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Academic Year: Fall/Winter 2014/2015

Term: 2

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. Justin Rossier


Office: L.R. Wilson 4044

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 27219

Office Hours: TBD

Course Objectives:

This course covers a variety of aspects of the university system and strategies for dealing with challenges that may arise, such as note-taking, time management, and studying for exams.

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

  • Act appropriately to satisfy the expectations of professors, teaching assistants, and university staff
  • Apply strategies related to: time management, organization, completing assignments, and exam preparation
  • Apply strategies for solving problems and evaluating possible solutions
  • Employ critical thinking skills to evaluate all sources of information
  • Reflect on their learning and assess achievements and challenges
  • Create a learning portfolio to document your learning throughout the MELD program

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

  1. Fava-Verde et al. (2009). Transferable academic skills kit course book. Garnet Publishing Ltd.: Reading, UK. *(also used in 1AA3 & 1BB3)

Method of Assessment:


  1. Students will complete four reflection journals throughout the term.  These can be in the form of audio recordings, written journals, blogs, etc..  You may choose or offer the students different options.
  2. TASK exercises: Please complete the TASK exercises which you feel are most appropriate for your students at whatever intervals you choose.
  3. Students will need to attend a minimum of three sessions at the Student Success Centre (SSC) related to their Learning Portfolio assignments.  Only one of the three may be counted as ‘drop-in support’ to discourage them from waiting until the last minute. They can attend as many ‘drop-in support’ sessions in addition to their three face-to-face sessions.
  4. Learning Portfolios will be shared in the final week before they are submitted for grading.

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 %
  • Learning Portfolio workshops at SSC 10 %
  • Reflection Journals                              20 %
  • TASK exercises from modules             30 %
  • Learning Portfolio                                 20 %
  • MELD Passport                                    10 %

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

Academic Skills

Module 1, Unit 1 & 2, pp. 6-16



Jan. 12-16/15

Time Management & Organization

Module 1, Unit 3 & 4, pp. 17-27



Jan. 19-23/15

Student’s Expectations

Module 2, Unit 1 & 2, pp. 30-35

Reflection Journal (5 %)


Jan. 26-30/15

Universities’ Expectations

Module 2, Unit 3 & 4, pp. 36-43



Feb. 2-6/15

Strategies for Problems

Module 5, Unit 1 & 2, pp. 124-130



Feb. 9-13/15

Problem Solving & Evaluating Solutions

Module 5, Unit 3 & 4, pp. 131- 140; Unit 5 & 6, pp. 141-153

Reflection Journal (5 %)


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





Feb. 23-27/15

Critical Thinking Skills

Module 6, Unit 1 & 2, pp. 156-165



Mar. 2-6/15

Persuasive Language

Module 6, Unit 3 & 4, pp. 166-175

Reflection Journal (5 %)


Mar. 9-13/15


Module 6, Unit 5 & 6, pp. 176-187



Mar. 16-20/15

Exam Preparation

Module 12, Unit 1 & 2, pp. 376-387



Mar. 23-27/15

Exam Techniques

Module 12, Unit 3 & 4, pp. 388-397

Reflection Journal (5 %)


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

Coping During Exams

Module 12, Unit 5 & 6, pp. 398-409

Learning Portfolio Sharing/sub-mission (20 %); MELD Passport due (10 %)