Course Title: Research current issues

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2014

Course Code: HUSO5208

Course Title: Research current issues

School: 360T Education

Campus: City Campus

Program: C4346 - Certificate IV in EAL (Access)

Course Contact : Baia Tsakouridou

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4488

Course Contact

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Melanie Reynolds 94.3.16 email:

Karen Gao 94.3.16 email:

Jennifer Chamberlain 94.3.23 email:

Nominal Hours: 55

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites


Course Description

This unit develops skills of learners to investigate current issues.  The unit also provides the learner with the skills and knowledge necessary to access and use computers for language learning. 


National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VU21482 Research current issues


1 Select a current issue of significance in Australia

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Scan informational texts and identify current issues of interest
1.2 Identify a current issue for further research
1.3 Note terminology and language used when the issue is discussed
1.4 Identify conventions of informational texts


2 Research a current issue of significance in Australia

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Source appropriate texts
2.2 Use reading strategies to identify main facts, some details and opinions related to the issue
2.3 Locate supporting information or examples
2.4 Analyse and evaluate different viewpoints and relevant evidence
2.5 Take notes of your opinion and reasons


3 Discuss the current issue

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Participate in a discussion using terminology appropriate to the current issue being discussed
3.2 Use a range of conversational strategies
3.3 Contribute your opinion, reasons or information
3.4 Clarify misunderstandings and ambiguous points where necessary.


4 Write an informational text


Performance Criteria:

4.1 Plan to write an opinion piece comprising several cohesively linked paragraphs on a current issue
4.2 Gather facts, opinions and evidence
4.3 Select and order information, using appropriate layout
4.4 Use appropriate terminology and language
4.5 Proofread and correct final draft, with guidance

Learning Outcomes

This unit is part of a full time integrated academic preparation program. It aims to provide you with the cultural understanding, advanced English language and study skills to participate in further study contexts.

The outcomes described in this unit relate to:

the Performance Criteria from the four Elements
the ISLPR (International Second Language Proficiency Ratings) descriptors for Reading and Writing. They contribute directly to the achievement of ISLPR Listening 3/3+ and Speaking 3/3+ 

 and the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF)

They contribute directly to the achievement of ACSF indicators of Listening and Speaking competence at Level 4 

Details of Learning Activities

This unit is part of Certificate IV in EAL (Further Study) which is an integrated program. This means that you will study this unit with several other units on the same day. Your program consists of Face to Face teaching and Directed Study. Your program will have a minimum of 8 hours Directed Study per week. You are not required to attend to complete Directed Study, however you are expected to complete all work given and will at times be required to show evidence that the work has been completed in this unit. This is a very important part of your program and we ask that you do 4-5 hours on your non attendance day and at least 1 hour each evening to cover all the units in the program. An outline of your Directed Study is published each week in the Weekly Program Delivery Plan.

This unit in part covers the all of the macro skills addressed in the certificate.

Examples of how you will practice and study the units:

You will:
• listen to a range of audio and film and documentary texts
• listen to oral presentations & conversations

• listen and take notes from guest speaker presentations

You will:
• work in pairs and in small groups
• give a formal oral presentation
• take part in formal and informal discussions

You are encouraged to read a wide range of texts relevant to the study context. You will:
• read, analyse and review complex texts for research purposes
• read current issues texts
• study items in the news every week and compare television and newspaper news

In a variety of writing activities, you will improve your sentence structure and learn how to use different writing styles. This will include formal letters, course applications, essays, and short reports. You will:
• do a research project
• write academic essays 
• take notes from a range of complex texts
• learn to locate and record references used
• reflect on issues and your own learning
• learn about research and report writing
• learn to plan, draft and proofread your work.
• construct formatted texts for study purposes
• become familiar with academic discourse
The revision of important grammatical structures will be incorporated into each activity.

Teaching Schedule


Program Dates: 10 - 14 February: Induction Week
17 February - 20 June, 2014
Public Holiday
Labour Day 10 March,2014
Good Friday 18 April, 2014
ANZAC Day 25 April, 2014

Mid Semester Break
18 April - 25 April, 2014

Teaching Schedule: This unit of competency is taught within an integrated program.This unit is clustered with  VPAU530 Complex Spoken Discourse. The assessment tasks have been put in bold to match the unit of competency. The assessment tasks will also cover other units within the course..

Week               VPAU560 Investigate current issues
1Explore RMIT: campus orientation exercise
Visit Info Corner & collect program brochures

Newspaper media literacy: What is an issue?
Position of newspapers: compare The Age, Herald Sun & The Australian. Current Issues Journal assessment task – model task using newspaper articles from The Age

Writing Skills

Paragraph writing skills: topic sentences & structure


Participate in Current Issues Journal assessment task in groups – students bring record sheet & explain a recent news story, including main ideas & key vocabulary.

Writing Skills

Preparation for essay assessment: topic sentences, transition signals, compare &contrast  essay structure, essay model

4Modelling and further practise for Current Issues Journal assessment task 
 Writing Skills
 Preparation for essay writing assessment:
• Paraphrasing
• ‘issues’ language practice

Participate in Current Issues Journal assessment task in groups – students bring record sheet & explain a recent news story, including main ideas & key vocabulary.

Writing Skills
 Preparation for essay writing assessment:
• Paraphrasing


Individually selected topic/article & group discussion of current issues

Writing Skills
 Preparation for essay writing assessment:
• Referencing


Participate in Current Issues Journal assessment task in groups – students bring record sheet & explain a recent news story, including main ideas & key vocabulary.

Academic Essay 


 Participate in Current Issues Journal assessment task in groups – students bring record sheet & explain a recent news story, including main ideas & key vocabulary.


9Participate in Current Issues Journal assessment task in groups – students bring record sheet & explain a recent news story, including main ideas & key vocabulary.

Assessment task due

10Mid semester interview
11Current issues- Media texts Audio visual

Current issues- Media texts Audio visual

Analyse & participate in casual conversations for a purpose (charity afternoon tea)


Current issues- Media texts Audio visual

Analyse & participate in casual conversations for a purpose (charity afternoon tea)


Current issues- Media texts Audio visual

Analyse & participate in casual conversations for a purpose (charity afternoon tea)


Analyse and participate in complex conversations Assessment (Media texts)

16Group meetings for Oral Presentation
17Self & peer evaluation of range of current issues addressed

**The teaching schedule maybe subject to change. Students will be advised via Blackboard and in class should changes occur.Your program is made up of:

• Orientation
• Learning activities
• Mid semester review
• Guest speakers
• Excursions
• Exit review

All students will be inducted. The induction includes:
• Program Guide & Student Diary
• Student Rights and Responsibilities
• Explore RMIT ( an orientation to the university and its services)
• Orientation to RMIT Libraries (library tour & on line catalogue introduction)
• RMIT Online Systems Information Session

Library Orientation & an RMIT Online Systems Information Session will be scheduled during the first two weeks of your program. Information about student services, rights and responsibilities is contained in your student diary.

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources


There are no set texts in this course, but it is recommended that you bring:

• English-English dictionary (we ask that you do not use a translation dictionary)
• Thesaurus
• Display folder with plastic sleeves
• Highlighter pens
• Notebook or loose leaf paper
• Headphones (use your own or they can be purchased from the Carlton Library very cheaply)
• USB (Memory stick)

Overview of Assessment

You must demonstrate an understanding of all elements of the competencies in order to be deemed competent. Assessment methods have been designed to measure achievement of each competency in a flexible manner over a range of assessment tasks.
 You will be assessed by:

  •  participation in group discussion,
  • essays, research reports
  • oral presentations.

Feedback will be provided throughout the semester, in both oral and written form, through individual and group feedback on practical exercises and by individual consultation.

If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or the Disability Liaison Unit if you would like to find out more.

An assessment policy summarises your responsibilities as an RMIT student as well as those of your teachers.
Your courses assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies and procedures see

Assessment Tasks

Summative assessments:

Assessment Task 1: Current Issues Journal Due week 2-9

  • This is a task which focuses on reading current issues in the Australian media of both Australian and international significance. It is a fortnightly task which involves reading, note taking, summarising, vocabulary and grammar development. The task also involves regular participation in small group and class discussions on the issues presented.

Assessment Task 4: Academic  Essay Due: Week 7

  • This task involves researching using cultural texts, note-taking, summarising, synthesising paraphrasing, planning and preparing references using the Harvard system. It requires writing an essay on Cultural stories of 300-500 word range.


Assessment Task 10: Analyse & Participate in Complex Conversations to analyse audio-visual texts Due: Week 15

  • Analysis of a complex formal converastion using an audio/visual media text

Formative assessments: ongoing observations, summaries and review of student work

Please note:
Assessments tasks will include other courses (Units of competency) from the program.

All Assessment tasks should be submitted by the deadline.

Application for Extension
How to apply

If you are seeking an extension of seven calendar days or less (from the original due date) you must apply at least one working day before the assessment deadline.

  • Complete an Application for extension of time for submission of assessable work form   (PDF 41kb 2p) and lodge it with the school that offers the course.
  • Lodgment arrangements can vary according to individual school procedures. It is your responsibility to check whether the form should be lodged with the EAL Co-ordinator Monday-Thursday office hours.
  • Except in exceptional circumstances the application must be lodged no later than one working day before the official due date.

Assessment Matrix

Each assessment cover sheet clearly outlines the competencies being addressed in the task in relation to performance criteria. The sum of assessment tasks will cover all units and their elements over a range of occasions. You will be given opportunities to demonstrate competency in a variety of ways throughout the program. You are encouraged to discuss any problems or concerns with your teacher or student co-ordinator. An assessment matrix will be available on myRMIT

Course Overview: Access Course Overview