IF0ACJ-Academic Skills

Module Provider: International Study and Language Institute
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring / Summer term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded: IF0RAS Foundation in Academic Skills
Current from: 2022/3

Module Convenor: Mr Robert Pitt
Email: r.k.pitt@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

The module aims to help students develop their academic study skills in order to be successful on the International Foundation Programme and as undergraduates. Course content will be delivered through a combination of lectures, practical workshops as well as online delivery to include screencasts, narrated powerpoints, live sessions and discussion boards. Students can successfully complete the module on campus or remotely.


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 group presentation

  • identify problems, apply their knowledge and skills in finding solutions and evaluate these solutions.

  • interpret and analyse a range of iinformation beyond mere description.

  • work as a member of a group 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:

  • successfully engage with the University online teaching and learning platform Blackboard, becoming familiar with the features for accessing learning resources (e.g., online live teaching, live group sessions, assessment delivery, assessment submission and performance monitoring)

  • become a confident user of the university’s VLE (Blackboard) and other learning technologies (e.g., Word, Excel, Powerpoint and the internet)

  • use a variety of resources for the purpose of independent study

  • manage their time effectively, meet deadlines, reflect on their progress and set targets for improvement

Outline content:

Key Foundation Skills

The Foundation Skills session presents an essential introduction 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 furthereducation.

Essay and Report Writing

The Essay and Report Writing session provides an introduction to the process of academic 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 students 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. This includes how to effectively use technology in collaborating online.


The Presentations session familiarises students with the process of researching, structuring and delivering an oral presentation by using market-leading slideshow software. Delivery is online and students will learn how to effectively deliver group presentations remotely to an online audience.

Research & Online Sources

The Research and Online Sources session navigates students through the essential skills of researching other people’s ideas and gathering resources in order to support arguments in seminars, presentations and written assignments.

Referencing & Avoiding Plagiarism

The Referencing & 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. Students' attention is drawn to identifying appropriate supporting statements and acknowledging expert opinion from a range of sources as well as focusing on the key features of direct and indirect quotation in addition to the leading conventions for preparing a reference list.

Critical Thinking

The Critical Thinking session trains students in the evaluation of knowledge claims and provides students with the necessary tools to identify fact from conjecture. It also gives students a toolbox 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 practical classes using communicative methodologies which encourage pair work and groupwork. Lectures are pre-recorded and delivered online for students to access in their own time. Tutorials are live interactive sessions delivered in the classroom for students on campus and through the online teaching platform Blackboard via Blackboard Collaborate and/or MS Teams, for students studying remotely. Virtual breakout rooms allow students studying remotely to participate in smaller group work activities. Face to face and online surgery sessions allow students to get extra live support and feedback from their tutor.

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

Feedback and feed-forward is provided through online tutorials and is posted online in Blackboard to aid learner development for students working remot ely and during face to face tutorials for students on campus. Students will also be expected to take responsibility for their own learning by setting goals and making regular use of the University library, especially their online resources for students working remotely, Blackboard (the University Virtual Learning Environment) and other online resources as well as SACLL (Self Access Centre for Language Learning).

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10 10
Practicals classes and workshops 10 10
Guided independent study: 80 80
Total hours by term 0 100 100
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 35
Report 40
Oral assessment and presentation 25

Summative assessment- Examinations:

There is no final examination for this module.  

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Students are required to complete a series of four assessments. These assessments are in the following areas: team-working, problem solving, academic and report writing, and presentations. Assessments will take place in the Spring and Summer terms. Please note that the details of assessments given in the contact hours section is only an indication.

Spring Term:                   

  • Week 9               Sources Submission & Reference List

  • Week 10             Written Essay

Summer Term:               

  • Week 6               Research Report

  • Week 8               Group Presentation

Formative assessment methods:

Spring Term:

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

Summer Term:

In week 2, students submit a primary research questionnaire and receive feedback individually online and optionally in surgery. In week 4, students submit plotted questionnaire data and receive feedback individually online and optionally in surgery. In week 7 students prepare PowerPoint slides for the group presentation and receive feedback from peers in class.

Penalties for late submission:

The Support Centres 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 (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: https://www.reading.ac.uk/cqsd/-/media/project/functions/cqsd/documents/cqsd-old-site-documents/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:

Failed coursework will be reassessed by an alternative method before or during university re-examination in August.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

  1. Required text books:

    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


  2. Specialist equipment or materials: 

  3. Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear: 

  4. Printing and binding: 

  5. Computers and devices with a particular specification: 

  6. Travel, accommodation and subsistence: 

Last updated: 22 September 2022


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