IF0ACA-Academic Skills

Module Provider: International Study and Language Institute
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring / Summer module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Miss Jane Ward

Email: j.e.ward@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:
The module aims to help students develop their study skills in order to be successful on the International Foundation Programme and as undergraduates.

The module aims to help students develop their study skills in order to be successful on the International Foundation Programme and as undergraduates.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module, it is expected that students will be able to:
•produce written work which is well-organised, relevant and makes use of appropriate terminology and academic style.
•demonstrate good academic writing skills
•prepare and deliver an oral presentation
•identify problems, apply their knowledge and skills in finding solutions and evaluate these solutions.
•interpret and analyse a range of information beyond mere description.
•make good use of IT as required (e.g. Word, PowerPoint, Excel, email and the internet).
•work as a member of a team by cooperating with others, negotiating, listening to others in the group, sharing responsibilities/tasks and meeting deadlines.

Additional outcomes:
By the end of the module, it is expected that students should be able to:

  • use a variety of resources for the purpose of independent study.
  • use their time effectively, meet deadlines, reflect on their progress and set targets.

Outline content:

Key Foundation Skills

The Foundation Skills session presents an essential introdu ction to transferable skills. The session provides a framework of strategies which will enhance organisation and efficiency in academic encounters.

Academic Culture

The Academic Culture session has been designed to assist students in coping with the process of acculturation involved in the transition from secondary to higher or further education.

Essay and Report Writing

The Essay and Report Writing session provides an introduction to the process of academic essay writing. Focusing on structure, organisation and academic register conventions, students who follow this course will be supported in the process of title analysis, arrangement of key information and the creation of effective introductions and conclusions.

Scientific Writing

The Scientific Writing session teaches s tudents how to structure and organise writing for scientific purposes. The session is also useful for students who need to describe charts and graphical material as a result of both primary and secondary research.

Team Working

The Team Working session shows students how to optimize the group work experience for the purpose of achieving collaborative goals.


The Presentations session familiarises students with the process of researching, structuring and delivering an oral presentation by using market-leading slideshow software.

Research & Referencing

The Research and Referencing session navigates students through the essential skills of identifying appropriate supporting statements and acknowledging expert opinion obtained from a range of sources. Students' attention is drawn to the key features of direct and indirect quotation in addition to the leading conventions for preparing a reference list.

Avoiding Plagiarism

The Avoiding Plagiarism session provides guidance in the mechanics of plagiarism avoidance and gives students practical strategies in avoiding academic misconduct through inappropriate usage of secondary sources.

Critical Thinking

The Critical Thinking session trains students in the evaluation of knowledge claims and provides student's with the necessary tools to identify fact from conjecture. It also gives students a tool box with which to evaluate their own work and to detect bias in others.

Global context:

The module explores global issues pertaining to scientific and technological innovation in the modern world during the process of teaching academic writing and presentation skills.  Students are encouraged to critically reflect on and expand their global knowledge base both in the classroom and without.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module is taught through lectures and tutorials using communicative methodologies which encourage pair and groupwork. .

A scaffolding approach guides students progressively toward stronger understanding and, ultimately, greater independence in the learning process.

Feedback and feed-forward is provided through tutorials and online to aid learner development. 

Students will also be expected to take responsibility for their own learning by setting goals and making regular use of the University library, Blackboard (the University Virtual Learning Environment) and SACLL (Self Access Centre for Language Learning). 

Students are required to complete a series of four assessments in the following areas: team-working, problem solving, academic and report writing, and presentations. Assessments will commence in the Autumn term. However each student's assessment schedule will differ according to the configuration of modules for which they are registered. Please note that the details of assessments given in the contact hours section is only an indication. 

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Tutorials 20 20 2
Guided independent study 75 79 4
Total hours by term 95.00 99.00 6.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 30
Written assignment including essay 30
Report 20
Oral assessment and presentation 20

Summative assessment- Examinations:

1 final examination 1.5 hours 

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Autumn term:

Week 9: Submission of academic sources to be used for writing the end of term test essay

Week 11: In-class test held in examination conditions tests students' ability to write an essay using sources.

Spring term:

Week 6: A report based on primary research

Week 7: students receive group feedback on their presentation plans and visual aids during tutorials.

Weeks 8 and 9: Group presentation of report findings

Formative assessment methods:

Autumn term:

In weeks 5 and 7 of the, students write two paragraphs in preparation for their essay and receive feedback individually online, and as a group in class.

Spring term:

In week 2, students submit their primary research questionnaire and receive feedback individually online and optionally in surgery.

In week 4, students submit their plotted questionnaire data and receive feedback individually online and optionally in surgery.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:

    Reassessment arrangements:

    By re-examination during the August University resit period.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Required text books: 2

    TASK 3 Critical Thinking (2015) ISBN: 9781782601784

    TASK 4 Essay Writing (2015) ISBN: 9781782601791

    TASK 6 Research & Online Sources (2015) ISBN: 9781782601814

    TASK 7 Referencing & Avoiding Plagiarism (2015) ISBN: 9781782601821

    TASK 8 Presentations (2015) ISBN: 9781782601838


    Last updated: 20 April 2018


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