Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

Clear, well-reasoned and persuasive writing is a key skill in every twenty-first century profession. Effective communication is required in every University discipline and it will assist securing employment, advancing through a career and adapting to new roles. Writing and thinking are interrelated - organising ideas on paper is also a way of organising ideas in the mind. Clarity in writing and thinking feed off each other - as concision, elegance and accuracy in writing develop, clarity in thinking will evolve. This unit will build these skills in stages, so that writers will be able to analyse and edit their own work, knowing grammatical rules, rhetorical strategies and organisational principles, the employment of which will create strong and focused texts. The aim of this unit is to increase competency in writing skills, so that composition becomes a pleasure and point of pride.

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 - Recognise and describe the grammatical structures of written English (GA4, GA5) 

LO2 - Communicate clearly in written form, in a style appropriate to a specified audience (GA5, GA9) 

LO3 - Understand and evaluate the stylistic effects of writers’ grammatical choices (GA5, GA8, GA9) 

LO4 - Analyse and revise their own written work in terms of grammatical and stylistic competency (GA4, GA5, GA8)  

LO5 - Reflect on strategies for improving their own reading, writing and editing (GA4, GA5, GA6). 

Graduate attributes

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 


Topics will include: 

  • How language works as a system 
  • Word classes such as nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, determiners and conjunctions 
  • Common grammatical errors and how to recognise and avoid them 
  • Clause structures and types of sentences 
  • Coherence, focus and clarity in paragraph development 
  • Drafting and revising 
  • Principles of punctuation 
  • Writing to attract attention and guide the reader 
  • Understanding and utilising feedback 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This face-to-face or online unit teaches students to recognise the basic structures and strategies of good writing so that they may enhance their own writing. In order to achieve this, weekly exercises in recognition and repair of faulty grammar are undertaken. These will be underpinned by developing in students a basic understanding of the elements of grammar and how grammatical rules guide sentence construction. Students will be invited to read and comment on selections of accomplished texts which demonstrate a range of stylistic effects. The unit then builds towards students constructing their own texts which should not only display improved skills but an ambition in sentence construction not apparent at the unit’s commencement. Finally, these new capacities are joined with skills in locating and adapting sources into coherent paragraphs which create a clear flow of argument. 

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 semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. 

Assessment one will present students with quizzes/short answer tests designed to test whether students can recognise grammatical structures and locate and repair errors. This is designed to ensure students have the foundational skills they need in the subsequent assessments. 

Assessment two will require a description of a written piece of work that analyses its use of sentence and paragraph construction, and its stylistic choices.  

Assessment three will be an essay and reflective evaluation of writing. This essay should demonstrate a high level of competency in grammar as well as sentence and paragraph construction. Students will have the opportunity to revise and edit their work and reflect on the writing process. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Quiz/Short Answer Test 

This task evaluates students understanding of the rules of grammar. 



GA4, GA5 

Evaluation of a text 

This task requires students to describe the various grammatical elements an author has used to achieve a particular style. 


LO2, LO3 

GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10 

Essays and Reflection 

This task requires students to produce and revise their own piece of polished writing. 


LO2, LO4, LO5 

GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9 

Representative texts and references

Bailey. S. Academic Writing: A Handbook for International Students. London and New York: Routledge, 2015. 

Goodson, Patricia. Becoming an Academic Writer: 50 Exercises for Paced, Productive, and Powerful Writing. Second ed. New York: Sage 2017. 

Harrison, Mark, et al. Improve Your Grammar: The Essential Guide to Accurate Writing. 2nd ed. London: Palgrave, 2016. 

Hart, Steve. Expand Your English: A Guide to Improving Your Academic Vocabulary. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2018. 

Murray, Neil. Writing Essays in English Language and Linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. 

Osmond, Alex. Academic Writing and Grammar for Students. 2nd ed. London: Sage, 2016. 

Petelin, Ros. How Writing Works: A Field Guide to Effective Writing. Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 2016. 

Pinker, Steven. The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century. London: Viking, 2014. 

Sword, Helen. Stylish Academic Writing. Harvard, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2012. 

Sword, HelenAir & Light & Time & Space How Successful Academics Write. Harvard University Press, 2017. 

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