Course Outline

Common Academic Modes of Discourse: Description, Exposition, and Argumentation

Students will gain experience in, and develop necessary skills and strategies for success in academic English environments. This course will focus on written and oral communication  in typical modes of discourse encountered in academic English environments.

  1. Introduction to Modes of Discourse
    1. Modes of Discourse:  Traditionally, there are four “modes” of academic discourse: Exposition, Description, Narration and Argumentation. We are going to look at three in some detail.
    2. Pretest Writing Sample
  2. Description 1: Using sensory information to paint a picture
    1. Define, Explain, Desribe
    2. Short Descriptive Passage 
    3. Next week: bring computers 
  3. Description Essay Assignment: 
    1. The Places We Love
  4. Exposition 1: Making Logical Comparisons; Simple Object and Abstract Ideas
  5. Logical Comparison Workshop
  6. Comparison Poster Presentations
  7. Exposition 2: Cause and Effect with GapMinder
  8. Cause and Effect Workshop
  9. Cause and Effect GapMinder Poster Presentations
  10. Inference: Cause & Effect & Imagination
  11. Scene of the Crime Presentations
  12. The SPSE + How To Presentation
  13. Presentation Workshop
  14. “Dress Rehearsal”
  15. Graded Presentation
  16. Make ups; Post test; Self Evaluation and Reflection


  • Description Essay: 10 pts
  • Comparison Presentation: 20 pts
  • Cause and Effect Presentation: 20 pts
  • Inference Presentation: 10pts
  • SPSE + How To Presentation: 40 pts


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