following times:

Tuesdays 10:15-11:45 (ERASMUS group, LangSciTech)
OR
Wednesdays 10:15-11:45 (Group 3, Anglistik)

Both groups will cover the same material and move at the same pace; depending on how much work there is to do each week, we may decide to shorten the meetings to just 45 or 60 minutes.

Students can join whichever group they wish, and can attend on different days in different weeks, provided they let me know in advance.

Please make sure you are registered on LSF and try to keep in regular contact with me via email or other means.

Most course materials, such as videos of presentations using slides, and various worksheets, will be available from the middle of October. (NOTE: All ERASMUS students will need to submit the worksheets in order to obtain the 3 ECTS points their home university probably demands; non-ERASMUS students are encouraged to complete the worksheets, but are not required to, as the regulations governing their degree course in Saarbrücken prescribe only 2 ECTS points, i.e. less work overall. The content of each worksheet will typically become the subject of the discussion at some point during the following meeting, so it is advisable to at least look at each worksheet and think about it ...)

The course will be structured in a number of blocks:

The first block will involve exchanging contact details and making decisions about communication channels and frequency of virtual contact.

The second block will involve becoming more familiar with the basic concepts of Systemic Functional Linguistics and the approach known as “genre-based literacy pedagogy”. There are two parallel “ways in" here — there will be reading material, as well as slide shows. This block will also involve weekly exercise sheets — some of these will be questions on the reading material, others will involve analysing certain aspects of four short texts. During this part of the course, it is possible for students to work at their own pace and in their own time, but by the end of the second block we will have fully transitioned to synchronous learning via videoconferences on MS Teams.

The third block will consist of four major tasks, such as writing (or rewriting or editing) texts belonging to four different genres. We will explore the conventions of each genre and look at the regions of English vocabulary and grammar that the genre in question tends to foreground.

The fourth block will be the briefest, and will consist of general feedback. We will discuss grades, as well as arrangements for sending your results to the examinations office.

All materials will be made available here on the course website. (If students express a strong preference for “having all the courses in one place on Moodle”, then I could set up an empty shell on Moodle which would simply point you to the course website. I must apologize for my laziness here—I am one and a three-quarter semesters away from retirement, and students have not yet made up their minds whether they prefer Moodle or MS Teams, and all of these different technologies require an enormous investment of time, a commodity which I no longer have.)

The course will differ only minimally from last winter semester’s course. Last winter semester’s course was organized so that the first two blocks were to be done purely asynchronously, with regular MS Teams meetings only starting once we began moving into block 3 (the actual writing tasks).

The main difference to last winter semester will be that this time, during blocks 1 and 2, there is the possibility of having brief weekly meetings on MS Teams. At these meetings you can get to know the other members of the group, and ask any questions you have about the material we’ve treated so far. But by about week 5 or 6, pre-recorded screen recordings of slides or other material will fade out, and we will be relying almost entirely on the weekly MS Teams meetings. (Remember: if you miss a class, you may be able to catch up by attending on a different day – you can choose between Tuesday or Wednesday, 10:15 to 11:45. If students are keen, we could experiment with recording the MS Teams meetings and making them available to people who missed a class.)

Plan for Winter Semester 2021/2022:

Here you can find the plan for this semester’s work:

http://www.spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/plan2102/index.html

Materials for Week 01 (19-20.10.2021):

All the materials you need for Week 01 can be found in this directory:

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit00_20212

You might like to look at the contents of subdirectories B through I first, and download anything you haven’t got yet. Subdirectory J will contain screen recordings of me going through the contents for Week 01 and taking you through the slides (which are in subdirectory G as a PDF file, along with a printer-friendly PDF file that contains all the information from the slides formatted more economically). The screen recordings should be ready before the time of the first class; to save time, some of the recordings will be ‘recycled’ from previous semesters.

Subdirectory K contains some pictures of some of the people you will meet (virtually) in this course.

Remember that you can work at your own pace for the first four weeks if you wish. By Week 05 (16-17 November) you should, however, be in regular contact with me. If you complete all tasks by the specified dates, it will help me to assess your abilities more accurately and thus to design better materials that will address all of the issues. Only Erasmus students are required to hand in the tasks from the first parts of the course; non-Erasmus students may prefer to simply discuss their answers to the first few worksheets at the MS Teams meetings; but it is good to keep MS Teams meetings short wherever possible.

If there are any problems, just contact me.

Materials for Week 02 (26-27.10.2021):

All the materials you need for Week 02 can be found in this directory:

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit01_20212

Subdirectory A contains the questions on chapter 2 of the initial reading material – you already have the link to the whole of the reading material itself, from last week. Chapter 2 is concerned with the functions of language

Subdirectory B contains the slides for this week and a printout of their content. These slides complement the reading material, without however being perfectly aligned with it (either in terms of timing from week to week, or in terms of the concepts used).

Subdirectory C contains an extra handout – one page containing five crucially important paragraphs by Saussure in the original French; and another page containing the English translation of them, sitting next to a diagram that I would normally draw on the whiteboard at the beginning of every class, because it is the most important diagram of all.

In subdirectory D you will be able to find some short screen recordings, which should be ready before what (in a non-asynchronous non-distance-learning world) would be the time of the class.

Remember that you can work entirely at your own pace for the first four weeks. By Week 05 (16-17 November) you should, however, be in regular contact with me. If you complete all tasks by the specified dates, it will help me to assess your abilities more accurately and thus to design better materials that will address all of the issues.

If there are any problems, just contact me.

Materials for Week 03 (02-03.11.2021):

All the materials you need for Week 03 can be found in this directory:

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit02_20212

Subdirectory A contains the questions on chapter 3 of the initial reading material – you already have the link to the whole of the reading material itself, from the first week. Chapter 3 is concerned with register variation – with the relations between context of situation and the functional components of language.

Subdirectory B contains the slides for this week and a printout of their content. These slides complement the reading material, without however being perfectly aligned with it (either in terms of timing from week to week, or in terms of the concepts used).

Subdirectory C contains an extra handout – one page containing a classic example by Bronislaw Malinowski to demonstrate why you need to know about the context of situation if you want to understand the meaning of a text.

In subdirectory D you will find some short screen recordings in which I walk through the slide presentation.

Subdirectory E contains an exercise to replace what (I hope would have been) an interesting series of class discussions about Texts A, B, C, and D (see the handout from week 01 entitled “Some texts to think about”). The exercise is a multiple choice questionnaire with radio buttons (it is possible that you may not be able to see these buttons properly in your browser; you may need to download the file and view it with a PDF viewer – the Adobe Acrobat Reader is recommended).

Remember that you can work entirely at your own pace for the first four weeks. By Week 05 (16-17 November) you should, however, be in regular contact with me. If you complete all tasks by the specified dates, it will help me to assess your abilities more accurately and thus to design better materials that will address all of the issues.

Weeks 5 and 6 will be largely based on studying Texts A, B, C, and D.

If there are any problems, just contact me.

Materials for Week 04 (09-10.11.2021):

All the materials you need for Week 04 can be found in this directory:

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit03_20212

Subdirectory A contains the homework for week 5, which is based on Text C (The Chamber of the House).

Subdirectory B is where you can find the slides and a printout of their content.

Subdirectory C contains an additional handout, showing a diagram which might be too small to see on the normal printout: it comes from Halliday and Hasan (1976), Cohesion in English. I have also included a later version of the diagram.

Subdirectory D contains the screen recordings in which I go through the slides. This is of course not as good as a real class because you are not able to interrupt, but please feel free to contact me with any questions you have – by email or WhatsApp or whatever.

Remember that you can work entirely at your own pace for the first four weeks. By Week 05 (16-17 November) you should, however, be in regular contact with me. If you complete all tasks by the specified dates, it will help me to assess your abilities more accurately and thus to design better materials that will address all of the issues.

Weeks 5 and 6 will be largely based on studying Texts A, B, C, and D; by week 7 we will be planning the first of the four writing tasks, and in week 8 we will be discussing the results of the first writing task.

This means that in future we will be largely reliant on weekly meetings via Microsoft Teams.

If there are any problems, just contact me.

Materials for Week 05 (16-17.11.2021):

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit04_20212

Subdirectory A contains the slides and a printout of their content.

Subdirectory B contains an additional handout of three pages. These documents are linked to from the slides.

Subdirectory C contains the screen recordings in which I go through the slides. This is of course not as good as a real class because you are not able to interrupt, but please feel free to contact me with any questions you have – by email or WhatsApp or whatever. NOTE: due to time constraints, I have once again simply ‘recycled’ the screen recordings from a previous semester; so just ignore the first slide with the date on it.

Subdirectory D contains homework in preparation for week 06.

By Week 05 (16-17 November) you should be in regular contact with me. If you complete all tasks by the specified dates, it will help me to assess your abilities more accurately and thus to design better materials that will address all of the issues.

Weeks 05 and 06 will be largely based on studying Texts A, B, C, and D; by week 07 we will be planning the first of the four writing tasks, and in week 08 we will be discussing the results of the first writing task.

If there are any problems, just contact me.

Materials for Week 06 (23-24.11.2021):

All the materials you need for Week 06 can be found in this directory:

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit05_20212

Subdirectory A contains the instructions for this week. There are no slides, so just start here.

Subdirectory B contains an additional handout containing six individual documents. Most of these documents are linked to from the instructions sheet.

Subdirectory C contains the screen recordings in which I go through the material. This is of course not as good as a real class because you are not able to interrupt, but please feel free to contact me with any questions you have – by email or WhatsApp or whatever. The screen recordings, once again, are recycled from last semester... mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Subdirectory D contains some homework in preparation for week 07. It simply involves putting some paragraph breaks into another student’s work. You don’t have to send me your work if you don’t want to – you could, for example, just prepare it and then be prepared to disagree with my analysis next week.

You should, by now, be in fairly regular contact with me. It is always good to know what you don’t understand and what you have problems with. As an orthodox Darwinian, I develop courses incrementally, discarding what doesn’t work, and retaining what does.

In week 07 we will be planning the first of the four writing tasks, and in week 08 we will be discussing the results of the first writing task.

If there are any problems, just contact me.

P.S.: There are one or two things I would like you to look at in the “Silver Text” (Text B) – I’ll mention them in next week’s material, though.

Materials for Week 07 (30.11-01.12.2021):

All the materials you need for Week 07 can be found in this directory:

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit06_20212

Subdirectory A contains everything that I would have included in a handout for you in class or sent you as an email attachment afterwards.

Subdirectory B contains materials that will be needed in the class itself.

The class takes place at the normal time as an MS Teams meeting.

NOTE: Your first writing task is due at least one day before the class in Week 08:
http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit06_20212/A__Handout/01a_TUESDAY_Task01.pdf
http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit06_20212/A__Handout/01b_WEDNESDAY_Task01.pdf

Materials for Week 08 (07-08.12.2021):

All the materials you need for Week 08 can be found in this directory:

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit07_20212

Materials for Week 09 (14-15.12.2021):

In all likelihood there will be no class in the last week before the Christmas break.

Materials for Week 10 (04-05.01.2022):

All the materials you need for Week 10 can be found in this directory:

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit08_20212

(See in particular the handouts with the instructions for writing Task 02.)

Materials for Week 11 (11-12.01.2022):

No additional materials are likely to be needed for Week 11. Students will have received the corrections to the second writing task before the class; during the class we can discuss the problems that came up in the text and some possible solutions to them.

Materials for Week 12 (18-19.01.2022):

All the materials you need for Week 12 can be found in this directory:

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit10_20212

(See in particular the handouts with the instructions for writing Task 03.)

Materials for Week 13 (25-26.01.2022):

No additional materials are likely to be needed for Week 13. Students will have received the corrections to the third writing task before the class; during the class we can discuss the problems that came up in the text and some possible solutions to them.

Materials for Week 14 (01-02.02.2022):

All the materials you need for Week 14 can be found in this directory:
http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit12_20212

(See in particular the handouts with the instructions for writing Task 04.)

Materials for Week 15 (08-09.02.2022):

No additional materials are likely to be needed for Week 15. Students will have received the corrections to the fourth writing task before the class; during the class we can discuss the problems that came up in the text and some possible solutions to them.

We can then devote the remainder of the time to tying up loose ends, both academically and administratively.

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