University courses

 

University course discriptions

This document summarizes the contents of five ready-to-go specific courses in communication for students in scientific fields. Through individual feedback and coaching, these courses focus on each student’s individual progress. The approach is very practical—participants learn to write without making a study of writing. In the article Writing in the 'real world' I explain the rationale behind this approach to training as well as editing. Included in all of these courses is “Step-1 editing”: See Three-step editing of grant proposals and scientific articles. These courses all receive excellent evaluations, in some cases “the best we’ve ever had.”


Writing scientific articles for publication: Writing to be read  


AMC lists this course at http://www.amc.uva.nl/index.cfm?pid=1259

This course has received one of the highest evaluations of any course given at AMC.

This four half-day course is intended for PhD students and other researchers who need to publish their work in professional journals. The course, however, goes beyond writing for publication—the emphasis is on “writing to be cited.” This implies, not only writing in a reader-friendly way, but giving readers something that is of value to them. The course presents the students with a “recipe” for writing a readable and credible journal article -an article that offers value to its readers- a publishable article.

 

During the course, students:

+ learn to write readable and credible scientific articles

+ increase their writing efficiency

+ improve their editing skills

+ learn to use language as a tool for scientific thinking.

 

The course consists of lectures, writing/editing workshops, peer editing, and extensive individual feedback and coaching. The feedback is essentially Step 1 in the Three-step editing approach.

 

Some comments from participants:

+ “The feed-back on your our own work makes you really look at the text and think how it should be.”

+ “The teacher practices what he preaches: he keeps everything clear and simple: thanks!”

+ “Het ‘recept’ is een goed handvat tijdens het schrijven en tijdens de cursus.”

+ “Good interaction between students.”

+ “...reviewing the assignments of others during the lessons.”

+ “...the process + logical thinking + writing clear!! That everything in the article is connected together.”

+ “...working together with other students (peer reviewing)”

+ "...schematic building of your article; good advice; use of tenses, all very good. I will recommend this         course to my colleagues”

+ "...goede leraar, flexibel, veel herhalingen (goed dus dan weet je wat echt belangrijk is)”

+ “...feed-back of the teacher. Material is very good”

+ “...there is some ‘pressure’ to finish writing an article.”

+ “…course material; feed-back; peer reviewer/partner.”

+ “…the comments of the teacher.”

+ “…the personal reflection on your article.”


Writing grant proposals in English

The course has received excellent evaluations from post-docs at Wageningen University. This three-day course is intended for post-docs and other researchers who need to write a research grant proposal in English. The students:

+ acquire insight into the structure of an effective research proposal

+ learn skills in reader-friendly writing

+ learn techniques to focus, and to keep it short and to-the-point

+ apply those insights, techniques and skills to writing their own proposals.

 

The course consists of lecture sessions, writing workshops, peer editing, and individual feedback by the trainer. Note that the feedback is essentially Step 1 in the Three-step editing approach.
Course topics:

+ Writing effectively

+ Think strategically—Achieving your purpose

+ Structuring a research proposal to focus on its value and credibility:

    Overall aim, key objectives, scientific/scholarly background
    Originality and/or innovative elements of the topic
    Research plan including practical timetable over the grant period
    Experimental techniques and/or methodology
    Originality and/or innovative elements of the approach

+ Tying it all together— fitting the proposal as a whole into the format required by the funding agency.

+ Proofreading and editing tips.

 

Scientific communication for beginning researchers: An intensive workshop


This two-day course focuses on verbal and written scientific communication. It is intended for Masters Students who want to go into research. This course has received excellent evaluations from AMC “Honours” students.

 

The students:

+ acquire insight into effective written communication

+ learn to use language as a logical tool

+ learn to structure a scientific article to focus on a research question

+ learn to structure an oral presentation and prepare effective slides

+ improve their speaking and presentation skills.

 

The course consists of one day of lectures and workshops, followed by a writing assignment that includes a short paper and an outline of their presentation. They then receive individual feedback including corrections, suggestions and, often, major editing. On the second day, the students give their presentations and receive feedback from their peers as well as the instructor.

 

Writing about science for the Layperson 

 

This six-day course focuses on writing about scientific/technical topics to non-specialists. This course receives excellent evaluations: “...one of our most highly evaluated courses” (VU).

 

The students gain insight in:

+ overcoming writer’s block

+ the English language as the international language of science

+ the specific nature of  effective scientific texts written for non-specialists

+ differences between Dutch and English writing styles 

+ different styles of writing in English.

 

The students practice writing about their own topics for various purposes such as fund raising, PR, journalism, internal communication etc. The course consists of lectures, writing/editing workshops, peer editing, and individual feedback and coaching from the trainer.


Course topics

+ What is effective written communication?

+ Scientific journalism

   Keeping the reader awake

   Structuring an article

   Answering the reader’s “So what?”

   Making your point

+ Internal reports

   Structuring a report

   Focusing on your message

+ Letters

   Letters to the editor

   Letters for business/PR purposes

   Job application letters

 

The art of writing
 

This course receives excellent evaluations at Wageningen University. This four-day course focuses on general writing in a professional context.

 

The students:

+ overcome writer’s block

+ learn to write reader-friendly texts

+ learn different styles of writing in English

+ learn to effectively organize various types of documents.

 

The students learn writing skills while writing about their own topics and for their own purposes. The course consists of morning lectures and afternoon workshops in a writing laboratory. The students work together in peer editing teams, and receive individual feedback and coaching from the trainer.


Course topics

+ How to overcome writer’s block.

+ What is effective written communication?

+ Keeping the reader awake

+ Structuring various documents (depends on students’ needs), for example:
   news releases / articles

   reports

   letters

+ Answering the reader’s “So what?”

+ Making your point

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