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Unit of study_

OLET2110: Telling True Stories

Semester 2, 2022 [Normal day] - Remote

Students learn to write a narrative nonfiction story that communicates specialist knowledge they have gained in their university course to a general audience. Twelve modules guide students through the writing process, from pitching a story idea to preparing their piece for publication. Topics covered include narrative nonfiction subgenres, research, scene building, structure, ethics and style.

Unit details and rules

Unit code OLET2110
Academic unit Media and Communications
Credit points 2
Prohibitions
? 
None
Prerequisites
? 
None
Corequisites
? 
None
Available to study abroad and exchange students

Yes

Teaching staff

Coordinator Cheryl O'Byrne, cheryl.obyrne@sydney.edu.au
Type Description Weight Due Length
Tutorial quiz Quiz 1
Multiple choice quiz on Modules 1 and 2
12.5% Week 02
Due date: 12 Aug 2022 at 23:59
approx 15 min
Outcomes assessed: LO1
Tutorial quiz Quiz 2
Multiple choice quiz on Modules 3 and 4
12.5% Week 04
Due date: 26 Aug 2022 at 23:59
approx 15 min
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Assignment Story pitch
Pitch your story idea in the form of an email
25% Week 08
Due date: 23 Sep 2022 at 23:59
300 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Assignment Nonfiction story
Compose a narrative nonfiction story
50% Week 13
Due date: 04 Nov 2022 at 23:59
1200 words
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6

Assessment summary

  • Online quizzes: respond to multiple choice questions about the content in Modules 1-4 
  • Story pitch: write a pitch to an editor in which you tell her about your story idea and ask if she’d be interested in publishing it 
  • Narrative nonfiction story: compose the story that you pitched. It will communicate specialised knowledge you’ve gained in your uni course to a general reader.  

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Students must attempt all assessments to earn a passing mark for this unit.

Assessment criteria

Story Pitch 

Result Name Mark Range Description
High Distinction 85-100 Work of outstanding quality, demonstrating an excellent standard of written English, a thoughtful structure and substantial independent learning. Story idea is clearly and succinctly outlined, original, newsworthy, researched and suited to the publication. Writer’s qualifications are excellent. Pitch is compelling. 
Distinction 75-84 Work of superior quality, demonstrating a command of written English, an efficient structure and independent learning. Story idea is clearly outlined, newsworthy, researched and suited to the publication. Writer’s qualifications are sound. Pitch is attractive. 
Credit 65-74 A sound performance, competent and appropriate. Pitch is well written. Story idea is outlined and writer’s qualifications are established. Demonstrates a clear grasp of the basic skills and knowledge.
Pass 50-64 A satisfactory attempt to meet the demands of the assignment. Demonstrates understanding and command of basic skills and core knowledge. The assignment may have significant weaknesses, or may not be wholly successful or coherent, but shows at least satisfactory achievement in more important aspects.

Narrative Nonfiction Story 

Result Name Mark Range Description
High Distinction 85-100 Work of outstanding quality, demonstrating an excellent standard of written English and substantial independent learning. Story displays exhaustive research, sophisticated scene setting, a sophisticated narrative structure and polished language. Story is ethically sound, engages and educates its readers, is innovative and is newsworthy.
Distinction 75-84 Work of superior quality, demonstrating a command of written English and independent learning. Story displays substantial research, effective scene setting, an effective narrative structure and effective language. Story is ethically sound, interests and educates its readers, is original and is newsworthy. 
Credit 65-74 A sound performance, competent and appropriate. Demonstrates a clear grasp of the basic skills and knowledge. Story displays research, scene setting, a coherent narrative structure and clear language. Story is ethical, educates its readers and is newsworthy.
Pass 50-64 A satisfactory attempt to meet the demands of the assignment. Demonstrates understanding and command of basic skills and core knowledge. The assignment may have significant weaknesses, or may not be wholly successful or coherent, but shows at least satisfactory achievement in more important aspects.

 

For more information see guide to grades.

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.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity 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 integrity breaches seriously.  

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

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 What is narrative nonfiction? Seminar (1 hr) LO1
Week 02 Why is narrative nonfiction valuable? Seminar (1 hr) LO1
Week 03 Narrative nonfiction subgenres Seminar (1 hr) LO1
Week 04 Finding your narrative nonfiction story Seminar (1 hr) LO2
Week 05 Researching your story Seminar (1 hr) LO3
Week 06 Pitching your story Seminar (1 hr) LO2
Week 07 Building scenes: description Seminar (1 hr) LO4
Week 08 Building scenes: dialogue Seminar (1 hr) LO4
Week 09 Showing and telling Seminar (1 hr) LO4
Week 10 Narrative structure Seminar (1 hr) LO4
Week 11 Ethical considerations Seminar (1 hr) LO5
Week 12 Writing workshop for your story draft Seminar (1 hr) LO6
Week 13 Revising and polishing Seminar (1 hr) LO6

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

All readings for this uni can be accessed through Canvas. 

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. distinguish narrative nonfiction (and its subgenres) from other modes of academic or journalistic writing and discuss why the form is valuable
  • LO2. identify a viable story topic and angle and pitch the idea to a publication that serves a general readership
  • LO3. augment academic knowledge with journalism research methods
  • LO4. recognise and apply narrative techniques such as scene setting and a narrative structure
  • LO5. discuss ethical challenges and standards of narrative nonfiction and apply them to your story
  • LO6. complete the drafting and editing process to produce an original, polished narrative nonfiction story

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
GQ1 GQ2 GQ3 GQ4 GQ5 GQ6 GQ7 GQ8 GQ9

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

This year I am trialing the unit in Semester 2 (rather than an intensive block) to spread out the content and allow for adequate drafting time. I have added a module for workshopping drafts. I am also holding weekly zoom seminars to facilitate learning and interaction, which is replacing online discussion forums.

Disclaimer

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

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