Summer 2023 - EDUC 341 D100

Literacy, Education and Culture (3)

Class Number: 4434

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 8 – Aug 4, 2023: Tue, 11:30 a.m.–2:20 p.m.

  • 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.


This course explores different kinds of literacies, the consequences of literacy for different groups, and for the organization of education and society. This course focuses on three key foundational concepts: 1. Literacy is a social practice, and so literacy practices vary over time, context and social relations and include different modes beyond print. 2. The study of literacies offers insights into practices of power in society (how societies are organized, how cultures change and are changed by literacy). The teaching and learning of literacies in families, communities and school settings are also practices of power (how we define and teach literacy has consequences for how people are positioned in society).


  • 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).


  • Attendance and participation 10%
  • Unit quizzes 20%
  • Assignment 1 (written) 20%
  • Assignment 2 (written) 20%
  • Course reflection 30%


There is no final exam for this course.



Detailed course syllabus, all course readings, instructor’s PowerPoint presentations, detailed instructions and criteria for each assignment, as well as the online discussion tasks, and any other course material will be available on Canvas. 


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at:

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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.


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.