Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

The unit is designed to enhance participants' knowledge of contemporary literacies in a context where new technologies are transforming homes, communities, and workplaces, while ongoing modalities such as oral language and the printed word remain crucial to success in schooling. The unit will focus on reading in terms of both traditional forms of print on paper and as a process which requires simultaneous interpretation of interactive semiotic (meaning-making) systems. Writing will likewise be explored as the production of both print and multimodal texts, and writing development, in its verbal and multimodal forms, will be tracked across the years of schooling and across first and second language learning contexts, including Indigenous contexts. The unit will also examine curriculum and assessment practices for scaffolding development across the years of schooling, drawing on the known affordances of systematic and cumulative pedagogies for reading and designing texts, including multimodal texts, in the context of the Australian Curriculum for English. Throughout the unit, students will examine how new media such as web 2.0 tools and other technologies can enhance literacy practices, in a context where literate communication is potentially instantaneous, global, and transient. Students will apply the knowledge and skills learnt to an examination of their own professional and research contexts, and will communicate their insights with colleagues using various web 2.0 tools.

This unit aims to assist students to explore how oral language provides an important platform into literacy at all levels of schooling in all communities, including Indigenous communities, and how literacy development depends on appropriate scaffolding across the language modes.

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 a deep understanding of the nature of text and literacy in the 21st century (GA4, GA9; APST (HA) 6.2)

LO2 - Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between oracy, print literacy and multimodal literacies, in both their receptive and productive modes (GA5, GA9; APST (Lead) 6.3)

LO3 - Investigate how the processes of reading print, electronic and other multimodal forms relate to learners in 21st Century classrooms and communities (GA8, GA9; APST (HA) 3.3). 

LO4 - Effectively create, conduct, and report on a classroom application of knowledge related to writing and composing texts in contemporary educational contexts (GA2, GA6, GA7; APST (HA) 7.4) 

LO5 - Apply an understanding of key structures underpinning visual and multimodal texts used in contemporary pedagogy (GA4, GA10; APST (HA) 3.4, 3.6) 

LO6 - Apply knowledge of contemporary literacies to practices with students from diverse linguistic, social and cultural backgrounds (GA1; APST (HA) 4.2)

LO7 - Apply the knowledge and skills learnt to an examination of their own professional and research contexts, and communicate their insights with colleagues using various web 2.0 tools (GA10; APST (HA) 7.4).

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, students should have gained evidence towards the following standards:

3.3  Use teaching strategies (Highly Accomplished)

Support colleagues to select and apply effective teaching strategies to develop knowledge, skills, problem solving and critical and creative thinking.

3.4 Select and use resources (Highly Accomplished)

Assist colleagues to create, select and use a wide range of resources, including ICT, to engage students in their learning

3.6 Evaluate and improve teaching programs (Highly Accomplished)

Work with colleagues to review current teaching and learning programs using student feedback, student assessment data, knowledge of curriculum and workplace practices.

4.2 Manage classroom activities (Highly Accomplished)

Model and share with colleagues a flexible repertoire of strategies for classroom management to ensure all students are engaged in purposeful activities.

6.2 Engage in professional learning and improve practice (Highly Accomplished)

Plan for professional learning by accessing and critiquing relevant research, engage in high-quality targeted opportunities to improve practice and offer quality placements for pre-service teachers where applicable.

6.3 Engage with colleagues and improve practice (Lead)

Implement professional dialogue within the school or professional learning network(s) that is informed by feedback, analysis of current research and practice to improve the educational outcomes of students.

7.4 Engage with professional teaching networks and broader communities (Highly Accomplished).

Contribute to professional networks and associations and build productive links with the wider community to improve teaching and learning.


The unit is comprised of 4 modules:

Module 1: The nature of text and literacy in the 21st Century

  • Verbal, visual and multimodal text in home, school and civic environments
  • Towards a critical and multimodal pedagogy for 21st century literacies

Module 2: Oracy, literacy and multimodality

  • Oracy: learning and using language
  • From oracy to literacy: scaffolding learning
  • Multimodality: 21st century texts and learners

Module 3: Reading verbal and multimodal texts

  • The 4 practices of effective reading
  •  Reading visual and multimodal text
  • Implications for learning, teaching and assessment of reading

Module 4: Writing and composing texts in a digital age

  • Mapping writing development across the years of schooling
  • A framework for multimodal composition
  • Implications for learning, teaching and assessment of writing and composing.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Students will be involved in a variety of teaching-learning strategies to progress and demonstrate their understandings in this unit. Participants will be involved in a variety of teaching-learning strategies to support learning, including:

  • Learning materials which will be provided online via a digital core of resources (including modules, readings, suggested websites and other electronic resources) to support learning and assessment.
  • Online tools designed to build a community of learners and support reflective practice (e.g. forum, chat, podcasts, WIKI). Students will be required to participate regularly in online forums to share understandings and insights, resolve any learning difficulties, and check their progress.
  • Online resources used to support the critical analysis and application of learning integrated within 21st Century literacies.
  • Up to two one-day intensives: beginning of semester; middle of semester for cohorts.

This is a 20-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 300 hours in total with a normal expectation of 48 hours of directed study and the total contact hours should not exceed 48 hours. Directed study might include lectures, tutorials, webinars, podcasts etc. The balance of the hours then become private study.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment will relate directly to the achievement of the outcomes above. Some flexibility may be exercised in the assessment tasks to align with the needs of the student cohort, for example, students may be working in a classroom, in an administrative role or currently on leave from teaching.

The total assessment will be equivalent to 11,000 words.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1.

Formative assessment tasks throughout Module 2 (Oral language)


LO1, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6, LO7

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Assessment Task 2.

Theoretically informed tracking of a literacy learner


LO1, LO2, LO4, LO6, LO7

GA1, GA2, GA4, GA5, GA9

Assessment Task 3.

Theoretically informed design of a web resource to support a literacy curriculum unit.


LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6, LO7

GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Required Text

Kalantis, M., & Cope. B. (2016). Literacies (2nd ed.). Port Melbourne, Vic: Cambridge University Press.

This text can be accessed freely to enrolled ACU students as an electronic book at the link below. Chapters from this text are required throughout the semester.


Arthur, L., Ashton, J., & Beecher, B. (2014). Diverse literacies in early childhood: A social justice approach. Camberwell, Vic: ACER Press.

Alexander, R. (2017). Towards dialogic teaching: Rethinking classroom talk (5th ed.). Thirsk: Dialogos.

Carnegie Foundation (2007). Writing next. retrieved 28112014

Christie, F. (2012). Language education throughout the school years: A functional perspective. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley Blackwell.

Freebody, P. (2004). Hindsight and foresight: Putting the Four Roles Model of reading to work in the daily business of teaching. In A. Healy & E. Honan (Eds.), Text next: New resources for literacy learning (pp. 3–17). Newtown, NSW: Primary English Teaching Association.

Gibbons, P. (2002). Scaffolding language, scaffolding learning: Teaching second language learners in the mainstream classroom. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann

Honan, E. (Ed). (2013). Thinking through new literacies for primary and early years. Moorabbin, VIC: Hawker Brownlow.

Street, B.V., & Lefstein, A. (2007). Literacy: An advanced resource book. Oxford: Routledge.

Shanahan, T., & Shanahan, C. (2008). Teaching Disciplinary literacy to adolescents: Rethinking content-area literacy. Harvard Educational Review, 78(1), 40-59.

Unsworth, L., & Thomas, A. (Eds.) (2014). English teaching and new literacies pedagogy: Interpreting and authoring digital multimedia narratives. New York: Peter Lang. 

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