Spring 2020 - FAL X99 D006

Foundations of Academic Literacy (4)

Class Number: 4731

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We, Fr 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    RCB 6100, Burnaby



An introduction to the kinds of reading and writing students will encounter in lower-division courses across the university disciplines. Important aspects of the writing process are discussed and illustrated in class, and students receive individual feedback on their academic writing. Students who wish to use the course to meet the language proficiency prereq of a writing-intensive course must obtain a C or better. Enrolment priority is given to undergraduate students who have not yet met the language proficiency prere of a writing-intensive course. Students who receive less than a C grade on their first attempt at the course may re-enroll. No student may attempt the course more than twice. Units from this course do not count toward the units required for an SFU degree; however, the course grade is included in calculation of the student's cumulative GPA.



The course aims to provide students with a variety of opportunities to practise, develop, improve, and apply in context, different forms of academic literacy (reading, writing, and oral communication).


The course is designed around the units of study set out in the syllabus. A variety of presentation methods will be used, including free writing activities. The aim of these activities is to give students an opportunity to gain confidence and learn through writing, without the pressure of having the written work assessed. When instructors read and mark free writing or other FAL writing activities, the emphasis will be on feedback that will help students to develop their academic literacy skills.


FAL X99 is for “additive credit.” This means that students take the course in addition to the normal 120 credits needed to graduate from SFU. The grade for FAL X99 counts toward overall GPA/CGPA.

In order to obtain FAL credit and to go on to take a W (Writing Intensive) course, students are required to pass the course overall with a minimum C grade. All FAL X99 grading follows SFU’s “Standard Grade System” letter/numerical equivalents below:

SFU STANDARD GRADE SYSTEM (SFU Grading Systems and Policies: https://www.sfu.ca/students/calendar/2020/spring/fees-and-regulations/grading-policy/grading-systems-and-policies.html)

Grade A+  A-  B+  B-  C+  C- F
Definition Excellent Good Satisfactory Marginal Fail
Numerical Equivalent 4.33  4.00  3.67  3.33  3.00  2.67  2.33  2.00  1.67  1.00  0.00


  • Assessed In-class Writing 1: Summary 25%
  • Assessed In-class Writing 2: Response Paper 35%
  • Assessed Research Essay 25%
  • Active Learning* 15%


  • *Active Learning consists of the following:
    • Attendance and punctuality
    • Improvement during the course
    • Engagement in class
    • Giving helpful peer feedback
    • Homework completion
    • Revision and added research to assessed in-class writing tasks
    • Quizzes (as applicable)

  • All students are encouraged to review university policies pertaining to academic integrity available on SFU’s Policies and Procedures website (see “Code of Academic Integrity and Good Conduct”, SFU Policy Number S10.01 here: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html). Please note: All drafts and revisions produced in FAL X99 will also be subject to SFU’s Academic Integrity Requirements.



100% attendance is expected in this course. A class register is taken each class, marking absences and late attendance. If you are going to be late or absent due to unavoidable circumstances, you must inform your instructor by telephone or email before the class. If you have a regular commitment where you will be required to be off campus or away, make sure that your FAL class is not on this day as this absence will impact your grades for the course. If you are absent or late for any classes without a valid reason, this will affect your active learning score. If you are absent for more than 5 classes (20%) without a valid reason, you will not obtain a FAL credit for the course.

Before each Assessed In-class Writing Assignment, you will write a practice version and do peer review. As part of this writing process, you are required to attend each class and participate actively in peer- review. Active participation in the peer review process involves providing feedback to your peers on their assignment drafts as well as you receiving and responding to feedback provided to you by your peers.  Failure to attend or participate actively in the peer review process of any given writing assignment will affect your grades.

If you miss an Assessed In-class Writing Assignment without a justifiable/documented reason, you will receive an N (“incomplete”) grade for that assignment and, therefore, an N grade (which is numerically equivalent to an F grade) for the FAL X99 course overall.


Active learning involves engaging with material being taught, with your instructor, and with fellow students in an active, respectful, and inclusive way. The FAL X99 classroom is made up of learners who come from a wide range of backgrounds and who study many different subjects. Please be respectful of all of your fellow students. Please do not use cell phones, laptop computers, or other devices during class, unless you are using them for learning purposes. Using a device for social networking, texting, etc., during class will have a negative effect on your active learning grade.


The Student Learning Commons (http://www.lib.sfu.ca/about/branches-depts/slc) offers workshops that will help you to consolidate what you learn in FAL X99. You can also meet a peer educator at the Student Learning Commons for one-to-one advice on your learning. You are encouraged to make use of this facility.


Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need classroom or exam accommodations are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (https://www.sfu.ca/students/accessible-learning.html or caladmin@sfu.ca) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.


If you need any additional help during the FAL X99 course, there are a number of people who can help.

  • Questions about learning: you should ask your instructor
  • Administrative issues: you should contact Rob Manery, the Course Coordinator (email: rmanery@sfu.ca)
  • Any other questions: you may also contact Steve Marshall, the Acting Course Supervisor (email: stevem@sfu.ca)



Marshall, Steve. (2017). Advance in Academic Writing: Integrating Research, Critical Thinking, Academic Reading and Writing. Pearson ERPI.

Please note that used copies of the textbook will not grant access to the textbook’s online content. Please check with your instructor to see if the online content is a requirement for your section before buying a used copy of the textbook.
ISBN: 9782761341509

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