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Module details

IA140-3-FY: ACADEMIC SKILLS

Year: 2014/15
Department: International Academy
Essex credit: 30
ECTS credit: 15
Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students: No

Staff
Supervisor: Dr Ritta Husted  
Teaching Staff: Dr Ritta Husted, Sheila Fox, Dr Kopal Gautam, Chris Walklett, Sandra Stephenson, Judith Holverson, Amy Walker  
Contact details: mgrib (Non essex users should add @essex.ac.uk to create the full email address)  

Module is taught during the following terms
AutumnyesSpringyesSummeryes

Module Description

This module is designed to develop students' academic language and study skills to enable them to participate effectively in their subject studies both during the International Foundation Programme/Year Zero and in their subsequent undergraduate courses. The Summer term is consolidation and review, with some training in examination techniques.

Module aims

The overall aim of the module is to provide training in study skills and to improve students' general language proficiency. There is some teaching of discrete areas of grammar, discourse and vocabulary but language development is mainly in the context of skills development. The general aims are:

- to develop students' ability to operate effectively, in both written and spoken language, in a range of academic settings

- to help students acquire and practise strategies for effective reading and for academic vocabulary development

- to develop students' basic research skills, encouraging a critical approach to source materials and appropriate use of sources as supporting evidence

- to train students in language awareness so that they become independent learners

Learning outcomes - coursework

On successful completion of the module a student should be able to:

- demonstrate an ability to comprehend, paraphrase and synthesise information from a variety of source material in both oral and written formats

- follow academic lectures and take efficient, effective notes with a reasonable degree of competence

- process information in a text competently

- integrate source material into a written assignment, developing a clear argument and referencing appropriately

Learning outcomes - examination

On successful completion of the module a student should be able to:

- perform well under examination conditions

- demonstrate effective time management skills

- apply appropriate and effective language and study skills acquired throughout the duration of the academic year

- express ideas effectively without immediate recourse to source material

- work autonomously during revision periods

Syllabus

The syllabus is intended to facilitate students' development in the following skills in English:

Reading

- Reading for gist

- Extensive and intensive reading

- Reading for specific information, skimming and scanning

- Reading critically and selectively

Listening and note-taking

- Distinguishing main ideas from examples, digressions, re-statement - contrasted with transcription

- Using abbreviations and diagrammatic representations in order to become more efficient

- Listening critically

Writing

- Analysing assignment requirements

- Working within word limits and meeting deadlines

- Writing essays which develop a coherent, well-supported argument

- Avoiding plagiarism through careful note-taking and accurate and appropriate referencing

- Writing well structured introductions and conclusions

Speaking

- Participation in seminars and discussion of subject content

- Making a presentation on an academic topic using IT and visual aids appropriately and handling questions

Assessment

Coursework is comprised of:

Two in-class tests in weeks 10 (25%) and 24 (30%). Feedback provided in weeks 16 and 30.

One group oral presentation during week 22 (20%). Feedback provided in week 25.

One individual redrafted essay (15%). Assignment handed in during week 16 and 19. Feedback provided in weeks 18 and 21.

One reflective event entry (10%). Event taking place in week 25. Feedback provided in week 30.

End-of-year three-hour exam.

Learning & Teaching Methods

There are four contact hours per week throughout the International Foundation Programme/Year Zero. Students who need additional language-specific improvement have an additional two hours per week. Classes are designed to integrate practice of all four language skills, though the structure of individual sessions may vary. As far as possible, students are divided by both language proficiency level and general areas of academic study. There is a variety of tutor input and types of student participation. There are regular tutorials to discuss overall progress, monitor work and suggest specific areas for improvement. Where appropriate, students can be referred for individual language counselling with the self-access co-ordinator. Considerable emphasis is placed on regular individual feedback on work. In weeks 30 to 32, classes focus on examinations techniques and revision and review of work covered in terms one and two.

There is Internet access for research; video recording equipment; access to PowerPoint facilities for student presentations; AV facilities for teaching and access to web-based learning material.

Assessment

50 per cent Coursework Mark, 50 per cent Exam Mark

Exam Duration and Period

3:00 hour exam during Summer Examination period.

Bibliography

  • Cottrell, S (2003) Study Skills Handbook. (2nd ed) Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Lebauer, R.S. (2000) Learn to Listen, Listen to Learn: Academic Listening and Notetaking. (2nd ed) Longman.
  • O'Connell, S (2002) Focus on IELTS. Longman.

Further information

Should you have any queries about the Module Directory pages, please contact the Course Record Team, Systems Administration Office, Academic Section; email: crt (non Essex users should add @essex.ac.uk)