Credit points


Campus offering

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Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit is designed to support students as they transition into tertiary studies at an Australian university. It is designed to extend the language and communication skills of students who have English as a second or additional language, and to provide instruction and support in developing the cultural awareness and proficiency required for effective communication. The unit covers the communication skills and learning strategies required to study in the Australian context and in specialty areas such as Health Sciences, Information Systems, Business, or the Humanities. You will learn to identify different academic language styles and features used in oral and written communication, and be introduced to critical thinking and time management skills. There will also be a focus on learning how to work in an organised team.

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 features of a variety of text types in an academic context. [GA8] 

LO2 - Identify cultural aspects which influence verbal and non-verbal communication. [GA9] 

LO3 - Use effective and appropriate verbal and non-verbal communication in interpersonal contexts. [GA9] 

LO4 - Identify key information and trends from written and graphic information. [GA8] 

LO5 - Construct a variety of written text types maintaining grammatical and semantic accuracy. [GA9] 

LO6 - Listen for overall meaning and significant details in formal and informal contexts.  

LO7 - Organise, prepare and present information as part of a team. [GA7, GA8] 

Graduate attributes

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: 

  • The communication model and process 
  • Time management 
  • Intercultural and interpersonal communication 
  • Extracting information from written and auditory texts 
  • Identifying and expressing problems and solutions 
  • Expressing opinions 
  • Active listening 
  • Academic reading and research methods 
  • Report structure and content 
  • Descriptive and evaluative writing 
  • Academic register and referencing 
  • Preparing work as part of a team/ planning and preparing group work 
  • Oral communication skills 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

In order to promote familiarity with an Australian university context and with independent learning, active learning is a key focus of the learning and teaching strategy. In this unit there is consistent use of small and large group discussion to analyse, synthesise and evaluate information in relation to a specific problem or issue. Students will regularly use brainstorming to analyse a topic, and “think-pair-share” which enables students to think independently and then communicate, rationalise and synthesise ideas. This promotes a peer learning and collaborative approach to support understanding of key concepts, as well as providing the opportunity to develop communicative competence and clarity. 

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 the assessment and communication requirements of their undergraduate studies. Assessment tasks are scaffolded (or staged) with workshop activities in order to support students in their understanding and application of the content and academic conventions required in a university setting.   


The report assists students in understanding the components of report structure and in navigating the various sections of reports and journal articles for research purposes. It also provides an introduction to the use of descriptive and evaluative language. Research for the report will be supported with sample articles provided to the students. For Assessment task 2, students must organise and present information as part of a team. This requires the students to apply the organisational, time management, and communication skills explored in the unit. The final exam assesses the students’ grasp of the unit content and relevant skills under exam conditions.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes


The purpose of this task is to assess students’ understanding of report structure and their ability to  extract key information related to a task. Students will be required to demonstrate the ability to evaluate and organise information from academic sources in the context of report writing.  




Group Oral Presentation 

In this assessment, students will be required to demonstrate their ability to research, organise and present information as part of a team. It will assess their verbal and non-verbal communicative competence in an academic setting. 






The purpose of the exam is to assess students’ understanding and application of the content and skills developed during this unit of study.  


4, 5,6 


Representative texts and references

Academic Skills Unit. (2017). ACU study guide: Skills for success (3rd revised ed.). North Sydney: Australian Catholic University. 

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

Dwyer, J. (2016). The business communication handbook. (10th ed.). South Melbourne, Victoria: Cengage Learning Australia. 

Hewings, M. (2007). English pronunciation in use. Advanced. Melbourne: Cambridge University Press. 

Sweeney, S. (2003). English for business communications. (2nd ed.). Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. 

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