BSc Education / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Developing Academic Writing and Digital Study Skills

Course unit fact file
Unit code EDUC10631
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


This unit aims to prepare students for academic study, research and assessment through exploring a range of academic conventions for researching, processing and presenting ideas and information, particularly in relation to online and digital sources and tools.


This unit aims to prepare students for academic study, research and assessment through exploring a range of academic conventions for researching, processing and presenting ideas and information, particularly in relation to online and digital sources and tools.

Learning outcomes

Category of outcome

Upon completion of the unit, students should:

Knowledge and understanding

  • have an understanding of effective use of digital resources in learning and research
  • have developed their awareness of analysis, criticality, language use and style in academic writing
  • have an understanding of the nature and conventions of different academic assignment modes and purposes
  • understand what plagiarism and malpractice is as well as some ways to avoid them
  • understand how to use sources in academic writing.

Intellectual skills

  • be able to demonstrate a heightened awareness of issues relating to the evaluation and use of online sources in academic study
  • be able to identify, use and refer to peer reviewed research articles to support analytical writing
  • be able to construct a critical argument drawing on a range of sources as well as personal knowledge
  • have developed their personal style within academic writing.

Practical skills

  • be able to cite and reference sources appropriately, consistently and correctly
  • have developed autonomy and confidence in undertaking and managing their studies
  • have developed competence in the use of online and digital sources and tools for researching, processing and presenting ideas and information
  • have developed the ability to plan, organise and develop personal responses to a range of assignment types.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • have developed skills toward becoming an independent and self-motivating learner, including the organisation of time, information and study materials
  • have developed interpersonal skills in working with tutors and fellow students, in individual and group situations, and using computer mediated communication
  • be able to learn from constructive feedback.


Teaching and learning methods


The unit will consist of:

  • Tutor facilitated sessions (whole group)

The sessions involve tutor presentations, discussions and group work about study, research and writing skills. Students are expected to be prepared for the sessions, attend all sessions except when emergency prevents, and take an active part in discussions and group work.

  • Group work (online and face-to-face)

Students are assigned to random study groups and work together to identify and research a topic related to a specific education policy or practice.  Each week, the groups provide feedback to each other, discuss and develop academic materials exploring an argument related to the topic, discuss their draft with a tutor and then submit an example of work for assessment.

  • Independent study and directed reading

To prepare for and review the tutor facilitated sessions, students review the materials provided on BlackBoard and read from the recommended reading list for the unit and for the sessions. Students also carry out independent study to identify and read materials related to their specific topic.

  • Tutor facilitated workshop and office hours

Students attend a workshop and/or office hours and/or book a tutorial to discuss their draft work.

  • Tutorial with Academic Advisor

Students book a meeting with their Academic Advisor during the semester to discuss their academic writing and digital study skills.

  • Assessment preparation

Guidelines and criteria for assessment will be provided in Session One.

  • Formative assessment tasks: Students prepare draft materials to share and discuss with their group and the tutor(s).

Assessment methods

Assessment tasks

Word Length or Equivalent

Weighting within unit

Formative tasks (group work): 



Students will work in groups to research a topic and develop different formats for the presentation of their research to discuss with the tutor.

Drafts of the different elements

0% (for formative feedback)

Students will submit a draft individual essay with a reference list, e.g. an outline or introduction.

Approximately 500 words

0% (for formative feedback)

Summative tasks



Group submissions: several examples of different formats for presenting academic work on a relevant topic (e.g. bibliography, poster, presentation).

Approximately 1500 words


Individual submission: essay presenting an argument related to the above tasks.

Approximately 1200 words




Feedback methods

On line Via Blackboard

Recommended reading

This is an indicative list of some recommended sources providing guidance on academic and digital study skills. You will need to carry out reading relevant to your own topic. Further advice and guidance for your reading will be provided via BlackBoard. To access the links, you should be signed into MyManchester.

Baratta, Alex (2010) Visual writing. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars.

Bowell, Tracy and Kemp, Gary (2009) Critical thinking: a concise guide. 3rd ed. Routledge.

Coats, Maggie (2017) ‘Learning How to Learn’ OpenLearn. The Open University   

Gillett, A., Hammond, A. and Martala, M. (2010) Inside Track to Successful Academic Writing. Longman Publishing Group. Available at:

Hunter, D. (2011) A Practical Guide to Critical Thinking: Deciding What to Do and Believe. John Wiley & Sons. Available at: .

Moore, S., Neville, C., Murphy, M. and Connolly, C. (2010) The Ultimate Study Skills Handbook. Open University Press. Available at:

Neville, C. (2010). The complete guide to referencing and avoiding plagiarism (2nd ed.). Maidenhead: Open University Press. Available online:

Sword, H. (2012) Stylish Academic Writing. Harvard University Press. Available at:

The University of Manchester (2016) My Learning Essentials (study skills support):

University of Manchester Library (2020) Referencing guide at the University of Manchester: Home (online) Jul 7, 2020 11:15 AM.

University of Manchester (2017) Academic Phrasebank.  Available at:

University of Manchester: Guidance to students on plagiarism and other forms of malpractice:

UMSU (2019) Academic Malpractice. (online video): 18 Jan 2019. University of Manchester Students’ Union.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Practical classes & workshops 2
Supervised time in studio/wksp 1
Tutorials 14
Work based learning 13
Independent study hours
Independent study 70

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Kate Sapin Unit coordinator

Additional notes


Hours Allocated

Tutor facilitated sessions (lectures and seminar groups)


Tutor workshop / office hours / tutorial


Tutorial with Academic Advisor


Group work (online and face-to-face)


Independent study and directed reading


Preparation of formative and summative assessment tasks


Total Hours



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