Course syllabus



   ENGLISH 121/121G:

   Reading / Writing / Text

     SEMESTER 1, 2018

15 points



This course is available as ENGLISH 121 in the Arts Schedule OR as ENGLISH 121G in the General Education Open Schedule.

You may enrol to take this course on City Campus (C) OR Epsom Campus (E) OR Manukau Campus (M) OR Tai Tokerau Campus (Y).

Please check to ensure that you enrol in the stream and section of the course which best suit your degree-planning needs.

Course convenors and facilitators:

City campus convenor: Dr Anna Boswell,

Epsom and Manukau convenor: Dr Sparkle Gibbs,

Tai Tokerau facilitator: Vera Unka,


Course delivery format:

1 x lecture per week (Weeks 1-12)

1 x workshop per week (Weeks 1-12)

1 x tutorial per week (Weeks 2-11)

Timetable and room details can be viewed on Student Services Online.

Please note:

SSO is currently displaying the course timetabling as 2 x 'LEC' (lecture) and 1 x TUT (tutorial) each week.

The first LEC hour each week is a formal lecture which will introduce key topics, concepts and texts.

The second LEC hour will be run as a workshop with a practical, skills-based focus.

Tutorials begin in Week 2 and end in Week 11.


Summary of course description:              

A course developing university-wide skills of reading, writing and analysis. Addresses the needs of students in English and other disciplines where both writing and reading have an important role in learning. The course fosters personal writing skills and also introduces writing as a subject of study in itself.


Course overview:

ENGLISH 121/121G aims to help improve your ability to read, write and think, no matter what your major or degree. The course targets and strengthens literacy skills which are important for academic success, equipping you with the ability to read and write more effectively and to navigate the university environment with greater confidence. The course also focuses on transferable literacy skills that will assist you in digital and workplace communications.

Readings and course materials include academic publications, online journalism, blogs, multimedia texts, literary texts and visual texts. In addition, we reflect directly on how to interpret the communications, resources and tasks associated with a university course. Techniques for taking notes and writing essays and paragraphs are a key focus of ENGLISH 121/121G. We also deal specifically with grammar and punctuation, and with how to manage referencing and citations. Questions of authorship, originality, plagiarism and what it means to write "properly" lead us to consider conditions and rules of writing in the contemporary world, and the particular discursive conventions of academic, public and online communication.

Coursework tasks invite you to respond to different text-types, genres and rhetorical strategies. Small weekly writing activities give you the opportunity to experiment with different forms of written expression such as paragraphs and bullet points, and provide you with practical and creative skills in composition, peer reviewing and editing. A case study and an essay ask you to read and engage critically with selected texts and to identify and address cultural and social issues posed by specific modes of writing.  A final exam asks you to put your reading, writing and thinking skills into action.


Prescribed texts:

Short weekly readings are available as PDF files for downloading or printing via the Reading List for this course.


Course objectives and outcomes:

On successful completion of this course, you should have improved your ability 

  • to recognise different text-types and genres
  • to grasp the purpose of a text, its audience and the case it makes
  • to read and respond to academic and non-academic texts that deal with a range of topics
  • to understand the effects produced by different types of grammatical and stylistic expression within your own writing and the writing of others
  • to construct, shape and deliver writing that is appropriate to a set task
  • to mobilise a technical vocabulary associated with writing
  • to cite and reference in a manner appropriate to the genre of writing
  • to evaluate and edit the work of others using constructive, informed feedback

This course supports all six of the capabilities set out in the University of Auckland Graduate Profile (2017):

  • Disciplinary Knowledge & Practice
  • Critical Thinking
  • Solution Seeking
  • Communication & Engagement
  • Independence & Integrity
  • Social & Environmental Responsibilities


Assessment summary:

10%     tutorial participation (Weeks 2-11)

10%     10 x weekly writing activities (to be completed online in Weeks 2-11)

25%     case study (1,000 words; due on Monday 26 March by 11.59pm)

25%     essay (1,200 words; due on Monday 21 May by 11.59pm)

30%     compulsory final exam (2 hours; date TBC)

Please note:

The 10 weekly writing activities are marked but not graded. You will receive a full mark for each activity as long as you complete all submission criteria and upload your work before the deadline. If you do not complete all submission criteria and/or your work is late, you will receive no mark. No extensions will be granted for weekly writing activities as the activities are designed to help you keep up-to-date with course topics and materials and to assist you in preparing the larger pieces of coursework.

The final exam for this course is compulsory. Even if you have technically gained 50 marks or more for coursework, you can only pass the course if you sit the exam.

The University will only award aegrotat passes for an exam in exceptional circumstances.

The University does not permit aegrotat passes to be awarded for coursework tasks.





Lecture: Introduction

Workshop: Making notes


Lecture: Text-types

Workshop: Academic writing support


Lecture: Reading processes

Workshop: Targeted learning session


Lecture: Point of view

Workshop: Peer review activity


Lecture: Whose language?

No Workshop on Easter Friday



Lecture: Vocabulary

Workshop: Grammar and punctuation


No Lecture on Anzac Day

Workshop: Sentences and paragraphs


Lecture: Art of the essay

Workshop: Targeted learning session

WEEK 9: 

Lecture: Arguments and evidence

Workshop: Reading patterns

WEEK 10:

Lecture: Writing processes

Workshop: Peer review activity

WEEK 11:

Lecture: Citation and sources

Workshop: Targeted learning session

WEEK 12:

Lecture: Exam preparation

Workshop: Exam drop-in clinic


Workload and deadlines for submission of coursework:           

The University of Auckland's expectation is that students spend 10 hours per week on a 15-point course, including time in class and personal study. Students should manage their academic workload and other commitments accordingly. The ten weekly writing activities for this course provide guidelines and structure for some of your out-of-class work and enable you to gain course credit for this work. The activities also form part of your preparation for the larger pieces of coursework and the exam. No extensions will be approved for weekly writing activities.

Deadlines for the case study and essay are advertised above and in the assessment summary. You must submit your work on time. In extreme circumstances, such as illness, you may seek an extension but you will be required to provide supporting information (i.e. a medical certificate or a letter from a counsellor). Applications for extensions must be made before the assignment is due. Late assignments without a pre-approved extension will not be marked.


Plagiarism policy:

The University of Auckland does not tolerate cheating or plagiarism or assisting others to cheat or plagiarise, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student’s own written work, reflecting his or her ideas and learning. Where other sources are used, as they should be used in academic writing, those sources must be properly acknowledged and cited. Referencing outside sources applies to all printed and digital materials, including the internet.

The working definition of plagiarism in this course is using the written work of others and presenting it as your own without explicitly acknowledging or referencing where the work originally appeared. Plagiarism is not acknowledging the books, articles, webpages, or other students’ work that are used, paraphrased, or directly copied. Wherever you are using the writing or ideas of other people (whether published or unpublished), those ideas or writings must be properly acknowledged and cited. In academic writing, acknowledgement usually takes the form of endnotes, footnotes, or in-text parenthetical references to the materials used plus a bibliography. For more detailed information, see the university’s guidelines on the conduct of coursework.

In English 121/121G, work shown to be plagiarised will receive a zero grade and may lead to disciplinary action. Please note that you will not receive credit for duplicating coursework that you have completed for this (or for any other) course.

Course summary:

Date Details