Composition is a compulsory core module for English students in their first year of study. I taught on this module as a seminar leader in the second semester of 2017–18 and 2018–19. I took on module leadership as a co-convenor in 2019–20, alongside lecturing and facilitating seminars. I had two groups per semester, with approx. 20 students in each group. 


This module aimed to provide students with the fundamentals of scholarly research and writing which underpin a literature degree. The module helped students to develop essential skills, including the use of secondary sources in academic writing, close reading techniques, grammatical norms and conventions in the English language, and proofreading and editorial skills. Through a portfolio of assignments, students learned to write with confidence in a range of modes, including academic writing, creative writing, and reflective writing, in preparation for the variety of exciting careers to which a degree in literature can lead.


  • Demonstrate an ability to interact critically, constructively, collaboratively, and sensitively with other students and their work

  • Assess, organise, and engage with a wide variety of sources, including electronic ones, as part of research practice

  • Identify common grammatical errors and understand the principles of sentence structure

  • Develop and sustain critical arguments using academic language and scholarly citation

  • Identify differences in modes of writing and demonstrate competence in some of these modes of writing in short written assignments

  • Demonstrate use of electronic resources, skills of note-taking, proof-reading, and bibliographic conventions


This module equipped students with a range of transferable skills, including:

  • Time management skills

  • Teamwork skills

  • Proofreading and editorial skills

  • Research skills, e.g. use of library, electronic resources, note-taking

  • Competence in English grammar and the mechanics of writing

  • An understanding of essential techniques and conventions of presenting ideas in writing

  • Essay writing skills, including producing a thesis and sustaining an argument

  • An ability to write in different modes of writing, e.g. academic, creative, and reflective 


I designed and delivered lecture, seminar, and assessment materials to help students achieve these Intended Learning Outcomes on a weekly basis during seminars and in formal assignments.


Each seminar focused on a key aspect of scholarly research and writing including, but not limited to, developing a thesis statement, essay planning, engaging with critics, proofreading, understanding and making use of feedback, writing in different modes, and engaging in reflective practice to improve writing practice.


I developed creative activities in order to make these topics more engaging. For example, in a session on persuasive writing, students were encouraged to create a film adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray, in order to 'persuade' the a producer (me) that their version is worth investing in. The reward came in the form of homemade brownies and a newly-acquired skill in the art of persuasion!


In another session on creative writing students were encouraged to close read the text by creating their own erasure poems of a given extract. These weekly activities were geared toward aiding students in their development as writers and thinkers.

As always, I also provided one-to-one consultation and 'feed-forward' feedback on student work in order to aid students in their personal learning development.

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© 2023 by Aimee Merrydew