Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

Education Pathways

Unit rationale, description and aim

Developing effective communication skills and an understanding of intercultural communication are essential attributes for health professionals. 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 and to equip them with the skills to voice their own perspectives, and recognise and respect the perspectives of others. The unit covers the communication skills and learning strategies required to study in the Australian context, and explores the interpersonal and intercultural aspects of communication. Students will learn to identify different academic language styles and features used in oral and written communication, and be introduced to problem-solving, critical thinking and time management skills. There will also be a focus on learning how to work in an organised team.

The aim of the unit is to provide instruction and support in developing the cultural awareness and language proficiency required for clear and effective communication.

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 personal, social and cultural influences on communication (GA1, GA9)

LO2 - Explain key information and features in written, graphic and aural contexts (GA4, GA8, GA9)

LO3 - Use communication and organisational skills to collaborate and present information as a team (GA1, GA7, GA8, GA9)

LO4 - Produce grammatically accurate and semantically appropriate communication in oral and written contexts (GA8, GA9)

Graduate attributes

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

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


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 strategies for retrieving evidence from academic sources
  • 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. 

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 provide practice and feedback on impromptu language use. 


Assessment strategy and rationale

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

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 purposes of locating and extracting quality academic content. 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.  Responsiveness and flexibility in listening, reading and writing are not only important in undergraduate studies, but also in other interactive or culturally diverse contexts. Assessment of students’ ability to apply these skills independently, spontaneously and appropriately is suited to an exam environment.

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.  


LO1, LO2, LO4

GA1, GA4, GA8, GA9

Group Oral Presentation

In this assessment, students will be required to demonstrate their ability to search for and extract high quality information from appropriate academic sources, and to organise and present academically reliable information as part of a team. It will assess their verbal and non-verbal communicative competence in an academic setting. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA4, GA7, GA8, 



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


LO1, LO2, LO4

GA1, GA4, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

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

Brick, J., Herke, M., & Wong, D. (2020). Academic culture: A student’s guide to studying at university (4th ed.). Palgrave Macmillan.

Dwyer, J. & Hopwood, N. (2019). The business communication handbook. (11th ed.). Cengage Learning Australia.

Hewings, M. (2017). English pronunciation in use. Advanced. Cambridge University Press.

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

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