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COMM140 Digital Communication Technologies

Unit rationale, description and aim

The use of digital technologies permeates all facets of everyday life. The internet, social media, blogs and podcasts have facilitated the emergence of digital cultures.

This unit is designed to enable pre-service teachers to understand the influence of digital technologies on contemporary life, culture, communities and professional and interpersonal communication. Pre-service teachers will explore a range of digital technologies including social media, website platforms, cloud-based technologies and digital imaging and media software, gaming and virtual reality platforms. Ethical and safety considerations within digital environments are a focus within this unit.

This unit aims to introduce multimedia skills to students who may have had limited experience with emerging communication technologies and develop their understanding of digital technologies and emerging digital cultures and their impact on society.

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 Describe how changes in technology impact on humans and their environment and the issues that surround these changes (GA1, GA5, GA9)

LO2 Demonstrate an understanding of a range of digital technologies and their implications on interpersonal and professional communication (GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10; APST 3.4, 4.5, 7.1; ACECQA A4, C7, F3)

LO3 Evaluate and implement principles of design in various digital communication technologies (GA5, GA6, GA9, GA10; APST 2.1, 3.1, 3.6, 4.1, 4.5; ACECQA B9)

LO4 Produce digital content and manipulate digital platforms including websites, 2D imagery and basic animation (GA2, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10; APST 2.6, 3.4, 4.5; ACECQA A4, C4)

Graduate attributes

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

GA2 - Recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society

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

GA10 - Utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should be able to:

2.1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the concepts, substance and structure of the content and teaching strategies of the teaching area.

2.6 Implement teaching strategies for using ICT to expand curriculum learning opportunities for students.

3.1 Set learning goals that provide achievable challenges for students of varying abilities and characteristics.

3.4 Demonstrate knowledge of a range of resources, including ICT, that engage students in their learning.

3.6 Demonstrate broad knowledge of strategies that can be used to evaluate teaching programs to improve student learning.

4.1 Identify strategies to support inclusive student participation and engagement in classroom activities.

4.5 Demonstrate an understanding of the relevant issues and the strategies available to support the safe, responsible and ethical use of ICT in learning and teaching.

7.1 Understand and apply the key principles described in codes of ethics and conduct for the teaching profession.

ACECQA Curriculum Specifications

On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should have developed the following specific knowledge:

A. Child development and care

A4 child health, wellbeing and safety

B. Education and curriculum studies

B9 curriculum planning, programming and evaluation

C. Teaching pedagogies

C4 teaching methods and strategies

C7 contemporary society and pedagogy

F. Early childhood professional practice

F3 professional identity and development


Topics will include:

  • Digital communication platforms and technologies such as games, websites, mobile apps, peer-to-peer and social networks.
  • Emerging communication technologies
  • Understanding software and digital environments from a ‘conceptual’ perspective
  • Approaches for understanding digital environment, such as ‘object structures’, ‘conceptual model’ or ‘strategic knowledge vs. command knowledge’
  • Collection and storage of digital data (e.g., text, image and audio)
  • Manipulation of digital data (text, image and sound)
  • Design principles for the visualisation of digital data
  • Approaches for the design of software documentation, such as Carroll’s minimalism
  • Ethical considerations and implications (e.g. security and privacy) around the collection and dissemination of digital data
  • Interaction between digital systems and real people (i.e. the human-technology interface)
  • Adapting technologies and interfaces for stakeholder
  • Ethical, social and cultural impacts of emerging digital communication technologies.
  • Maintaining safety of self and others in a digital environment.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit may be offered on-campus, online or in a blended mode. 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 teaching period comprising of directed tasks and self-study. 

An emphasis is placed onpre-service teachers as adult learners with responsibility for their own learning and who are capable of problem solving. The learning in this unit is enquiry-based, learner-focused and student centred. Teaching and learning strategies are designed to be flexible and promote self-regulated and guided learning, underpinned by adult learning principles and may include:

  • Lectures face-to-face or online to enhance knowledge
  • Seminars, tutorials or workshops; online activities to engage in active learning
  • Reading guides which involve directed reading as well as self-directed online study materials
  • Discussion Forum online postings and responses designed to encourage peer collaboration
  • Webinars and podcasts for lecturer and student communication and for further information.

Technology Enhanced Learning

This unit uses a Learning Management System for the provision of lecture and tutorial content, required and/or further readings, and other unit material. Recorded lectures will be made available to students through this system. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed for you to demonstrate your achievement of each learning outcome. Assessment One is a collaborative task with a focus on developing Design and Productions skills manipulating a range of digital platforms working in a team environment. Assessment Two is designed to develop critical thinking skills through analysis of a range of provocations exploring the impact of technology and ethical implications of digital cultures.

Minimum Achievement Standard

The assessment tasks and their weighting for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome. In order to pass this unit, students are required to submit all assessment tasks, meet the learning outcomes of the unit and achieve a minimum overall passing grade of 50%. 

Electronic Submission, Marking and Return

Electronic submission is used for submitting, marking, and returning of assessment tasks. Assessment tasks will be returned within three weeks of submission.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Individual Task

Reflective Journal

Students will develop an online reflective journal, with a series of blog posts that respond to a series of provocations regarding technology and the digital environment which include:

  • impact of technology on communication
  • risks to self and others in the digital environment
  • ethical issues that arise in the digital environment
  • sustainability of technological development


LO1, LO2

GA1, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Assessment Task 2: Team-based Digital Content Design Project

Working in small groups, students will design and implement a project that engages with two or more digital communication technologies. This assessment item has three stages:

Stage 1: The Pitch Working in teams, students will research, design and present ideas for the digital product.

Stage 2: The digital product

Working in teams of 3, students will deliver a communications project that incorporates a realisation of two technologies

Stage 3: Project evaluation

  • Working in teams of 3, students will reflect on the process of completing the project.


LO2, LO3, LO4

GA2, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Required text(s)

eSafety Commissioner, Australian Government: Cyberbullying:

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership. Spotlight: Bullying in Australian Schools

Recommended references

Attrill, A. (2015) Cyberpsychology. London: Oxford University Press.

Education Services Australia (2015). Digital technologies hub. Canberra, ACT: Department of Education, Australian Government.

Ess, C. (2020). Digital media ethics (3rd ed.). Cambridge; Medford, MA:  Polity Press.

Ewing, R., Lowrie, T., & Higgs, J. (2010). Teaching & communicating : Rethinking professional experiences. South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press.

Flew, T. (2014). New Media (4th ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press.

Greenhow, C., & Lewin, C. (2016). Social media and education: Reconceptualizing the boundaries of formal and informal learning. Learning, Media and Technology, 41(1), 6-30, DOI: 10.1080/17439884.2015.1064954

Howland, J.L., Jonassen, D.H., & Marra, R.M. (2014). Meaningful learning with technology (4th ed.). Harlow, Essex: Pearson.

Liu, K. (2015). Critical reflection as a framework for transformative learning in teacher education, Educational Review, 67:2, 135-157.

Kelby, S. (2015). The Photoshop elements 13 book for digital photographers, New Riders.

Thompson, S., & Thompson, N. (2018). The critically reflective practitioner. Basingstoke, England: Palgrave Macmillan.

Williams, B., Damstra, D., & Stern H. (2015). Professional WordPress design and development. Indianapolis: Wiley & Sons.

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