IF0RAS-Foundation in Academic Skills

Module Provider: International Study and Language Institute
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded: IF0ACA Academic Skills
Current from: 2022/3

Module Convenor: Miss Rachel Rushton
Email: r.rushton@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module, delivered at the University of Reading, will provide students with the opportunities to develop the academic skills essential for success both on the Foundation Year and as an undergraduate.  Course content will be delivered through a combination of guided online tasks and practical workshops. Students will be grouped according to their broad disciplines enabling the module to cover generic skills, while allowing for some differentiation in content and assessment tasks.     


The module aims to develop the academic skills students need to successfully complete both the Foundation Year and undergraduate degree.

  • to communicate orally and in writing with clarity and using an appropriate style

  • to provide guided practice in oral and written assessment  

  • to carry out research and find (and process) appropriate information  

  • to develop awareness of assessment types, question prompts and marking criteria

  • to develop strategies to prepare for written exams 

  • to encourage a reflective approach to feedback and students’ own learning

  • to manage study time productively

  • to understand and follow academic conventions

  • to use a consistent style of referencing  

  • to work both independently and as part of a group 

Assessable learning outcomes:

On successful completion of the module students should be able to:

  • LO1: Organise and present ideas effectively in a written and oral format

  • LO2: Use basic research skills to inform written and oral output

  • LO3: To use sources and reference them correctly

  • LO4: Reflect on their own learning and set targets for improvement 

  • LO5: Work effectively as a member of a group

Additional outcomes:

  • LO6: Gain an awareness of the expectations, responsibilities and norms of academic culture 

  • LO7: Become a confident user of the university’s VLE and relevant learning technologies

  • LO8: Manage study time effectively to meet deadlines  

  • LO9: Differentiate between assessment types and appropriate study approaches?

Outline content:

The course will cover the generic academic skills needed by Foundation students progressing to an undergraduate programme. These include finding and processing information, presenting ideas in written and oral formats following academic convention, referencing skills and avoiding plagiarism, approaches to different assessment types, revision and preparing for exams, reflecting on feedback and learning, time management, and working in groups and independently. Further content will be pathway-specific, including sessions on visual representations of data, risk assessments for laboratory work, University of Reading Special Collections and careers advice.      

Global context:

This module is designed to be accessible to students who are not from a UK-based background and would like to transition to a UK Higher Education setting for undergraduate study. 

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

This module will be taught through guided online tasks followed by interactive workshops to enable students to put the skills into practise.  Task-based and flipped learning will vary the interaction. Students will be encouraged to work either in groups or independently to complete a set of tasks.  They will also reflect periodically on their learning and receive guidance on accessing appropriate university resources.     

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Practicals classes and workshops 15 15
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 5 5
    Wider reading (directed) 15 5
    Peer assisted learning 5 5
    Other 15 15
    Preparation for presentations 20
    Completion of formative assessment tasks 5
    Group study tasks 10 15
    Essay preparation 20
    Reflection 10 20
Total hours by term 100 100 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 35
Portfolio 30
Oral assessment and presentation 35

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Written assignment: individual essay, literature review or report (depending on discipline) assessed in Term 1

Presentation: in groups assessed in Term 2

Portfolio: A reflective portfolio compiled over two terms, assessed in Terms 1 and 2

Formative assessment methods:

Submission of a draft Written assignment and Oral assignment slides for peer feedback.

Tasks completed in the workshops sessions will result in peer and tutor feedback.

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:

40% overall.

Reassessment arrangements:

Failed coursework may be reassessed by an alternative assignment before or during University re-examination period in August.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

1) Required text books: 

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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