KE7028 - Academic Language Skills for Geography

What will I learn on this module?

Academic skills when studying away from your home institution can differ due to cultural and language differences in teaching and assessment practices. This module is designed to support your transition in the use and practice of technical language and subject specific skills around assessments and teaching provision in your chosen subject area in the Department of Architecture and Built Environment. The overall aim of this module is to develop your abilities to read and study effectively for academic purposes; to develop your skills in analysing and using source material in seminars and academic writing and to develop your use and application of language and communications skills to a higher level.

The topics you will cover on the module include:

• Understanding assignment briefs and exam questions.
• Developing academic writing skills, including citation, paraphrasing, and summarising.
• Practising ‘critical reading’ and ‘critical writing’.
• Planning and structuring academic assignments (e.g. essays, reports and presentations).
• Avoiding academic misconduct and gaining credit by using academic sources and referencing effectively.
• Listening skills for lectures.
• Speaking in seminar presentations.
• Giving discipline-related academic presentations, experiencing peer observation, and receiving formative feedback.
• Speed reading techniques.
• Discussing ethical issues in research, and analysing results.
• Describing bias and limitations of research.
• Developing self-reflection skills.

How will I learn on this module?

This module is taught by interactive seminars, tutorial sessions as well as practical group activities delivered in workshops.

The material delivered in interactive seminars is designed to enhance your capabilities as an independent learner. This will involve significant self-directed learning and will test your ability to interact with others during group sessions. The sessions will be tailored to address some of the specific issues that you meet within your chosen discipline. When working in groups the nature of the activity will vary from group to group depending upon your specific programme of study. For example, you will develop your critical analysis and critical writing skills by analysing the work of other academics according to the requirements of your programme/module assignments. In addition to the core topics listed, your learning will be supported by your own self–reflection of your skills and academic areas of interest and you will be asked to share these in specific sessions.

Individual attendance and your participation in group work is essential to your learning and as such forms part of your summative assessment. You will be expected to participate in the seminars, tutorials and practical classes having completed directed pre-reading and preparation tasks provided by your tutor. Additional directed learning will be provided to support the development of your skills base, the use of the e-learning platform and support your self-reflection.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

All teaching materials for the module are made available on the module eLP site. You will be provided with a teaching and learning plan that outlines the formal sessions, along with the tutor-directed study tasks and independent reading associated with each session. You will be asked to use both email and eLP to share ideas and feedback.

Teaching staff operate an ‘open door’ policy for students meaning you can approach them anytime during normal office hours, or via email, to answer questions, receive feedback and support your learning on the module.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• MLO1: Read and listen critically, and use a variety of information sources effectively
• MLO2: Recognise and apply the conventions of academic writing and research, and write critically within an academic context
• MLO3: Collate subject-related information, reference and organise those resources, and prepare and deliver academic presentations

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

• MLO4: Assess personal strengths and weaknesses in relation to academic study and language skills, and identify strategies that can be used to further develop skills.

How will I be assessed?

Summative Assessment:
The module is assessed by three coursework components – attendance (Pass/Fail), a group presentation (50%) and a 300 word written assignment (50%).

Attendance of 70% of the timetabled sessions* is required.

Preparation and participation in a small- group discipline-related presentation that meets the criteria specified by the Department of Architecture and Built Environment.

Individual written subject specific assessment, that satisfies the criteria specified by the Department of Architecture and Built Environment.

Formative Assessment:
You are expected to participate in a combination of 1-2 formative written and presentation assignments that are provided per semester. Formative assessment will take place through group work, discussion, specific academic language tasks, and text modelling as appropriate.

Class discussion and tutor feedback on in class exercises will support your learning and provide guidance for the summative assessments. Written feedback will be provided on summative assessed work. For presentation, feedback will be supplemented with verbal comment and discussion.

* (If you have valid grounds for non-attendance [such as illness], then appropriate documentary evidence [such as a doctor’s letter] must be provided to the module tutor at the following session. Any anticipated non-attendance [for example, for an interview] must be approved by the module tutor in advance.)





Module abstract

The aim of this module is to support your study, language and communication skills for academic purposes in the study in your chosen discipline. The module is designed to enable you to become and independent learner. The module is supported by a teaching and learning plan which outlines the formal sessions, together with the tutor-directed study and independent reading. Interactive seminars will be tailored to address some of the specific issues that you meet within your discipline. Directed learning will require a range of activities including pre-reading, preparation for interactive activities and use of the e-learning platform. You will be expected to identify those skills which you need within your programme, and to develop these independently through a range of learning activities that might include extended reading, and reflection.

Course info

Credits 0

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year full-time
1 other options available

Department Geography and Environmental Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing.

Full time Courses starting in 2023 are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but may include elements of online learning. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to flex accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with additional restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors, potentially to a full online offer, should further restrictions be deemed necessary in future. Our online activity will be delivered through Blackboard Ultra, enabling collaboration, connection and engagement with materials and people.


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