Triangle

Continue to develop your academic, communication and language skills while studying your degree with our Academic Language and Communication Skills courses.

 

Booking a course for term two

Term dates

Monday 29 January to Thursday 28 March 2024

Booking

Booking will open at 10am on Tuesday 16 January 2024

Why take an Academic Language and Communication Skills course?

  • Courses help you develop your use of academic language and communication skills
  • Materials are researched and produced in collaboration with faculties and schools
  • Courses are free and have no assignments
  • Courses are scheduled to fit in with your busy schedule and are available online or in person
  • Our tutors are qualified and experienced English for Academic Purposes specialists
 

 

 

 

 

Course details and booking

Understanding Assessment and Feedback

Duration: Three weeks

Aims and objectives

This course aims to improve your understanding of and response to the written assessment tasks and tutor feedback you are given. It helps you to: 

  • understand what is required from different types of written assignments  
  • understand what is meant by criticality 
  • understand the importance of organisation and coherence of ideas 
  • understand tutor marking schemes and how tutors’ comments link to these 
  • develop a reflective approach to tutor and peer feedback 
  • devise your own strategies for improving final drafts or subsequent written assignments  
Syllabus
Week 1 Understanding task requirements and marking criteria
Week 2 Addressing issues of text organisation and coherence
Week 3 Addressing issues of criticality

 

 
 

Academic Writing: Biosciences and Veterinary Medicine

Duration: Nine weeks

Aims and objectives

This course is for students who study on Sutton Bonington campus. The course helps you to:

  • organise report sections appropriately
  • describe materials and processes with academic language
  • be aware of and use the skills for academic research
  • become a critical writer
Syllabus
Week 1 Introduction 1: Stage 1
Week 2 Introduction 2: Stage 2
Week 3 Introduction 2: Stages 3-5
Week 4 Describing materials
Week 5 Method section
Week 6 Result section
Week 7 Discussion section
Week 8 Conclusion
Week 9 Abstract

 

 
 

Academic Writing: Science and Engineering

Duration: six weeks

Aims and objectives

This course helps you to familiarise yourself with requirements and expectations in scientific and technical writing. It helps you to:

  • organise report sections appropriately
  • describe materials and processes
  • choose appropriate verb tenses
  • write in a clear and concise manner
Syllabus
Week 1 Definition and description
Week 2 Method
Week 3 Results
Week 4 Conclusion
Week 5 Introduction 1
Week 6 Introduction 2 and abstract

 

 
 

Academic Writing: Planning an Assignment

Duration: Six weeks

Aims and objectives

This course will help you to familiarise yourself with the fundamental university requirements and expectations for academic coursework writing. The course helps you to:

  • plan and organise academic assignments to suit different types of questions
  • decide what it is necessary to include in academic essay writing
  • keep your content relevant to the question throughout your answer
  • use sources appropriately in academic writing 
Syllabus
Week 1 Title to plan
Week 2 Argument and synthesis
Week 3 Summary and paraphrase
Week 4 Organisation
Week 5 Introductions
Week 6 Conclusions

 

 
 

Academic Writing: Synthesising Sources

Duration: Six weeks

Aims and objectives

This course aims to familiarise yourself with the university expectations for avoiding plagiarism, developing a critical approach, and maintaining academic style in coursework. The course helps you to:

  • use information from different reading sources to support your argument, to develop your own ‘voice’ in academic writing, and to avoid plagiarism
  • take a critical approach to reading/writing and use strategies for critical writing
  • understand British academic conventions for referencing
  • use academic style appropriately
Syllabus
Week 1 Writing paragraphs
Week 2 Including sources
Week 3 Referencing
Week 4 Using sources: selection and synthesis
Week 5 Comment and critical stance
Week 6 Stylistic development

 

 
 

Academic Writing: Achieving Clarity

Duration: Six weeks

Aims and objectives

This course aims to help you develop a clearer and more precise writing style, particularly in the areas of:

  • correct expression of ideas for precise meaning
  • appropriate formality of grammar and vocabulary
  • effective relationships between parts of the text
  • clear linking 
Syllabus
Week 1 Descriptive precision
Week 2 Formality
Week 3 Syntax
Week 4 Cohesion and coherence
Week 5 Logic
Week 6 Collocation

 

 
 

Academic Writing: Grammatical Accuracy

Duration: Six weeks

Aims and objectives

This course helps you to:

  • improve grammar and sentence structure in the context of assignment/thesis writing
  • be more accurate in expressing yourself at sentence level when you are writing
  • notice and correct the grammatical mistakes which lead to unclear meaning in your writing
  • choose appropriate sentence structures and vocabulary for assignment or thesis writing
Syllabus
Week 1 Proofreading 1 (simple errors)
Week 2 Proofreading 2 (sentence structure)
Week 3 Tense
Week 4 Modal verb use
Week 5 Passive verbs
Week 6 Articles

 

 
 

Academic Writing: Developing Scientific Arguments

Duration: Six weeks

Aims and objectives

The purpose of this course is to help you to produce more effective argumentative writing within your science discipline. Key aims of the course are: 

  • to develop familiarity with common features of scientific arguments through the analysis of examples
  • to consider the reasons underpinning these features of scientific writing
  • to provide opportunities for controlled practice in producing these features of scientific argumentative writing
Syllabus
Lesson 1 Anatomy of a scientific argument
Lesson 2 Stance part 1 - expressing caution
Lesson 3 Stance part 2 - boosters and self-mentions
Lesson 4 Errors and limitations
Lesson 5 Organisation: coherence and cohesion
Lesson 6 Clarity and conciseness

 

 
 

Academic Writing: Research Writing (PGRs only)

Duration: Nine weeks

Aims and objectives

You are invited to send part of your writing to the tutor in advance, perhaps from an annual report or from an article you wish to submit to a journal. As a group, we look at a paragraph or two from each person, discussing content, structure, clarity and accuracy. The class provides an opportunity to get ideas and feedback from your peers as well as a tutor.

 
 

Academic Vocabulary Skills

Duration: Nine weeks

Aims and objectives

The aim of this course is to improve your active and passive vocabulary knowledge. It will help you to:

  • develop strategies for learning new academic vocabulary
  • improve dictionary and thesaurus skills for your degree study
  • understand the basic rules for word formation
  • develop an understanding of levels of formality in vocabulary
  • become more aware of the connotations and associations of words and expressions 
Syllabus
Week 1 What is word knowledge?
Week 2 Suffixes
Week 3 Prefixes
Week 4 Lexical cohesion
Week 5 Word families 
Week 6 Adjective and verb patterns 
Week 7 Register 
Week 8 Collocation 
Week 9  Review

 

 
 

Effective Academic Reading

Duration: Nine weeks

Aims and objectives

The aim of the course is to help you read more efficiently and quickly by:

  • choosing what is important for you to read
  • practising strategies that will help to save time
  • practising techniques for speed reading
  • extracting relevant information from texts
  • taking a critical approach to reading
Syllabus
Week 1 What is active reading?
Week 2 Types of reading
Week 3 Faster reading
Week 4 Reading clues: paragraphs
Week 5 Reading clues: organisational patterns
Week 6 Reading clues: vocabulary
Week 7 Selecting what to read
Week 8 Critical reading 1
Week 9 Critical reading 2

 

 
 

Academic Discussion Skills

Duration: Five weeks

Aims and objectives

This course aims to introduce you to the language and communication skills of academic seminar discussion. It will enable you to notice how academics and students communicate with each other and give you opportunities to develop similar skills by engaging in seminar discussions on a range of topics. Specifically, it will help you to:

  • develop an awareness of the role and importance of seminar participation in academic learning
  • focus on the language used by speakers to communicate a range of discussion-related functions (for example disagreeing, interrupting, asking for clarification, supporting ideas/claims and such)
  • build strategies and confidence for preparing for, participation in, and following up on seminar discussion
  • build independence by encouraging you to reflect critically on your own and others’ participation and take responsibility for managing group discussion for the benefit of all 
Syllabus
Week 1 Introduction - the purpose(s) and challenges of seminar discussion
Week 2 Strategies for seminar preparation
Week 3 Offering credible support for ideas/claims and counter-arguments
Week 4 Body language and 'active listening'
Week 5 Participate in a full group seminar discussion, including giving and receiving feedback and reflecting on your own 'performance'

 

 
 

Effective Academic Presentation

Duration: Four or five weeks

Aims and objectives

This course will help you to build your confidence for delivering an academic presentation; in particular, to give you opportunities to:

  • become more effective in delivering a presentation in English, in a seminar or similar setting
  • raise your awareness of important aspects of successful presentations, such as organisation, using visuals, body language and use of voice
  • focus on useful language for presentations 
Syllabus
Week 1 Presentation introductions
Week 2 Explanations and visual aids
Week 3 Delivery, stress and intonation
Week 4 Conclusions and Q&A
Week 5 Practice and feedback

 

 
 

Improving Pronunciation

Duration: Nine weeks

Aims and objectives

This course aims to improve your pronunciation. It will help you to give presentations more confidently and participate more successfully in discussions with staff and other students. Specifically, it will help you to: 

  • identify and overcome difficulties with particular sounds
  • practise sounds that are difficult in combination
  • understand stress in words and sentences and the difference this can make to individual sounds
Syllabus
Week 1 Overview of course and phonemic alphabet
Week 2 Vowels: short, long and diphthongs
Week 3 Consonants 1
Week 4 Consonants 2
Week 5 Consonant clusters
Week 6 Word stress
Week 7 Short sentence stress
Week 8 Weak forms
Week 9 Quiz

 

 
 

Social Conversation Skills

Duration: Nine weeks

Aims and objectives

The aim of this course is to develop your speaking skills and provide the opportunity to practise in an unpressured environment. It will:

  • help develop your confidence in speaking
  • help develop your fluency in speaking
  • extend your knowledge of vocabulary related to specific topics and give you the opportunity to practise discussing these topics in English
  • enable you to become aware of certain strategies used by speakers to participate in discussions
  • provide you with the language necessary to communicate in different situations on and off campus

Possible topics

  • Getting to know each other
  • Travel advice
  • Family life
  • Gender and stereotyping
  • Customs and habits
  • Idioms and common phrases
  • Restaurants and food
  • Superstitions and proverbs
  • Work
  • Extreme sports and risk taking
  • Final session quiz
 
 

Grammar: Speaking and Writing

Duration: Nine weeks

Aims and objectives

This course helps you to:

  • understand the differences between spoken and written academic English and the reasons for those differences
  • practise varying your language for assignments and presentations
  • improve your grammatical accuracy in spoken and written contexts
Syllabus
Week 1 Written and spoken academic English
Week 2 Nominal style
Week 3 Noun phrase modification
Week 4 Cohesion
Week 5 Prepositions
Week 6 Negation
Week 7 Verb complements
Week 8 Tense and aspect
Week 9 Noun complements