This quarter I'm once again teaching two sections of the advanced research writing course to graduate students. (The first time I taught two sections was in Spring Quarter 2005.)
One change I've already made to the course is to invite two (possibly three) guests speakers to speak to the class about topics specific to writing. The first guest speaker, a colleague from our department, is coming this week to talk to both classes about Collins Cobuild (see http://www.collins.co.uk/Corpus/CorpusSearch.aspx). The other guest speaker is the assistant director from the Writing Center on campus. She'll be speaking to the students about where to go for writing assistance after they have finished the course. (Note: The advanced research writing course is the third and final course of required ESL composition courses for graduate students at our institution. In addition, there are some elective courses on advanced academic writing (e.g., articles for publication, thesis/dissertation writing) offered in the program.) The Writing Center is a great place for students to receive writing assistance; however, many are unaware of this service. So the assistant director will be coming the last day of classes to advertise what the Center has to offer in regards to writing assistance. The possible third guest speaker will talk about plagiarism and academic writing.
An interesting (new) article I found to share with the students this quarter is -
Rymer, J. (1988). Scientific composing processes: How eminent scientists write journal articles. In D. Jolliffe (Ed.), Advances in writing research, volume two: Writing in academic disciplines, pp. 211-250. Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing.
Students in this course always seem to be looking for the magic potion to help them instantly master the ability to read and write in their fields. While those of us in the field know that we have no magic potion of this kind to offer students, we can offer them practices that will help them in becoming better enculturated into their specific and unique academic discourse communities. The abovementioned article discusses various composing strategies of nine scientists, providing students with an insiders view of what academic writing entails.