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Academic Year: Fall/Winter 2014/2015

Term: 2

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. Lisa Dent-Couturier


Office: L.R. Wilson 4040

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 27133

Office Hours: TBD

Course Objectives:

This course further develops students’ skills in academic writing. The focus in this course is on the comprehension and critical evaluation of scholarly articles and texts from a range of disciplines.

Outcomes:  At the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • Recognize different academic genres
  • Identify the author’s stance
  • Increase your reading speed
  • Recognize and use a wider academic vocabulary in all skill areas
  • Critically evaluate texts and assess the relevance and suitability of a source text
  • Use a variety of strategies to improve comprehension of texts
  • Summarize texts in writing following close reading and identification of main ideas and key details
  • Critique texts by evaluating strengths and weaknesses and making constructive suggestions for revision

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

  1. Pakenham et al. (2013). Making connections 3: Skills and strategies for academic reading. CUP: Cambridge, UK.
  2. Hewings, M. (2012). Cambridge Academic English: An integrated skills course for EAP. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK. (from Term 1)
  3. Aish, F. & Tomlinson, J. (2013). Lectures: Learn listening and note-taking skills. Harper Collins Publishers: London, UK. (From Term 1)

Method of Assessment:


  1. Students will complete reading speed journal from the appendix of Pakenham, pp. 273-275 and submit it twice during the term.
  2. Students will complete a vocabulary journal using the template provided and submit it twice during the term (See Google Drive folder).
  3. Students will complete the Skills & Strategies sections (1-12) of Pakenham text and submit throughout the term.
  4. Students will complete three written summaries of selected texts.
  5. Students will critique a selected text. See additional handouts in Google Drive folder for more information.

Marking Scheme:

Final grades in the MELD Program will be assigned on a pass/fail basis.  Students are required to complete each of the following assignments and having a passing overall average to receive credit for the course.


  • Attendance and class participation  10 %
  • Vocabulary Journal                          10 %
  • Reading Speed Journal                   10 %
  • Critique                                            25 %
  • Written Summaries                          30 %
  • Skills & Strategies Exercises          15 %

MELD Term 2 Grading Scheme (IELTS/CEFR):

  • (<50 %) = 6/ B2.2
  • (50 %-70 %) = 6.5/ C1.1 [PASS]
  • (70%- 80 %) = 6.5/ C1.2
  • (80 %- 100 %) = 7/ C2.1

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Regular attendance is required to successfully achieve course outcomes.  If you are absent, it is your responsibility to complete any work done in class. 

All work must be submitted in class on the due date.  Do not submit assignments by email or slide them under the instructor’s door. Late assignments will only be accepted with prior consent from the instructor and/or appropriate documentation to support your inability to submit the work by the due date. 

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

This is a self-reporting tool for undergraduate students to report absences DUE TO MINOR MEDICAL SITUATIONS that last up to 5 days and provides the ability to request accommodation for any missed academic work. Please note, this tool cannot be used during any final examination period. You may submit a maximum of 1 Academic Work Missed request per term. It is YOUR responsibility to follow up with your Instructor immediately (NORMALLY WITHIN TWO WORKING DAYS) regarding the nature of the accommodation. If you are absent for reasons other than medical reasons, for more than 5 days, or exceed 1 request per term, you MUST visit your Associate Dean's Office/Faculty Office). You may be required to provide supporting documentation. This form should be filled out immediately when you are about to return to class after your absence.

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.

Topics and Readings:







Jan. 5-9/15





Jan. 12-16/15





Jan. 19-23/15



Written Summary (10 %)


Jan. 26-30/15





Feb. 2-6/15

Identifying Main Ideas/ Cause-Effect Language

Pakenham et al., Unit 1, pp. 2-26

Skills & Strategies 1-3 (3.75 %)


Feb. 9-13/15

Vocabulary Strategies/Referents

Pakenham et al., Unit 1, pp. 27-62

Vocabulary Journal (5 %); Skills & Strategies 4-6 (3.75 %)


Feb. 16-20/15 (Feb. 16: Family Day)





Feb. 23-27/15

Point of View/Reduced Relative Clauses

Pakenham et al., Unit 2, pp. 64-88

Written Summary (10 %); Reading Speed Journal (5 %)


Mar. 2-6/15

Author’s Stance

Pakenham et al., Unit 2, pp. 89-124

Skills & Strategies 7-9 (3.75 %)


Mar. 9-13/15

Defining & Classifying Ideas

Pakenham et al., Unit 3, pp. 126-150

Written Summary (10 %)


Mar. 16-20/15

Use of the Passive Voice

Pakenham et al., Unit 3, pp. 151-188

Skills & Strategies 10-12 (3.75 %)


Mar. 23-27/15

Problem-Solution Language/ Visual Aids

Pakenham et al., Unit 4, pp. 190-216

Vocabulary Journal (5 %); Reading Speed Journal (5 %)



Mar. 30- Apr. 3/15 (Apr. 3: Good Friday)


Pakenham et al., Unit 4, pp. 217-255

Critique (25 %)