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COMM140 Digital Communication Technologies

Unit rationale, description and aim

The use of digital technologies permeates all facets of everyday life. The internet, social media, blogs and podcasts have facilitated the emergence of digital cultures.

This unit is designed to enable students to understand the influence of digital technologies on contemporary life, culture, communities and professional and interpersonal communication. Students will apply Design Thinking methods and approaches to problem solving to develop new perspectives and skills whilst exploring a range of current and emerging  digital technologies including website platforms, cloud-based technologies and digital imaging and media software, gaming and virtual reality platforms. Ethical and safety considerations within digital environments are a focus within this unit.

This unit aims to introduce and extend students’ knowledge of digital and communication technologies and develop their understanding of these technologies and emerging digital cultures including their impact on society.

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.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 Identify a range of digital technologies and describe their implications on interpersonal and professional communication (GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10; APST 3.4, 4.5, 7.1; ACECQA A4, C7, F3)

LO2 Describe how changes in technology impact on humans and their environment and the issues that surround these changes (GA1, GA5, GA9)

LO3 Apply Design Thinking methods and approaches to problem solving to develop new perspectives and skills while implementing a range of current and emerging digital technologies (GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10; APST 2.1, 3.1, 3.6, 4.1, 4.5; ACECQA B9)

LO4 Analyse and evaluate the ethical and safety considerations within a range of digital environments, and recommend solutions to mitigate and manage ethical and safety problems. (GA2, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10; APST 2.6, 3.4, 4.5; ACECQA A4, C4).

Graduate attributes

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should be able to:

2.1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the concepts, substance and structure of the content and teaching strategies of the teaching area.

2.6 Implement teaching strategies for using ICT to expand curriculum learning opportunities for students.

3.1 Set learning goals that provide achievable challenges for students of varying abilities and characteristics.

3.4 Demonstrate knowledge of a range of resources, including ICT, that engage students in their learning.

3.6 Demonstrate broad knowledge of strategies that can be used to evaluate teaching programs to improve student learning.

4.1 Identify strategies to support inclusive student participation and engagement in classroom activities.

4.5 Demonstrate an understanding of the relevant issues and the strategies available to support the safe, responsible and ethical use of ICT in learning and teaching.

7.1 Understand and apply the key principles described in codes of ethics and conduct for the teaching profession.


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should have developed the following specific knowledge:

A Child development and care

A4 child health, wellbeing and safety

B Education and curriculum studies

B9 curriculum planning, programming and evaluation

C Teaching pedagogies

C4 teaching methods and strategies

C7 contemporary society and pedagogy

F Early childhood professional practice

           F3 professional identity and development


Topics will include:

●       Design Thinking and approaches to problem solving

●       Through designing, implementing and evaluating a digital technologies project, student will:

  • Explore current and emerging digital technologies
  • How text, image and audio is collected and stored digitally
  • How to manipulate digital data (text, image and sound)
  • Design principles for the visualisation of digital data
  • The ethical and safety implications (eg security and privacy) around the collection and dissemination of digital data
  • How digital systems and real people interact
  • Identify stakeholder needs and adapt technologies and interfaces as needed

While directed at the practical aspects of skills such as coding digital games and building a website, this unit will engage with larger discussions concerning the ethical, social and cultural aspects of current and emerging digital technologies. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit may be offered on-campus, online or in a blended mode. This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the teaching period comprising of directed tasks and self-study. 

An emphasis is placed on students as adult learners with responsibility for their own learning and who are capable of problem solving. The learning in this unit is enquiry-based, learner-focused and student centred. Teaching and learning strategies are designed to be flexible and promote self-regulated and guided learning, underpinned by adult learning principles and may include:

●       Lectures face-to-face or online to enhance knowledge

●       Seminars, tutorials or workshops; online activities to engage in active learning

●       Reading guides which involve directed reading as well as self-directed online study materials

●       Discussion Forum online postings and responses designed to encourage peer collaboration

●       Webinars and podcasts for lecturer and student communication and for further information.

Technology Enhanced Learning

This unit uses ‘Learning Environment Online’ (LEO) for the provision of lecture and tutorial content, required and/or further readings, and other unit material. Recorded lectures will be made available to students through LEO. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed for you to demonstrate your achievement of each learning outcome. Assessment One is a collaborative task with a focus on developing Design and Productions skills manipulating a range of digital platforms working in a team environment. Assessment Two is designed to develop critical thinking skills through analysis of a range of provocations exploring the impact of technology and ethical implications of digital cultures.

Minimum Achievement Standard

The assessment tasks and their weighting for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome. In order to pass this unit, students are required to submit all assessment tasks, meet the learning outcomes of the unit and achieve a minimum overall passing grade of 50%. 

Electronic Submission, Marking and Return

Turnitin will be used for submitting, marking, and returning of assessment tasks. Assessment tasks will be returned within three weeks of submission.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Individual Task

Reflective Journal

Students will develop an online reflective journal, that responds critically to a series of driving questions regarding the influence of digital technologies on contemporary life, culture, communities, professional and interpersonal communication and the ethical responsibilities of using digital technologies.

This assessment task has three parts:

Part A; Critical reflection to three driving questions

Part B: Constructive feedback to peer posts

Part C: Application and justification of feedback in a re-write of one of the critical reflections






LO1, LO2, LO4

GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Assessment Task 2: Team-based Digital Content Design Project

Working in teams of 3 – 4, students will utilise the Design Thinking method to design and develop a series of online games for a targeted audience of their choice. 

This assessment task has three parts:

Part A: Design Thinking Portfolio – in teams, students will document every step of the design thinking process undertaken to develop their online game.

Part B: The Online Game – individually, students are to use the group design thinking process to develop an online game. Each game should reflect the common theme, characters, story developed by the team as reflected in the Design Thinking Portfolio.

Part C: Evaluation – individually, students will critically evaluate

  • their own contributions to the Design Thinking portfolio and the success of their game to meet the identified aims
  • the contributions of each group member, this should include the contributions made to the Design Thinking portfolio and the success of their game to meet the identified aims.


Part A 20%

Part B 10%

Part C 10%

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA2, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10

Assessment Task 3: Weekly engagement

Students will be required to participate in a weekly quiz/discussion/activity. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Required text(s)

Australian Curriculum

Early Years Learning Framework

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA)

eSafety Commissioner, Australian Government: Cyberbullying:

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership. Spotlight: Bullying in Australian Schools

Relevant State and Territory curriculum documents. 


Recommended references

Attrill, A. (2105). Cyberpsychology. London: Oxford University Press.

Education Services Australia (2015). Digital technologies hub. Canberra, ACT: Department of Education, Australian Government.

Ess, C. (2014). Digital media ethics, Polity Press.

Ewing, R., Lowrie, T., & Higgs, J. (2010). Teaching & communicating : Rethinking professional experiences. South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press.

Feury, K. (2008). New Media, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.

Greenhow, C., & Lewin, C. (2016). Social media and education: Reconceptualizing the boundaries of formal and informal learning, Learning, Media and Technology, 41:1, 6-30, DOI: 10.1080/17439884.2015.1064954

Howland, J.L., Jonassen, D.H., & Marra, R.M. (2012). Meaningful learning with technology (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Liu, K. (2015). Critical reflection as a framework for transformative learning in teacher education, Educational Review, 67:2, 135-157, DOI: 

Kelby, S. (2015). The Photoshop elements 13 book for digital photographers, New Riders.

Thompson, S., & Thompson, N. (2018). The critically reflective practitioner. Basingstoke, England: Palgrave Macmillan.

Williams, B., Damstra, D., & Stern H. (2015). Professional WordPress design and development. Indianapolis: Wiley & Sons.

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