BAU SFL “Online Writing Support Unit” - For Graduate School Students

BAU SFL (School of Foreign Languages) is starting an “Online Writing Support Unit” (OWSU) to run in the Spring Term of this academic year for Graduate School students starting from the week of 21-25 March. Stephen Kuntz, the Associate Director of Academic Success Center, in the University of Alberta in Canada will be facilitating the unit activities. 

OWSU aims to empower students of BAU Graduate School to become more confident writers in their coursework & beyond. There will be two types of activities to run in OWSU:

1. Writing Track (one-on-one online writing tutorials): Writing Track sessions are “one-on-one” online writing tutorials to be held on MS Teams. A graduate student can book a 25-minute appointment to get individualized assistance with their writing assignments. Learners should have all relevant documents ready with them (e.g. their drafts, assignment prompt, course readings etc.) before the appointment. Please note that these sessions aim to “support” learners in their writing process by helping them improve their own writing & editing skills rather than “fixing” their papers.

2. Writing Workshops (weekly online sessions): Writing workshops are 1-hour long online input sessions on a variety of topics that address various stages of academic writing. Graduate learners can attend these online workshops synchronously (live) or asynchronously (after the session). For live participation, learners are required to register to the workshop in advance. Learners who miss these live workshops are welcome to watch the records by clicking on the relevant links to be provided on the Graduate School’s website.


Writing Track

Writing Workshops

  • To start in the week of March 21-25
  • Platform: MS Teams
  • 2 days a week: Mondays and Thursdays
  • 2 hour blocks, between 10:30 am-12:30 pm    (4 appointments a day)
  • Each appointment is 25 mins
  • Session start times are as follows: 10:30; 11:00; 11:30; 12:00.
  • Open to all graduate students writing an academic paper
  • Learners should come with as specific (a question/issue) as possible and have their document ready to share and/or email it to ahead of time.
  • Please click here to sign-up for an available slot.
  • To start in the week of March 21-25
  • Platform: MS Teams
  • 1 session per week for 12 weeks
  • Wednesdays, 10:30-11:30
  • 45 mins + questions   
  • Some session titles are as follows:

“Characteristics of Effective writing”

“Punctuation and Relationships”

“Writing the Introduction”

“Effective Quoting”

“Avoiding Plagiarism Traps” ……

  • Click here to access the registration link for each workshop.


Below are further details about OWSU advisor Stephen and his writing workshops in the appendix.



Stephen Kuntz, Associate Director, Academic Success Centre, University of Alberta, Canada

Stephen has served in three areas at the U of A in over 25 years: a literature instructor in the English department, teaching the first year required Literature/Writing course; an English for Academic Purposes instructor in the English Language Program; and as director of Writing Resources since 2006. Stephen offers writing workshops, student consultations, and an editing service, as well as teaches on plagiarism awareness and academic-cultural transition. A veteran teacher having graded more than 10,000 essays, he still finds great satisfaction in teaching and aiding people in becoming better thinkers and communicators, primarily through focusing on their writing.


These workshops are intended to aid you in developing your understanding of academic writing in general and your own writing in particular. The goal is that through this understanding and your increased ability to see your strengths, weaknesses, and habits, you will gain confidence in moving forward in your writing. Below are some workshop titles and their summaries:

  • Characteristics of Effective Writing

How do you know if what you have written is effective? This session will introduce you to the characteristics of effective writing and provide tips for improving your writing.

  • Punctuation and Relationships    

Do you know how to use a semi-colon or even a comma? Dashes? Correct use of grammar and punctuation isn’t everything, but it is important, making a difference in what you say and how you are received. Learn how punctuation and grammar help communicate relationships between sentences and ideas.

  • Writing the Introduction

This session will show you what an effective introduction should have and do.

  • Writing Thesis Statements:

What is a thesis statement, where should it go, and what should it do?

  •  Writing the Conclusion:

Can conclusions do more than conclude? Learn how to end essays.

  • Writing Concisely:

Most of us are wordy. Don’t be. Learn five techniques to reduce your writing by up to 20% without losing content.

  • Writing Clearly and Coherently

Why is your writing so clear to you but not to others? Learn to improve sentence level clarity and write for a specific audience for a specific purpose. Learn how to connect your ideas and paragraphs structurally, smoothly, and logically so your reader can follow what you are trying to communicate.

  • Effective Quoting:

This session will discuss the do’s and don’ts of effective quoting and how to integrate quoted material smoothly, logically, and grammatically.

  • Avoiding Plagiarism Traps:

This session addresses the definitions, causes, and pitfalls of plagiarism. It also reviews various strategies and resources for writers seeking to "plagiarism protect" themselves.

  • Beyond “Your Own Words”: Paraphrasing

You are told to just “put in your own words.” But really, how many words are actually yours? This session addresses the definition, principles, and practice of paraphrasing as a necessary skill to develop.    

  • Editing and Revising Your Documents:

What’s the difference between correcting and revising a paper? Learn some tips on how to “SEE” your writing better and move from making your writing merely correct to making it effective.


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