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LINGUIST 3LA3 Second Language Acquisition

Academic Year: Fall 2016

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Elisabet Service

Email: eservic@mcmaster.ca

Office: Togo Salmon Hall 505

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 21352

Office Hours: In TSH-614 by appointment



Course Objectives:

The objective is to 1) learn about factors that affect second language acquisition, 2) learn to reflect upon this knowledge by writing answers to questions in groups 3) apply knowledge of linguistics and second language acquisition to come up with an idea for teaching a fragment of language using some new technology.

These objectives will be met by reading about the major questions in SLA research in a textbook and discussing them in class. There will be only a limited amount of lecturing. On days for which writing topics have been assigned, students will be asked to first individually submit a draft for the written assignment to Avenue before class. They will then work in groups in class on these drafts to submit in groups to Avenue a collaborative written document on the topic. This will be graded. Particular topics to prepare will be announced in the previous class and on Avenue. Other evaluation components are a midterm examination in essay format, a group presentation in class, a critique of a group presentation, and an individual written paper. 


Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Kirsten M. Hummel: Introducing Second Language Acquisition. Perspectives and Practices. Wiley Blackwell.


Method of Assessment:

Grading of all evaluation components will be on a scale of 0 to 12, corresponding to letter marks. The final grade is a weighted average of these marks. An open-book midterm exam (Nov 2) on the textbook and class topics is weighted 25% and the written answers submitted to Avenue by each group of 3-4 students contribute 5% each for a minimum of 3 assignments (15% altogether; best 3 counted if more than 3 submitted). Failure to submit an individual draft before class will result in a 0 for that assignment for the student in question even if they participate in the group submission. Participation in 2 hours of experimental research available through the departmental SONA system is worth a bonus of one grade point.

The main assignment is the development of an idea for teaching a fragment of a second language using new technology such as handheld devices, computers etc.  The ideas are developed in groups of 3–4 students and presented on Avenue and in class using Powerpoint (or equivalent). The presentation grade has a weight of 10%. Another group has to constructively critique the ideas based on the group presentations. The instructor will be available to discuss with each pair of groups. The critiques are written up individually at home but revised in class for group submission to be passed in through Avenue. These group critiques contribute 20% towards the final mark. A thorough individually written description of the idea including some language material to be taught contributes 30%. These descriptions are written by each individual student.  


Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Being late less than 48 hours on an assignment results in a reduction of one point on the 12-point scale of the assignment grade (e.g. A+ becomes A). Being late more than 48 hours results in a grade of zero for the assignment. A missed mid-term exam can be re-scheduled for good reasons that can be documented.


Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Integrity

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity. It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at https://secretariat.mcmaster.ca/university-policies-procedures-guidelines/

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  • plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  • improper collaboration in group work.
  • copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Authenticity / Plagiarism Detection

Some courses may use a web-based service (Turnitin.com) to reveal authenticity and ownership of student submitted work. For courses using such software, students will be expected to submit their work electronically either directly to Turnitin.com or via Avenue to Learn (A2L) plagiarism detection (a service supported by Turnitin.com) so it can be checked for academic dishonesty.

Students who do not wish to submit their work through A2L and/or Turnitin.com must still submit an electronic and/or hardcopy to the instructor. No penalty will be assigned to a student who does not submit work to Turnitin.com or A2L. All submitted work is subject to normal verification that standards of academic integrity have been upheld (e.g., on-line search, other software, etc.). To see the Turnitin.com Policy, please go to www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity.

Courses with an On-Line Element

Some courses use on-line elements (e.g. e-mail, Avenue to Learn (A2L), LearnLink, web pages, capa, Moodle, ThinkingCap, etc.). Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of a course using these elements, private information such as first and last names, user names for the McMaster e-mail accounts, and program affiliation may become apparent to all other students in the same course. The available information is dependent on the technology used. Continuation in a course that uses on-line elements will be deemed consent to this disclosure. If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure please discuss this with the course instructor.

Online Proctoring

Some courses may use online proctoring software for tests and exams. This software may require students to turn on their video camera, present identification, monitor and record their computer activities, and/or lockdown their browser during tests or exams. This software may be required to be installed before the exam begins.

Conduct Expectations

As a McMaster student, you have the right to experience, and the responsibility to demonstrate, respectful and dignified interactions within all of our living, learning and working communities. These expectations are described in the Code of Student Rights & Responsibilities (the "Code"). All students share the responsibility of maintaining a positive environment for the academic and personal growth of all McMaster community members, whether in person or online.

It is essential that students be mindful of their interactions online, as the Code remains in effect in virtual learning environments. The Code applies to any interactions that adversely affect, disrupt, or interfere with reasonable participation in University activities. Student disruptions or behaviours that interfere with university functions on online platforms (e.g. use of Avenue 2 Learn, WebEx or Zoom for delivery), will be taken very seriously and will be investigated. Outcomes may include restriction or removal of the involved students' access to these platforms.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) at 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or sas@mcmaster.ca e-mail to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. For further information, consult McMaster University’s Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities policy.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

Request for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work
McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar "Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work".

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances (RISO)

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religious, indigenous or spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the RISO policy. Students should submit their request to their Faculty Office normally within 10 working days of the beginning of term in which they anticipate a need for accommodation or to the Registrar's Office prior to their examinations. Students should also contact their instructors as soon as possible to make alternative arrangements for classes, assignments, and tests.

Copyright and Recording

Students are advised that lectures, demonstrations, performances, and any other course material provided by an instructor include copyright protected works. The Copyright Act and copyright law protect every original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work, including lectures by University instructors.

The recording of lectures, tutorials, or other methods of instruction may occur during a course. Recording may be done by either the instructor for the purpose of authorized distribution, or by a student for the purpose of personal study. Students should be aware that their voice and/or image may be recorded by others during the class. Please speak with the instructor if this is a concern for you.

Extreme Circumstances

The University reserves the right to change the dates and deadlines for any or all courses in extreme circumstances (e.g., severe weather, labour disruptions, etc.). Changes will be communicated through regular McMaster communication channels, such as McMaster Daily News, A2L and/or McMaster email.


Topics and Readings:

A tentative week-by-week syllabus will be posted on Avenue in the first week of class.