Fall 2021 - FAL X99 D003

Foundations of Academic Literacy (4)

Class Number: 5205

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu, Th 12:30 PM – 2:20 PM



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.


Please note that this course will be taught remotely. Students will be expected to keep up-to-date with posted course materials and will be required to regularly submit homework.


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/2021/fall/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 course activities
    • Giving helpful peer feedback
    • Homework completion
    • Revision and added research to assessed 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.



Since this course will be taught remotely, attendance will consist of participation in online activities, review of course materials posted to Canvas, completion of peer review activities, and submission of homework assignments.

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 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 Student Learning Commons (http://www.lib.sfu.ca/about/branches-depts/slc) offers resources that will help you to consolidate what you learn in FAL X99. You can also book online consultations with a peer educator at the Student Learning Commons for one-to-one advice on your learning. The SLC also offers resources for studying remotely which can be found here: https://www.lib.sfu.ca/about/branches-depts/slc/learning/distance. 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 Steve Marshall, the Course Supervisor (email: stevem@sfu.ca)



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

There is a digital version (ISBN: 9782761382663) of the textbook available from Pearson ERPI: https://www.pearsonerpi.com/en/elt/eap/advance-in-academic-writing-2-etext-my-elab-12-months-a38266
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


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.