Fall 2021 - EDUC 341 E100

Literacy, Education and Culture (3)

Class Number: 6974

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 4:30 PM – 7:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    60 units including three units in EDUC courses.



What counts as literacy and whose literacies are valued? What does this mean for the organization of societies, and for teaching and learning? How is literacy implicated in projects of social ordering, colonialism, oppression and empowerment? This course explores these questions through case studies, histories, policies and place-based investigations of literacy education across the life course and inside and outside formal schooling. Breadth-Humanities.


From the earliest representations of human experience to contemporary digital cultures, literacy has been one of society’s most powerful political and cultural technologies. In its many forms, literacy has had far-reaching impact on the creation of knowledge; the organization of gender, race and class relations; and the formation of institutions. Formal education is one of the most powerful institutions through which literacy is transmitted and society is organized, but literacies also flourish in communities as practices of inventiveness and resistance. This course explores different kinds of literacies, the consequences of literacy for different groups, and for the organization of education and societies. We consider these themes from the earliest writing, to the present and possible futures, paying particular attention to the work of contemporary education institutions at this historical moment when traditional print literacy and new digital literacies intersect. PLEASE READ NOTES FOR IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT COURSE DELIVERY.


Course learning goals deepen and expand upon these premises above and are the organizing logic for each of the six course modules:

  • To study literacy as a window into society, power and education systems;
  • To appreciate the value and diversity of different literacies and writing systems;
  • To understand literacy as a political force; how literacy can empower but also be leveraged as mode of social control;
  • To become familiar with literacy education work outside of formal schooling (such as in community education, adult learning centres, youth literacy, family literacy and so on);
  • To recognize and evaluate different methods for teaching and learning literacies;
  • To critically evaluate digital literacies and the future of literacy in an automated world;
  • To develop multimodal literacy skills (skills that go beyond print to present information in different ways);
  • To develop capacity to have ones own views challenged and to engage in conversations across difference.


  • Reading/artifact responses (student select three for grading) (3 X 10%) 30%
  • Group discussion facilitation and participation 20%
  • Module Quizzes 5 X 6% 30%
  • Course project and reflection 20%



There is no required textbook, all materials will be provided on the course canvas site.


No Textbooks.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.