Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

150 hours of focussed learning

Unit rationale, description and aim

Effective professional communication is an essential component of contemporary human services practice. So much of the research and policy base for human services is available on the internet and skills in accessing these electronic resources are basic to practice competence. Workers need a range of skills in accessing and analysing information in the research literature, in writing reports, and in oral presentations. The purpose of the unit is to develop competency in all aspects of professional communication. The unit aims to develop professional communication skills, reflective, critical and evaluative thinking, together with a range of specific academic skills such as information literacy, and in communicating clearly, both orally and in written form.

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- Find evaluate and synthesize information in the human services context for professional and academic purposes (GA8, GA9, GA10)

LO2 - Demonstrate critical, logical and reflective thinking skills appropriate to university study and human services practice (GA3, GA8).

LO3 - Complete a piece of academic writing that demonstrates an understanding of formal academic requirements such as referencing and academic integrity (GA4, GA7).

LO4 - Write and speak in clear, correct language appropriate to the discipline and context for human services practice (GA9, GA10).

Graduate attributes

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

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 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics will include:

  • Professional communication (oral and written) – skills and processes
  • Issues and procedures (FOI, confidentiality)
  • Academic and professional writing conventions and referencing.
  • Accessing data bases – finding, evaluating and synthesizing information
  • Critical writing – developing an academic argument

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit involves 150 hours of learning. Teaching and learning strategies for this unit include 36 hours of face-to-face, recorded lectures and face-to-face tutorials and skill development workshops. Tutorials incorporate small group discussion involving collaborative learning focused on developing critical, logical and reflective thinking skills. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively in class discussions.

This unit may also be offered on or off campus in intensive mode or multi-mode for sponsored / special cohorts, with the learning and teaching strategies being equitable with on campus mode offerings as endorsed by the School Curriculum Implementation Committee.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment strategy is based on testing students’ capacity to locate, evaluate and synthesize information, and to demonstrate their competence in oral and written communication. The development of an annotated bibliography on a practice topic of the student’s choosing is a starting task that can be developed for the oral presentation, and the written report. The emphasis is on developing and demonstrating skills in professional communication, rather than knowledge in a specific area of content.

Intensive and multi-mode assessment of this unit will be transparently equitable with on campus mode offerings as endorsed by the relevant Course Implementation Committee.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Annotated bibliography: Students are required to search the data bases to locate information on a specific topic. Enables students to evaluate and synthesize information and demonstrate critical, logical and reflective thinking and an understanding of formal academic requirements such as referencing and academic integrity (GA4, GA7).


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA3, GA4, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10

Oral Presentation: Students are required to deliver a 15 minute presentation to the class on a specific topic. Enables students to demonstrate their ability to speak in clear, correct language appropriate to the discipline and context for human services practice


LO1, LO2, LO4

GA3, GA8, GA9, GA10

Written report: Students demonstrate their ability to translate information from theory to practice. Students apply information derived from the research literature in order to shape service approaches to practice.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA3, GA4, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Cottrell, S. (2013). The Study Skills Handbook, Great Britain: Palgrave McMillan.

Hart, C. (2005). Doing a Literature Review. Sage Publications: London.

Murphy, R. (2007). Essential Grammar in Use. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Seely, J. (2005). The Oxford Guide to Effective Writing and Speaking. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Turner, K, Krenus, B, Ireland, L & Pointon, L., (2011). Essential Academic Skills, Australia: Oxford University Press.

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