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59721 Academic English: Communication Fundamentals

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2019 is available in the Archives.

UTS: International Studies: International Studies and Languages
Credit points: 8 cp
Result type: Grade, no marks

Note

Students who are in their first session at UTS and would like to develop their academic English skills should see either 59355 Developing Academic Writing and Speaking Skills (6cp) or 59356 Developing Academic Writing and Speaking Skills (8cp).

Description

This subject provides an introduction to the nature of effective spoken and written communication in academic contexts. It examines what makes this form of communication different from communication in other contexts and makes its sometimes hidden rules explicit to students. Students study a range of spoken and written academic texts, unpack the features of the texts that make the communication effective, practise using these features, and receive peer and teacher feedback on their academic communicative competence. Students also begin to explore the distinguishing features of communication within their own discipline.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

a. Identify and reflect on the distinguishing features of communication in academic contexts.
b. Analyse writers’ choices in a variety of written academic texts.
c. Practise different features of effective academic writing at a text and sentence level.
d. Analyse speakers’ choice in spoken communication in a variety of academic contexts.
e. Reflect on interactive and monologic speaking in academic contexts.
f. Explore discipline-specific features of written and spoken academic communication.

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

As this is a stand-alone subject and not part of a specific degree program, the subject engages with the following Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Graduate Attributes:

1. Professional Readiness

2. Critical and Creative Inquiry

3. International and Intercultural Engagement

5. Active Citizenship

6. Effective Communication

Teaching and learning strategies

The subject features the following teaching and learning strategies:

  1. Flipped learning, through use of UTS Online to provide pre-class readings and preview tasks, and post-lesson readings, reflection tasks and an online forum to consolidate and extend learning.
  2. Active learning experiences, through scaffolded group work activities in which students ‘unpack’ the communicative choices in selected spoken and written texts and discuss the rationale for these choices.
  3. Practice-based learning, through the analysis of, and reflection on, students’ own experiences of communication in academic contexts.
  4. Research-inspired learning, through reading of, and teacher input on, the literature about academic discourse.
  5. Assessment for learning, through teacher-class dialogue about the learning goals of each assessment task and the assessment criteria that will apply, the use of exemplars, peer dialogue before submission about developing ideas on the content and organisation of each assessment task, teacher scaffolding of the incorporation of research-based principles into the content, and detailed teacher feedback on task achievement.

Content (topics)

This subject aims to develop students’ skills in communicating effectively in academic contexts. It first explores the distinguishing features of academic culture(s) and common expectations of written and spoken communication in different academic contexts. It then focuses on the contexts and features of academic communication in more detail, through the study of communicative choices in range of written and spoken academic texts. Students have monitored in-class practice of selected features of effective academic communication, and begin to explore the distinguishing features of communication in their own discipline.

Assessment

Assessment task 1: Reflection on critical incidents of academic communication

Objective(s):

a, b, c, d and e

Weight: 20%
Length:

750 words

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Relevance of critical incidents to academic communication 20 a
Insightfulness of interpretation 30 b, d, e
Depth of reflection 30 b, d, e
Care, clarity and accuracy of written communication 20 c
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 2: Reflection on your own academic writing

Objective(s):

a, b, c and f

Weight: 40%
Length:

1500 words

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Clarity of description of own academic writing processes 20 a
Thoroughness of evaluation of own academic writing processes 20 a, b
Suitability of suggestions for improvement of own academic writing 20 c
Insightfulness of comment on discipline-specific features of academic writing 20 f
Care, clarity and accuracy of written communication 20 c
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 3: Reflection on speaking in academic contexts

Objective(s):

a, b, c, d, e and f

Weight: 40%
Length:

1250 words

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Option 1: Analysis of in-class interaction
Clarity of description of the oral communication 20 a, e
Depth of analysis of the oral communication 20 d
Suitability of suggestions for improved oral communication 20 e
Insightfulness of comment on discipline-specific features of oral communication 20 f
Care, clarity and accuracy of written communication 20 c
Option 2: Seminar proposal
Clarity of the description of the seminar 20 a, e
Depth of analysis of academic communication principles 20 a, b
Depth of understanding of how to support the understanding of spoken language 20 d
Suitability of the group discussion task 20 e
Care, clarity and accuracy of written communication 20 c
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Required texts

There are no set textbooks for this subject. Weekly readings will be posted on UTS Online.