Credit points


Campus offering

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Unit rationale, description and aim

Clear and capable communication strategies are essential to professional success. This unit provides students with a grounding in the theory and practice of communication and it demonstrates how spoken, visual, and written communication generates meaning through codes and conventions. Students will consider relationships between texts and readers and between texts and cultures. Specific communication strategies that are relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People will be highlighted. The unit will examine the variety of platforms through which texts circulate. Students will also develop their understandings of, and their own skills in, a range of practical communication situations. These may include public communication, communication for influence or persuasion, graphic communication, online communication, intercultural communication or communication in teams. The unit aims to introduce the skills and knowledge that students need to produce high quality analyses of issues in 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 - Identify and define foundational theories, concepts, and principles of communication (GA4, GA5, GA10)

LO2 - Analyse examples of communication successes and/or failures (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10)

LO3 - Communicate effectively in multiple modes for diverse audiences (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9)

LO4 - Analyse texts in a variety of formats including oral, written, and multimodal (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10)

Graduate attributes

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

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 may include:

  • What is communication?
  • Understanding the symbolic nature of communication.
  • Analysing relationships between producers and consumers of communication.
  • Multi-modal communication: writing, images and communication.
  • Popular social media outlets.
  • Ethics of communication
  • Considerations to be aware of regarding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives
  • Exploring the theories and practice of workplace, intercultural, and interpersonal communication.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit will engage students in active learning activities, such as reading, writing and discussion to promote analysis, synthesis and evaluation of class content. This unit features a practice-led exploration of a range of communication discourses. In an active learning environment, the students will have the opportunity to engage with both the theory and practice of communication. Assessment tasks will allow students to apply these skills to a range of contexts.150 hours in total with a normal expectation of 36 hours of directed study. Directed study might include lectures, tutorials, webinars, podcasts etc. The balance of the hours then become private study.

Assessment strategy and rationale

Being able to analyse and respond to theoretical perspectives is an important first step in understanding how communication works so the Short Answer Response Task allows students to reflect on and demonstrate their knowledge of a current issue in communication. This will prepare students for future assessment tasks as the skills that are learned early in the semester will form the foundation for the remaining assessment tasks. Once students can identify and define foundational theories of communication, they will be able to apply these theories in their multi-modal task and final written task. The Multi-modal Task offers an opportunity for students to experiment with the creation of an oral response using visual aids to present an analysis of a case study. The Written Task gives students the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of theoretical and practical applications of the unit content. All the assessment tasks contribute to building students’ confidence in speaking and writing with professional flair.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Short Answer Response

In this task, students will create a written response that explores a current issue in communication.


LO1, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Assessment Task 2: Multi-modal Presentation

In this task, students will create an oral response using visual aids to present an analysis of a case study of a communicative failure or success.


LO2, LO3, LO4

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Assessment Task 3: Written Task

In this task, student’s will have the chance to demonstrate their knowledge of communication theory and showcase practical ways that the theory may apply to human communication. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Barnes, Susan B. An Introduction to Visual Communication: from Cave Art to Second Life. Second Edition., Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., 2017.

Berger, Arthur Asa. Media and Communication Research Methods. Fifth edition., SAGE Publications, Inc., 2020.

Dainton, Marianne, et al. Applying Communication Theory for Professional Life: a Practical Introduction. Fourth edition., SAGE Publications, Inc., 2019.

DeVito, Joseph A. Essentials of Human Communication. Tenth edition., Pearson, 2020.

Docan-Morgan, Tony, ed. The Palgrave Handbook of Deceptive Communication. Springer International Publishing, 2019.

Duck, Steve, and David T. McMahan. Communication in Everyday Life: a Survey of Communication. Fourth edition., SAGE, 2021.

Holtzhausen, Derina Rhoda, et al. Principles of Strategic Communication. Routledge, 2021.

Rings, Guido, and Sebastian M. Rasinger, eds. The Cambridge Handbook of Intercultural Communication. Edited by Guido Rings and Sebastian M. (Sebastian Marc) Rasinger, Cambridge University Press, 2020.

Thompson, Neil. Effective Communication: a Guide for the People Professions. Third edition., Palgrave, 2018.

Welles, Brooke Foucault, and Sandra Sandra González-Bailón. The Oxford Handbook of Networked Communication. Oxford University Press, 2018.

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