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Literacy, Power and Learning (EDUC20081)

Undergraduate level 2Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 2
Subject codeEDUC20081
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This subject will explore the nexus between literacy, power and learning through a study of ways in which literacy education can empower individuals and groups and facilitate positive social change. The educational and societal significance of multi-modal literacies will be investigated, drawing on current institutional practices and historical examples. The influence of the socio-cultural context in developing literacy capabilities will be examined, along with relevant theoretical frameworks of teaching and learning, including the discourses of Critical Pedagogy. This subject will explore the reading, writing and speaking pedagogical practices that are mobilised to facilitate social change.

As texts represent the dynamic between literacy and power, the social control of texts through means such as censorship, propaganda and the selection of curriculum material in primary, secondary and tertiary educational institutions will be examined. Investigation of the relationship between power, social control of access to education and the development of literacy competency will be underpinned by the conception of literacy as a social practice. The notion of ‘dangerous’ reading, ‘dangerous’ writing and ‘dangerous’ speaking will be explored through critical engagement with a range of text types, including written, visual and oral material.

Key questions students will explore in the course will include:

How is literacy enabled or controlled by societies and cultures?

How does literacy empower and shape you as a learner?

What kinds of literacies are needed to access the power of learning in contemporary society?

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this subject students should be able to:

  • Understand the concept of multiple literacies in contemporary education and cultures
  • Understand the importance of multiple perspectives and evidence in the interpretation of texts
  • Analyse a range of contemporary and historical text types including written, visual, oral and digital media
  • Understand the connections between contemporary literacy practices, education and the cultural negotiation of power
  • Apply this knowledge to their own multi-disciplinary learning

Generic skills

This subject will assist students to develop the following set of transferable skills:

  • problem-solving and analysis
  • critical thinking
  • advanced written and oral communication
  • understanding of real world application of theoretical concepts

Eligibility and requirements





Non-allowed subjects


Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home



  • An analysis of a multi-modal text (2000 words) due at the end of the intensive teaching period (50%)
  • Assignment on the educational significance of multiple literacies in multi-cultural learning contexts (2000 words) due 13 weeks after the end of the intensive teaching period (50%)

Hurdle requirements: Minimum of 80% attendance at all scheduled lectures, tutorials, seminars and workshops.

Dates & times

  • July
    CoordinatorAmanda Burritt
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours36 hours across 5 days
    Total time commitment170 hours
    Pre teaching start date 8 July 2019
    Pre teaching requirementsDuring the pre-teaching period, students should access materials on the LMS.
    Teaching period15 July 2019 to 19 July 2019
    Last self-enrol date 9 July 2019
    Census date 2 August 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail20 September 2019
    Assessment period ends28 October 2019

    July contact information

    Amanda Burritt: aburritt@unimelb.edu.au

Time commitment details

170 hours

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts

    There are no specifically prescribed or recommended texts for this subject.

  • Breadth options
  • Available through the Community Access Program

    About the Community Access Program (CAP)

    This subject is available through the Community Access Program (also called Single Subject Studies) which allows you to enrol in single subjects offered by the University of Melbourne, without the commitment required to complete a whole degree.

    Entry requirements including prerequisites may apply. Please refer to the CAP applications page for further information.

  • Available to Study Abroad and/or Study Exchange Students

    This subject is available to students studying at the University from eligible overseas institutions on exchange and study abroad. Students are required to satisfy any listed requirements, such as pre- and co-requisites, for enrolment in the subject.

Last updated: 10 August 2019