Skip to main content
Unit of study_

OLET1625: Reading and Writing Mathematics

In the modern world it is increasingly important to be able to read and write logically and coherently. Whether one is designing computer algorithms, writing a legal argument, advocating for social or environmental causes, or doing research in basic sciences, clear and effective communication is critical. The aim of this unit is to identify and practice logical argument through mathematical writing. Key components of good writing and common pitfalls will be identified, and students will contribute writing samples and engage in peer-review. Students will be exposed to elegant writing samples and beautifully simple mathematical gems. For instance we read an essay on the notion of dimension: What is a 26 dimensional space? What does it mean for a fractal to have dimension 1.2619? Or we might read about Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem, which has bearing on the limits of attainable knowledge. In the process students will also learn how to write and read mathematical proofs.


Academic unit Mathematics and Statistics Academic Operations
Unit code OLET1625
Unit name Reading and Writing Mathematics
Session, year
Intensive July, 2022
Attendance mode Online
Location Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Credit points 2

Enrolment rules

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Oded Yacobi,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Topic Outline
Outline of your essay, with bullet points for main ideas.
10% Week 05
Due date: 20 Jul 2022
1-2 pages
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3 LO6
Assignment Draft Essay
This is a draft of your essay, due about 1.5 weeks before your final essay.
10% Week 06
Due date: 26 Jul 2022
Essay draft, 2-5 pages.
Outcomes assessed: LO7 LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6
Assignment Essay
60% Week 07
Due date: 05 Aug 2022
10 page essay
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Assignment Reflective Journal
Reflections and practical exercises
20% Week 07
Due date: 05 Aug 2022
Tasks to be completed and documented.
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

For more information see

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic honesty, academic dishonesty, and the resources available to all students.

The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic dishonesty or plagiarism seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of dishonesty, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Module1: Welcome to Reading and Writing Mathematics Online class (4 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5
Week 02 Module 2: Principles of Mathematical Writing Online class (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 03 Module 3: Logical Reasoning Online class (4 hr) LO1 LO4
Week 04 Module 4: Writing Proofs Online class (4 hr) LO5
Week 05 Principles of writing and close reading; (peer) feedback on essay topics Workshop (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Writing, reviewing, and editing Workshop (3 hr) LO3 LO5 LO6 LO7

Attendance and class requirements

Students are required to participate in the workshops via Zoom

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 2 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 40-50 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

Students are required to participate in the workshops via Zoom

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. identify good and bad mathematical writing with emphasis on common logical fallacies
  • LO2. have acquired the analytical skills required for a close reading of a mathematical text
  • LO3. have acquired the analytical skills required to improve your own writing
  • LO4. understand useful ideas from logic, the effectiveness of proper definitions, and the interaction between narrative and logic
  • LO5. critically examine mathematical writing tailored to your interests and prior experience
  • LO6. write coherent and well structured essays on mathematical topics
  • LO7. critique and review essays on mathematical topics.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
No changes have been made since this unit was last offered.

Work, health and safety

We are governed by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 and Codes of Practice. Penalties for non-compliance have increased. Everyone has a responsibility for health and safety at work. The University’s Work Health and Safety policy explains the responsibilities and expectations of workers and others, and the procedures for managing WHS risks associated with University activities.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.