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DPED100 Academic Literacy in Education , DPHS100 Academic Literacy in Health Sciences

Unit rationale, description and aim

To succeed in university studies, students need to be able to source knowledge from a range of academic sources and apply this knowledge to build their own arguments using appropriate academic conventions. This unit is designed to equip students with the academic language and literacy skills needed for university learning in the context of higher education in Australia. Students will develop basic research skills using a wide range of texts and data, analytical thinking, oral and written communication, and the ability to extract and synthesise information. Importantly, topics, issues and tasks related to both study at university and the disciplines of Business and Information Technology will be explored. More broadly, students will develop an understanding of the university context to be able to successfully participate in academic and student life at university and in the wider community. The aim of this unit is to facilitate the learning of academic competencies for tertiary study, and to simultaneously complement the knowledge, skills and attributes in Business and Information Technology.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Demonstrate understanding of the academic culture, conventions, and independent learning skills required in an Australian tertiary settingGC3, GC4, GC8, GC12
LO2Work independently and as part of a group utilising effective organisational, teamwork and problem-solving skillsGC2
LO3Conduct guided basic research by identifying and analysing academic sources, using a range of library resources and databases, and apply appropriate referencing conventions relevant to the disciplineGC2, GC7, GC9, GC10
LO4Communicate effectively using oral, written and multimodal, including digital formatsGC7, GC10, GC11, GC12
LO5Apply critical thinking and reflective tools across a range of academic tasksGC2, GC3, GC7, GC9, GC11


Topics will include:

  • Introduction to the academic learning community
  • Academic integrity
  • Introduction to library services, basic research skills and evaluating sources
  • Introduction to referencing, citations and reference lists
  • Introduction to foundational discipline knowledge
  • Reading and understanding academic texts
  • Critical reading strategies
  • Identifying a range of academic perspectives
  • Note-taking, summarising and paraphrasing
  • Oral communication skills
  • The language of presentations
  • Critical thinking
  • Reflective thinking, including language of reflection
  • Academic genres including paragraph development
  • Academic styles:
  • vocabulary, sentence structure and grammar
  • common language difficulties
  • hedging and cohesion
  • Exam preparation.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit aims to support the learning of students and their success in both the associated Diplomas and pathway Bachelor degrees. Guided support will prepare students to develop skills and strategies to manage the demands of university study, including working independently and as part of a group. This will be facilitated by engagement with teaching staff both in and out of class to support students as they develop a deeper understanding of the tertiary environment and the discipline. Workshop instruction is designed to build and promote independence in research, the evaluation of information, the execution of academic tasks, and to enhance academic language proficiency. Classes in this unit use an active learning approach by being student focussed and collaborative, with an emphasis on peer engagement. To support students in the exploration and understanding of content and the problem solving required to apply knowledge, students will be encouraged to draw on themes from the other Business and Information Technology units in the course.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The unit assessments are designed to enable students to demonstrate achievement for each learning outcome, and to assist students in preparing for assessment and communication requirements of their future undergraduate studies. Assessment tasks will prepare students for similar assessments in the discipline units. Assessment tasks are scaffolded (or staged) in order to incrementally develop students’ understanding and application of the academic language skills and conventions required in a university setting. The tasks are developmental and designed to build on knowledge and skills from workshop activities and independent learning to demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes. Additionally, in preparation for future professional placement or community engagement units in the associated Bachelor programs, students will be required to complete one hurdle task, the ACU Child-safe organisations online module.

The group presentation and individual reflection (Assessment 1) will assist students to organise and present information as part of a team. Research for the presentation will be supported with sample articles provided to the students. Assessment 1 also requires students to apply the organisational, time management, and communication skills explored in the unit. The written report (Assessment 2), a common assessment type in Business and Information Technology undergraduate programs, allows students to demonstrate basic research skills by sourcing academic texts and evaluating, organising and synthesising information in a written context. It requires that they understand report structure and its components and can navigate the various sections of reports and journal articles for research purposes. Students will also be assessed on their ability to write clearly and accurately using formal academic language and conventions. Students will choose a topic related to the context of the discipline to develop knowledge and understanding in this area. The final exam (Assessment 3) assesses the student's understanding and application of the unit content and relevant skills under exam conditions.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Capabilities

Assessment 1: Group presentation and reflection

To enable students to work as a part of a group to research and organise information and solve problems. Effective team work, communication skills and the ability to reflect will be assessed.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5GC1, GC2, GC3, GC4, GC5, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC10, GC11, GC12

Assessment 2: Written report

To enable students to demonstrate independence in sourcing information, and their ability to analyse, organise and synthesise information in a written context on a discipline-related topic.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5GC1, GC2, GC3, GC4, GC5, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC10, GC11, GC12

Assessment 3: Final examination

To assess students’ understanding and application of the skills developed during this unit of study.


LO1, LO4, LO5GC2, GC3, GC7, GC9, GC11

Representative texts and references

Australian Catholic University n.d., Academic Skills Unit, Australian Catholic University, viewed 12 March 2021, <>.

Australian Catholic University n.d., Safeguarding Children and Young People Portal, Australian Catholic University, viewed 12 October 2022, <>

Bailey, S 2015, Academic writing a handbook for international students, 3rd edn, Routledge, London.

Brick, J, Herke, M & Wong, D 2016, Academic culture: A student’s guide to studying at university, 3rd edn, Palgrave Macmillan, Melbourne.

Cottrell, S 2021, Study Skills: The Study Skills Handbook, 4th edn, Macmillan, Houndsmill.

Godfrey, J 2009, How to use your reading in your essays, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.

Hale, A & Basides, H (2013), The keys to academic English, Macmillan, Melbourne.

Lewin, BA 2010, Writing readable research: a guide for students of social science, Equinox, UK.

Pears, R & Shields, G 2010, Cite them right: the essential referencing guide, 8th edn, Palgrave Macmillan, Houndsmill.

Reinders, H., Lewis, M., & Phung, L. (2017). Studying in English: Strategies for success in higher education. Macmillan, London.

Turner, K, Ireland, L, Krenus, B & Pointon, L 2008, Essential academic skills, Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

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