At the end of this course the students
are able to plan and carry out the writing of an analytical text starting from a first outline through a draft to the final version,
are able to follow the practices, norms and styles of scientific writing in their discipline when writing their own texts,
are able to make a conscious and justified choice for the structure of academic text they are writing,
are able to give feedback on the style and structure of academic texts written by others and to take feedback into account to improve their own texts, and
are able to include formulas and/or figures in their texts in a correct and meaningful way.
The primary goal of this course is to prepare the student for the writing of academic texts in the curriculum of (astro) physics and mathematics, as it is required in several courses, in internship reports, and in bachelor and master theses. The course has an emphasis on the specific features of writing texts in these disciplines, but many of these aspects are also relevant for writing texts in other contexts and for a broader audience.
In the first weeks of the course, there are lectures and tutorials about various aspects of academic writing, including style, structure, writing of outlines and drafts, preparing figures, and using LaTeX. Starting from week 2, the students go through the different stages of the writing process by preparing an assignment about a self-chosen topic from one of their earlier courses.
There will be several rounds of feedback. Around week 3, students will discuss the outlines of their texts in groups of 3 to 4 students in order to get a first idea to what extent their plans appear to be feasible in the eyes of others. Around week 6 of the course, the students shall have a first draft of their text ready. Each draft will be sent to two other students who should read it and comment on it based on the structure and style recommendations provided in the lectures. The final version of the text should take this feedback into account. It should be submitted at the end of the course.
Knowledge from first year courses in mathematics or physics is assumed.
The outline, the draft and the final texts of the students will be evaluated based on rubrics. The course is pass/fail. Passing is based on the evaluation of outline, draft and feedback on the texts of your peers (and not only the final text).
Besides the lectures and tutorials in the first few weeks that are mentioned above, the writing process of the assignment will be supported by more tutorials in the second half of the course. In these tutorials the students will discuss the outlines of their texts in small groups. Towards the end there will be question and answer sessions where students can get support from the lecturers and teaching assistants. Moreover, there will be additional smaller homework assignments accompanying some of the lectures and tutorials.
It will be announced in due time which for which of the lectures and tutorials attendance is mandatory.
Language of instruction
The course will be taught in English. In exceptional cases and in consultation with the lecturers, the assignment can be written in Dutch.
Number of students
A waiting list is installed for this course. The number of students is limited to 80; 40 from the mathematics programme, 40 from the physics and astronomy programme. Students in their third year or above, who have not yet finished a writing course will be placed first. The second criterium is the date of registration.