GCAC has moved online! Check out upcoming workshops, courses and writing support

In keeping with current circumstances, the School of Graduate Studies’ Graduate Centre for Academic Communication (GCAC) has moved online to continue its work during the pandemic; while the venue may have changed, one thing that won’t is our commitment to providing support to U of T grad students.  Join us in our virtual classrooms as we offer guidance on how to improve your academic writing and speaking skills!  Below you’ll find information on what we’ll be offering in August 2020.  

How can GCAC help you? 

By offering four types of support: 

  1. Courses (registration required)  
  1. Online workshops – both live and pre-recorded (registration required) 
  1. One-on-One Writing Consultations (by appointment only; book online) 
  1. Writing Boot Camps and Intensives (registration required) 

What’s happening online at GCAC in August 2020:

August 17 – 21 Academic Conversation Skills Online Intensive Course  

The 5-day online course is designed for incoming multilingual international students who are adjusting to living in an English-speaking environment. By combining explicit instruction, chances to use the speaking/listening strategies being learned and time for interaction with other incoming students from a range of departments, this course aims to prepare you to be active in conversations in graduate school, both online and in person, from your first days at the U of T. The course is offered in August to help students get ready to participate fully in orientation activities. If you anticipate you might have difficulty participating in class/lab discussions in English or speaking to your classmates and professors online or in person, this course is designed to meet your needs.  

Over 15 hours (3 hours a day for 5 days – from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm EST), our virtual classroom will provide a space to learn and practice a range of strategies designed to help you gain confidence as you develop your ability to engage in academic discussions. We’ll consider a range of topics, including how conversational practices might differ across cultures, how to enter and exit conversations politely, how to present your ideas orally, and how to express disagreement. 

Click this link for further information, including how to register for this course. 

August 24 – 27:  Virtual Dissertation Boot Camp 

Writing a dissertation is a priority for doctoral students, but finding productive writing time is often a challenge. Despite its centrality, the dissertation is frequently neglected amidst all the obligations and distractions of everyday life. The Virtual Dissertation Boot Camp is a chance to step away from that routine and focus exclusively on dissertation writing for three days in an online setting. 

​The Virtual Dissertation Boot ​Camp will give you dedicated blocks of writing time as well as the opportunity to learn about strategies for productive dissertation writing. You’ll be required to set aside other demands on your time for three days, giving you the opportunity to make significant progress in your writing. We will also discuss various productivity approaches to help you gain momentum in your writing that will last beyond our three days together. Each day from 9:00 to 4:00 pm, we’ll gather online for sessions combining instructor presentations, uninterrupted writing time, and group discussions. 

In order to sign up for the Virtual Dissertation Boot Camp, you must meet the following conditions: 

  • You are actively engaged in writing a doctoral dissertation in any department at U of T; the dissertation boot camp is not open to Master’s students. 
  • You are finished with course work, qualifying exams, and primary research and/or data collection; the boot camp is designed for writing, not further reading and research. 

Further details, including how to register, can be found on our website

August 24 – 27:  Online Intensive Courses for Grant Proposal Writing  

  • Writing SSHRC Proposals 
  • Writing NSERC Proposals 
  • Writing CIHR Proposals   

Good grant proposals are hard to write, and they are also hard to prepare during the busy beginning of term. For many years, GCAC has offered separate courses on writing SSHRC, NSCERC and CIHR proposals to graduate students who are preparing to apply for Master’s or doctoral awards. This year those courses, and these, their intensive versions, move online; each will discuss how the genre of grant proposals works and provide strategies on how to best position and communicate your research objectives.  As well, a goal of this writing-intensive version is to encourage students to devote concentrated time to writing their proposals before the business of term begins. 

These three courses will take place in live online sessions over four days (Aug. 24-27.10:00 am – 11:15 am daily). One-on-one synchronous appointments will be subsequently available to students, during which you can discuss your proposal and how to maximise its effectiveness. (dates to be scheduled). 

Further details, including how to register, can be found on our website 

Online GCAC Workshops  

Check out GCAC’s online workshops, which are all designed to help U of T graduate students improve their written and oral communication skills. On our website, you’ll find descriptions of a wide range of workshops you can watch anytime – on topics such as becoming a more productive writer, working with sources in your writing, communicating scientific information visually and honing your email etiquette. You’ll find a full list of what’s available and how to register to view these sessions at this link.   

GCAC Writing Centre – Online

Throughout August, the GCAC Writing Centre will be offering online individualized one-on-one synchronous writing support through appointments booked though our website. During these appointments, you’ll meet with a writing consultant, who will work with you using audio/video, chat and a document-sharing whiteboard area. Full details on how to book an appointment can be found here

GCAC listserv

Get weekly updates on all the courses and workshops GCAC offers for U of T graduate students!  To subscribe to the GCAC listserv, send an email to listserv@listserv.utoronto.ca (upper or lower case is acceptable). In the BODY of the message, type a command of the form: subscribe gcac-l firstname lastname 

You will then receive a “Command Confirmation Request” email. You must reply to that email with “ok” written in the body of the email. Doing so will complete the subscription process. Please note: If you have an automatic signature in your email, please remove it when sending and replying to listserv@listserv.utoronto.ca


Don’t forget to check out and register for our September 4th online event: Symposium on Effective Academic Communication for Incoming International Graduate Students 

Finally – keep an eye on our website – in mid-August we’ll be posting our Fall 2020 online course schedule! 

In the meantime – enjoy the rest of your summer, and we’ll see you in September!  

And, as always, stay healthy, safe and positive! 

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