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Academic Writing Skills





About the Course

Get a Writing Certificate

Are you interested in improving your writing skills? In this course, you will explore writing styles across genres, and learn how to bring your writing to the next level, no matter where you’re starting from.

Through an exploration and analysis of well known pieces, practical writing guidance, and engaging practice exercises, this course will equip you with a strong foundation in writing that will help you excel in your professional and creative pursuits.

What to Expect

The Writing Certificate Course is an online learning program with recommended readings from the textbook (Introduction to Writing Guide with Handbook). This course is self-directed, which means you may study and complete assignments at times that are most convenient for you from the comfort of your own home.

This part-time Writing Certificate Course has a recommended completion date of 9 weeks from the start of the program, however, you may choose to complete the course in as little as 6 weeks or as long as 18 weeks, depending on your schedule.

The Writing Certificate Course has been created to allow you to complete it without teaching assistance. However, if you have questions or need assistance, you can receive help from a Faculty Member throughout the 9 weeks of the course. Your Faculty Member is a valuable resource person who can provide you with personal teaching assistance to help you succeed in the course.

Course Topics

The Writing Certificate Course has been developed to meet high academic standards, ensuring that as a graduate you can display with pride the Writing Certificate you will earn from the USILD

The Things We Carry: Experience, Culture, and Language

  • The Digital World Building on What You Already Know to Respond Critically

  • “Reading” to Understand and Respond

  • Social Media Trailblazer: Selena Gomez

  • Glance at Critical Response Rhetoric and Critical Thinking

  • Annotated Student Sample: Social Media Post and Responses on Voter Suppression

  • Writing Exercise: Thinking Critically about a “Text”

  • Evaluation: Intention versus Execution

  • Spotlight on … Academia

  • Portfolio: Tracing Writing Development

Language, Identity, and Culture: Exploring, Employing, Embracing

  • Seeds of Self

  • Identity Trailblazer: Cathy Park Hong

  • Glance at the issues: Oppression and Reclamation

  • Annotated Sample Reading from The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois

  • Writing Exercise: Thinking Critically about How identity is Constructed through Writing

  • Evaluation: Antiracism and Inclusivity

  • Spotlight on … Variations of English

  • Portfolio: Decolonizing Self

Literacy Narrative: Building Bridges, Bridging Gaps

  • Identity and Expression

  • Literacy Narrative Trailblazer: Tara Westover

  • Glance at Genre: the Literacy Narrative

  • Annotated Sample Reading: from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass

  • Writing Exercise: Tracing the Beginnings of Literacy

  • Editing Focus: Sentence Structure

  • Evaluation: Self-Evaluating

  • Spotlight on … The Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives (DALN)

  • Portfolio: A Literacy Artifact

Memoir of Personal Narrative: Learning Lessons From the Personal

  • Exploring the Past to Understand the Present

  • Memoir Trailblazer: Ta-Nehisi Coates

  • Glance at Genre: Conflict, Detail, and Revelation

  • Annotated Sample Reading: from Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain

  • Writing Exercise: Making the Personal Public

  • Editing Focus: More on Characterization and Point of View

  • Evaluation: Structure and Organization

  • Spotlight on … Multilingual Writers

  • Portfolio: Filtered Memories

Telling a Rich and Compelling Story

  • Profiles as Inspiration

  • Profile Trailblazer: Veronica Chambers

  • Glance at Genre: Subject, Angle, Background, and Description

  • Annotated Sample Reading: “Remembering John Lewis” by Carla D. Hayden

  • Writing Exercise: Focusing on the Angle of Your Subject

  • Editing Focus: Verb Tense Consistency

  • Evaluation: Text as Personal Introduction

  • Spotlight on … Profiling a Cultural Artifact

  • Portfolio: Subject as a Reflection of Self

Proposal: Writing about Problems and Solutions

  • Proposing Change: Thinking Critically about Problems and Solutions

  • Proposal Trailblazer: Atul Gawande

  • Glance at Genre: Features of Proposals

  • Annotated Student Sample: “Slowing Climate Change” by Shawn Krukowski

  • Writing Exercise: Creating a Proposal

  • Editing Focus: Subject-Verb Agreement

  • Evaluation: Conventions, Clarity, and Coherence

  • Spotlight on … Technical Writing as a Career

  • Portfolio: Reflecting on Problems and Solutions

Evaluation or Review: Would You Recommend It?

  • Thumbs up or Down?

  • Review Trailblazer: Michiko Kakutani

  • Glance at Genre: Criteria, Evidence, Evaluation

  • Annotated Student Sample: “Black Representation in Film” by Caelia Marshall

  • Writing Exercise: Thinking Critically about Entertainment

  • Editing Focus: Quotations

  • Evaluation: Effect on Audience

  • Spotlight on … Language and Culture

  • Portfolio: What the Arts Say about You

Analytical Report: Writing from Facts

  • Information and Critical Thinking

  • Analytical Report Trailblazer: Barbara Ehrenreich

  • Glance at Genre: Informal and Formal Analytical Reports

  • Annotated Student Sample: “U.S. Response to COVID-19” by Trevor Garcia

  • Writing Exercise: Creating an Analytical Report

  • Editing Focus: Commas with Nonessential and Essential Information

  • Reviewing the Final Draft

  • Spotlight on … Discipline-Specific and Technical Language

  • Portfolio: Evidence and Objectivity

Rhetorical Analysis: Interpreting the Art of Rhetoric

  • Breaking the Whole into Its Parts

  • Rhetorical Analysis Trailblazer: Jamil Smith

  • Glance at Genre: Rhetorical Strategies

  • Annotated Student Sample: “Rhetorical Analysis: Evicted by Matthew Desmond” by Eliana Evans

  • Writing Exercise: Thinking Critically about Rhetoric

  • Editing Focus: Mixed Sentence Constructions

  • Evaluation: Rhetoric Analysis

  • Spotlight on … Business and Law

  • Portfolio: How Thinking Critically about Rhetoric Affects Intellectual Growth

Position Argument: Practicing the Art of Rhetoric

  • Making a Case: Defining a Position Argument

  • Position Argument Trailblazer: Charles Blow

  • Glance at Genre: Thesis, Reasoning, and Evidence

  • Annotated Sample Reading: “Remarks at the University of Michigan” by Lyndon G. Johnson

  • Writing Exercise: Creating a Position Argument

  • Editing Focus: Paragraphs and Transitions

  • Evaluation: Varied Appeals

  • Spotlight on … Citation

  • Portfolio: Growth in the Development of Argument

Reasoning Strategies: Improving Critical Thinking

  • Developing Your Sense of Logic

  • Reasoning Trailblazer: Paul D. N. Hebert

  • Glance at Genre: Reasoning Strategies and Signal Words

  • Annotated Sample Reading: from Book VII of the Republic by Plate

  • Writing Exercise: Reasoning Supported by Evidence

Argumentative Research: Enhancing the Art of Rhetoric with Evidence

  • Introducing Research and Research Evidence

  • Argumentative Research Trailblazer: Samin Nosrat

  • Glance at Genre: Introducing Research as Evidence

  • Annotated Student Example: “Healthy Diets from Sustainable Sources Can Save the Earth” by Lily Tran

  • Writing Exercise: Integrating Research

  • Editing Focus: Integrating Sources and Quotations

  • Evaluation: Effectiveness of Research Paper

  • Spotlight on … Bias in Language and Research

  • Portfolio: Why Facts Matter in Research Argumentation

Your Instructor

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