Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

Education Pathways

Unit rationale, description and aim

To be successful in tertiary studies, students need to understand the academic culture in which they are studying, and must have a level of academic language proficiency to support success. This unit is designed to prepare students with the academic language and skills required for university study in Australia, and to enable access to tertiary education and the Health Professions.

The unit offers instruction and practice in the four macro skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing), within a range of topics and issues related to study at university in the discipline of Health Sciences. Academic vocabulary and language structures will be explored and students will receive instruction and guidance on the skills required to carry out academic tasks, such as researching and referencing.

The aim of this unit is to instruct and support students in their understanding and application of academic conventions, and in developing the academic language and literacy required for undergraduate studies in the 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 - Differentiate between informal and formal language, the purpose and structure of various writing genres, and authors’ perspectives (GA9)

LO2 - Conduct guided searches of a range of academic sources and databases to extract information relevant to a specific task (GA8, GA10)

LO3 - Apply accurate academic language and stylistic features to oral and written expression, using referencing conventions appropriate to the discipline (GA9)

Graduate attributes

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:  

  • Introduction to the academic learning community 
  • Academic language skills and styles 
  • Introduction to finding and evaluating academic sources 
  • Academic vocabulary  
  • Sentence structure 
  • Essay structure and content 
  • Writing paragraphs 
  • Introduction to referencing: citations and reference lists 
  • Reading and understanding academic texts  
  • Identifying points of view 
  • Summarising and paraphrasing  
  • Note-taking: listening and reading 
  • Common language difficulties 
  • The language of presentations 
  • Oral communication skills 
  • Exam taking skills and strategies 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit takes an active learning approach in order to encourage analytical thinking and the ability to identify academic conventions and language patterns and their functions. In addition, this approach promotes independent learning and skills development, and students may then apply the acquired knowledge and skills to their own academic work. Facilitated peer learning also assists skills development, and exposes students to a variety of opinions and styles, and supports them on their path to independence in further studies.

Face-to-face mode 

This unit is delivered face-to-face on campus in a 3-hour weekly workshop. The workshop format is designed to allow students to explore content and language, and subsequently engage with content and apply skills in a classroom setting. It is aimed at maximising the students’ opportunities for interaction and communication with the tutor and with their peers, and provides practice and feedback on impromptu language use. Face-to-face mode is supported by online resources and activities available on the Learning Management System.

Online Mode 

In online mode, a 3-hour synchronous weekly workshop is utilised. The workshop is broken up into sections, combining flipped classroom approaches (individual and group) with tutor-led activities and peer work. This promotes independent learning and online learning activities, but provides a supported online experience for offshore pathway students. The tutor-facilitated components would be dedicated to extending student understanding, more personalised learning and “hands-on” activities. The aim is to maximise the students’ opportunities for interaction and communication with the tutor and with their peers, and provides practice and feedback on impromptu language use.

Assessment strategy and rationale

Assessment is equitable for students undertaking either face-to-face or online classes.

Assessment tasks are scaffolded (or staged) in order to support students in their understanding and application of the academic language skills and conventions required in a university setting. The tasks are designed to build on knowledge and skills from workshop activities and the previous assessment task, and for students to demonstrate their level of proficiency in reading, speaking, listening and writing in a health sciences context.

The presentation is scheduled first and designed to provide scaffolding for the research, content, language structures and organisation of information required in the essay (Assessment 2). The essay assessment requires students to further develop the ideas from the presentation, and to demonstrate their ability to express content in a formal essay structure utilising the appropriate register and accuracy of language required for written expression in academic contexts. The final exam (Assessment 3) provides a means by which to assess the students’ language and academic skills under exam conditions. As this unit is part of a pathway, the exam enables the assessment of these skills with time restrictions and with an emphasis on the students’ independent application of skills. This is important in order to benchmark the students’ progress and their achievement of the learning outcomes. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Presentation (individual) 

The Presentation requires students to present one advantage and one disadvantage they are proposing to include in their essay assessment task (Assessment 2). This provides scaffolding for the essay and early feedback on content, and on research and referencing skills. Students must also demonstrate their ability to clearly and accurately explain content and concepts using appropriate language and oral communication skills. 


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA8, GA9, GA10

Essay ( advantages and disadvantages) 

The essay genre is a common assessment type in undergraduate studies. This task allows students to demonstrate their understanding of essay structure, basic skills relating to searches for academic sources, extracting relevant high quality information, and referencing. In addition, it supports and promotes the development of the language accuracy required in written work. The advantages-disadvantages genre has been chosen as it allows students to identify and evaluate different perspectives within a specific structure. 


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA8, GA9, GA10


(Includes listening, reading and writing). 

The exam is designed for students to demonstrate their level of language proficiency and academic literacy in a real time setting. Students will be assessed on their ability to respond appropriately and accurately to academic tasks and apply skills covered in the unit and required for language proficiency and further studies in the discipline of Health Sciences. 


LO2, LO3 

GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Academic Skills Unit. Accessed through Canvas: Unit: Academic Skills Unit (

Bailey, S. (2018). Academic writing: A handbook for international students (5th ed.). Routledge.

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

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

Oshima, A., & Hogue, A. (2014). Longman Academic Writing Series 4: Paragraphs to Essays. (5th ed.). Pearson Education

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