Skip to main content

Unit information: Academic Skills for the Study of English Literature and Community Engagement in 2020/21

Unit name Academic Skills for the Study of English Literature and Community Engagement
Unit code ENGL10058
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Mrs. Thomas-Hughes
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts


Critical Skills in English Literature and Community Engagement is the first in a series of cumulative units which are designed to support students in the development and execution of community-engaged projects. These projects are part of their undergraduate studies on the English Literature and Community Engagement BA. The unit aims to introduce students to the skills needed to engage successfully with the undergraduate study of English Literature and Community Engagement.

The unit aims to support the development of a range of relevant skills including self-directed study; critical thinking; reading and writing in academic study; reflection and reflexivity as it relates to community engaged practice.

The unit aims to teach the skills needed to write well, to help students evaluate others’ writing, and to understand the links between writing, thinking, reflection and practice.

Skills-based topics will normally include: note-taking; library use; organisation (balancing practice and study); making use of feedback; critical in-depth reading for the study of both literature and community engagement; reading around a subject; and an introduction to critical thinking. There may also be a general session on planning, drafting, re-drafting and editing assessed work.

This unit encourages students to consider how they might translate themes from their study of literature into community-engaged project contexts through engagement with diverse literary forms (from novels, short-stories, poems and biography to film, theatre, graphic text and oral-culture).

Students will be required keep a reflective journal throughout their study on this unit. They will be supported in journaling through the setting of regular reflective tasks. The unit includes a midway submission point where students will have the opportunity to submit and receive feedback on a 500-1000-word sample from their journal.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

1- Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how to write reflectively and reflexively, appreciate how this can be used to support and develop critical thinking and community engaged practice, apply this to their own reflective and academic writing.

2- Demonstrate skills in reading, note-taking, library use and time management and demonstrate an understanding of how these skills foster and support intellectual debates and community-engaged partnerships.

3- Engage critically with primary and secondary sources relevant to the study of both literature and community engagement.

4- Demonstrate developing skills in academic writing through ability to construct coherent, relevant and persuasive arguments appropriate to level C/4.

Teaching details

This unit is normally taught through a series of 3-hour seminars delivered across the academic year. Seminars utilise a range of teaching methods including lectures, practical-activities and small group dicussion. Seminars are supported by a range of asynchronous learning activities. As part of this unit students have access to a one-to-one mentor who will support and guide thier development of a communtiy engaged project. Students also typically have access to two Saturday writing re-treats which provide a guided space for developing their academic writing skills.

Assessment Details

1 x 3000 word reflective assignment (ILOs: 1-4) 100%

Reading and References

Billington, Josie. "Reading between the Lines: The benefits of reading for pleasure." Quick Reads, University of Liverpool (2015).

Bolton, Gillie. Reflective practice: Writing and professional development. Sage publications, (2010).

Collinson, Diané, et al., eds, Plain English, 2nd edn, Buckingham: Open University Press, (2001).

Goatly, Andrew. Critical Reading and Writing: An Introductory Coursebook. London: Routledge, (2000).