Teaching College Students to Communicate: A Discussion with Elena Cotos

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Listen to this interview of Elena Cotos, Director of the Center for Communication Excellence at the Graduate College (Iowa State University) and also Associate Professor in the English Department (Iowa State University). We talk about the needs of both students and faculty for training in scholarly communication, and we talk about one excellent way that those needs are being met, the Center for Communication Excellence.

Elena Cotos : "When I'd begun, as a student, to write academic texts, you know, initially I'd thought it was my English that was to blame, but then I discovered I just didn't know the genre. Because, when I started, I wasn't really thinking about how a genre has certain conventions that are accepted by the disciplinary community and that are expected by the readership in a field—and not only in just a field, but across fields, because conventions are also cross-disciplinary. And this is what I discovered through my research. This is what I uncovered when I looked at multiple disciplines and saw that really they do share communicative goals, and that really they do use very similar sets of rhetorical strategies when they build their scientific arguments. So, I was a bit mistaken to think that the problem was my English, because it's really more about genre knowledge than about English-language proficiency."

Danie Sheal hosts Scholarly Communication, the podcast about how knowledge gets known.

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