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Revision as of 01:40, 10 August 2019

IFLS 012: Academic English II (Fall 2019)


Kent Lee, IFLS, Korea University

  • Mailbox: 국제관 208A
  • Office & office hours: 국제관 720, by appointment
  • Email: See the syllabus or textbook (course booklet)
  • Syllabus
Course info
  • Course load: 2 hours/week, 1 credit
  • Class locations: 국제관 (International Studies Hall)


IFLS 012-42       MW (1) 9.00-9.50 (or 9.20-10.10)     국제관 #112
IFLS 012-47 TT (3) 12.00-13.50 국제관 #225
IFLS 012-52 MW (4) 13.00-13.50 국제관 #512a

1 Course description

This course deals with academic English for your college studies, including (1) academic English writing and speaking skills, and (2) critical thinking skills. The focus will be on academic English for writing and presentation skills for your future college courses.

1.1 Readings and materials

Textbook: Course packet, about ₩8000-10,000, from a print shop near campus (probably at the 空문화사 [공문화사] print shop near the 후문, the back gate on the way to Anam Station).

1.2 Current assignments

  1. Google Form #1: Personal info & survey [1]
Upcoming assignments

Midterm paper outline. You will need to turn in an outline and sample thesis statement for the midterm paper that you will write. The outline is a ten-point assignment.

2 Weekly materials & assignments

2.1 Weeks 1-2: Introduction

  • Read the introductory chapters of the textbook on your own (chapters 1-2).
  • Google Form #1: Fill out this form of basic information about yourself, and submit it. This counts as a minor grade. (The form works, though it won't send you a confirmation.) The link will have been sent to you by email from the Blackboard system.

2.2 Weeks 1-3: Evaluating sources

2.2.1 Internet sources

Look at the following websites. Discuss: how reliable and trustworthy are these sites? What criteria can help you distinguish good sites and sources from bad ones?

  1. Pacific tree octopus
  2. CIA realizes it has been using ...
  3. Dihydrogen monoxoide: The truth

2.2.2 Newspaper article samples

Now look at the following news stories about a border controversy in Hong Kong. Which seem biased, neutral, informative, or reliable, and why?

  1. Global Times [2]
  2. South China Morning Post [3]
  3. CNN [4]
  4. Reuters [5]
  5. New York Times [6]
  6. Business Insider [7]

2.2.3 News outlets

Look at the following news outlets, and discuss the following.

  • Which ones seem reliable?
  • Which ones would be worth citing for information in a college paper?
  • For Korea, which news outlets would be more reliable, and which ones would be less reliable?
  1. Fox News http://www.foxnews.com
  2. New York Times http://www.nytimes.com
  3. New York Post http://www.nypost.com
  4. Washington Times http://www.washingtontimes.com
  5. Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com
  6. Wall Street Journal http://www.wsj.com
  7. Time Magazine http://www.time.com
  8. McClean’s http://www.macleans.ca
  9. The Guardian http://www.theguardian.com
  10. The Independent http://www.independent.co.uk
  11. BBC News http://www.bbc.com/news
  12. The Sun http://www.thesun.co.uk
  13. Der Spiegel http://www.spiegel.de
  14. Frankfurter Allgemeine http://www.faz.net/aktuell
  15. El País (Spain) http://www.elpais.com
  16. Le Monde (France) http://www.lemonde.fr

2.2.4 Science news sources

Now look at the following science news websites; which ones seem reliable or worth citing?

  1. National Geographic http://www.nationalgeographic.com
  2. Wired http://www.wired.com
  3. New Scientist http://www.newscientist.com
  4. Scientific American http://www.scientificamerican.com
  5. Science News http://www.sciencenews.org
  6. IFLScience http://www.iflscience.com

2.2.5 Science news examples

Look at the following sites reporting on an issue in health and biomedical news. Which ones seem more reliable, and why?

  1. The Independent Does spending too much time on smartphones ...
  2. Tech Advisor How much screen time for kids
  3. Very Well Family Negative effects of too much cell phone use
  4. Forbes Phone addiction is real ...
  5. Psychology Today Too much screen time ...

For the Psychology Today article, discuss the following.

  1. Click on the links in the text, where you see names and years inside parentheses. What are these articles? What kinds of articles are these? How reliable and credible are they? Can you understand them?
  2. What are the references at the end?
  3. From the different sources in the table above about phone / device usage, which ones might you cite if you were writing a college paper on the topic?
  4. If you were writing a college paper on the topic, would you cite sources like those that are cited in the Psychology Today article?

2.2.6 Overview of sources

Note: See the page on Academic versus non-academic sources and the EW Youtube video on evaluating sources (#1: intro video).

2.2.7 Assignments

Sources quiz

2.3 Logic, information, and misinformation

2.3.1 Assignment

Quiz about §4.6

2.4 Essays

Read the following essay and discuss the following.

  1. Do you agree with the essay?
  2. Do you at least find it informative or persuasive?
  3. How could it be improved?

See the following handout for tips for preparing for your midterm and final essay.

Group assignment

2.5 Midterm outline

Before doing the midterm paper, you need to sketch out an outline and sample thesis statement for your essay, and turn it in. This is a ten-point assignment.

2.6 Popular misconceptions project

This project includes the above outline assignment, the midterm paper, a paraphrasing exercise, the final paper, and the final group presentation. See the Misconceptions project page for possible ideas for topics, and for an overview of different types of popular misconceptions.

2.6.1 Midterm

  • Midterm due date: The last class day of Week 7
  • Suggested length: About 500 words or 2 pages (if double-spaced)
  • Sources: At least one professional quality source cited, using any citation system

However, I am so not strict about word limits; what is more important is that you have enough good contents, and your ideas are well developed (good details, explanation, etc.). An assignment space will be created on Blackboard for this. It supposedly accepts different file formats, but MS Work (.doc/.docx) format works best. You can see p. 121 for suggested paper format, and Appendix 10.3.5 for grading criteria. You can cite more than one source (including popular sources as examples of bad information, bad ideas, or misconceptions).

You should meet and work in your groups for the midterm and final, but the papers you submit should be entirely your own independent papers.

2.6.2 Pronunciation

Some links:

2.6.3 Paraphrasing exercise

Below are some articles about why people believe in conspiracy theories and other false beliefs. These are secondary sources, but fairly professional. In these articles, identify some parts or information that might be relevant to your paper project. Write a summary / paraphrase* of the relevant information, and then add to your paraphrase with your own thoughts about how it applies to your topic. Also cite the source and write the end reference(s). You can use any of these articles for this task.

Use one of the articles for the paraphrasing assignment in the book. If you find a good quality article that is relevant and would prefer to use it for this assignment, you can do so if you check with me first.

  1. Why Do People Believe Things that Aren’t True?, Psychology Today
  2. Scientists discover the reason people believe in conspiracy theories, The Independent
  3. Why Debunking Myths About Vaccines Hasn’t Convinced Dubious Parents, Harvard Business Review
  4. Who believes in conspiracies? New research offers a theory, EurekaAlert.com
  5. Secret success: equations give calculations for keeping conspiracies quiet, The Guardian
  6. 5 Reasons Why People Stick to Their Beliefs, No Matter What, Psychology Today

2.6.4 Assignments

Paraphrasing quiz

2.6.5 Final presentations

The group presentation assignment is described in the book.

2.6.6 Final paper

The final will be out-of-class writing, based on the midterm. This will probably be turned in via the online KU Blackboard.

3 Style, grammar, and referencing guides

3.1 Style and grammar

3.2 Citing sources

Here are links to guides for various citation systems. You can use any one of these for your papers in this course. If you would like to view my Prezi presentation, the overview of citation systems, it is available here.

Style Typical field & notes
* APA (overview) social sciences (e.g., psychology, education, sociology, applied linguistics); for a more detailed guide, see the complete APA guide
* MLA 7 & MLA 8 literature studies, media studies
* Chicago Manual (parenthetical), or Author+Date
Also: Chicago Manual parenthetical style, short PDF guide
humanities (This is the more formal version of CM with Author+Year or Author+Year+Page# in parenthetical in-text citations)[1]
* Harvard style an older style for various fields, which is very similar to APA style
* IEEE engineering

If you have a lot of media sources, you might find APA inconvenient for citing these; you might find Chicago or MLA easier to use, and MLA is especially convenient for any kind of media, online, or electronic sources and materials.

4 Course policies

4.1 Minor ten-point assignments

Minor assignments are short assignments that are graded on a ten-point scale, and include short paragraph assignments (¶), Google Forms (GF), brief presentations, and in-class tasks. This may also include a couple of in-class and/or online surveys (these are for data collection or research purposes, and you get ten points simply for doing them). A few assignments may count as two or three 10-point assignments.

4.2 Midterm & final project

The course will center around the topics of popular misconceptions, including fake news, false beliefs, and logical fallacies. This theme allows us to develop critical thinking skills that are needed for college and for life in general. See the grading criteria in the Appendix for writing and presentation assignments.

  • See Misconceptions project for more on the midterm, including possible topics
  • Example: I have created a sample essay for your here: The Santa Claus myth. This is not exactly a serious misconception in the sense that we've talked about; it is a sort of misconception among children that adults use, though sometimes the Santa story may be used inappropriately.

4.3 Grade scale

You will be graded according to the following framework (though this might be adjusted slightly later). See the course packet for specific grading criteria.

Attendance 10%
Minor ten-point assignments 15%
Midterm 20%
Presentation assignment 20%
Final essay 40%

5 See also

5.1 References

  1. There also exists the Chicago Manual short footnote style and long footnote styles. These are more semi-formal citation styles; end references are still required with footnotes. See also this Chicago Manual, PDF short footnote style guide.

5.2 Other links