BSc/MEnvSci Environmental Science with an Integrated Foundation Year / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
Academic Skills

Course unit fact file
Unit code FOUN10031
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Full year
Offered by University Language Centre
Available as a free choice unit? No


A course introducing conventional academic style and rhetorical patterns, and encouraging a critical approach to reading and writing. The course will promote both autonomy and collaboration in learning and prepare you for the academic requirements of study at tertiary level.


The aim is to introduce conventional academic style and rhetorical patterns and encourage a critical approach to reading and writing. It will help to promote both autonomy and collaboration in learning and prepare a student for the academic requirements of study at tertiary level.

Teaching and learning methods

5  Lectures, 11 tutorials and 7 optional extra English workshops 

Knowledge and understanding

  • Employ strategies for critical reading of academic texts
  • Produce accurate and clear written English
  • Employ appropriate academic conventions in writing
  • Prepare and deliver an academic oral presentation
  • Analyse text structures and use appropriate organisational structures in written work

Intellectual skills

  • Critically analyse  text
  • Present ideas and facts clearly and logically

Practical skills

  • Search for academic information using a variety of sources
  • Employ effective presentation skills using various media
  • Produce written work in an on-line environment 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Work responsibly as a member of a team    Speak effectively in a variety of contexts
  • Show dependability and time-management skills

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Students have to search for and critically analyse texts from a wide variety of sources.
Group/team working
Students work in groups within their chosen discipline area. Wherever possible students are placed in groups which are international in order to help prepare them for the global workplace.
In group project work, students have the opportunity to develop their leadership skills.
Oral communication
Students make both individual and group presentations using power-point during the course of the Academic Skills units. One of the presentations is filmed to give students the opportunity to reflect on their skills.
Problem solving
In Project work students have to negotiate and resolve issues that can arise.
Students have to do their own independent research throughout the Academic Skills Unit.
Written communication
Students have to write in a formal academic style using the relevant conventions in the Academic Skills Unit. They also learn to be open about their own work through peer review.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 10%
Written assignment (inc essay) 40%
Report 10%
Portfolio 10%
Oral assessment/presentation 15%
Practical skills assessment 15%

2 written assignments, 2 oral presentations, online journals

Feedback methods

  • Students are given oral and written feedback on individual presentations, and on group presentations
  • Students receive written feedback in Blackboard on Writing Assignment 'Sources'
  • Students receive peer feedback and tutor in-text feedback with comments on Blackboard pages for Writing Assignment 2 'Critical Analysis'
  • Students receive written feedback on the group journals

Recommended reading




Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
External visits 1
Lectures 5
Practical classes & workshops 7
Tutorials 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 65

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Simon Raw Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Assessment Methods 

Individual presentation
10% of unit grade: Deadline week 3 or 4
Written Assignment 1 ‘Sources’
15% of unit grade: Deadline week 4
Writing Assignment 2  (first draft): referencing
10% of unit grade: Deadline week 6
Writing Assignment 3: Peer Review
10% of unit grade: Deadline week 8
Writing Assignment 2 (final draft)
20% of unit grade: Deadline week 10

Group presentation
20% of unit grade: Deadline week 11 or 12
Contributions to Project journals
15% of unit grade: 5 x 3% contributions weeks 7-11.

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