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IFLS 012: Academic English II (Fall 2018)


Kent Lee, IFLS, Korea University

  • Mailbox: 국제관 208A
  • Office & office hours: 국제관 720, by appointment
  • Email: See the syllabus or textbook (course booklet)

Course info
  • Course load: 2 hours/week, 1 credit
  • Class locations: 국제관 (International Studies Hall)


IFLS 012-42     MW 10.30-11.20     국제관 #108a
IFLS 012-47 Tu/Th 12.00-12.50 국제관 #108a

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]
  2. Google Form #2: Evaluating sources [2]
  3. Google Form #3: Logical arguments [3]
  4. Midterm short essay. See below for details (and for an example).

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 1-2: 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 [4]
  2. South China Morning Post [5]
  3. CNN [6]
  4. Reuters [7]
  5. New York Times [8]
  6. Business Insider [9]

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. Frankfurter Rundschau http://www.fr.de
  16. El País (Spain) http://www.elpais.com
  17. 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?

2.3 Overview of sources

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

3 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
* Harvard style an older style for various fields, which is very similar to APA style
* MLA 7 & MLA 8 literature studies
* IEEE engineering
* Chicago Manual, short footnote style humanities (This is a more semi-formal citation style; end references are still required with footnotes)
* Chicago Manual, parenthetical style humanities (This is a more formal style with Author+Year in parenthetical in-text citations) humanities

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.

4 Assignments

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.

4.2.1 Midterm

  • Midterm due date: 26 October (via Blackboard)
  • Length: About 500 words or 2 pages (if double-spaced)
  • Sources: At least one source cited, using one of the above citation systems

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 has been created on Blackboard for this. I use the Blackboard TurnItIn service (a plagiarism-checking service, which I use because it makes it easier for me to grade papers and give you feedback). 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 should cite and use at least two sources (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.

4.2.2 Paraphrasing task

See the paraphrasing task in my Google Doc. This is not for a grade, but it will help you with working on the final project.

4.2.3 Final presentations

We may do individual or group presentations. My preference would be group presentations, where each group focuses on a general theme that encompasses the specific topic of your final paper.

4.2.4 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.

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 and participation 15%
Minor ten-point assignments 10%
Midterm 20%
Presentation assignment 25%
Final essay 30%