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FSAS003 Academic Communications Skills 3

Unit rationale, description and aim

Students need to feel confident that they understand what it is to be part of the academic community at university and understand that competency in study skills is an important requirement for academic success. However, it is also important that students are provided with strategies to help them develop these skills. Students need to have realistic expectations of the challenges of studying in a university environment and need to be provided with opportunities and strategies to help them think critically and move forward when encountering difficulties.

This unit is designed to further develop the tertiary literacy skills that are required for undergraduate study. There will be an emphasis on understanding solutions to commonly experienced problems in undergraduate study. The unit will also help students to understand and apply appropriate research and referencing conventions for their disciplines and to ensure that they have the linguistic capabilities necessary for undergraduate study.

The aim of this unit is to build on the knowledge and skills attained in Academic Communication Skills 2 and to further develop students’ effective use of academic English expression. It also aims to facilitate students understanding and expectations of academic study in undergraduate programs. It aims to develop students’ understanding of potential issues that might arise and develop their understanding and awareness of support networks that are available to assist them. 

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:

GA1 - Utilise organisation and collaborative skills to work effectively in a group (GA7, GA9)

GA2 - Differentiate and use appropriate academic texts types to communicate disciplinary concepts. (GA9)

GA3 - Demonstrate understanding of research strategies and referencing conventions and be able to apply them to specific tasks (GA8, GA 9)

GA4 - Apply independent study skills in order to solve problems and facilitate self-directed learning (GA6, GA9 GA10).

Graduate attributes

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.


Topics will include:

  •         How to work effectively as part of a group
  •         How to give an academic presentation
  •         Understanding university support services for students
  •         Effective research skills
  •         Integration and synthesis of sources into written work
  •         Review and development of essay writing techniques.
  •         Review and further development of grammatical range accuracy
  •         Improved use of appropriate lexis in an academic context. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Multi-mode: 7 hours per week workshops on campus. Plus 5 hours per week of facilitated learning based on individual study plans to be completed in class or online.

 Duration: 10-week Term

This unit will consist of 70 face-to-face teaching hours across and 50 guided online hours over 10 weeks of study. The students will receive information through various formats including online lectures, readings and homework research projects that will be explored and developed within subsequent workshops. Students will be expected to collaborate with their peers on project- based learning both inside and outside of the classroom. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

Assessment tasks build on skills developed in Academic Communication Skills 2. The assessment tasks are designed to encourage students to engage not only with the content of the unit curriculum, but also with the university as an institution. The university support system analysis allows students to critically analyse, research and present on a key issue and to be exposed to a range of issues and solutions through peer presentations. The research task builds on the guided essay from Academic Communication Skills 2. In this assignment students will be provided with support but will be encouraged to practice independent research skills. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

University Support Systems Analysis & Presentation

Students investigate solutions to, and support systems for, common problems faced by students in first year university study. Investigations could include analysis of ACU web pages, ACU social media, LEO and interviews with staff and students. Students will present their findings as a problem-solution oral presentation.


LO1, LO3, LO4 

GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10

Research Task

Students will be guided through the process of collecting and using information appropriately for a research essay on a topic related to undergraduate study. Students will be expected to demonstrate planning and drafting as well as effective research and referencing skills. 


LO2, LO3, LO4

GA6,GA8, GA9, GA10

Research Essay

Students will produce a research essay. The essay will draw from the activities completed for the Research Task assessment. Students will be assessed on their ability to write an essay using appropriate academic conventions and styles.


LO2, LO3, LO4

GA6,GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Australian Catholic University. (n.d.). Academic Skills Unit.

Brick, J., Herke, M., Wong, D., & Davies, L. (2016). Academic Culture: A student's guide to studying at university. South Yarra, Vic: Palgrave Macmillan.

Grix, J., & Watkins, G. (2010). Information skills: Finding and using the right resources. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Hopkins, D., & Reid, T. (2018). The academic communication skills handbook. London, UK: Sage Study Skills.

Thomson, E., & Droga, L. (2012). Effective academic writing: An essay-writing workbook for school and university. Putney; NSW: Phoenix Education.

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