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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Stephen N. Maley
ENGL 299
Seattle Campus

Intermediate Interdisciplinary Writing - Natural Sciences

Expository writing based on materials presented in a specified natural science course. Assignments include drafts of papers to be submitted in the specified course, and other pieces of analytical prose. Concurrent registration in the specified course required. Offered: AWSpS.

Class description

This is a companion class to BIOL 200 in which students practice writing about topics in molecular, cellular, and developmental (MCD) biology for a scientific as well as a general audience.

Student learning goals

Students will describe a research topic in MCD biology, including its personal interest, broader significance to society, and principal methods.

Students will learn a strategy for evaluating scientific research papers. This strategy consists of identifying hypotheses, matching claims with evidence, and describing data accurately.

Students will explain a MCD topic of interest to a general audience.

Students will learn to edit and revise drafts. For example, they will practice simplifying sentences by placing verbs after subjects, and managing emphasis by placing important information at the end of sentences.

General method of instruction

1. "Journal club" style discussions of scientific papers. 2. In-class writing workshops to improve drafts. 3. Individual conferences with the instructor. 4. Class discussions of popular science writing.

Recommended preparation

Concurrent enrollment in BIOL 200.

Class assignments and grading

There will be three major assignments. One is fashioned after a research scholarship essay. The second is a critique of a scientific journal article. The third is an essay for a general audience on a topic related to MCD biology.

Two of the three assignments allow the student to pursue a research topic of personal interest.

Each of the assignments is broken down into steps to allow the instructor and the student to identify difficult parts of the writing process.

Assignments are graded on clarity, accuracy, and completeness.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Stephen N. Maley
Date: 03/09/2014