Writing Skills in PEL
The Program for Experienced Learners is an academically rigorous liberal arts program and requires college-level writing ability. During the LLV course, students have the opportunity to study and develop academic writing. It is essential for each student to have a writing handbook and to use it carefully and frequently in the LLV course as well as subsequent courses. Not only will a handbook serve as an excellent refresher on such subjects as proper word usage, punctuation, sentence and paragraph formation, it will also be invaluable in helping you write convincing and well-organized research papers in the correct form and style.
Documenting Source Material
Several methods of documentation exist, and different academic disciplines use different methods or styles. In LLV, you will probably use the MLA style of documentation, but be sure to clarify this with your instructor. After LLV, you should check with the professor of each course regarding the style of documentation you will be expected to use. While style may vary, all of your professors will require that you document your sources. Failure to do so is a grave violation of academic standards. For more detail and exercises on documenting source material, you may see Diana Hacker's web site.
No discussion of college writing is complete without mention of plagiarism. Failure (either purposeful or unintentional) to cite sources is considered a serious problem in academic writing. You must acknowledge use of someone else's exact words both by using quotation marks and by offering an appropriate citation. You must acknowledge use of someone else's ideas, opinions or specific information, even if you summarize or paraphrase. You must be careful to attribute sources you have used in your text, and you must include a list of work(s) cited or references whenever you use sources. Failing grades on the assignment or for the course are typical penalties at Eckerd College for blatant plagiarism.
PEL/LLV Writing Support
To help you develop your critical reading and writing skills, PEL has designed weekly writing tutorial sessions to run parallel with the LLV classes. Tutorials meet each week to discuss writing issues and to help students prepare for the upcoming writing assignments. Consultants are also available to students as needed on an individual basis. After LLV, you may consult with your adviser or contact the PEL office for additional information or referrals. In addition to PEL writing consultants, Eckerd College offers a Writing Center where trained consultants are available to help students with writing assignments. PEL students should check with the PEL office to determine Writing Center hours since they are subject to change each semester. The Writing Center is not open during the summer.