University English: Reading and Writing

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This Course Guide has been taken from the most recent presentation of the course. It would be useful for reference purposes but please note that there may be updates for the following presentation.


University English: Reading and Writing

ENGL 1101AED University English: Reading and Writing is a one-semester and three-credit-unit course for students of Hong Kong Metropolitan University. The course focuses on developing academic reading and writing skills in English. ENGL 1101AED prepares you for your degree-level studies and deals with skills which are central to interpreting and producing academic texts. The course is designed for students from all disciplines.

This Course Guide has been prepared to help you progress through the course. It contains important information on course materials, procedures and assessments. Please take some time to read the Course Guide and familiarize yourself with what you will have to do to complete the course successfully.

We hope that you will enjoy studying ENGL 1101AED, and that you will find it relevant to all your studies, both present and future. We also encourage you to contact your tutor if at any time you have questions about the course.

To make academic reading and writing more approachable, ENGL 1101AED attempts to teach reading and writing through succinct explanations, local examples and ample practice (with answers). As you work through the units step-by-step, you should be able to make steady progress, achieve the stated learning outcomes and apply the concepts learnt to your subsequent studies. As a foundation course, ENGL 1101AED will be so organized that students of varying backgrounds can handle and benefit from it without being overwhelmed by the requirements of the course. 


Course aims

ENGL 1101AED University English: Reading and Writing aims to:

  • develop your ability to read and interpret academic texts critically and to integrate different sources of information into writing without plagiarism. You will be able to demonstrate critical reading and writing skills.

Course learning outcomes

Upon completion of ENGL 1101AED, you should be able to:

  • Analyse and interpret academic texts critically.
  • Construct effective paragraphs and develop logical essay plans.
  • Apply relevant patterns of argumentation to academic writing.
  • Use source materials effectively in writing and avoid plagiarism.
  • Edit and proofread academic texts effectively.
  • Produce stylistically appropriate and linguistically accurate writing.

This is the nuts-and-bolts, informative section, providing information such as what materials are needed, the study schedule, and how the assignments and marking are arranged. Please read it carefully.


Course materials

ENGL 1101AED consists of:

  • this Course Guide;
  • the study units (Units 1–7); and
  • an Assignment File containing the questions and specific instructions and advice for each of the assignments.

In addition, although there are no set textbooks for the course, you should refer to those suggested references in case you want to deepen the concepts learnt.


Course Guide

This Course Guide tells you briefly what the course is about and how you should work through the material. It also gives you some information about tutorials and the assignments. You should refer to this document throughout the course to help clarify important points about studying with HKMU.


Study units

There are seven study units in ENGL 1101AED University English: Reading and Writing; each requires two weeks of work. Each unit includes directions for study, references to sections of recommended reading and ample exercises.

The units also direct you to work on self-tests and activities. The self-tests are designed to help you check your understanding of the content of the study units, while the activities require you to reflect on important issues raised in the units and in the set text. Along with the assignments, the self-tests and activities will help you to understand the key concepts of the individual units and, indeed, of the whole course.

The study units have a common format. Each includes:

  • An introduction to the unit.
  • Self-tests and activities spread throughout the unit. You should check the answers to each of these as you complete them.
  • A summary of the unit.
  • A list of references to books, articles and reports which were consulted when the unit was written. You don't have to locate and read these materials, but used selectively, these references will help to deepen your knowledge of a particular topic and may also provide useful input to the assignments.
  • A 'Focus on language' section which provides additional practice in grammar.

Reference books

There are no set textbooks for ENGL 1101AED. However, the following are some recommended references:

Bailey, Stephen (2022). Academic Writing for University Students. New York: Routledge.

Bailey, Stephen (2017). Academic Writing: A Handbook for International Students. Oxon: Routledge.

Langan, John and Albright, Zoe (2018). College Writing Skills with Readings. New York: McGraw-Hill.

McWhorter, Kathleen and Sember, Brette (2019). College Reading and Study Skills. New York: Pearson.

Murphy, Raymond (2019). English Grammar in Use: A Self-study Reference and Practice Book for Intermediate Students (with answers). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Rothman, David and Warsi, Jilani (2014). Read to Achieve: Gateway to Academic Reading. Boston: Pearson.

You may choose to buy your own individual copies of the above books. In addition, you are advised to equip yourself with a good, up-to-date dictionary (although this is not a compulsory purchase). The dictionary exercises in the course may be completed by reference to any dictionary, but the following one is particularly recommended for our students:

Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner's English Dictionary (9th edition), Glasgow: HarperCollins.


Course overview

Table 1 provides an overview of the course and suggests the amount of time needed for completing each unit. However, each of us has our own learning styles and speeds, so this schedule is only a guide. You may find, for example, that a particular unit requires more time than another. For these reasons, you should feel free to adjust the schedule to suit your needs more closely, while still adhering to the deadlines for the assignments.


Table 1 A course overview

UnitTopicStudy weeks
1Planning for writing2
2Developing reading skills2
3Integrating secondary sources of information2
 Assignment 1 due
4Obtaining and using information from primary sources2
5Organizing academic writing2
6Evaluating and revising writing2
7Communicating in academic writing2
 Assignment 2 due
 Final examination


It is important to plan your study schedule carefully so that it fits in with your other commitments and provides a set of realistic guidelines. On average, you need to spend about eight hours per week on this course. This estimate includes time for reading the study units, completing the self-tests and activities in the units, carrying out recommended readings, writing the assignments, attending tutorials, and preparing for the examination.


Course assessment

There are two methods of assessing progress: continuous assessment through the completion of the assignments, and an examination at the end of the course. The course is designed to help you progress smoothly through the study units to the assignments and examination.



The assignment details will be sent to you as a separate Assignment File. There are two assignments for continuous assessment. These give you the opportunity to put into practice the skills and knowledge you have acquired on the course.

Each assignment has a particular weighting and these are shown below:

Assignment 1 = 25%

Assignment 2 = 25%

The Assignment File contains detailed instructions and advice for each assignment. You will also be sent a Presentation Schedule to remind you when to submit your assignments. It is very important to read the Assignment File and keep to the deadlines given in the Presentation Schedule.



The examination for ENGL 1101AED will last for two hours and carries 50% of the total course marks. It consists of questions which reflect very closely the types of assignments you will have been working on throughout the course.

HKMU has a clear and open approach to helping students succeed in all aspects of their study. You will be provided with a specimen examination paper similar in format to the actual examination, although the questions will, of course, be different. To be awarded a final pass grade for this course, you must attain passes in both the continuously assessed course work and on the examination.

The assessment items are outlined in the following table.


Table 2 Assessment overview

AssessmentCourse area coveredWeighting
Assignment 1Units 1–325%
Assignment 2Units 1–725%
ExamEntire course50%

You are strongly advised to follow the strategy below when working through the course. Doing so will help to ensure that you get the maximum benefit from the course in the time available.

  1. Organize your study schedule. Refer to the 'Course overview' table in this guide and to the Presentation Schedule which will be sent to you separately. Note the minimum amount of time that you are expected to spend on each unit, and how the assignments relate to the units. You can write your own dates for working on each unit to create a personal study schedule. Once you have created a complete personal study schedule, you should do everything you can to stick to it. The major reason for failure in distance learning programmes is that students get behind in their course work. If you get into difficulties for whatever reason, you should let your tutor know before it becomes too late to help you.
  2. At this stage you should read carefully the HKMU document you have been sent entitled Academic writing: Acknowledging your sources. This document provides valuable information and advice on how to avoid plagiarism (copying the words of other writers or failing to acknowledge them appropriately as references). As the HKMU Student Handbook makes clear, students must avoid plagiarism in their academic writing.
  3. Turn to Unit 1 and read the introduction. Begin to work through the unit. As you work, you will be asked to complete various self-tests and activities. Please do not ignore these — they are essential in helping you develop your knowledge and skills. As soon as you have completed a test or activity, check your responses against those given in the answer and feedback sections at the end of the unit.
  4. Some of the concepts and terminology in the course will be new to you, and you may have to make special efforts to understand them. If at any time you find something hard to understand, contact your tutor as soon as possible.
  5. Turn to the supplementary 'Focus on language' section of the unit. You should note that these are optional exercises, but they will be beneficial to your writing. If possible, try to finish them as soon as you finish each unit. The language issues discussed there are closely related to the theme of each unit.
  6. Begin to work on the next unit and proceed through the course in the manner described above. Try to pace your study so that you keep yourself on schedule without the need for exhausting periods of 'burning the midnight oil'!

Tutors and tutorials

To supplement your course materials, there are regular two-hour tutorials in ENGL 1101AED. The first is an introduction to the course and may take a different form from subsequent tutorials. In addition to the tutorials, there is one supplementary lecture/day school delivered by a guest speaker on a topic relevant to the course materials, aiming to enrich your learning experience.

HKMU will inform you of the dates, times and venues of these tutorials and the supplementary lecture/day school, as well as the name and telephone number of your tutor, as soon as the tutorial groupings are confirmed.

Your tutor marks your assignments, comments on them, and monitors your progress closely. When your assignments are returned, please pay careful attention to the comments your tutor has written on the assignment form and on the assignment itself.

Your tutor will also assist you if you have any difficulties during the course. Do not hesitate to telephone him or her if you need help. Contact your tutor if, for example:

  • you have serious problems in understanding any part of the units or the recommended readings or the recorded talks;
  • you have difficulty understanding what the self-tests and activities require of you;
  • you are interested in the topic and want further advice on how to get more information on the topic;
  • you have questions about an assignment, your tutor's comments on it, or on the grade you received;
  • you are likely to miss an assignment submission deadline; your tutor can, if you present a convincing reason, allow you a one-week extension of the deadline; but note that your tutor cannot authorize an extension for Assignment 2.

Assignment extension policy

The assignment policy of the University as stated in the Student Handbook should be observed. Students are required to submit assignments for a course in accordance with the dates communicated by the Course Coordinator. Students may apply for a submission extension on the grounds of illness, accident, disability, bereavement or other compassionate circumstances.

Applications for extensions of up to seven days should be submitted to the tutor. The tutor shall consider valid and unexpected emergencies on an individual basis. Normally, documented proof of the extenuating circumstances is not required for extensions of up to seven days. The tutor shall decide and advise the student of the revised date for submission.

For extensions of over seven days, students should note the following:

  1. If students require an extension of more than seven days on the grounds of illness, accident, disability, bereavement or other compassionate circumstances, they are required to complete an 'Application Form for Assignment Extension over seven days' and submit it to the Course Coordinator.
  2. Supporting documents must be submitted along with the application for extension of over seven days to justify the claim.
  3. Applications for extension should normally be lodged before or on the due date.
  4. Applications are considered by:
    • the Course Coordinator for extensions of 8 to 21 days; and
    • the Dean for extensions of over 21 days.

According to the University's policy, there is no extension of the due date for the final assignment.


Online Learning Environment

This course is supported by the Online Learning Environment (OLE). You can find course materials and the latest course information from the OLE. Through the OLE, you can communicate with your tutors, the Course Coordinator as well as fellow students. You can also apply for extensions and submit your assignments via the OLE. For details about the OLE and how to access it, please refer to the Online Learning Environment User Guide.

Whatever your major area of study, ENGL 1101AED University English: Reading and Writing is intended primarily to help you develop your ability to interpret academic texts and to write academic essays which achieve internationally acceptable standards in structure, style and expression. We hope that you find the course interesting and that you will be able to make use of the knowledge and skills which it seeks to develop throughout your academic career.

Ada Young (PhD, MSc, MPhil, LLB, BA) is a veteran English teacher and she has been teaching English and English Literature to post-secondary and university students across the territory. Besides teaching, she has also accumulated solid course material development experience over the years. She is now a Senior Lecturer at PolyU College of Professional and Continuing Education.

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