University of Florida

Communicating in Academia -Guide for Graduate Students

Semester Taught - Spring - Distance Education with chat sessions

Catalog Description

Credits: 3

This course is designed to teach graduate students about academic writing, specifically focused on research proposals, theses, dissertations, manuscripts, grant proposals, and CVs. The course was developed to teach students about aspects of academic writing that are not normally part of graduate curriculum but are necessary to succeed.



Course Objectives

Those successfully completing this course will be able to:

  • Define plagiarism and identify plagiarism
  • Identify graduate research proposal elements required by the student’s department and advisor
  • Identify keywords associated with a research topic
  • Create a writing schedule depicting how a thesis or dissertation can be completed to meet deadlines
  • Create a manuscript outline and identify key components
  • Create figures and tables using professional practices
  • Identify appropriate journals for publishing research
  • Create an academic CV
  • Locate grant proposal announcement, identify key components to a good proposal
  • Identify key elements of a good presentation


Dr. Kati Migliaccio
Telephone: 352-392-1864 x273
Web site:

Dr. Yuncong Li
Telephone:  305-246-7001 x 282
E-mail address:
Web site:

Drs. Migliaccio and Li will return email and phone messages within 48 hours of receiving them. Do not expect messages to be returned over the weekend.

Material/Supply Fees

To be determined. Course is offered on Sakai.

Class Materials Required

Sakai (
A valid UF login is needed in order to register for this training. This course is offered through Sakai and therefore requires internet access. Internet speeds vary, wireless and DSL will likely result in slow video downloads. To check the speed of your connection, try A speed rating of A or B should be sufficient. Internet connections with speeds graded as C or less are likely to be slow.

Textbooks and Software Required:

  • Katz, M.J. 2009. From Research to Manuscript. 2nd ed. Cleveland, OH: Springer.
  • Hacker, D. and N. Sommers. 2010. A Writer's Reference. 7th ed. Boston, MA: Bedford Books of St. Martin's Press. 

Recommended Reading: (The list and readings will be modified based on availability of e-version of these books. The request of purchasing has been submitted to the UF library)

  • Luellen, W. 2001. Fine-Tuning Your Writing Madison, WI: Wise Owl Publishing Company.
  • Day, R.A. and B. Gastel. 2006. How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper, 6th ed. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. (UF has e-book  for 5th edition)
  • Cahn, S. 2008. From Student to Scholar. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.
  • Ogden, T.E. and I.A. Goldber. 2002. Research Proposals, A Guide to Success. 3rd ed. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
  • Malmfors, B., P. Garnsworthy, and M. Grossman. 2005. Writing and Presenting Scientific Papers. 2nd ed. Nottingham, United Kingdom: Nottingham University Press.
  • Alley, M. 2003. The Craft Scientific Presentations. New York, NY: Springer. (UF has e-book and please check if any  new version)

Course Outline





Reading: None.
Lecture: Introduction to course and Sakai (video will be made to navigate through the course once Sakai site is finished). Review of UF library and its resources.
Assignment test: Assignment trial run and chat trial run


Reading: Fanelli, D. 2009. How many scientists fabricate and falsify research? A systematic review and meta-analysis of survey data. PLoS ONE 4(5): e5738. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0005738
Benos et al., 2005. Ethics and Scientific publication. Advan in Physiol Edu 29:59-74
Lecture: Ethics and scientific publication (Drs. Migliaccio and Li) (48 min)
Assignment: Assess knowledge of plagiarism and their ability to differentiate between appropriate and plagiarized text.


Reading: Part I, Ch 1 and 2 in Katz.
Lecture: Common writing challenges (Drs. Migliaccio and Li) (36 min)
Assignment: Review a journal article of their choice (related to their research), the student must read and identify grammar mistakes, punctuation mistakes, and poor word choices. DO NOT SELECT YOUR ADVISOR’S PAPER.


Reading: Ch 1, 2 and Epilogue in Cahn
Lecture: Graduate research proposal – key elements (Drs. Migliaccio and Li) (33 min)
Assignment: Identify departmental requirements for a proposal; ask advisor or other committee members for any addition requirements she/he might have. Submit departmental requirements (copy of doc) and outline of proposal that includes these elements. Identify 15 ‘key words’ for your topic.


Reading: Graduate handbook for your department and UF – sections regarding thesis and dissertation writing.
Lecture: Thesis/dissertation: purpose, formats, planned writing, expectations (Drs. Migliaccio and Li) (24 min)
Assignment: Provide a chapter outline of your thesis/dissertation with a timetable for completing each chapter.


Reading: Part II, Ch 1 Katz
Lecture: Manuscript writing – structure, writing order, referencing (Drs. Migliaccio and Li) (29 min)
Assignment: Provide a manuscript outline based on the tips and elements presented in this lesson.


Reading: Part II, Ch 2 Katz
Lecture: Manuscript writing – Objectives (Drs. Migliaccio and Li) (26 min)


Reading: Part I, Ch 4 – 5 Katz
Lecture: Manuscript writing – Figures and Tables (Drs. Migliaccio and Li)
Assignment: Make a figure and a table following good practices using your research data.


Reading: Part III, Ch 1 and 2 Katz ; Amin and Mabe, 2000. Impact factors: use and abuse. Perspectives in Publishing.
Lecture: Refereed journal process (Drs. Migliaccio and Li) (26 min)
Assignment: Identify 4 potential journals for publishing your research; include ranking factors, page charges, and other characteristics. Identify at least one reference in each journal related to your research.


Lecture: CVs (Drs. Migliaccio and Li) (32 min)
Assignment: Submit draft CV


Reading: Part I, Ch 1-10 in Ogden & Goldberg
Lecture: Grant proposal writing (Dr. Eric McLamore)
Assignment: Find 2 announcements in your field.


Reading: Ch 2, 3, 4, and 5 in Alley
Lecture: How to Give Effective Presentations (Dr. Li) (37 min)
Assignment: Submit a 5-min presentation video on any research topic


Reading: Ch 3-10 in Cahn
Lecture: Succeeding as a graduate student Part I (Drs. Li and Migliaccio)


Lecture: Succeeding as a graduate student Part II (Drs. Li and Migliaccio)
Assignment: Open-book exam


Review: A web review will be conducted where students can participate
Final: Completion of exam assessing skills learned in course (Drs. Migliaccio and Li)




Grading Scale
A 95-100%
A- 90-94
B+ 87-89
B 83-86
B- 80-82
C+ 775-79
C 73-76
C- 70-72
D+ 67-69
D 63-66
D- 60-62
E <60
Participation in chats 15%
Homework Assignments 70%
Final Exam 15%

Be aware that participation is part of each student’s grade. Participation will consist of scheduled chat sessions (the times for these sessions will be established on the first week of class) and potential designated Sakai discussion.


Attendance and Expectations

Students are expected to complete the presentations and course assignments using Sakai. All late homework and assignments will receive a letter grade (10 pt) deduction for each 12 hrs late. Homework assignments will be submitted in Sakai. Graded assignments will also be returned using the Sakai system. It is the student’s responsibility to check for assignments each week. Weekly assignments are provided in the syllabus and also in Sakai and are typically released on Mondays at 8 am.

Chat sessions will be scheduled weekly and all students are expected to participate. Chat sessions will be held outside of the Sakai course framework using Adobe Connect or a similar service. Any absences must be approved by the instructor via email correspondence or a grade of 0 will be given for participation on that date. However, if the absence is due to technical difficult there will be an optional makeup opportunity. Thus, students will need access to a computer with a web camera and audio to take this course. Chat sessions will be scheduled after course registration to best accommodate everyone’s schedule. At least two sections of chat will occur each week. Students may attend either or both chat sessions. Chat sessions may be replaced with discussions in Sakai at the instructors’ discretion. Students will be notified in advance of any such change.

Any work that is submitted should be the product of the student. Any assignments that are not the individual students work will be given a 0 grade and further disciplinary action per UF policy.

While this course is a distance education course, it should be treated and considered as a regularly offered course and will require the same amount of time that any other 3 credit graduate course would require.  Lecture lengths are posted in the course outline. Chat sessions are expected to be 1 to 1.5 hours in length each week. Assignments range in difficulty but will require several hours of work to complete each week. The creative project should be given due attention as it represents 15% of the course grade.

Online Course Evaluation Process

Student assessment of instruction is an important part of efforts to improve teaching and learning. At the end of the semester, students are expected to provide feedback on the quality of instruction in this course using a standard set of university and college criteria. These evaluations are conducted online at Evaluations are typically open for students to complete during the last two or three weeks of the semester; students will be notified of the specific times when they are open. Summary results of these assessments are available to students at

Academic Honesty

As a student at the University of Florida, you have committed yourself to uphold the Honor Code, which includes the following pledge:  “We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to hold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honesty and integrity.”  You are expected to exhibit behavior consistent with this commitment to the UF academic community, and on all work submitted for credit at the University of Florida, the following pledge is either required or implied: "On my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid in doing this assignment."  

It is assumed that you will complete all work independently in each course unless the instructor provides explicit permission for you to collaborate on course tasks (e.g. assignments, papers, quizzes, exams). Furthermore, as part of your obligation to uphold the Honor Code, you should report any condition that facilitates academic misconduct to appropriate personnel. It is your individual responsibility to know and comply with all university policies and procedures regarding academic integrity and the Student Honor Code.  Violations of the Honor Code at the University of Florida will not be tolerated. Violations will be reported to the Dean of Students Office for consideration of disciplinary action. For more information regarding the Student Honor Code, please see:  

Services for Students with Disabilities

The Disability Resource Center coordinates the needed accommodations of students with disabilities. This includes registering disabilities, recommending academic accommodations within the classroom, accessing special adaptive computer equipment, providing interpretation services and mediating faculty-student disability related issues. Students requesting classroom accommodation must first register with the Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students Office will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to the Instructor when requesting accommodation
0001 Reid Hall, 352-392-8565,

Use of Library, Personal References, PC Programs and Electronic Databases

These items are university property and should be utilized with other users in mind. Never remove, mark, modify nor deface resources that do not belong to you. If you're in the habit of underlining text, do it only on your personal copy. It is inconsiderate, costly to others, and dishonest to use common references otherwise.

Software Use

All faculty, staff and student of the University are required and expected to obey the laws and legal agreements governing software use. Failure to do so can lead to monetary damages and/or criminal penalties for the individual violator. Because such violations are also against University policies and rules, disciplinary action will be taken as appropriate. We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to uphold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honesty and integrity. We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to hold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honesty and integrity.

UF Counseling Services

Resources are available on-campus for students having personal problems or lacking clear career and academic goals which interfere with their academic performance. These resources include:

  1. University Counseling Center, 301 Peabody Hall, 392-1575, personal and career counseling;
  2. Student Mental Health, Student Health Care Center, 392-1171, personal counseling;
  3. Center for Sexual Assault/Abuse Recovery and Education (CARE), Student Health Care Center, 392-1161, sexual assault counseling;
  4. Career Resource Center, Reitz Union, 392-1601, career development assistance and counseling.