Can You Write Properly for Academic Reports and Dissertations?
2020-09-02 15:10:00
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PHBS-UK opened  its first  online summer course on academic writing on August 10, 2020, aimed at improving ability of students and academics to write good dissertations and academic reports on their research. Although the pandemic that has caused difficulty for us to pursue our normal summer activities, PHBS UK introduces online summer courses for helping students to learn more over their summer. This is to ensure all our UK and international students, wherever they are in the world, to gain an opportunity to learn  safely and to make sure that their summer is engaged and enriched. 
The first course  of summer online course is Academic and Dissertation Writing, which started on the 10th of August and ended on the 16th August. The course ran for six consecutive days of 2.5 hours each day. The students who had attended in this course were mainly from the UK, mainland China, Hong Kong SAR. They all had different academic backgrounds and different academic goals – some of them are applying for Master’s Programmes, some of them are in a Master’s Programme, and some would like to apply for a PhD study.  

The course provides a comprehensive review of the foundations of academic and dissertation writing, with a particular focus on issues about Plagiarism, how to summarize and paraphrase from the literature, how to write a good abstract, how to present the background, research problems and research gaps in  literature review, how to craft the a precise research question which is researchable, and how to present you methodology and analyse your results.
Students had to complete a number of reading and writing tasks at home which include summarizing and paraphrasing short articles, writing an abstract for an article, craft a working research question, amongst others. These works were discussed during the online tutorials and are also marked and commented upon in great detail by the lecturer. 
Due to  good engagement  and interaction between students and the lecturer, this course had obtained many positive comments from students. The detailed support from the lecturer was also very much appreciated by the students. Furthermore, from the language perspective, the students thought that this course also boosted their confidence, particularly those who are non-native English speaking, towards the presenting and writing of their research. 
It is through learning from each other and learning from one’s mistakes can one learn to be a better writer and a better academic. It is hoped that the course could  provide students with the skills necessary to write good quality research dissertations or academic papers that will stand up to academic scrutiny. Moreover, it is hoped that through this course, our students were equipped with the necessary foundation to be a better academic writer and laid the groundwork in making them understand the  requirements in writing a good research proposal, a good  dissertation, or any writing tasks required for their future academic pursuits.
PHBS UK will run this course to public further in the coming time, and please visit its website at for the course plan.
Here are the testimonials from students:
Student from Hong Kong
Through our academic writing online learning program, I have gained advanced academic writing skills including how to determine the topic and main thesis, how to structure the essay framework, how to adopt a standard writing format, how to correctly cite literature and how to use words and sentences accurately and appropriately. The arrangement of the courses is in well structured and in good order; Both the teacher and her teaching assistant are very attentive. The teacher explained in detail and included examples to help us understand better, and the homework exercises after class included a wide range of areas, which allowed us to explore new knowledge and develop our writing skills.
Student from Mainland China
Thanks for the wonderful lectures that  Dr Carryn Yong has given to us.  They really benefitted me a lot, especially the lecture on plagiarism.  Before this lecture, I thought that plagiarism was something too detached from me as I would definitely not do it.  However, after the lecture, I realised that plagiarism can even be accidental, and that  we might not even realize it. I have learned that  we have to be diligent in trying to avoid it and check our work over and over again. I have learned so much from these lectures and I think they will definitely help me in my application of a PhD programme.
Student from the UK
The academic writing course last week has been of great benefit to me. I am now preparing the research proposal for my PhD application and last week’s course gave me very clear guidance from the framework of academic writing to the writing skills of each part. I am very grateful that I took part in this course. The courses taught by Dr Carryn are rich in content and the design and arrangement of the courses are also very good. Many thanks to Dr Carryn for her outstanding teaching.
Written by Yuting Hang, edited by Prof Guy Liu and Dr Carryn Yong