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DPHS100 Academic Literacy in Health Sciences , DPBI100 Academic Literacy in Business and Information Technology

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 skills in basic research of 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 discipline of Education 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 on campus 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 Education.

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 setting.GC1, GC3, GC5
LO2Work independently and as part of a group utilising effective organisational, teamwork and problem-solving skills.GC3, GC4, GC8, GC12
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 discipline.GC2, GC7, GC9, GC10
LO4Communicate effectively using oral, written and multimodal, including digital formats.GC7, GC10, GC11, GC12
LO5Apply critical thinking and reflective tools across a range of academic tasks.GC2, GC3, GC7, GC9, GC11


Topics will include:

  • Introduction to the academic learning community
  • Introduction to library services, basic research skills and evaluating sources
  • Introduction to referencing, citations and reference lists
  • 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 and reflection, 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 the associated pathway qualifications, and are ready to articulate into further undergraduate studies. The Learning and Teaching strategy, anchored in transition pedagogies, will be structured to take into consideration the developmental nature of the unit while at the same time allow students to achieve the learning outcomes of the unit. 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 additional engagement with teaching staff both in and out of class to support students as they develop a more in-depth 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-focused 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 Education 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.

Strategies aligned with transition pedagogies will facilitate engagement with assessment tasks. For each assessment, there are developmentally staged tasks with a focus on a progressive approach to learning. In-class practice tasks with integrated feedback, together with specified peer-to-peer collaboration, will be incorporated.

The Group Presentation and Reflection task (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. Assessment1 also requires the students to apply the organisational, time management, and communication skills explored in the unit.

The Written Report (Assessment 2), a common assessment type in Initial Teacher Education 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 the components of report structure 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 so as 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 teamwork, 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: Essay

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 content and skills developed during this unit of study.


LO4, LO5GC2, GC3, GC7, GC9, GC11

Representative texts and references

Australian Catholic University. n.d. Academic Skills Unit, Australian Catholic University.

Bailey, S. (2017). Academic writing: a handbook for international students (5th ed.). Routledge.

Boyle, J., & Ramsay, S. (2023). Writing for science students. Bloomsbury.  

Brick, J., Herke, M., & Wong, D. (2016). Academic culture: A student’s guide to studying at university, (4th ed.). Palgrave Macmillan.

Cottrell, S. (2019). Study skills: The study skills handbook (5th ed.). Bloomsbury.

Godfrey, J. (2018). How to use your reading in your essays (3rd ed.). Macmillan.

Hale, A., & Basides, H. (2023). The keys to academic English (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press.

Lewin, B. A. (2010). Writing readable research: A guide for students of Social Science. Equinox.

Pears, R., & Shields, G. (2019). Cite them right: the essential referencing guide (11th ed.). Macmillan International Higher Education .  

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

Turner, K., Ireland, L., Krenus, B., & Pointon, L. (2011). Essential academic skills (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press.

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