Su Luopei (Robert Spence) Written Expression, SoSe 2021

Last update: 2021-03-28 11:55 UTC+11:00

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Written Expression (Intermediate), SoSe 2021

My “Written Expression (Intermediate)” course for the English Department is completely identical to my course “ERASMUS – Written Expression”, which is offered in the Department of Language Science and Technology.

Meetings for the courses will take place via MS Teams videoconference at the following times:

Tuesdays 14:15-15:45 (Group 2, Anglistik)
OR
Wednesdays 14:15-15:45 (Group 3, Anglistik)
OR
Thursdays 14:15-15:45 (ERASMUS group, LangSciTech).

All three 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 any 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 beginning of April. (NOTE: All ERASMUS students will need to submit these worksheets in order to obtain the 3 ECTS points their home university probably demands; non-ERASMUS students are strongly 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 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" — 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 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, or you can start on Moodle at
https://lms.sulb.uni-saarland.de/moodle/course/view.php?id=4003
and be directed to the website from there.

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

The main difference to last semester will be that this time, during blocks 1 and 2, there will be 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. 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, Wednesday and Thursday, 14:15 to 15:45. If students are keen, we could experiment with recording the MS Teams meetings and making them available to people who missed a class.)

It is possible that the Erasmus group (meeting Thursdays) will reverse the order of Units 04 and 05, as Unit 04 would fall victim to a public holiday; but on the other hand it is Unit 05, not Unit 04, that can more easily be done via self-study.

Plan for Summer Semester 2021:

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

http://www.spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/plan2101/index.html

Materials for Week 01 (13-15.04.2021):

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

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit00_20211

You might like to look at the contents of subdirectories A 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 (11-13 May) 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 (20-22.04.2021):

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

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit01_20211

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 first class.

Remember that you can work entirely at your own pace for the first four weeks. By Week 05 (11-13 May) 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 (27-29.04.2021):

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

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit02_20211

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 (you will probably not see these in a browser; you will need to download the file and view it with a PDF viewer).

Remember that you can work entirely at your own pace for the first four weeks. By Week 05 (11-13 May) 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 (04-06.05.2021):

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

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit03_20211

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 a one-page 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.

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 (11-13 May) 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 (11-13.05.2021):

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit04_20211

(The Erasmus group may like to look ahead to next week’s work (Unit 05), to make it easier to make up for the public holiday on 13.5.2021. Specifically, you could do the work for Unit 05 yourselves, then discuss Unit 04 at next week’s meeting.)

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 (11-13 May) 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 (18-20.05.2021):

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

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit05_20211

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 (25-27.05.2021):

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

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit06_20211

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_20211/A__Handout/01a_TUESDAY_Task01.pdf
http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit06_20211/A__Handout/01b_WEDNESDAY_Task01.pdf
http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit06_20211/A__Handout/01c_THURSDAY_Task01.pdf

Materials for Week 08 (01-03.06.2021):

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

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit07_20211

Materials for Week 09 (08-10.06.2021):

All the materials you need for Week 09 can be found in this directory:

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit08_20211

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

Materials for Week 10 (15-17.06.2021):

No additional materials are likely to be needed for Week 10. 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 11 (22-24.06.2021):

All the materials you need for Week 11 can be found in this directory:

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit10_20211

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

Materials for Week 12 (29-30.06.2021):

No additional materials are likely to be needed for Week 12. 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 13 (06-08.07.2021):

All the materials you need for Week 13 can be found in this directory:
http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit12_20211

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

Materials for Week 14 (13-15.06.2021):

No additional materials are likely to be needed for Week 14. 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 15 (20-22.06.2021):

No additional materials are likely to be needed for Week 15. The class will be devoted to tying up loose ends, both academically and administratively.

Written Expression (Intermediate), WS 2020/21

My “Written Expression (Intermediate)” course for the English Department is completely identical to my course “ERASMUS – Written Expression”, which is offered in the Department of Language Science and Technology.

Meetings for these courses will take place via MS Teams videoconference at the following times:

Tuesdays 10:15-11:45 (ERASMUS group, LangSciTech)
OR
Wednesdays 10:15-11:45 (Group 3, Anglistik)
OR
Thursdays 10:15-11:45 (Group 4, Anglistik).

All three 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 any 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.

Some course materials, such as videos of presentations using slides, and various worksheets, will be available from the week commencing 12 October. (NOTE: All ERASMUS students will need to submit these worksheets in order to obtain the 3 ECTS points their home university probably demands; non-ERASMUS students are strongly 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 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 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 the second block we will transition from asynchronous remote learning via Moodle to synchronous learning via videoconferences on MS Teams; this will take place fairly early in November, probably in the second week of the unfortunately shortened lecture period.

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 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 via Moodle:
https://lms.sulb.uni-saarland.de/moodle/enrol/index.php?id=4003
and/or via the course website:
http://www.spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression.

Materials for Week 01 (13-15.10.2020):

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

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit00_20202

You might like to look at the contents of subdirectories A 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.

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

Remember that you can work entirely at your own pace for the first four weeks! By Week 05 (10/11/12 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 02 (20-22.10.2020):

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

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit01_20202

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 first class.

Remember that you can work entirely at your own pace for the first four weeks. By Week 05 (10/11/12 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 (27-29.10.2020):

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

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit02_20202

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 (you will probably not see these in a browser; you will need to download the file and view it with a PDF viewer).

Remember that you can work entirely at your own pace for the first four weeks. By Week 05 (10/11/12 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 (03-05.11.2020):

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

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit03_20202

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 a one-page 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.

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 (10/11/12 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.

We should begin thinking about the possibility of using Microsoft Teams very soon for meetings.

If there are any problems, just contact me.

Materials for Week 05 (10-12.11.2020):

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit04_20202

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 last semester; so just ignore the first slide with the date on it.

Subdirectory D contain homework in preparation for week 06.

By Week 05 (10-12 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 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.

From Week 05 onwards we will begin transitioning to MS Teams, with weekly meetings held at what would have been the normal class time. This will cause some disruption to the schedule, as, obviously, we will devote quite a lot of time to getting to know each other. So please make sure that you keep working on the ‘asynchronous’ remote learning part of the course as well!

If there are any problems, just contact me.

Materials for Week 06 (17-19.11.2020):

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

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit05_20202

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 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.

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 (24-26.11.2020):

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

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit06_20202

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_20202/A__Handout/01a_TUESDAY_Task01.pdf
http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit06_20202/A__Handout/01b_WEDNESDAY_Task01.pdf
http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit06_20202/A__Handout/01c_THURSDAY_Task01.pdf

Materials for Week 08 (01-03.12.2020):

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

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit07_20202

Materials for Week 09 (08-10.12.2020):

All the materials you need for Week 09 can be found in this directory:

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit08_20202

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

Materials for Week 10 (15-17.12.2020):

No additional materials were needed for Week 10.

Materials for Week 11 (05-07.01.2021):

All the materials you need for Week 11 can be found in this directory:

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit10_20202

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

Written Expression (Intermediate), SoSe 2020

Important notice:

Due to the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic, this course — or at least the first few units of it — will be offered online (asynchronous remote learning), rather than in person.

If and when face-to-face teaching resumes, there are in fact not two but three possible times when you can attend my Written Expression classes:

Tuesdays 1415–1545 in A2 2, Room 1.26:
[Kurs 123578]: [spr] Written Expression (Intermediate) Gr 4
Wednesdays 1415–1545 in A2 2, Room 1.26:
[Kurs 123578]: [spr] Written Expression (Intermediate) Gr 6
Thursdays 1415–1545 in A2 2, Room 1.26:
[Kurs 121667]: ERASMUS – Written Expression

All three groups will aim to cover the same material and proceed at the same pace.

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

It is not easy to put an entire course online, and my guideline in attempting to do so is:
https://anygoodthing.com/2020/03/12/please-do-a-bad-job-of-putting-your-courses-online/

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 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.

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 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 via this website and/or via Moodle.

Stay safe and healthy until we can meet in person!

Materials for Week 01 (7-8.4.2020):

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

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit00_20201

You might like to look at the contents of subdirectories A 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.

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

Remember that you can work entirely at your own pace for the first four weeks! By Week 05 (5/6 May) 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 02 (14-15.4.2020):

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

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit01_20201

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 first class.

Remember that you can work entirely at your own pace for the first four weeks. By Week 05 (5/6 May) 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 (21-22.4.2020):

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

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit02_20201

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 (you will probably not see these in a browser; you will need to download the file and view it with a PDF viewer).

Remember that you can work entirely at your own pace for the first four weeks. By Week 05 (5/6 May) 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 (28-29.4.2020):

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

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit03_20201

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 a one-page 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.

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 (5/6 May) 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.

We should begin thinking about the possibility of using Microsoft Teams or Zoom by that stage.

If there are any problems, just contact me.

Materials for Week 05 (05-06.5.2020):

All the materials you need for Week 05 can be found in this directory:

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit04_20201

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.

Subdirectory D will contain homework in preparation for week 06. I will send you an email to alert you when it is ready.

Remember that you can work entirely at your own pace for the first four weeks. By Week 05 (5/6 May) 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.

We should begin thinking about the possibility of using Microsoft Teams or Zoom by that stage.

If there are any problems, just contact me.

Materials for Week 06 (12-13.5.2020):

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

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit05_20201

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.

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 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.

We should begin thinking about the possibility of using Microsoft Teams or Google Meet or Zoom by that stage.

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 (19-21.5.2020):

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

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit06_20201

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_20201/A__Handout/01a_TUESDAY_Task01.pdf
http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit06_20201/A__Handout/01b_WEDNESDAY_Task01.pdf
http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit06_20201/A__Handout/01c_THURSDAY_Task01.pdf

Materials for Week 08 (26-28.5.2020):

In Week 08 there is only one item on the agenda: to discuss the first writing task.

Materials to help you prepare for the class in Week 09 can be found in this directory:

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit07_20201

Of particular importance are the exercises on lexical density, grammatical metaphor, nominal style, and nominalization (handout 02, preceded by the theoretical framework presented in handout 01).

Materials for Week 09 (02-04.6.2020):

In Week 09 we discuss the exercises on lexical density, grammatical metaphor, nominal style, and nominalization, looking at less metaphorical and more metaphorical ways of expressing the same content.

Materials for the class are here:

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit08_20201

NOTE: Your second writing task is due at least one day before the class in Week 10:
http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit08_20201/01a_TUESDAY_Task02.pdf
http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit08_20201/01b_WEDNESDAY_Task02.pdf
http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit08_20201/01c_THURSDAY_Task02.pdf

Written Expression / Written Expression (Intermediate), WS 2019/2020

0 General information concerning this course

This course aims to help students to improve their active command of written English. The course is designed essentially for three groups of students:

  1. students of the “classical” degrees that include the subject English;
  2. students of the new “Language Science” B.A.;
  3. ERASMUS students, especially those studying translation and interpreting.

The methodology of the course is informed by genre-based literacy pedagogy, as developed by the ‘Sydney School’ of Systemic Functional Linguistics.

The course begins with a genre-based introduction to text production (3 to 4 weeks). We review some of the key notions of functional grammar and text linguistics, such as clause structure (including Theme and Rheme), cohesion, text type, register, and genre.

This is followed by four writing tasks, each one based on a different genre from the one before. The first, a factual description, is designed for practising paragraph structure and thematic development. The second task, based on a procedural text, involves switching between formal (nominalized) and informal style. The third task is an expository text – a persuasive essay; this task, however, may in future be replaced by a group editing task, to encourage the avoidance of plagiarism. The fourth task is a formal report with recommendations for action.

Before each writing task, we analyse a model text of the same genre to establish what the relevant “text conventions” are: we take the text apart in order to see how it works and what resources are deployed in its construction. We then engage in some “joint construction” of a similar text in class. Students then produce a similar text as homework and send it to the course leader by 4 p.m. on the day before the next session. The day after each assignment is submitted, students receive their texts back with corrections, comments, and other feedback from the teacher. If the groups are very large, we may need to set an earlier deadline – perhaps two days before the class at which the corrected texts will be handed back.

The course will be taught in weekly ninety-minute blocks, in three parallel groups:
Kurs 119714 Gruppe 3: dienstags 14:15–15:45, Geb. A2 2, 1.26
Kurs 119714 Gruppe 4: mittwochs 14:15–15:45, Geb. A2 2, Raum 1.26
Kurs 117969 (primarily for ERASMUS): donnerstags 14:15–15:45, Geb. A2 2, Raum 1.26

Every effort will be made to ensure that the three groups work at the same rate. Students who have to miss a session due to another appointment will thus, ideally, have two other opportunities to catch up on that session.

Students are expected to attend regularly. If you are unable to attend one of the lessons, it is vital that you contact me beforehand to let me know. Missing more than two lessons altogether would seriously compromise your chances of successfully completing the course.

Assessment will be on the basis of a portfolio containing four texts (plus, if required, earlier versions, re-worked versions, etc., of each text) which each student has produced during the semester. There will also be other, shorter exercises, relating to text analysis and to those parts of the grammar of English that are activated or foregrounded by the genre concerned. If desired, some of these can also be included in the portfolio, possibly replacing one of the larger writing tasks.

ERASMUS students can obtain a graded certificate for this course (3 ECTS points) by completing all four of the texts that are to be produced, and by completing all the additional exercises. The amount of additional work required to gain 3 ECTS points instead of 2 ECTS points is equivalent to at least one full weekend’s work (seven or eight hours per day for two days).

All other students will be working towards 2 ECTS points.

The initial reading material to accompany the course is:

M. A. K. Halliday and Ruqaiya Hasan:
Language, context, and text: Aspects of language in a social-semiotic perspective
Deakin University Press, 1985.

The initial reading material will be made available at the beginning of the semester.

Further reading materials may be distributed at the weekly sessions.

All students taking the course should make sure that their correct email address is on the course mailing list. (Online registration is available via LSF, but please try to get to the first lesson so that I can meet you in person!) When sending an email to the course leader, please make sure that the piece of text
[writtenexpression]
(including the square brackets!) is included in the subject line. (This will happen automagically if you are reading any email I have already sent you concerning this course and you simply hit the “Reply” button.) It would also be helpful if you could mention, in the body of the email, which group you attend, or else include more detail in the subject line:
[writtenexpression-tuesday]
[writtenexpression-wednesday]
[writtenexpression-thursday]

The website will be updated frequently, so please check back regularly, and don’t forget to press the “refresh” button on your browser.

Links to electronic versions of materials distributed in class, and other materials, will be added below:

Plan for Winter Semester 2019/2020

http://spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/plan1902/index.pdf

Weekly notes

Here you can find photographs of what was on the whiteboard each week, plus the record of anything that was typed into a text file and projected via the data projector during class. You can identify the files by the date which constitutes most of the filename.

Group 3 (Tuesday):

http://www.spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpressionanglistikgruppedrei/weeklynotes201902/

Group 4 (Wednesday):

http://www.spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpressionanglistikgruppevier/weeklynotes201902/

Erasmus Group (Thursday):

http://www.spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpressionerasmus/weeklynotes201902/

Question Sheets

Here are the question sheets to accompany the initial reading material:

http://www.spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/questionsheets/index.pdf

Vocabulary Lists

Here are the vocabulary lists to accompany the initial reading material:

http://www.spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/vocab_LCT123/

Some texts to think about

We will at various times be consulting a few short passages of text, with the aim of understanding how English texts work. The texts in question were handed out at the second meeting and are also available here:

http://www.spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/texts/index.pdf

(No sources are given for the texts at this stage, as one of the things I wish to do with these texts is get you to guess what their sources might be.)

(Rest of) Handout for Unit 00 (week 1)

Here is the rest of what was handed out at the first meeting:

http://www.spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit00/2019winter_handout_week01/

Handout for Unit 01 (week 2)

Here are the pages that were handed out at the second meeting:

http://www.spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit01/2019winter_handout_week02/

Handout for Unit 02 (week 3)

Here are the pages that were handed out at the second meeting:

http://www.spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/unit02/2019winter_handout_week03/

Instructions for the unit on Thematic Progression (week 6)

http://www.spence.saar.de/courses/writtenexpression/1902_thematic_progression_instructions/1902_thematic_progression_instructions.pdf

[PDF]
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