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Undergraduate Courses

CAES9201 Academic English: Countries and Cultures

Coordinator: Colin TAIT


This course aims to help students develop the English language skills they need to succeed in their major. The course is open to all BA students, but is most relevant to the needs of students majoring in, or intending to major in, American Studies, Chinese History and Culture, Chinese Language and Literature, China Studies, Comparative Literature, European Studies, Fine Arts, Gender Studies, Global Creative Industries, Hong Kong Studies, Japanese Studies, Korean Studies, a modern language, and Music. The primary aim of CAES9201 is to enable students to read texts on cultures, history and politics, and to use a range of rhetorical features to produce persuasive disciplinary essays. The course has a substantial secondary focus on the development of disciplinary speaking and listening skills.

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Identify and distinguish between critical ideas and supporting details in disciplinary texts, and demonstrate understanding of disciplinary arguments
  • Use a range of rhetorical features to build written and spoken academic arguments which draw from appropriate disciplinary literature
  • Demonstrate control of grammatical accuracy and lexical appropriacy, and awareness of methods for improving performance in these two areas


  • Students follow a “process-writing” approach to complete a bibliographic essay in stages, including submission of: a research topic and references, a single-source summary and response text, a partial draft of their essay, a full draft of their essay for peer feedback, and a final essay.
  • Students also complete 4 “product-focused” collaborative writing (CW) tasks that require use of important disciplinary rhetorical conventions. From these 4 CW drafts, students choose 3 to individually revise and submit in a mini-portfolio at the end of the course.
  • Numerous small-group and individual writing feedback tutorials encourage revision of writing to improve argumentation and language accuracy.
  • Students engage in pre-writing discussions on input texts in CW sessions.
  • In a seminar-style speaking test, students share the most interesting elements of their essay research.

Assessment Methods:

(with breakdown of percentage weighting of the various methods)

  • Essays (45%)
  • Tutorial discussions (4-Year Only) (25%)
  • Portfolios (30%)