Unit 2: What Makes Academic Writing Unique?
University students need to know how to write an effective academic essay. At its core, any academic essay is essentially an argument. This does not mean you are penning a series of aggressive verbal attacks; rather, you are using language to persuade someone to adopt a certain perspective.
For example, you may be asked to write an essay on how the revolution changed the culture in your country. Your response is an argument, in which you try to persuade your audience that the war changed cultural norms in three or four specific ways. As you create your argument, think about your writing as a conversation between yourself and an audience.
The way you choose to build and support your argument has a great deal to do with how you see yourself as part of the conversation. If you envision your work as a response to an existing prompt, the reader with whom you are "speaking" should shape the way you write.
For example, imagine someone asks you why a politician acted in a certain way. You will probably respond in one way if the questioner is your five-year-old cousin, another way if they are a friend who is your same age, and yet another if they are your boss. You should approach every writing project with this same awareness of audience. Keep these ideas about argument and conversation in mind as we explore how to develop an academic essay.
The rhetorical situation we discussed in Unit 1 should influence the argument you choose, the type of essay you write, and the way you organize your ideas. In Unit 2 we review these issues in detail and discuss a highly-structured approach to writing an argument. By the end of this unit, you should be ready to write an academic essay.
Throughout Unit 2 we ask you to complete a number of activities which will culminate in writing an argumentative essay. Choose one point you promoted in your Unit 1 essay topic and develop it further. The assigned topic for the Unit 2 activities and the essay is how your selected activity or characteristic affects success in an Internet-based college course.
Completing this unit should take you approximately 11 hours.