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CMS1009 Communication in Academic and Professional Contexts

Semester 1, 2012 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Arts
School or Department : School of Humanities and Communication
Version produced : 30 December 2013

Contents on this page


Examiner: Ann-Maree Hammond
Moderator: Eleanor Kiernan

Other requisites

Students who have completed or are enrolled in CMS1009 Communication in Academic and Professional Contexts cannot enrol in CMS1000 Communication and Scholarship.

Students will require access to e-mail and have internet access to UConnect for this course.


This course offers instruction in fundamental aspects of academic and professional communication. First-year students have a need to comprehend the complex processes involved in research and writing in an academic context. Students should be able to apply theoretical understandings of audience analysis, interpersonal communication, and research methodologies to the completion of written and oral assignments. At the same time, these skills can be applied and transferred to professional contexts and will allow the communication of ideas to different audiences in different fields.


This course requires students to demonstrate their understanding of academic protocols in researching and delivering written and oral assignment tasks. Critical thinking will be encouraged through assignments which require evaluation of sources and scrutiny of authorial credibility and textual quality. Academic writing by professionals in the field of communication studies will be analysed. Assessment items will test the processes involved in academic communication, including the application of referencing systems, source critiques and the use of appropriate style and tone for different audiences and tasks. The course will require the development of thesis statements, the use of evidence and the construction of arguments in both written and oral assessment items. It develops skills in oral communication through the preparation and delivery of a 'belief and doubt' presentation, which will encourage students to think both critically and empathetically about different points of view. Written communication skills will come from the preparation of both a preliminary and a large-scale essay and a report.


On completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate academic and professional literacy skills by engaging in research using both print and electronic sources;
  2. critically evaluate and annotate sources of evidence;
  3. demonstrate academic and professional literacy skills by applying and synthesising researched sources for different assessment tasks, using the appropriate referencing format;
  4. develop a thesis statement based on credible evidence;
  5. demonstrate oral communication skills by delivering a 'belief and doubt' oral presentation;
  6. use audience analysis to shape the content and style of oral presentations and written tasks;
  7. demonstrate competence in written expression, including grammar, spelling and punctuation;
  8. demonstrate written communication skills by researching, writing and submitting a persuasive essay and report.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Written Communication I: Developing thesis statements, with introduction to basic essay structure. 10.00
2. Information Literacy I: Locating research sources and critically evaluating a range of evidence and assessing authorial authority, credibility and source quality. 10.00
3. Written Communication II: Introduction to referencing systems (Harvard AGPS or APA styles). 10.00
4. Information Literacy II: Summarizing and annotating research sources. 10.00
5. Oral Communication I: Introduction to delivery methods and incorporation of PowerPoint into presentations. 10.00
6. Oral Communication II: Importance of nonverbal communication, particularly kinesics and paralinguistics, to successful delivery of oral presentations. 10.00
7. Audience Analysis I: Analysing audience demographics and psychographics for written and spoken assessment tasks. 10.00
8. Written Communication III: Critical evaluation of own work at drafting stage. Consolidating skills in essay structure. 10.00
9. Written Communication IV: Structure and content of business report. 10.00
10. Audience Analysis II: Importance of perception in cultural contexts to help build empathy in different professional situations and to challenge students to use 'belief and doubt' principles. 10.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Mohan, T, McGregor, H, Saunders, S & Archee, R 2008, Communicating as professionals, 2nd edn, Cengage Learning, South Melbourne.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • DeVito, J 2005, Messages: building interpersonal communication skills, 6th edn, Pearson/Allyn and Bacon, Boston, MA.
  • Eunson, B 2008, Communicating in the 21st century, 2nd edn, John Wiley & Sons Aust Ltd, Milton, Qld.
  • Tubbs, S & Moss, S 2009, Human communication, 12th edn, McGraw-Hill Higher Education, New York.
  • Tyler, S, Kossen, C & Ryan, C 2005, Communication: a foundation course, 2nd edn, Pearson Education, French's Forest, NSW.
  • Waller, BN 2005, Critical thinking: consider the verdict, 5th edn, Pearson/Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Directed Study 61.00
Private Study and Assignments 104.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ESSAY (1000 WORDS) 100 35 27 Apr 2012
ORAL PRESENTATION 100 20 01 Jun 2012
REPORT (1250-1500 WORDS) 100 35 08 Jun 2012

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students? responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration. Students must attend and complete the requirements of the Workplace Health and Safety training program for this course where required.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without (prior) approval of the examiner then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    As there are no examinations in this course, there will be no deferred or supplementary examinations.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner.

  2. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be despatched to USQ within 24 hours if required by the Examiner.

  3. In accordance with University Policy, the Examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances.

  4. If electronic submission of assessments is specified for the course, students will be notified of this in the course Introductory Book and on the USQ Study Desk. All required electronic submission must be made through the Assignment Drop Box located on the USQ Study Desk for the course, unless directed otherwise by the examiner of the course. The due date for an electronically submitted assessment is the date by which a student must electronically submit the assignment. The assignment files must be submitted by 11.55pm on the due date using USQ time (as displayed on the clock on the course home page; that is, Australian Eastern Standard Time).

  5. If the method of assessment submission is by written, typed or printed paper-based media students should (i) submit to the Faculty Office for students enrolled in the course in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail to the USQ for students enrolled in the course in the external mode. The due date for the assessment is the date by which a student must (i) submit the assessment for students enrolled in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail the assessment for students enrolled in the external mode.

  6. The Faculty will NOT normally accept submission of assessments by facsimile or email.

  7. Students who do not have regular access to postal services for the submission of paper-based assessments, or regular access to Internet services for electronic submission, or are otherwise disadvantaged by these regulations may be given special consideration. They should contact the examiner of the course to negotiate such special arrangements prior to the submission date.

  8. Students who have undertaken all of the required assessments in a course but who have failed to meet some of the specified objectives of a course within the normally prescribed time may be awarded one of the temporary grades: IM (Incomplete - Make up), IS (Incomplete - Supplementary Examination) or ISM (Incomplete -Supplementary Examination and Make up). A temporary grade will only be awarded when, in the opinion of the examiner, a student will be able to achieve the remaining objectives of the course after a period of non directed personal study.

  9. Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded IDS (Incomplete - Deferred Examination; IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  10. Students may be assigned an "Incomplete" grade to signify that all the requirements of the course have not yet been met. Students who are graded "I" can pass the course by successfully completing such additional work as prescribed by the examiner by a given date. Students who have been awarded an IM, ISM, IDM or IDB grade must access information regarding further work to be completed, in the Student Centre of U Connect. The Grades Page in the Student Centre contains information about further work to be completed. Students who have not completed the additional work to the satisfaction of the examiner by the given date will receive the appropriate Failing grade.

Other requirements

  1. Students can expect that questions in assessment items in this course may draw upon knowledge and skills that they can reasonably be expected to have acquired before enrolling in the course. This includes knowledge contained in pre-requisite courses and appropriate communication, information literacy, analytical, critical thinking, problem solving or numeracy skills. Students who do not possess such knowledge and skills should not expect to achieve the same grades as those students who do possess them.