The EIS program offers courses in oral communication, academic writing, pronunciation, and college teaching for international teaching assistants. More than 300 international graduate students from many departments and countries take EIS courses each year. Most students enroll in EIS courses as a result of the placement exams; however, we welcome all international graduate students who want to improve their English skills.
You can register for EIS classes in the same way you register for your other classes, through ACES. EIS classes carry three or four credits and are graded on a credit/no credit basis.
GS 720: Academic Writing I (3 credits)
This course teaches international graduate students some of the basic text forms of graduate-level writing, with a strong focus on developing an awareness of field-specific text forms through text analysis. Topics include recognizing and avoiding plagiarism, writing acceptable paraphrases, and learning field-specific citation styles. The course offers practice in peer review, the writing process, and formal/informal vocabulary usage. Writing conferences with each student are held at least twice during the semester for personalized guidance.
GS 721: Oral Communication (4 credits)
This course primarily uses a task-based approach to language learning to improve academic oral/aural English language proficiency. Tasks may include delivering an informative academic presentation, arguing a position, participating in group discussions, explaining visual information and fielding Q&A, among others. By the end of the course, students should be able to speak with improved fluency, intelligibility, and grammatical accuracy, and the mean length of utterances should also increase. GS 721 does include a pronunciation unit; however, students who would like more intensive and targeted pronunciation work should consider GS 740. Activities designed to improve both listening comprehension and oral skills will take place during the Friday class held in the Language Lab.
GS 730: Academic Writing II (3 credits)
This course concentrates on developing advanced skills in a variety of written academic genres. Students analyze and produce discipline-specific text forms and improve control over grammatical, syntactic, and rhetorical structures of academic writing. Through individualized instructor attention and peer review, students improve awareness of their individual writing strengths and weaknesses. They gain experience revising their texts and become familiar with online and other academic resources, facilitating continued self-directed learning.
GS 731: Academic Presentations (3 credits)
This course focuses on developing students’ academic and professional discussion, argumentation, and presentation skills. Students participate in discussions and give presentations on topics they choose. Each presentation is filmed and then analyzed individually, by peers, and with the instructor. The class also covers cultural expectations that affect successful cross-cultural communication. Units on improving pronunciation and fluency are incorporated, as necessary, throughout.
GS 740: Advanced Pronunciation (3 credits)
This course provides intensive pronunciation practice for non-native speakers of English who want to improve the clarity of their speech. The primary focus is improvement in the areas that increase intelligibility: word and phrase stress, intonation, and the rhythm of English speech. Consonant and vowel sounds are addressed as needed. Practice activities include in-class pair work, audio recordings, short presentations on field-specific topics, and mock job interviews.
GS 745: College Teaching for International Teaching Assistants (3 credits)
This course, which is designed for international students who will serve as Teaching Assistants (TAs), focuses on effective classroom communication in a variety of instructional settings (e.g., lectures, office hours, labs), with a particular emphasis on highly intelligible pronunciation of discipline-specific content. Students will refine their oral English language skills through micro-teaching activities and will read about and discuss topics such as the following: course and syllabus design, instructor/TA responsibilities, active learning, effective discussions, design of learning activities, office hours, instructional technology, development of grading criteria, and campus resources for academic and personal support. This course includes the content objectives of GS 750 (Fundamentals of College Teaching) and thus satisfies one of the coursework requirements for Duke’s Certificate in College Teaching (CCT) program.