Academic literacies: a pedagogy for course design

Lea, Mary (2004). Academic literacies: a pedagogy for course design. Studies in Higher Education, 29(6) pp. 739–756.



This article examines how research findings from the field of academic literacies might be used to underpin course design across the broad curriculum of higher education. During the last decade this research has unpacked the complex relationship between writing and learning, and pointed to gaps in students' and tutors' understanding of what is involved in writing for assessment. The article takes this as its starting point but suggests that the focus on particular groups of students and on student writing alone might mask the relevance of the research findings for teaching and learning in higher education more generally. In addition, the increasing use of information and communication technologies and virtual learning environments add dimensions which are only beginning to be recognized in the academic literacies literature. The article uses a specific case study of an online, postgraduate course to explicate some principles of course design, derived from academic literacies research, which take account of the different texts involved in student learning, and do not focus merely on assessed writing. This case study also pays some attention to the ways in which the use of new technologies can be used to the advantage of course designers adopting these principles.

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