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Skip to 0 minutes and 7 secondsHi. Welcome to the Beginner's Guide to Academic Writing for University. My name is Steve Thomas. And I teach EAP, English for Academic Purposes, here at the University of Reading. This course is all about writing. We know there are lots of people like you from countries all around the world who would like to take a degree in English. But you're worried that your English isn't good enough. Well, this is the beginner's guide. So your writing skills only need to be good enough for a pre-university course. If you know IELTS, that's about IELTS 4.5. But even if your writing skills are stronger than this, we still think this would be a useful course for you.

Skip to 0 minutes and 44 secondsIn fact, this week we'll be showing you the very first piece of writing that a student did on our course a few years ago. And then we'll show you the final piece of writing he did at the end of the course. And you'll be able to see just how much he was able to improve in a few short weeks. The student's name is Xiao. And he went on to complete his undergraduate degree here at University of Reading and then take a master's. And he's currently taking a PhD. At the University of California in Los Angeles in the United States.

Skip to 1 minute and 17 secondsIf you follow this course closely, we think that you'll be able to make the same kind of improvements that Xiao has. It won't make you an expert writer. But what it will do is give you a solid base for you to build on in the future. Together with my colleagues, Anne Vicary and Sebastian Watkins, we'll be showing you how to write with good academic style, how to organise your ideas effectively. And we'll also be working on some of the most important areas of grammar. There will be plenty of practice activities. And by the end of the course, you'll have written a complete essay, which you'll be able to share with your fellow students. You'll receive feedback on that writing.

Skip to 1 minute and 56 secondsAnd hopefully you'll be able to give useful feedback to others. So let's meet Anne and Seb. Hello, my name's Anne. And I'm a teacher of English for Academic Purposes at the University of Reading. I want to talk to you about how to approach this course. Firstly, make sure you do all the exercises. Try and do them in the right order. Try and have a go at not looking at the answers before you've actually done the exercises. Secondly, it's really important that you have a go at posting to the discussion board because in that way you're going to learn more. So put your ideas on the discussion board. Don't be scared. And give feedback to the other students whenever you want.

Skip to 2 minutes and 38 secondsHello, my name's Seb Watkins. And I'm an academic writing tutor at the University of Reading. I'll be working with you more closely in weeks two and four of this course, when we look at essay organisation and the stages in writing an essay. During the course, we'll ask you to do a range of activities. Some of these will be online. And some of them will be paper based. You'll be able to check your answers to the activities and tasks we give you as you go along. Good luck, and I hope you enjoy the course. OK, you've met the team. And now we'd like to meet you. The first activity is for you to get used to using the discussion board.

Skip to 3 minutes and 13 secondsSo introduce yourself, and then answer a couple of questions. Enjoy the course.

Welcome to Week 1

Join Steve, Anne and Seb – the three educators on this course to find out what you will learn over the next five weeks and how you should approach this course.

The transcript file is a written version of what is said in the video. All of the videos in this course will include a transcript, so if you find it difficult to understand what is being said, you can read along. You can view the transcript underneath each video by clicking in the view transcript button in the bottom left corner of each video. Or you might find it helpful to download the transcript. For all other transcripts, you can download these at the bottom of the relevant video Step.

If you are having trouble streaming the videos online, you can always download them by clicking the link in the bottom right hand corner of the video.

You can follow the educators for this course by clicking through to their profiles. You can then see their comments on the course. Just filter by ‘Following’.

You can also follow our mentors’ profiles: The mentors will be on hand to help support the discussions. They’ll answer questions where they can, but we can’t promise that they’ll be able to respond to everyone.

Writing in English for University Study Programme

Did you know this course is part of our exciting programme ‘Writing in English for University Study’? You can choose to take three courses which follow on from each other to help you develop your academic writing skills. Find out more on the programme page.

If you have upgraded your course, the content will be available for you to view indefinitely after you finish. Good luck with this week and we hope you enjoy the course!



The International Study and Language Institute has over 40 years’ experience in providing language courses and academic training to international students. It has a world-wide reputation for academic excellence and student support and it offers a range of courses that will help you to improve your English language skills for university study. You can find out more information on its website.

You may like to read our blog post on the story of Xiao, a student who studied at The International Study and Language Institute and has since gone on to do a PhD.

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This video is from the free online course:

A Beginner's Guide to Writing in English for University Study

University of Reading

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