Contact a Humanities Office or Academic unit.
Find your course outlines.

MELD 1CC3 Adv. Academic Reading Skills (C04)

Academic Year: Winter 2018

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. Lisa Dent-Couturier


Office: L.R. Wilson 4040

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 27133

Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursday from 3:00 to 4:00 pm, or by appointment.

Course Objectives:

In this course students will further develop their skills in academic reading, and their listening comprehension skills. The focus is on the comprehension and critical evaluation of scholarly articles and texts from a range of disciplines.

By the end of the course students will have

  • developed greater reading fluency
  • developed advanced listening comprehension skills
  • developed the skills of reading academic texts for gist and for detail
  • learned how to identify main and supporting ideas in scholarly texts
  • learned how to understand cohesion and interpret visual information
  • learned how to distinguish fact from opinion, and to recognize rhetorical techniques
  • learned how to evaluate evidence and argumentation
  • understood implication and inference
  • developed the skills necessary to synthesize information from a variety of sources
  • strengthened their annotation skills
  • developed further their note-taking skills for university lectures
  • learned to recognize and use academically appropriate lexical forms

Topics covered include: fundamental reading skills (main ideas; patterns of cohesion; role of visuals); critical thinking skills, with respect both to spoken and written language (evaluating evidence; refining inferences; recognizing rhetorical devices); extended reading skills using academically rigorous texts; research skills; the link between effective reading and effective writing, and between effective listening and effective reading. These topics are explored through five subject areas: Sociology, Economics, Biology, Humanities, Environmental Engineering.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

1. Zwier, L. and M. Vosters. 2017. University Success: Reading (Transition Level). Pearson.

Method of Assessment:

Please check Avenue for deadline details

1.         Assignments (55 points)

  • Summary – review exercise (5 points)
  • Synthesis and Response #1 (5 points)
  • Synthesis and Response #2 (5 points)
  • Text Critique (10 points)
  • Listening comprehension and note-taking assessment #1 – Week 4 (5 points)
  • Listening comprehension and note-taking assessment #2 – Week 9 (5 points)
  • Listening comprehension and note-taking assessment #3 – Week 13 (10 points)
  • Quizzes and Vocabulary Assessments (10 points)

2.         Final reading exam (40 points)

3.         Attendance and Participation (25 points)

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Course assignments must be submitted on the due dates, unless permission for an extension has been granted by the instructor before the due date. Extensions may be granted for legitimate reasons (e.g., MSAF, or medical or other documentation submitted to the Faculty of Humanities Advising Office). Late assignments will be penalized by 10% a day (including weekends).


MELD Course attendance policy

Students are expected to attend, be prepared for, and participate in each class. This is critical in order to ensure maximum exposure to academic English, and to meet the learning objectives of the course. Please note that students will be marked absent if:

  • they use electronic devices for non-educational purposes or inappropriately;
  • they speak in a language other than English during class;
  • if they attend only one half of a class.


Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Other Course Information:

Avenue to Learn will be used extensively for this course. We will be using it for assignment submissions and feedback, communication outside of class, materials (core content and supplementary materials), and to communicate due dates. Please make sure to check Avenue frequently. Please make sure to email your instructor outside of Avenue.