Other events

Mary Lea will be involved in other events and activities aimed specifically at CPUT staff.

12 November  2014 – IT Centre, Bellville Campus

General and CO1

Academic literacies and student learning:  how can we improve our understanding of student writing?

Presentation Slides: 12 November 2014

This session will explore an ‘academic literacies’ approach to supporting student learning across the curriculum.  It will start with the premise that student writing is at the heart of learning in higher education, not least because writing dominates assessment tasks.  Writing is generally seen as a transferable skill: one that can be mastered in one context and transferred easily to others. This would suggest, for example, that a student who learnt to write at school should have no difficulty mastering the requirements of university essay and assignment writing.  However, research into academic literacies carried out in both South Africa and the UK, suggests that the situation is far more complex than it appears on first sight.  It provides evidence that academic writing is much more than a cognitive skill.  It requires engagement in, often unfamiliar, social and cultural practices. These can pose a challenge for both students and their teachers; one which cannot be addressed if we rely upon approaches which see writing as primarily a transferable skill.

The session will provide insights from research in order to inform practice. There will be ample opportunity for participants to engage in activities which relate directly to their own context. The session will also take account of student writing and the new digital landscape and the additional challenges this is posing for both students and university teachers.


Lea M R & Street B V (1998) Student Writing in Higher Education: an academic literacies approach in Studies in Higher Education 23(2) 157-171

Lea, M R & Street, B (2006) The “ Academic Literacies Model” Theory and  Applications Theory into Practice, 45(4), 368–377

Lea, M R & Jones, S (2010) ‘Digital literacies in higher education: exploring textual and technological practice’, Studies in Higher Education

17 November 2014 – Granger Bay Campus

Digital literacies-01

Digital Literacies:  exploring textual practices in a digital higher education

Presentation Slides: 17 November 2014

Digital Literacies Seminar

The session will ask whether the emergence of the digital landscape means that we need to redefine what we mean by literacy in the university.

Although the rate of change varies quite considerably across different global contexts, as digital technologies are being taken up across the curriculum we are seeing significant changes in the learning landscape.  In setting the scene, this presentation will report on a UK based research project which explored the emerging relationship between, texts, practices and technologies in undergraduate learning.  Drawing on examples of data – from both web- based and more conventional resources – it will examine the complexity and diversity of the literacy practices which students engaged in, both within and outside the curriculum. It will argue that we should be paying more detailed attention to the ways in which students make sense of the range of genres they encounter, and how they integrate these into their course assignments.  In short there is a potential to see these as a valuable resource for meaning making.

Participants will have the opportunity to explore the relationship between present-day approaches to supporting student writers and the potential for exploiting some of the digital textual environments within which students are immersed in preparation for their assignment tasks.


Jones, S. and Lea, M. R. (2008) “Digital Literacies in the Lives of Undergraduate Students: Exploring Personal and Curricular Spheres of Practice.” The Electronic Journal of e-Learning  6 (3) pp. 207 – 216, http://www.ejel.org/volume6/issue3

Lea, M R & Jones, S (2010) ‘Digital literacies in higher education: exploring textual and technological practice’, Studies in Higher Education

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