Fall 2023 - EDUC 341 OL01

Literacy, Education and Culture (3)

Class Number: 4862

Delivery Method: Online


  • Course Times + Location:

    Location: TBA

  • 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 society. 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.


The goal of this course is to prepare current and future educators, and students of culture and
society, to incorporate a literacy lens into their education practice, and to participate in current
debates and policies that are shaping literacy education in school and community settings.
Course learning outcomes deepen and expand upon these premises and are the organizing
logic for each of the six modules in this course. Students will learn:

  • To study literacy as a window into society, power and education systems;
  • To appreciate the value and diversity of different literacies and writing systems as these relate to different cultures, historical moments, and ways of knowing and being;
  • To understand literacy as a political force; how literacy can empower but also be used as a mode of social control;
  • To become familiar with literacy education work outside of schools (such as in community education, adult learning centres, youth literacy, family literacy, social justice projects 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 algorithmic world;
  • To develop multimodal literacy skills (skills that go beyond print to present information in different ways).


  • Working together in this course 5%
  • Experiential activities 40%
  • Quizzes 20%
  • Final assignment 35%


Late Penalties

All assignments must be submitted on the date specified. For class blogs and experiential
activities, you will receive a 20% deduction for posting two days after due time, a 50% deduction
for posting between three and five days after due time, and a '0' after five days. Two marks per
day will be deducted for a late Reflection on Course Learning.



Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.