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ACOM103 Academic English for Health Sciences 1

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit is designed to extend your learning from ACOM103 Academic English for Health Sciences 1 and ACOM105 English Language Communication Skills. It aims to prepare you for tertiary learning in English in the context of higher education in Australia. The unit offers instruction and practice in the four macro skills (speaking, listening, reading and academic writing) in a range of topics and on issues related to studying at university in the discipline of Health Sciences. You will extend your understanding and use of academic vocabulary and language structures, further develop the skills required for effective research, and the skills required to extract and synthesise information for academic tasks. The aim of this unit is to instruct and support you in the development and application of your academic language and literacy skills for tertiary studies in Health Sciences.

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 the role of critical thinking and assessment in research and reading for academic tasks. 

LO2 - Conduct library research independently and reference sources accurately. [GA4, GA8].  

LO3 - Read, evaluate and critically respond to information. [GA4, GA8]  

LO4 - Organise and synthesise information from auditor y and written texts. [GA7, GA9]  

LO5 - Apply a range of accurate grammatical, semantic and stylistic features in spoken and written expression. [GA9] 

LO6 - Work in a group utilizing effective organisational, teamwork and problem-solving skills. [GA7, GA9, GA10] 

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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: 


  • Skills Review 
  • Research Skills 
  • Focus on Pronunciation and Fluency  
  • Referencing Skills –Paraphrasing and Summarising  
  • Academic Language: Cause and Effect 
  • Critical Thinking and Reading 
  • Language of Evaluation 
  • Essay Structure – Cause & Effect  
  • Listening skills  
  • Academic Language : Hedging and Cohesion  
  • Group Presentation Skills  
  • Describing Graphic Information 
  • Reflective Journal (group work) 
  • Learner Independence 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit takes an active learning and inquiry-based approach in order to support you in the exploration of content and the problem solving required in undergraduate studies. Workshop instruction and activities are designed to promote further independence in research, the evaluation of information, the execution of academic tasks, and to enhance academic language proficiency. Collaborative and cooperative learning supports the inquiry and problem-solving objectives and provides a context in which to develop teamwork skills. 


Mode/attendance pattern: Three face-to-face hours per week delivered in one 3-hour workshop. The purpose of this mode is to allow students to apply theory and content within the classroom setting, and to enable the facilitation of skills practice and development. In addition, it promotes an active learning environment with greater interaction. 


Duration: 12 week-semester or equivalent in intensive block mode. Students should anticipate undertaking 150 hours of study for this unit, including class attendance, readings and assignment preparation. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

Assessments are scaffolded or staged with learning activities, and build on skills acquired in ACOM103 in semester one. The tasks are designed to assess your understanding and application of academic language and conventions, and your accuracy and clarity of expression, and mirror the types of assessment you will be required to complete in your undergraduate studies in Health Sciences.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Essay (cause and effect) 

The essay genre is a common assessment type in undergraduate programs. This task allows you to demonstrate independence in your research, and your ability to evaluate, organise and synthesise information in a written context. You will also be assessed on your ability to write clearly and accurately using formal academic language and conventions. The cause and effect structure has been chosen because of its relevance to health-related communication and academic tasks.  

This task is scheduled first as it builds on knowledge and skills acquired in Semester 1. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5 

GA4, GA8,GA9 

Group Presentation 

Group work is one type of assessment students will need to undertake in their tertiary studies. This assessment task requires you to work as a part of a group to research and organise information, and assess your ability to work as a team and to communicate clearly and appropriately in an academic context.  


LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6 

GA7, GA9, GA10 

Final Examination

(Listening, reading, writing)

The exam is designed for students to demonstrate their level of academic literacy and language proficiency in a real time setting, and to assess their academic preparedness for undergraduate studies in Health Sciences. Students will be assessed on their ability to respond appropriately and accurately to a range academic tasks.


LO3, LO4, LO5

GA4, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Academic Skills Unit. (2017). ACU study guide: Skills for success (3rd revised ed.).  

North Sydney, Australia: Australian Catholic University.  

Bailey, S. (2015). Academic writing: A handbook for international students (4th ed.).  

London, England: Routledge. 

Brick, J. (2011). Academic culture: A student guide to studying at university (2nd ed.). 

 South Yarra, Australia: Macmillan Press. 

Brick, J., Herke, M., & Wong, D. (2016). Academic culture: A student’s guide to studying  

at university (3rd ed.). Melbourne, Australia: Palgrave Macmillan. 

deChazal, E., & McCarter, S. (2012).  Oxford EAP. Oxford, England: OUP. 

Oshima, A., & Hogue, A. (2006). Writing academic English (4th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson Longman. 

Oshima, A., & Hogue, A. (2014). Longman academic writing series 4: Paragraphs to essays. (5th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson Education. 

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