Academic Language Support Service

Pre-sessional Courses

Pre-sessional Course D

Pre-sessional course D will now be delivered ONLINE ONLY. This page will be updated shortly with more information on the changes.

Course Content

The main emphasis for Pre-sessional Course D is on academic English.

Whilst students are expected to read and conduct research on their subject area for their coursework, the pre-sessional course covers English for academic purposes that can be applied to any discipline.

Learning Outcomes

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

  • deliver effective oral presentations;
  • function within a variety of speaking situations in an academic context, including seminar discussions and tutorials;
  • identify key points in a lecture and take effective notes;
  • plan, structure, write and review extended pieces of writing;
  • demonstrate an understanding of academic writing conventions, to include in-text citation, referencing, direct quotation and bibliographies;
  • summarise and paraphrase effectively from written and spoken sources;
  • write reflectively on their academic development and independent learning;
  • use a range of reading strategies for different purposes;
  • critically read, analyse and evaluate academic texts;
  • locate, research and take effective notes from written sources;
  • work independently and collaboratively.

Teaching and Learning


Assessments will be online and there will be at least two assessments for each of the four skills.

Study materials

The materials have been written and adapted specifically for the online pre-sessional course. They cover the same learning outcomes as the face to face course and have the same high standard of learning materials and teaching instruction. Study materials will be found in a dedicated learning area on the university’s virtual learning environment called LEARN.

Seminars and tutorials

There are scheduled regular small group seminars which will last for 1 hour and will be facilitated by a tutor. Small groups allow for personalised learning and focused attention from a tutor. Tutorials are also scheduled in the timetable, have a focus and will be one to one (between a student and their tutor). This course is full time and seminars and tutorials are compulsory.

Approach to learning (flipped learning)

As we have adapted to an online environment and taking into consideration time zones and connection issues, a focus of the learning is flipped learning. Flipped learning is when students are introduced to the learning materials before a seminar and they undertake a variety of learning tasks and activities. Seminars are then held with tutors to help consolidate learning and deepen understanding. It is also a time to ask questions related to the learning undertaken before the seminar. Students will work through the tasks and learning independently, with a study buddy or in groups. Students work from a daily syllabus and complete compulsory core materials as well as homework.


Students will not only receive verbal feedback from seminars and tutorials; written feedback is an important aspect in the online course. In the daily syllabus there will be set tasks that students are required to submit to their tutor for feedback. Both student and tutor time has been carefully thought out and the tasks set ensure supported learning. Deadlines for submission of student feedback tasks are scheduled and structured. 


Student materials will all be available on the university virtual learning environment, LEARN, and seminars and tutorials will take place using Adobe Connect. There will be full training in the induction and time to work with the technology so that students can familiarise themselves. There will also be IT and e-learning support throughout. Access to download any university technology is available during the induction or when students receive their IT username and password which will be closer to the start date of the course.

Our online community

We will be building an online community where students can attend social activities and meet fellow students. These events will be separate to the academic learning. We hope students will get involved, get to know their fellow students and also learn more about British culture.

Daily syllabus

Students will have a daily syllabus to refer to which explains things such as: study focus on that day; whether students have seminars, tutorials or assessments; any homework; timings for the day etc. The timings will be based around a normal GMT (UK time) working day. Below is an example daily syllabus based on students living in Asia.


Morning time for a student based in Asia.

COURSE MATERIALS for students (complete before their seminar session)

  • 1.7.Evaluating sources
  • 1.8. Surveying sources

Set: Source note-taking template

  • 1.9. Research Task 2: Library search methods

Set: Finding sources for the Literature Review

  • 1.10. Reading research articles 1

Buddy Task:

  • Share ideas for finding and choosing sources. Review library search methods


10.00 - 11.00am or 11.30am-12.30pm GMT+1 (British Summer Time)  


Source note-taking template

Find sources for the literature review