All students should be required to take an introductory writing course. I might be a stickler for clear, grammatically-correct writing, but I can’t take your arguments seriously if I don’t understand them.
After high school English, some students are glad to finally rid themselves of the tedious grammar exercises, the dreadful peer editing and the bullshit essays, but these skills are needed more than ever in university where ideas need to be communicated effectively.
People will say that they don't need the art of writing because they're a science major, but whether you’re in English, arts, science, business or engineering, every student writes an academic paper at some point in their university career, and every paper should be comprehensible.
To make a solid argument, you need decent writing skills. Take grammar for example. A recent Pratt Tribune headline read “Students get first hand job experience” which can be interpreted two ways: a first-hand job experience or a first hand-job experience. Depending on the reader's interpretation, the context changes. These misinterpretations can weaken arguments because the reader is no longer clear about the points made.
Graduation requirements at Western University state that a minimum of 2.0 essay credits must be taken, but these essay credits usually aren’t sufficient.
I have taken essay credit courses in the Faculty of Health Sciences, and I can say that I only wrote one essay per course, and though I learned about the topics I researched, I learned very little about essay writing.
These courses aren’t equipped with the necessary writing skills to develop clear, comprehensible arguments, which is the point behind these credits.
In most health science courses, grammar, spelling and clarity are included in a small section on the marking schemes, but most of the marks are allocated towards citations. Although these courses attempt to grade students on their writing skills, students aren’t learning to make clear arguments, to write concisely or to use proper grammar.
This lack of communication is clear in group projects and online discussions. When I read the work of a university student, and I am struggling to make sense of a sentence fragment that has neither subject nor verb, my head wants to split.
Online discussions don’t need to be grammatically perfect, but they should, at the very least, be comprehensible. After all, I first need to understand the argument before I can respond. However, some students make little to no sense in their fragmented and incoherent statements. The sad part is that they are confident in their arguments, yet the argument doesn’t exist.
Maybe students don’t edit their online discussions for concision or grammar since they have a limited time to post replies, but assignments are worth so much more.
While working on group assignments, I have stumbled across paragraphs of information that are redundant or that are irrelevant to the assignment because a group mate misinterpreted the question. How do you expect to ace an assignment when you’re only reiterating one point repeatedly or not even fulfilling the requirements?
Everyone should take the introductory writing courses, not just any essay credit. At the very least, you’ll finally understand the difference between a colon and a semicolon, but most people walk out with a better understanding of argumentative writing.
I'm still not the best writer, but at least my writing has improved. My advice: go take some writing courses.