Research and Academic Development Skills and English Language

The details
Essex Pathways
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Foundation/Year Zero: Level 3
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 02 July 2021
05 June 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BSC CR00 Biochemistry (Including Foundation Year),
BSC CD00 Biological Sciences (Including Foundation Year),
BSC BD00 Biomedical Science (Including Foundation Year),
BSC CK00 Genetics (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C161 Marine Biology (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C611 Sports and Exercise Science (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C614 Sports Performance and Coaching (Including Foundation Year)

Module description

This blended-learning module is designed to support students in their academic subject disciplines and to strengthen their confidence in key skills areas such as: academic writing, research, academic integrity, collaborative and reflective practices.

The students are supported through the use of subject-specific materials tailored to their chosen degrees with alignment of assessments between academic subject modules and the skills module.

Module aims

Module Aims

- To develop students’ ability to operate effectively, in both written and spoken language, in a range of academic settings

- To develop students’ basic research skills, encouraging a critical approach to source materials and appropriate use of sources as supporting evidence

- To encourage independent learning strategies and develop students’ confidence to make judgments and be evaluative

- To equip students with appropriate and effective language and study skills applicable to their various disciplines

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module a student will be expected to be able to:

1. Produce academic writing which is well-structured, relevant and clearly reasoned.

2. Communicate ideas, information and arguments with clarity, both orally and in written form, and which demonstrates the ability to integrate students’ own ideas with those of others.

3. Deliver effective presentations using an appropriate range of visual aids.

4. Comprehend texts on a range of subjects identifying main points from listening and reading material, and demonstrating critical reading skills to assess the usefulness of information.

5. Make full use of academic libraries and a range of appropriate electronic media for independent research purposes

6. Demonstrate knowledge and appropriate use of academic register and referencing conventions.

7. Develop time management strategies, employ self-directed learning and show an ability to reflect on one’s own goals and progress.

Module information


- Identify text types and their relevance / appropriateness
- Develop basic research techniques
- Reading & note-taking skills development
- Writing skills development
- Editing and redrafting skills
- Referencing and how to avoid plagiarism
- Listening skills development
- Listening & note-taking
- Develop further research skills
- Summary writing and working with lecture notes
- Presentation skills including the effective use of visuals
- Graphs and statistical information
- Revision and exam strategies
- The reflective process

Formative assessment
A 500-word reading-to-write summary, to be submitted in mid-Autumn Term.

Summative assessment
- One Key Skills Portfolio assignment consisting of three elements. The portfolio tasks are selected in consultation with subject MLs on each pathway to ensure the timely development of key disciplinary skills.

- One scaffolded assignment to be submitted in the Spring term. The assignment will develop the students' ability to produce an extended piece of writing in the most relevant genre for their pathway (e.g. a Lab Report for students in the Sciences or an essay for students in the Humanities). The topic is selected in consultation with subject MLs on the pathway.

- One oral presentation to take place in the Summer Term. Presentations are delivered individually, but include an element of reporting on collaborative group or peer reflective exercises. This assignment aims to develop students' oral communication skills as well as the ability to work collaboratively in both offline and online modes and to become more reflective learners.

Reassessment strategy:

Failed Coursework:
Resubmit a piece of coursework (1,000 words) which will be marked as 100% of the new module mark. The reassessment task will enable the relevant learning outcomes to be met.

If the group presentation has been failed, students will also be required to submit a 500-word presentation in notes/slides format.

Learning and teaching methods

The online element of the module is delivered through 1 x 50-minute lectures and 2 x 25-minute mini-lectures per week, as appropriate. 2 x 50 mins of face-to-face or online small-group or individual tutorials, classes or seminars are provided in addition to the above. One 50-minute lecture per week is always delivered online, while other input sessions and tutorials may be delivered in either face-to-face or online mode, as appropriate. Non-native speakers of English will receive an additional 50-minute seminar per week focusing on language development at sentence and paragraph level as well as opportunities to practice skills. This seminar will be delivered in either face-to-face or online mode, as appropriate and depending on circumstances. All information relating to this module can be found on the relevant Moodle site.


  • Duesterhaus, Megan; Grauerholz, Liz; Weichsel, Rebecca; Guittar, Nicholas A. (2011) 'The Cost of Doing Femininity: Gendered Disparities in Pricing of Personal Care Products and Services', in Gender Issues. vol. 28 (4) , pp.175-191

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Group Tutorial      
Coursework   Individual Oral Presentation and Reflections      
Coursework   Participation Mark      
Coursework   Formative Summary      
Coursework   Record of Group Work      
Coursework   Individual Reading-to-Write Literature Review     
Coursework   Individual Research Report      

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Mr Maurice Abbott, email: mdabbott@essex.ac.uk.
Brendan Elsted, Sandra Stephenson
Helen Hearn (hhearn@essex.ac.uk or 01206 872842)



External examiner

Ms Hayley Piekarz
The University of Birmingham
Acting Director of Operations and Development
Available via Moodle
Of 704 hours, 673 (95.6%) hours available to students:
31 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Essex Pathways

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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