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Descriptions:

Yersinia pestis bacteria  ( black Death )

Rationale

Written communication is an essential component of all sciences. The aim of the essay assignment is to develop skills in writing a scientific essay in a creative format. The creative aspect of the assignment really refers to you becoming a microbe and describing your pathogenesis of infection from your viewpoint, as the infectious agent, not that of the host’s. Your main aim in developing a creative scientific style should be to get your message across directly and unambiguously. Students will need to search the literature, review the topic, and produce an essay. The essay will also enable students to incorporate concepts discussed in the course and use the current literature to explore a particular, medically important microorganism or closely related group of microorganisms, associated disease, diagnostic methodology, epidemiology study or other current area of interest in medical research. Students will gain further research skills by exploring the literature. Writing is a skill that can be improved but it won’t happen overnight. You need to take a long-term view if you wish to improve this aspect of your work (use the feedback you may have been given from other tutors/lectures whom may have corrected previous written assignments). You will be required to demonstrate critical thinking and personal input about the topic in a well-structured text that provides clear messages, presented in a logical order and demonstrating synthesis from a number of sources by appropriate use of citations (references).

Task

The creative essay will be conducted as follows:
•    Students will do this assignment individually, you will be required to write a non technical “story” from the point of view of a microbe of your choosing (i.e. you will become the microbe and tell your story), in a simple yet scientifically factual language that an average 1st year university science student could understand.

•    Students will need to choose a microbe (you can be a bacteria, virus or parasite) and develop the key ideas, which will form the basis of their essay (describing the pathogenesis of infection of their chosen microbe).

•    All written assignments are to be word-processed with size 12 font either Arial or Times New Roman with double-line spacing and single sided only. You only have 1,500 words, therefore it is not possible to summarise all of the material you will have read. There is a 10% tolerance for the word limit (i.e. max 1,650 words). Your assignment is to be written in sentences and paragraphs (i.e. an essay), avoiding dot- points and lengthy quotes. You should use headings to structure your assignment and you should use pictures, tables and diagrams etc. Although this is a creative essay it is based on scientific facts and needs to be based on a broad range of sources, typically with several references per paragraph.

•    Students will have to selective and focus on the aspects that you are most relevant in addressing the assignment topic. Students will need to find a number of relevant journal articles or microbiology books that support their essay plan. Researching a topic takes time, so you will need to put a strategy in place to space your reading over a number of weeks, rather than cram your readings into just a few days (or hours!). Once you have completed your readings you will now need to put a twist on this subject matter and write it in a creative and engaging way, this will be the most challenging aspect of the assignment as to be able to do this you will have to have a good understanding of the subject matter. Good assignments are usually re-written several times; this also takes time. An example of a creative assignment can be found on the vUWS site and this will be discussed in further detail in class.

Criteria
You will be assessed on the following:

Important Assessment Standards for the Creative Essay/Scientific presentation:
Please make sure you take the time to read and meet the requirements below and the associated marking rubric as this is what is used to correct your assignment. It is important for students to develop academic and professional writing skills. Qualities such as structuring sections and paragraphs to bring out a sound discussion, control of the succinctness and relevance of the discussion, ability to summarise and critique the arguments of relevant writers and appropriate citation and referencing are vital skills to develop.

•    On your cover sheet and in the header of each page insert your enrolled family name first followed by your initial only and student number.
•    You are expected to write in an academic style. This means that you are expected to read widely, and include this information (i.e. evidence). Text and pictures/images used in you essay must include acknowledgement of the ideas and words of others (where required). This is called in-text referencing.

•    You MUST acknowledge the source of all your information within your essay by including a “Reference List “at the end of your document.

•    For accurate referencing you must use the Harvard style, a link can be found on the UWS library site.

•    Use your computer ‘word count’ function to tell you the length of your essay i.e. how many words you have written. Do not include the reference list at the end of your essay in the word count.
•    The actual word count, or length of the essay, must be included on the cover sheet. Information concerning the word count will be discussed in class.

•    Submit work that is typed, double-spaced, written with clarity (clearly) and conforms to the conventions of scholarly writing.

•    Consider the layout of your document. Use 12 pt of Times Roman numeral or Arial font size. Please ensure you have spaces between paragraphs.

•    At least 2.5 cm margins and printed on one side of the paper only.

•    Student numbers must appear on each page.

•    All pages are to be sequentially numbered.

Submission details: Your creative story will be submitted electronically (including an acknowledgment of the declaration of originality of work) via Turnitin on the Medical Microbiology.

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