Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning

Unit rationale, description and aim

Effective communication and interpersonal skills are key skills that public health professionals must possess. This unit begins with listening, speaking, writing, and reading skills in order to develop effective presentation of ideas to others supported by appropriate software, visuals, and web-sourced information. Students will learn how to check and evaluate communicated messages. It also introduces students to skills in interpersonal and cross-cultural communication and in negotiation. This unit seeks to develop students writing skills for a range of audiences. This unit will also develop students’ interpersonal skills (negotiation, team work, motivation, conflict management, decision making, and problem solving skills) and enable them to value collaboration and interdisciplinary approaches for improving population health. Students will also learn about culturally sensitive communication with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals and communities. This unit aims to support students to develop skills to communicate health-related information visually and in written and oral formats to a range of audiences. 

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 - Demonstrate knowledge of the principles of communication of health-related information visually and in written and oral formats to a range of audiences (GA: 9, 10) 

LO2 - Demonstrate skills in using new electronic media as a means of communication and examine a variety of modes of multimedia communication and to learn design techniques (GA: 10) 

LO3 - Collaborate with and contribute effectively to teams to address public health challenges (GA: 7) 

LO4 - Apply approaches to communicating risk, harm, and intervention effectiveness to diverse audiences including cultural differences and various levels of formal educational attainment (GA: 1, 9) 

Graduate attributes

GA1 - Demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA7 - Work both autonomously and collaboratively 

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: 

  • Introducing Communication 
  • Effective Listening and Assertiveness 
  • Non-Verbal and Computer Mediated Communication 
  • Inter-personal Communication and Relationships  
  • Conflict and Negotiation  
  • Small Group Communication  
  • Working in Teams 
  • Public Speaking 
  • Informative Speaking 
  • Persuasive Speaking 
  • Public health communication strategies in a variety of contexts

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit involves Cooperative Learning and Inquiry based learning. Cooperative Learning involves structuring classes around small groups that work together in such a way that each group member's success is dependent on the group's success. Inquiry based learning on the other hand actively involves students in the exploration of the content, issues, and questions surrounding a curricular area or concept. Using these two learning strategies, the students will work individually and in small groups to solve problems involving both lecture and tutorial and activities that support students to synthesize knowledge and develop a deeper understanding of effective communication and interpersonal skills. Online content (e.g. readings) via the ACU Learning Environment Online (LEO) also support this acquisition. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessments in this unit are designed for students to develop theoretical and practical knowledge and skills for effective communication and interpersonal skills in their chosen discipline/occupation. In order to achieve the Learning Outcomes and Graduate Attributes, students are expected to demonstrate knowledge and expertise on various communication and interpersonal skills via a quiz, written material, oral presentation and examination. Assessment task one will assess students’ knowledge of communication principles and concepts learned in the early part of the unit. For assessment task two, students will work in groups to develop a multimedia presentation to develop an intervention(s) to address an every-day public health issue, such as texting and driving. The end-of-semester exam will test students’ applied and theoretical knowledge on effective communication and interpersonal skills.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

1. Online Quiz 

To enable assessment of interpersonal communication skills theory base not covered in the final exam 


LO1, LO4

GA9, GA10 

2. Group presentation 

To enable and assess student abilities to communicate in a group context. 


LO2, LO3 

GA1, GA7, GA9, GA10 

3. End of semester examination 

To enable and evaluate overall knowledge of the principles of interpersonal communication.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA1, GA7, GA9 

Representative texts and references

DeVito JA. (2017). Essentials of Human Communication (9th ed). Pearson Education: Boston. 


Schiavo, R. (2013). Health Communication: From Theory to Practice (2nd ed). Jossey-Bass: San Francisco. 


Parvanta, C., Nelson, D.E., Parvanta, S.A.,& Harner, R.N. (2011). Essentials of Public Health Communication. Jones & Bartlett Learning: Sudbury, MA. 

McKinnon, M. (2021). Health Promotion: A Practical Guide to Effective Communication, Cambridge University Press.

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