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Home » Workshops on teaching academic literacies

Workshops on teaching academic literacies

The Learning Commons partners with the Teaching Commons to design and deliver programming for both course directors and TAs with the goal of helping them to integrate explicit attention to academic literacies in both course and assignment design.

Workshops for Course Directors

Supporting Students’ Academic Literacies

This three-hour workshop is offered 2-3 times annually as part of the Course Curriculum Design programming offered by the Teaching Commons.

The term “academic literacies” refers to the writing strategies, library research strategies and learning skills needed for effective engagement with university coursework, including how to read sophisticated academic material. All students need to learn these skills and build on them, regardless of where they are in their student journey. How can you embed activities in your course to support your students to be successful? The workshop facilitators will share a variety of tools, worksheets and experiences to show you how!

Consult the Teaching Commons calendar for future workshop listings

Workshops for TAs

Academic Integrity in the Classroom

In this workshop, we develop strategies for supporting students’ integrity in their coursework. We will focus on strategies with the potential to build students’ sense of belonging to the disciplinary communities they’re working within, their confidence in their abilities, and the extent to which they see the purpose and value of their assignments - variables that UK-based study skills research suggests are important markers of student commitment to academic integrity. Depending on the group’s preference, we may also review York’s policy on academic honesty and procedures for pursuing suspected breaches of integrity.

Teaching Critical Reading Skills

Having trouble getting your students to do the readings? Academic reading is central to academic success at university, so why is it so difficult to convince students to keep up with course readings? Effective academic reading is time-consuming, requires deep attention, critical reflection, the ability to connect readings to one another and to course objectives, and often requires approaching difficult readings more than once. Though experienced scholars understand this, students may not. This session focuses on “unpacking the skill set” required for effective academic reading and provides ideas about how to foster these skills in your students.

Teaching Critical Writing & Research Skills

This workshop, co-facilitated by a writing skills professor and a librarian, will highlight strategies, assignments and resources that can be used by TA’s to strengthen undergraduate students’ skills in writing quality research papers and assignments.

Writing good research papers involves mastery of a complex set of process-focused skills, which may often be taken-for-granted. Examples include creating a working thesis, developing effective research strategies, gathering and noting ideas, planning an effective essay structure, and other strategic approaches to writing and editing.  This workshop will teach participants how to unpack these commonly taken-for-granted skills; that is, techniques will be shared for making the implicit aspects of writing and research explicit. In addition, drawing on SPARK (, an online modular tool designed to teach academic literacies, workshop participants will learn about:

  • principles of effective assignment design for enhancing students’ abilities to write good research papers by addressing and integrating the component skills of writing and research
  • how SPARK modules may be effectively integrated within courses to teach students the skills needed to write better research papers
  • how such SPARK resources as tip sheets, worksheets, and exercises may be used or adapted to teach relevant skills

Consult the Teaching Commons calendar for more workshop details and future workshop dates and times.

These workshops count towards the Teaching Commons ‘Record of Completion’ certificate