Getting started...

Welcome to our class page! This is an open course (OCW) for any English language learner interested in improving academic writing skills. To get started, do the following:

Basic Information

Name of university: Universidad Autónoma de Aguascalientes (UAA), 7th semester
Course: Composition (Academic/Creative Writing)
Meets face to face: TBA
Instructor: Benjamin Stewart - Profile

Course Description

Prerequisites: B1-B2 English proficiency level
Overview of course: This course is part of the English language development strand, and supports all other subjects that require writing skills in the B.A. in English language teaching. It is focused on taking learners from an intermediate to an advanced level of writing through a series of critical writing activities. The written texts cover a varied range of documents and essays.
Learning objectives: Students will develop their writing skills and proceed from an intermediate to an advanced level of writing in English.

Learning objectives: Students will be able to understand and apply recent research in the area of applied linguistics. Major areas of interest will include psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, second language acquisition (SLA), syllabus and course design, discourse analysis, and assessment.
Methods of instruction: The use of technology will be an essential part of this course. Teachers will guide students throughout the course as they develop digital literacies, exercise critical thinking skills, and perform various writing assignments that will each be graded using a six-trait writing rubric. An online written portfolio will include all writing assignments which will allow students to self and peer-assess each other's work. Class sessions will be held in the classroom, the language lab, computer lab, and online; activities will be carried out in groups, pairs, and individually.

Program/curriculum map: Credit-seeking students pursuing a Bachelor's degree in English language teaching

Technologies Used: Wikispaces, personal blogs, etc.

Credit-seeking students: Students who are taking this course for credit, may access their grades in Engrade.

Click here to access full syllabus!


Materials: Various information and communication technologies (ICTs) will be used to achieve the objectives of the course. The Canvas platform will be used to include course content and activities related to discussions and activities performed in face-to-face sessions. The UAA online library will be used to find sources for student projects. The main texts for this course include The Routledge Handbook of Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition: An Introductory Course. Other texts that will be used are The Routledge Applied Linguistics Reader, The Handbook of Applied Linguistics, and The Handbook of Second Language Acquisition.


Formative assessments: informal pedagogical dialogues (face to face & online), interactive lectures, & student projects
Summative assessments: Midterm & Final


Presentation/discussion of readings
Midterm exam
Theoretical rationale for action research project
Progress in research project
Research project (3000 to 3,200 words)
external image AWWordle3.png

Participation in class will include presenting and discussions that will take place in class as well as in Eduquiki. Learners may have certain activities to perform in Wikispaces that are directly based on activities and discussions covered in class.

Tips for Success

  • Check out Wikispaces Team Video series for a range of support videos or watch this short video introduction.
  • Create an account in Canvas and sign in with your user name and password.
  • Create an account with Google that allows you to access your gmail account, Google Docs, among others.
  • Come to class each day having read the assigned readings in order to actively participate more in class.
  • Use writing strategies throughout the semester in order to better understand what you read.
  • Ask questions in class and via Canvas to your peers, to me, or anyone else you come in contact with related to the course content. Grow your personal learning network in a way that best supports your learning objectives for the course.
  • Make sure to check course announcements frequently.
  • Review the project rubric before beginning any projects in order to have a clearer idea as to what expectations are and specifically the criteria by which you will be assessed.
  • Review grades each week to make sure you track your process accordingly. All mistakes should be reported (via Canvas email) to the instructor within a week.
  • Each week, learners are encouraged to complete a Weekly Feedback Form. Doing so enables the instructor to have a better understanding of what's been working and what changes need to be made to instruction and assessment in the future.


Statement on Accommodation

Email me at any time that you feel I need to know about any particular challenges that you face in achieving your objectives for this course.

Evaluation of the Course and Assessment of Student Learning

This course will be heavily based on providing formative-types of assessment; however, this is one mid-term exam that is a summative assessment designed to measure what you have learned after eight weeks of study. Any language instructors who wish to discuss this course or share experiences related to similar subject matter, may contact me via Twitter @bnleez.


All open (public) content for this course is under a creative-commons license (CC-BY). Learners taking this course for credit have the right to choose how open course projects will be. If any learner feels uncomfortable with working publicly, please email me via Canvas.


This syllabus is subject to change and is based on the original syllabus below, which is designed for face-to-face classes.

Click here to access full syllabus!

Evidence of Understanding


Learning progression

Unit I: Types of written genres, the writing process, ICTs, & the descriptive essay
  • Types of written documents
  • The writing process
  • Creating a personal blog
Unit II: Writing genres in detail
  • Purpose statement
  • Cover letter
  • Recommendation letter
  • Formal e-mail
  • Résumé
Unit III: Critical thinking and the writing process when writing an argumentative essay
  • Dualism, relativism, and reflectivism
  • Logic and reasoning: deductive, inductive, validity, truth, etc.
  • Writing process, related vocabulary, and grammar structures
Unit IV: Creative writing
  • Metaphors and similes
  • Idioms, slang, colloquialisms
  • Quotes
  • Poems
  • Songs
  • Short stories
  • Related vocabulary


Instructional Strategy

The interactive lecture will be the instructional strategy used for this course.

Collaborative Writing Strategies

Collaborative writing has been the subject of academic research and business for over two decades. A number of authors have written on the subject, and each have slightly different views on the strategies for collaborative writing.
According to Lowry et al.,[1[[|]]] there are five collaborative writing strategies:
  • Single-author writing occurs when one team member writes as a representative for the entire team. Single-author writing usually occurs when the writing task is simple.
  • Sequential single writing. In sequential single-author writing, one group member writes at a time. Each group member is assigned a portion of the document, writes his or her portion and then passes the document onto the next group member.
  • Parallel writing is the type of collaborative writing that occurs when a group divides the assignment or document into separate parts and all members work on their assigned part at the same time. There are two types of parallel writing: horizontal division parallel writing occurs when group members divide the task into sections, each member being responsible for the development of his or her assigned section; stratified division parallel writing occurs when group members divide responsibility of the creation of the product by assigning different members different roles. Some examples of roles that a member could be assigned are: author, editor, facilitator, or team leader.
  • Reactive writing occurs when team members collaborate synchronously to develop their product. Team members react to and adjust each other's contributions as they are made.
  • Mixed mode. This term describes a form of writing that mixes two or more of the collaborative writing strategies described above.
Onrubia and Engel[2[[|]]] also proposed five main strategies for collaborative elaboration of written products:
  • Parallel construction—‘cut and paste’. Each group member contributes with a different part of the completed task and the final document is constructed through a juxtapositioning of these different parts without the contribution of other co-authors. "Divide and conquer"
  • Parallel construction—‘puzzle’. Each group member contributes with an initial document with the entirely or partially completed task, and the final document is constructed through the juxtapositioning of small extracted parts of the initial contributions of other coauthors.
  • Sequential summative construction. One group member presents a document that constitutes an initial, partial or complete, proposal for the task resolution, and the rest of the participants successively add their contributions to this initial document, without modifying what has been previously written, hence, systematically accepting what is added by other co-authors.
  • Sequential integrating construction. One group member presents a document that constitutes an initial, partial or complete task proposal, and the other group members successively contribute to this initial document, proposing justified modifications or discussing whether they agree with what has been previously written or not.
  • Integrating construction. The writing of the document is based on synchronic discussion through the chat, with repeated revisions, where all group members react to the comments, the changes and the additions made by other participants.
Ritchie and Rigano[3[[|]]] described three types of co-authoring used in the academic setting:
  • Turn writing. In this form of writing, which is more cooperative than collaborative, authors contribute different sections of a text which are then merged and harmonized by a lead author.
  • Lead writing. One person drafts the text, which is amended by the others.
  • Writing together side-by-side. A text is composed by two or more persons who think aloud together, negotiating and refining the content. One of the authors serves as scribe and possibly also as "gatekeeper of text composition".


Educators who teach or have taught this course and wish to share opinions and experiences are encouraged to add their signatures below.

Possible Research Topics

external image AL_wordle5-300x187.pngClick here! | Research topics


Journals and other links

Eurasian Journal of Applied Linguistics | Applied Linguistics (Journal) | American Association of Applied Linguistics | Center for Applied Linguistics | Applied Linguistics Research Group | Complicity | ELT Journal | English Teaching Forum | Digital Scholarship | Journal of Interactive Online Learning | Journal of Online Learning and Teaching | Language Learning & Technology | MEXTESOL Journal | Language Learning | oTranscribe | The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning


Applied Linguistics (wiki) (7th semester, pre-service, English language teachers studying in Mexico)