English Expeditions - Ritsumeikan University

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Discussion Skills

Course Description

This course aims to develop students’ competence in both participating in and leading a small scientific research team. Firstly, students will focus on critical thinking skills while identifying the issues of an article, the author’s stance on those issues, and the supporting evidence for that stance. Secondly, students will practice oral skills including: 1) debate, discussion, and persuasion skills as part of the critical thinking skills above, 2) communication skills among members of a group, and 3) presentations skills in presenting a short report of findings to a small group and a poster presentation to a larger audience. Finally, students will practice writing skills with a short essay using the Online Homework Submission and Evaluation System.

Course Goals

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • find articles related to their research and evaluate the usefulness and reliability of those articles
  • lead, participate in, and evaluate scientific research team discussions
  • create and deliver a short poster presentation based on a research article

For more detailed information, check the Can-do Goals for this course.

Grading Criteria

Grades will be based on the following:

1 Poster Presentation 15 points
NOTE: A score of 0 for your presentation will result in an unsatisfactory grade ('F') for the course.
15 points
1 Quiz 13 points 13 points
1 Discussion Presentation 10 points 10 points
13 In-class Tasks In-class tasks are graded on a 4-3-2-1-0 scale. If all requirements of the task are completed at an exceptional level, you will receive 4 points; if they are fully met, you will receive 3 points; if they are adequately met, 2 points; if they are only partially met, 1 point; if you do not participate in the task or are absent, 0 points. 52 points
1 Homework Assignment 10 points (no late homework is accepted) 10 points
Late to class, using your cell phone, chattering in Japanese, sleeping in class, no text, no dictionary minus 1 point  


Discussion and Presentation Skills: English Expeditions, Seibido Publishing Co., Ltd.

Note: You are required to purchase a copy of this text for this class. Any possession of a copy of this text (even if it is your own copy) from a previous semester will be considered a violation of academic honesty.

English-English Dictionary

You are required to bring an English-English dictionary to class every day. See the list of recommended dictionaries below for more information.

Course Schedule Print

Class Unit Stage Workshop Homework Quiz
1 Orientation
2 Unit 1 Text Materials      
3 Unit 1 Discussion Presentations I      
4 Unit 1 Discussion Presentations II      
5 Unit 2 Text Materials      
6 Unit 2 Discussion Presentations I      
7 Unit 2 Discussion Presentations II      
8 Unit 3 Text Materials Writing I    
9 Unit 3 Discussion Presentations I Writing II    
10 Unit 3 Discussion Presentations II   HW10  
11     Presentation   Quiz (Units 1-3)
12     Writing Feedback
13 Unit 1 Poster Presentations      
14 Unit 2 Poster Presentations      
15 Unit 3 Poster Presentations      

Course Can-do Goals

Course-related Language Skills

Reading Skills

  1. I can read a moderately complex 700~1200 word article.
  2. I can quickly find the information that I’m looking for in an article.
  3. I can quickly get the gist of an article.
  4. I can read and understand both concrete and abstract language, dealing with facts, opinions and feelings.
  5. I understand what bias is and I can determine if an article has it.
  6. I can identify the key words of an article.
  7. I can paraphrase and summarize the key points of an article.
  8. I know the differences between comprehension questions and discussion/research questions and can use them properly.
  9. I can judge the reliability of an article based on its source, purpose, and biases.

Discussion Skills

  1. I can participate in a small group discussion and express my opinions, feelings, and reservations about a topic.
  2. I can lead a small group discussion, expressing my opinions and eliciting opinions from other group members.
  3. When I know that people do not understand me, I can correct myself or rephrase what I said.
  4. I can use a variety of sentence structures and idioms.
  5. I can ask people to repeat when I don’t understand.
  6. I can use a number of strategies to keep a conversation going.
  7. I can agree or disagree with another person’s opinions.

Presentation Skills: Creating a Presentation

  1. I can follow the basic presentation pattern to create a poster presentation.
  2. I can properly organize the slides for a poster presentation.
  3. I can identify information that should be presented in a chart or graph.
  4. I can properly cite my sources.

Presentation Skills: Delivering a Presentation

  1. I can follow the basic presentation pattern to deliver a poster presentation.
  2. I can make eye contact effectively when delivering a poster presentation.
  3. I can use gestures effectively when delivering a poster presentation.
  4. I can speak loudly and clearly when delivering a poster presentation.
  5. I can effectively control my pace when delivering a poster presentation.
  6. I can give an honest answer to a question from an audience member.

Presentation Skills: Attending a Presentation

  1. I can understand a poster presentation on a familiar subject.
  2. I can provide constructive positive feedback on a poster presentation.
  3. I can provide constructive negative feedback on a poster presentation.
  4. I can properly identify myself when asking a question to a presenter.
  5. I can ask relevant questions to a presenter.
  6. I can thank a presenter for their presentation and for answering my question.

Writing Skills

  1. I can write a properly organized four-paragraph essay.
  2. I can write a properly organized introductory paragraph.
  3. I can write a properly organized body paragraph.
  4. I can write a properly organized concluding paragraph.
  5. I can write a clear and concise thesis statement.
  6. I can write a clear and concise topic sentence.
  7. I can write clear and concise supporting sentences.
  8. I can write a clear and concise transitional sentence.
  9. I can write a clear and concise summary sentence.

IT Skills

  1. I can use critical browsing skills to quickly find information on a web site.
  2. I can use advanced searching techniques to quickly find information on the Internet.
  3. I can use word-processing software to create a worksheet for an academic discussion.
  4. I can use presentation software to create a poster presentation.
  5. I can choose an effective design in presentation software for my presentation content.
  6. I can use data-processing software create a chart or graph.

Program-wide Standards

Grading Scale

90% or more, A+; 80-89%, A; 70-79%, B; 60-69%, C; below 60%, F

NOTE: At the end of your second semester, you will be taking a TOEIC-IP exam. You will then be re-streamed for your second-year courses based on the results of this achievement exam, your placement test, and the numerical average of all of your first-year English courses. Therefore, it is important to strive for not only a high letter grade, but also for the highest numerical grade that you are capable of.

Attendance Policy

Students are expected to attend class regularly. Failure to attend class regularly may result in a reduction of the student's overall grade. Students will be penalized 3 'demerits' for each absence and 1 'demerit' for each 30-minute period they're late. Students who accumulate more than 15 'demerits' (the equivalent of 5 absences) will receive an unsatisfactory grade ('F') for the course, regardless of their actual score. As a rule, no make-up work will be given for unexcused absences.

NOTE: Students who fail to take the TOEIC-IP exam will have 5 points subtracted from the total score of EACH English class they are enrolled in.

English-English Dictionaries

You are required to bring an English-English dictionary to class every day. The following is a list of quality paper dictionaries for English language learners. You may use any other dictionary or you may elect to use an electronic dictionary.

Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary, Oxford University Press.
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, Longman Press.
Collins Cobuild English Dictionary, HarperCollins Publishers.

Online FAQs

A bilingual set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) has been prepared for each course, as well as a general set for the entire curriculum. You can access these FAQs from the menus on your English Expeditions home page. Please read all of your FAQs before your second meeting.

Extra-Credit Points

The English Expeditions extra-credit system is tied into the TOEIC exercises, in order to encourage all students to practice their TOEIC test-taking skills in preparation for the TOEIC examination. For more information on the TOEIC examination, see the TOEIC Exercises section of your Online Education text. The extra-credit point system is as follows:

Semester One Semester Two Semester Three Semester Four
Correctly complete the following cycles of TOEIC exercises BEFORE their deadlines.

Cycle 1 (1 point): April 30
Cycle 2 (2 points): May 30
Cycle 3 (3 points): June 30
Correctly complete the following cycles of TOEIC exercises BEFORE their deadlines.

Cycle 1 (1 point): October 20
Cycle 2 (2 points): November 15
Cycle 3 (3 points): November 30


Score higher on the TOEIC test than you scored on the placement test.
Correctly complete the following cycles of TOEIC exercises BEFORE their deadlines.

Cycle 1 (1 point): April 30
Cycle 2 (2 points): May 30
Cycle 3 (3 points): June 30
Correctly complete the following cycles of TOEIC exercises BEFORE their deadlines.

Cycle 1 (1 point): October 20
Cycle 2 (2 points): November 15
Cycle 3 (3 points): November 30


Score higher on the second TOEIC test than you scored on both the first TOEIC test and the placement test.

NOTE: Students who have failed to score higher than 0 on any Homework Assignments or have been found in violation of our academic honesty policy are ineligible for extra-credit points.

The Extra-Credit points available for each course are outlined in the chart below.  Blue cells  only apply to Fall classes.
Note: TOEIC Bridge-IP scores will be converted to TOEIC-IP scores for all calculations.

No Academic
HW > 0 TOEIC Exercise
Cycles Completed
by Deadline
TOEIC-IP Exam Extra-
Credit Points
1 2 3 Took Exam Score Gain TOP 5 Score TOP Gain Class Score
> 200
< 20% Drop
OR OR -5
OR OR -5
OR OR -5


The following guidelines are designed to make your English classes run a bit more smoothly. Please take the time to read each of them carefully and ask questions if any of the points are unclear.


  • No chattering when someone else (especially the teacher!!) has the floor.
  • In-class tasks must be completed in English. English classes meet only once a week for 90 minutes. If you speak Japanese while you're in English class, you're wasting possibly your only chance to practice English every week.
  • Use only a ballpoint pen for text-based exercises. It is important to learn from your mistakes and if you use a pencil, you'll probably end up erasing your mistakes. If you find that you've made a mistake, cross it out with a single line (so that you can still read it and learn from it!).
  • Attendance is taken only once per class. If you come late, be sure to write your name on the blackboard so that the teacher can mark you present after class.
  • Turn off all portable telephones during class and remove them from your desk during class.
  • Do not do homework from other classes during your English class.


Language courses in the Faculty of Sciences and Engineering are designated as lectures. You are required to devote two hours of study outside of class for every one hour inside the classroom. The following are suggestions to help you use the textbook, both inside and outside of the classroom, to its fullest.

  • Since we only have a few minutes together each week, it is important that you thoroughly prepare for each class. Fully complete each assignment, writing as many details as possible, before you come to the classroom. If you are absent, check your syllabus for the scheduled assignment.
  • Always, always, always bring your text to class! If you've forgotten your text, then borrow one of your classmates' and make copies for the lesson that we will be covering in class that day. You cannot expect to do well in class if you don't have your book. Remember, if you don't bring your text to class, you will have one point deducted from your in-class exercise score for that day.
  • Although we may not have time to cover every section of each unit in class, you are still responsible for the entire unit. Therefore, when reviewing each unit, make sure that you review the entire unit.
  • Do NOT open your textbooks in the classroom, including before class begins, until your teacher instructs you to do so.

The Academic Honesty Policy for S&E English Classes

The following will be considered violations of our academic honesty policy:

  1. Copying answers from another student's exercise, quiz, etc. before or during class.
  2. Showing your exercise, quiz, etc. to another student before or during class.
  3. Using any form of 'cheat sheet' in performing an exercise, quiz, etc.
  4. Taking copies of an exercise, quiz, etc. (including unused copies) outside of the classroom. (This includes taking pictures of the exercise, quiz, etc.)
  5. Using writing instruments or telephones during feedback of an in-class exercise, quiz, etc.
  6. Copying answers from another student's exercise, quiz, etc. while it is being administered.
  7. Copying any portion of a homework exercise from another student.
  8. Allowing any portion of your homework exercise to be copied by another student.
  9. Copying (or closely paraphrasing) portions of a homework assignment from other sources (printed matter, the Internet, etc.) and presenting it as your own, regardless of whether you acknowledge the source. This includes using translation software to translate any portion of your submission into English.
  10. Sharing Rainbow or English Expeditions User IDs or Passwords with another student.

Any of the above violations will result in a score of 0 for ALL exercises on that day, as well as forfeiting your chance for extra-credit.



  1. 他者のQuiz, Exercise(予習用課題、復習用課題を含む)の答えを勝手に盗み見たり、写させてもらったりした場合
  2. 他者にQuiz, Exercise(予習用課題、復習用課題を含む)の答えを写させた場合
  3. Quiz, Exercise等において、カンニングペーパー等を使用した場合
  4. Quiz, Exercise等の答案(未使用のものも含む)を不当に持ち帰った場合 (カメラ付き携帯等による撮影も含みます)
  5. Quiz, Exercise等のフィードバックの際、筆記用具、携帯電話等を手にした場合 (正答を盗もうとしたとみなします)
  6. その他、Quiz, Exercise等の実施を妨害する行為、他者の受験を妨害する行為、 替え玉受験等も、不正行為とみなします。
  7. Homework Assignmentにおいて、他者のAssignmentの一部または全部をコピーした場合
  8. Homework Assignmentにおいて、他者に自身のAssignmentの一部または全部を コピーさせた場合
  9. Homework Assignmentにおいて、書籍やWWWのサイトから得た情報をそのまま、 もしくは改ざんの後、断りなく(引用を明記せずに)、自身のAssignmentに盗り入れた(すなわち著作権を侵害した)場合(英語の授業で課されるassignmentの多くは、引用を明記する、しないにかかわらず、一切の引用を認めていません) 。これには翻訳ソフトの使用も含みます。一旦日本語で書いて、それを翻訳ソフトを利用して翻訳して提出することは、それがたとえ一文であっても許されません。
  10. RainbowやEnglish ExpeditionsのユーザーIDやパスワードの授受があった場合

上記、および上記に類する「不正行為」があった場合は、当該学生の当該科目における、その日の得点を0点にするとともに、Extra-credit pointsはすべて無効になります。