Course Descriptions

In this six-week academic program, students will take classes that integrate critical reading, analytical writing and oral communication skills though the study of short fiction, non-fiction and various other academic texts. Students will also gain practical experience by applying their acquired knowledge outside of the classroom in authentic settings. More details will be provided on the first day of classes.

Critical Reading in the Humanities and Social Sciences

This course will prepare you for the critical reading that will be expected of you as a Brandeis student. You will learn effective strategies for tackling difficult material as well as how to unpack a text for meaning through analysis and close reading.   In the process, you will increase your academic vocabulary, your capacity to develop your own reading of a text and reach a greater understanding of American and Western cultural values and controversies.  You will also learn to increase your reading speed through skimming and scanning, and develop different strategies for coping with more complex texts. In class we will focus primarily on reading skills. You will be asked to write one short paper each week to demonstrate your reading comprehension and practice your analytical skills. You will also have the opportunity to revise your writing.

Analytical Writing

This course will prepare you for the analytical writing that will be expected of you as a Brandeis student. You will learn how to summarize a text effectively, recognize the elements of good academic writing from paragraph structure to thesis development, and select and use evidence to produce effective analysis. You will construct a convincing argument of your own in a 4-page final paper, which will go through multiple stages of pre-drafts and revisions. In the process, you will learn how to close-read and analyze texts to identify patterns of thought which you will then critique. You will learn how to structure your written argument in the most effective way and develop the rudiments of style. Apart from constructing a straightforward argument, you will also learn a little about satire, which is a form of expository writing which uses humor and irony to make strong social criticisms. You will also try your hand at playwriting; drama is a literary genre that is rich and rewarding, and you will enjoy transforming prose into action.

Academic Oral Communication

This class will focus on strategies for improving all aspects of oral communication in an academic setting, including but not limited to effective classroom interactions, impromptu speaking, presentations, interacting with instructors, advisors & peers. You will also be expected to participate in class discussions and will need to be prepared to contribute your opinion effectively and succinctly, or ask questions effectively in class. Activities will include watching and listening to live weekly guest lectures, studying and practicing listening strategies, and participating in a weekly practicum.