Tuesday 18th February 12.30 – 13.45 Journal club LEaD training room – Academic Literacies: embedding in course design and collaboration with academic staff


In this month’s Journal Club we will explore two articles on the theme of developing students’ academic literacies.


Mary Lea and Brian Street set out a framework for supporting student writing in higher education in their seminal 1998 article which proposed a framework for academic literacies. The first article you are asked to read is a development of these ideas by Mary Lea, published in 2004. Although written some time ago the article examines how research findings from academic literacies might be used to underpin course design in higher education. It uses a case study of an online postgraduate course and explores the role that technology might play in supporting students’ academic literacy development. We’ll consider what changes we can make to course or curriculum design to embed academic literacies.


Mary R. Lea * (2004) Academic literacies: a pedagogy for course design, Studies in Higher Education, 29:6, 739-756, https://0-www-tandfonline-com.wam.city.ac.uk/doi/full/10.1080/0307507042000287230


Meanwhile in a more recent article by Lotte Bergman we will discuss academic perceptions about supporting student’s academic literacy development. Many academic staff feel under-prepared to help students develop their writing skills. In this second article a group of university teachers from different disciplines reflected on and were able to extend their knowledge about how best to support their students through a programme of continuing professional development. A number of teachers made changes to their teaching practices in light of the interventions described and their confidence and ability to support students’ grew.


Bergman, L. (2016). Supporting academic literacies: university teachers in collaboration for change. Teaching in Higher Education21(5), 516-531. https://0-www-tandfonline-com.wam.city.ac.uk/doi/full/10.1080/13562517.2016.1160220


We’ll discuss both articles and reflect on whether some of the approaches in this articles are relevant to the challenges we face at City to support student academic literacies.

To help us with the discussion here are some questions you might like to consider when reading the article:

·         What was the purpose of the research and were the research questions/hypothesis clear?

·         Does the literature review seem thorough and draw on recent literature related to the research problem?

·         Is there a theoretical or conceptual model for the research?

·         Is there reference to ethical approval for the study?

·         Was there a clear discussion of how the sample was chosen and the representativeness of the sample to the population as well as details of recruitment?

·         Is the research methodology clearly indicated alongside the data collection tools?

·         Is the analysis of the data clearly outlined?

·         Were the findings clearly presented and discussed?

·         Were any limitations for the study indicated?

·         What are the implications of the research for practice? What are the implications of the research for our new lecture capture policy at City?

·         Has further research been indicated?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *