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This page is a course guide and teaching supplement for my students at Seijo University, Tokyo, Japan. It is not a part of the official website of the university, as it contains information related only to my classes.

I will communicate with students through this website, the university's WebClass system, email, and internet tools such as Zoom. If the coronavirus pandemic becomes more severe, we will start holding classes on line. If this happens, the important thing will be that students need to make an effort to keep in contact with the teacher, stay informed about assignments, and finish the assignments quickly.

You have to check three things regularly:

1. This website

2. WebClass and Campus Square

3. Your university email account (studentnumber@u.seijo.ac.jp). Set up your university email account and check it every day.

Thesis Writing [a] Spring Semester 2022

Course Description 

This elective course is intended for any student who might wish to write his or her graduation thesis in English. Eligible students will have attained high grades in previous English courses and they will have to demonstrate good writing ability in the first class in order to succeed in this challenging course. The content will be adapted to the needs of the students. It will cover all stages of writing a thesis: (1)
conception, (2) research, (3) citation and referencing, (4) outlining, (5) writing drafts, (6) revising and (7) writing an abstract and formatting the final document. Steps (1)-(4) will be covered in the first semester [a] and steps (5)-(7) will be covered in the second semester [b].

Course Goals            

Students will develop the planning and research skills necessary to write a graduation thesis in English, and they will continue to improve their writing skills and use of English grammar. During the first semester, they will produce an outline of an original graduation thesis to be written in English.

Teaching Methods 

This course is a practical. The method, materials and approach will be extremely flexible, as these will depend on the existing skills of the students and the plans they develop for writing a thesis. Students should not think of this course as an error-checking or proofreading service provided by a teacher who is a native speaker of English. Students will be expected to diligently apply the rules of grammar and word usage and to check their own work for errors before they submit it to the teacher. Writing a graduation thesis will be more challenging than the shorter writing assignments of other courses. Because the number of enrolled students is likely to be low, plans for this course will be adapted to meet the students' individual abilities. Assignments will be graded and feedback will be provided collectively or individually.

Course Schedule

1. Course introduction, assessment of student needs and abilities, conception of a research project, defining the scope of the research, developing hypotheses.

2. Writing an outline. Language skills: proofreading a document for errors with plural and singular nouns and subject-verb agreement.

3. Common referencing styles. Software tools for citation and referencing. Language skills: proofreading a document for errors with definite and indefinite articles.

4. Progress report: discussion of students' research thus far. Evaluating the reliability of sources.

5.Other research tools: search engines, note-taking software, citation tools (Evernote, Zotero and similar products). Language skills: proofreading a document for errors in use of the active and passive voice.

6. Using tools for researchers in Microsoft Office and other office software. Language skills: proofreading a document for errors with modal verbs.

7. Effective use of dictionaries and automated translation tools. Language skills: proofreading a document for errors with conditional and hypothetical statements.

8. Progress report: discussion of students' research thus far. Language skills: proofreading a document for errors with conditional and hypothetical statements.

9. Mastering objective and de-personalized writing, use of the passive voice and the "dummy subject" it for this purpose.

10. Elements of a research paper: title page, acknowledgements, table of contents, abstract, tables, charts, appendices, bibliography, footnotes and end notes.

11. Review of examples of elements of a research paper: title page, acknowledgements, table of contents, abstract, tables, charts, appendices, bibliography, end notes.

12. Language skills: explaining cause and effect, use of nouns and causative verbs to explain cause and effect.

13. Language skills: proofreading a document for errors in morphology (errors with parts of speech, using noun, verb, adjective and adverb forms correctly, for example: decision, decide, decisive, decisively.

14. Progress report: discussion of students' work thus far.

15. Progress report: discussion of students' work thus far, establishing goals for the time between semesters.

If the corona virus (Sars-Cov-2) still presents too much of a danger at any time during the academic year, the teacher will conduct classes by Zoom sessions and by using some on-demand materials. If such a change is necessary, the content, teaching method and method of evaluation will be revised. Regardless of the general level of risk posed by the corona virus, there may be some students who have special health reasons for not wishing to attend classes on campus. Such students will be able to follow the course through independent study methods.

Independent study outside of Course Hours (Assignments, Preparation and Review etc.) 

During this semester the students will be busy gathering and reading sources for the writing of a thesis, most of which will be done in the second semester. Approximately one hour of preparation for each class is expected.

Assessment Criteria and Methods       

Completion of exercises: 30%, Completing research, reading and preparation: 40%, Participation: 30%

The thesis submitted at the end of the academic year will be evaluated separately from the work done in this course. Evaluation in this course will be based on the student's success in completing tasks on schedule and working constantly toward the goal of completing a graduation thesis.

Textbook       

No textbook required. 

Expectations for Enrolled Students 

This course has been planned with an expectation that most students will want to register for both semesters [a] and [b]. Thus the plan for the second semester [b] continues from what is planned for the first semester [a]. Students will benefit the most from taking both semesters, but they may choose to register for only one semester. A flexible arrangement can be made for any students who choose to register for only one  semester.

Method to Contact the Lecturer 

riches[at]seijo.ac.jp
Room 3813
Wednesday 10:40-12:10, Friday 10:40-12:10, Friday 14:40-16:10