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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).

2 Current & upcoming assignments

  • Paraphrasing assignment, due 25/25 Nov. (as described in the assignments section of the book, and below)
  • Feedback on paraphrasing assignment
  • Final presentations, weeks 14-16
  • Final paper, due 20 Dec. via Blackboard

3 Weekly materials & assignments

Click on the 'Expand' button on the right to show past contents.

3.1 Weeks 1-2: Introduction

  • Read the introductory chapters of the textbook on your own (chapters 1-2).
  • Google Form #1: Personal info & survey. Please 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.

3.2 Weeks 3: Evaluating sources

3.2.1 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

3.2.2 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 [1]
  2. South China Morning Post [2]
  3. Reuters [3]
  4. New York Times [4]
  5. Business Insider [5]

3.2.3 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?
  1. Fox News http://www.foxnews.com
  2. Breitbart http://www.breitbart.com
  3. New York Times http://www.nytimes.com
  4. New York Post http://www.nypost.com
  5. Washington Times http://www.washingtontimes.com
  6. Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com
  7. Wall Street Journal http://www.wsj.com
  8. The Sun http://www.thesun.co.uk
  9. Der Spiegel http://www.spiegel.de
  10. Frankfurter Allgemeine http://www.faz.net/aktuell
  11. El País (Spain) http://www.elpais.com
  12. Le Monde (France) http://www.lemonde.fr

3.2.4 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. New Scientist http://www.newscientist.com
  3. Scientific American http://www.scientificamerican.com
  4. Science News http://www.sciencenews.org
  5. IFLScience http://www.iflscience.com

3.2.5 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?

See also this summary of Academic versus non-academic sources.

3.2.6 Assignments

3.2.7 Overview of sources

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

3.3 Logic, information, and misinformation

3.3.1 Assignments

Sample essays

Read the following essay and discuss the following.

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

3.4 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.

Midterm & midterm outline

3.4.1 Midterm

  • Midterm date: due during Week 8, in Blackboard
  • You will decide on your topic and write your own paper, but you will coordinate with your group, so that your topics are related to a similar theme; see the misconceptions project page for details.
  • Suggested minimum length: About 500 words, or 1 page (if single-spaced) or 2 pages (if double-spaced); no more than five pages
  • Be sure to include an outline of your paper in the file that you submit. You can include it at the very end of your document, say, after the end references. Refer to the following class handout on midterm preparation and outlining.
  • I would suggest 1-2 background paragraphs, and 1-3 paragraphs for your analysis. You do not need to talk about possible solutions for the midterm (but you can if you want to). You do not need to worry about a concluding paragraph.
  • Sources: At least one professional quality source cited, using any citation system (footnote citations, MLA, APA, Chicago style). I would recommend a good popular source for science news, political news, Psychology Today, etc.; see the page on Academic versus non-academic sources.
  • See my new source citation guide for a quick overview of how to cite sources, or links on this website for particular citation systems like MLA style (for those in literature & media studies), Chicago parenthetical style (for those in various humanities fields), APA (social sciences), and IEEE style (engineering). You can use any citation system that you like.
  • In addition, you can cite popular sources that promote a false belief, or that are good examples of such a false belief (for such popular sources, you can simply footnote the source information).
  • Be sure to include an end references / works cited section in your paper.
  • If you are not familiar with systems for citing sources then use footnotes. Include as much information as you can about the source, such as: Author, date, article title / book title. For magazines, include a URL or page numbers. For more academic journals, include issue, volume number, and page numbers. For books, include the publisher / publishing company and location (where it was published).
  • See section 11.1 of the textbook Appendix for document format; the first page is a standard format that you can use (or you can use the MLA document layout if you like).

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) and PDF formats work best. You can the Appendix of the book for suggested paper format (§11.1), and for grading criteria (§11.3.6).

You can form your own groups of 2-6 people. 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.

3.4.2 Final project

You will revise the midterm paper and add to it for the final paper. You will give group presentations in class about your projects at the end of the semester. See below for details.


3.5 Pronunciation & presentation skills

Some links:

3.6 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 expand on your paraphrase by adding and developing your own thoughts about how it applies to your topic. Also cite the source and write the end reference(s). These articles can be helpful for a better analysis of the problem, or for possible solutions. (A paraphrase and a summary are similar, and the two terms are somewhat interchangeable; when summarizing, you change the wording, and when paraphrasing, you also summarize.)

Use one of the articles for the paraphrasing assignment in the book on p. 76-77, and the paraphrasing guides on p. 85-88. 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
  7. Do the spirits move you? (psychics, paranormal), Psychology Today
  8. Flat earth conspiracy theories, CNN.com
  9. Why we can't ignore conspiracy theories anymore, Time.com
  10. Why do some people believe in conspiracy theories?, Scientific American
  11. Why do so many people believe in conspiracy theories?, Time.com

Additional articles, e.g., on how science and health topics are misreported online or in the news media.

  1. https://www.chronicle.com/article/When-the-Media-Get-Science/150763 When the Media Get Science Research Wrong, University PR May Be the Culprit], Chronicle of Higher Education
  2. Study: half of the studies you read about in the news are wrong, Vox.com
  3. How the media warp science: the case of the sensationalised satnav, The Guardian
  4. This article won't change your mind, The Atlantic
  5. The Strange Origins of Urban Legends, The Atlantic
  6. Trump Needs Conspiracy Theories, The Atlantic
  7. How do scientists become cranks and doctors quacks?, Science-Based Medicine
  8. Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science, The Atlantic
  9. Are All Weight Loss Doctors Quacks?, Science20.com

The following are more academic, research-based articles from academic research journals; use these only if you really understand them.

  1. Belief in conspiracy theories: Basic principles of an emerging research domain, European Journal of Social Psychology
  2. Understanding Conspiracy Theories, Political Psychology
  3. Conspiracy Theories and the Paranoid Style(s) of Mass Opinion, American Journal of Political Science
  4. Effective Messages in Vaccine Promotion, Pediatrics
  5. The psychology of conspiracy theories, Current Directions in Psychological Science
  6. Nothing but the truth: Are the media as bad at communicating science as scientists fear?, EMBO Reports
  7. Neuromyths in Music Education, Frontiers in Psychology

  1. Please see the new source citation guide.
  2. Please see this handout on tips for summarizing. The examples are from a different assignment, but they mostly correspond with the assignment description and tips in your book. [6]
  3. Feedback on paraphrasing assignment

A brief example

... People struggling with obesity or being overweight often suffer from low self-esteem and body image problems, which are only made worse when family members or classmates tell them that they simply need to lose weight. Such comments are not only unhelpful, but add to the stress and anxiety that they feel about themselves. Overweight people have come to accept a negative view of themselves, and society has also fallen for misguided ideas about overweight people, including negative views about overweight people being lazy, irresponsible, or morally deficient. However, psychology may offer us one way of dealing with these misperceptions. Graves (2015) describes the power of narrative, that is, a story that believers construct, which includes not only an historical account of how a conspiracy or hoax was supposedly carried out, but also an explanation of facts and events in their perspective. That is, the narrative explains how the conspiracy accomplished certain events, or why certain events are due to the alleged conspiracy. The narrative also provides conspiracy believers a sense of special understanding of what has happened and why, in their world. It is a psychological conceptual framework that provides them a sense of meaning and understanding. Graves suggest that the power of the narrative can also be turned around and used to educate the public about scientific truth and reality, for example, regarding vaccinations. This strategy can also be applied to correcting incorrect perceptions of overweight people.

In advocating for the dignity of overweight people, some alternative approaches can be taken. Friends and family members of overweight persons can be supportive by setting aside their negative stereotype and the negative explanations they have assumed for why the person is overweight. They can talk to the overweight person about specific negative beliefs that the overweight person has about herself/himself, and the negative messages s/he has been told, from outright fat-shaming to more subtle statements, e.g., that the person needs to try harder to lose weight. Friends and family can communicate their understanding to the overweight person, and reassure the person that s/he is not lazy or morally deficient, and that s/he has a legitimate health condition. Regardless of that person became overweight, s/he has succumbed to a health condition that is difficult to overcome, which is a difficult situation that requires a more complex approach, including emotional support and positive lifestyle changes. Through conversations, friends and family can help to develop a more positive narrative about overweight people, and can help overweight people to develop more positive and realistic narratives about themselves. Non-overweight people can also stand up for overweight persons when others gossip or talk negatively to overweight people or about overweight people.

Specific elements of a more positive narrative may include the following messages. The overweight person may have developed unhealthy eating habits due to some form of stress. Experiencing fat-shaming, teasing, or condescending messages (like "you need to lose weight" or "you just need to try harder to lose weight") only adds to the stress, making it even harder to lose weight. Once the person has become overweight, it is very difficult to lose weight, especially if other emotional or life issues are not dealt with. It is not because of laziness that s/he is overweight and cannot lose weight. The person will find it easier to lose weight if s/he feels accepted or if s/he can deal with the sources of stress or depression in his/her life. When these messages are connected with a specific person (and his/her life or personal characteristics), this can form a more positive narrative - an explanatory story of how the person might have become overweight, the kind of person that s/he is, and how s/he might someday achieve better health.

3.7 Final project

3.7.1 Final presentations

The group presentation assignment is described in the book. Each group will give a presentation, and each person will present on his/her aspect of the project.


3.7.2 Final paper

The final will be out-of-class writing, based on the midterm. You will revise the midterm and add to it (including contents from the paraphrasing assignment). See below for guides on style, grammar, sources, and source citations. This paper will be turned in via the online KU Blackboard.

4 Using sources

4.1 Finding sources

Sources are used for adding support to the ideas in your papers, and for helping to develop your ideas. Sources can be classified into three general types: popular / general, professional, and academic.

Click on the Expand button to the right to show this section.

type characteristics usability examples
General / popular sources
  • (01) Written by non-experts, and thus, maybe not reliable or credible
  • (02) Written for a general audience (educated, non-educated, youth, etc.)
  • (03) The information or ideas may be of poor quality
  • (04) Published often for commercial / money-making purposes or such
  • (05) Sources may be absent, not cited, or only cited very informally
Generally not valid for college papers; most often, these should not be cited or used for college papers.
  • Trade books (most commercially published, popular books like those sold in book stores)
  • Popular periodicals (commercial magazines, smaller newspapers)
  • Common Internet sits, blogs, etc.
  • Common reference works (dictionaries, encyclopedias)
  • Popular media sources & materials
Professional sources
  • (01) Written by experts: academic experts, business experts, government experts, professional experts from professional fields, researchers, etc.
  • (02) Written for an educated audience (college level readers or above)
  • (03) More credible information
  • (04) Published for professional, informational, or persuasive purposes
  • (05) Some citation of sources, often in a semi-formal style
Can and should be used in college papers, as these are of better quality, and many college students can understand and meaningfully use them in their college papers. These are especially used in papers in the first two years of college (before students are ready for full academic sources).
  • Reputable news outlets, especially those known for investigative journalism, and professional analysis & commentary (these are news sites & periodicals that have a strong international reputation, or at least a strong reputation nationally, for objective, professional journalism, reporting, and analysis)
  • Professional trade magazines / journals, which are written by and for those working in particular professional fields
  • Trade books written by experts (e.g., academic, government, or professional experts) for educated readers
  • Government reports and records; official reports & records from government agencies, international organizations, and major companies
  • Business news outlets (websites, periodicals)
  • Periodicals for business analysis & case studies
  • Reports, official web sites, official publications, etc., from government agencies, international agencies, and major companies
  • White papers (a report by a government or business, or other authoritative report, giving information or proposals on an issue)
  • Science & tech news outlets (websites, periodicals)
  • Professional film critics
Academic sources
  • (01) Written by academic experts (professors, researchers, doctoral students)
  • (02) Written for other academic experts in the field
  • (03) Written in a scholarly or technical style
  • (04) Consist of original research by the authors, and thus, probably reliable or worth citing
  • (05) Published for scientific and academic purposes by academic publishers
  • (06) Sources are cited using a formal citation style
Probably too difficult for most college students to read, understand, or use meaningfully in their college papers; 3rd or 4th year students might be able to handle some easier academic sources
  • Scholarly / research articles from academic research journals
  • Research & technical reports from institutes or government agencies
  • Research monographs (books that summarize research on a topic and present the author's original research)
  • Edited volumes of research papers (collections of research articles in book form, like an anthology)
  • Doctoral dissertations, master's thesis
  • Conference papers

4.1.1 Professional sources

Below are examples of some professional sources that may be useful for your final papers.

News outlets
  1. New York Times http://www.nytimes.com
  2. Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com
  3. Wall Street Journal http://www.wsj.com
  4. Time Magazine http://www.time.com
  5. McClean’s http://www.macleans.ca
  6. BBC News http://www.bbc.com/news
  7. Der Spiegel http://www.spiegel.de
  8. El País (Spain) http://www.elpais.com
  9. Le Monde (France) http://www.lemonde.fr
  10. Reuters http://www.reuters.com
  11. Associated Press http://www.ap.org
Science and technology news sources
  1. Wired http://www.wired.com
  2. New Scientist http://www.newscientist.com
  3. Scientific American http://www.scientificamerican.com
  4. Science News http://www.sciencenews.org
  5. Psychology Today https://www.psychologytoday.com
  6. CNET http://www.cnet.com (technology)
  7. Wired.com http://www.wired.com
  8. Science-Based Medicine https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/
  9. Science 2.0 https://science20.com

Business news & analysis
  1. Forbes https://www.forbes.com
  2. Harvard Business Review http://www.hbr.org
  3. The Economist http://www.economist.com
  4. Business Insider https://www.businessinsider.com

Professional trade journals
  1. The Chronicle of Higher Education https://www.chronicle.com
  2. Inside Higher Ed http://www.insidehighered.com
  3. Times Higher Education https://www.timeshighereducation.com/
  4. Observer https://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer (psychology)
  5. Food Technology http://www.ift.org/food-technology.aspx
  6. World Landscape Architecture https://worldlandscapearchitect.com/
  7. Psychology Today https://www.psychologytoday.com
Language education
  1. English Today https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/english-today
Film experts & links
Some of these links themselves are not professional sources, but they may lead you to relevant experts or sources on film.
  1. American Film Institute database
  2. List of academic film experts (not a professional source)
Other trade magazines
  1. Wikipedia list of trade magazines in different fields: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_trade_magazines

Lighter academic sources
  1. English Today https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/english-today
  2. English Language Teaching journal https://academic.oup.com/eltj/issue
  3. See http://www.riss.co.kr -- these are domestic (Korean) academic publications, but some might be more understandable.

4.2 Citing sources

Here are links to guides for various citation systems. You can use any one of these for your papers in this course.

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), i.e., the Author+Date style humanities (This is the more formal version of CM with Author+Year or Author+Year+Page# in parenthetical in-text citations.)

See also: Chicago Manual parenthetical style, short PDF guide

* Chicago Manual, short footnote style humanities (This is a less formal or more semi-formal citation style; end references are still required with footnotes.)[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.

5 Style and grammar guides

5.1 Style and grammar

5.1.1 General guides

To revise and improve your midterm paper, first look at these more general guides to style and wording.

5.1.2 Additional guides

Then look at these more specific topics.

6 Course policies

6.1 Minor assignments

Minor assignments are shorter assignments that are graded on a variable point scale, that is, some are worth more points that others. These may 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 points simply for doing them). At the end of the semester, I will add up the possible total points and convert your grade to a 100-point scale. For example, if you got 150 out of 180 possible points for all the assignments, then 150/180 = 83.3.

6.2 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.

6.3 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%
Homework & other minor assignments 20%
Midterm 20%
Final group presentation 20%
Final essay 30%

7 See also

7.1 References

  1. There exists both the Chicago Manual short footnote style and long footnote styles. In the long footnotes, full reference information is given in each footnote or endnote.

7.2 Other links