Developing Academic Literacy


Developing academic literacy skills involves building knowledge and skill in three main areas: technical aspects (e.g., summarising, paraphrasing, sentence and paragraph level word choices, frequently used language patterns); disciplinary components (e.g., how texts are constructed in your particular subject area); and critical components (e.g., issues of access, power, identity and social practices).

While all three will feature in LANGTCHG 715, the main focus of the course will be to further develop the language and genre-based skills that you will need to comprehend, organise and produce particular types of texts in your graduate studies.

The course is organised around these important academic genres: evaluative texts (e.g., academic essays and reviews) and research reports (e.g., library research reports in essays and empirical reports in theses and dissertations).

There is a particular focus on the various kinds of metadiscourse strategies that writers use to organise information coherently and convincingly in the text, and to convey the writer’s own perspective through the use of strategies such as hedges, booster and attitude markers. We also look at what corpus-based analyses reveal about language use in particular disciplinary areas.

Each class session includes discussion of a course reading that relates to the topic of the session, some explicit instruction about the genre, analysis of sample texts and the type of language typically used, as well as opportunities to receive feedback on practice tasks. A course text will be available that includes all course materials with practice tasks.

Course outcomes              

By the end of the course, students should:

  • Have gained an understanding of academic literacies: macro-structures, language patterns and prefabricated text chunks
  • Be able to critically reflect on and evaluate the structure and style of academic texts
  • Have improved their ability to write accurate academic English in a style appropriate to a particular task and context

For full course information see the Digital Course Outline for LANGTCHG 715.

Digital Course Outlines are refreshed in November for the following year. Digital Course Outlines for courses to be offered for the first time may be published slightly later.

Availability 2022

Semester 1


Coordinator(s) Dr Rosemary Wette


LANGTCHG 715: 15 points