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iCAS Module 1 - Orientation: Welcome

Acknowledgement of Country


Welcome to Education, James Cook University.

Being a university student is often an important personal and academic milestone. We congratulate you on making this decision.

We want you to be successful in your study, so we have designed iCAS - an online induction program in core academic skills to prepare you for the demands of studying in university. 


University study is a new context for many of you, and as you have succeeded in other contexts by learning, exploring and perhaps some initial struggle, you too can ‘crack’ the university code. It just might not happen all in the first week!

One major difference between studying in university and school is the extent of independent learning involved.  The absence of close supervision of your daily study can be quite liberating, but equally some of you may find the personal responsibility required to be a daunting new experience.  

To support you in cracking the code, a team of Education graduates and academic staff designed iCAS to develop your capacity to learn independently. iCAS is designed to build your knowledge and understanding of the ways to:

  • navigate university expectations and policies
  • conduct yourself with academic integrity
  • participate productively in lectures and tutorials
  • take notes
  • read academic texts
  • engage in academic writing
  • present information in formal academic contexts
  • respond to the demands and pressures of examination.   

While iCAS is situated in ED1401, the purpose of iCAS is to build an enabling foundation of these core academic skills to support your study of the Education degree. These skills will be further developed as you progress through your university study. 

Overview of iCAS

There are five modules in iCAS: Orientation, Critical Reading, Information Literacy, Critical Writing and Presentation and Examination.  We draw on the vibrant wonder of JCU's backyard, the Great Barrier Reef to introduce you to these core academic skills.  

Dive in to the Orientation module! Kimberley Cawood, a recent Education graduate, shares her insights and reflections of the workings of James Cook University and Education gathered over 4 successful years with you.
Stay afloat with the weekly readings - Your reading skills, particularly, in the reading of academic texts will be developed in Module 2 - Critical Reading.
Searching for treasure on the world wide web quickly is most useful in assignment preparation. Module 3 – Information Literacy will equip you with skills to go beyond Google.
Navigating the writing demands of one assessment task to another does get easier with reflective experience. In Module 4, you will develop your writing skills for academic purpose.
Presentations and examinations may feel like swimming with sharks for some of you. Emma Casey, a recent Education graduate, offers you strategies and insights from her successful experience in these stressful assessment environments in Module 5.


Together these 5 modules are designed to support your transition to university study. By ‘unlocking’ some of the ‘secrets’ that successful university students seem to know and have, we hope iCAS will help more Education students to be successful in their first year in JCU.

What do you have to do?

scuba diver

iCAS is designed specifically for independent study, that means, you have to go through the materials by yourself and with your peers.

Begin with Module 1 and progress systematically to Module 5. 

In each module, study the course materials, page by page (use the blue navigation arrows), do the activities, take your time to explore the suggested websites to find out more. As you read the materials, make notes to enhance your learning, as well as to prepare for the quiz for Modules 1, 2 & 3. 

The information in each module is supported by the text, Essential Academic Skills.  You are encouraged to refer to the appropriate chapters for further information as you go through each module.  You have to complete the quiz in Modules 1, 2 and 3 only.  The quiz questions are based only on information in iCAS and not the text, Essential Academic Skills.

Download Diigo to help you make annotations online.  Some of you may find this new way of learning to be awkward and cumbersome, but with more practice, you may form a different opinion of it. See it as learning to scuba dive; you might feel anxious and uncomfortable carrying the equipment, but persevere, and you will soon enjoy the sights and sensation of the magical Great Barrier Reef. So, please give yourself the opportunity to develop new skills of engaging the internet for learning.  

Prepare a study plan for iCAS to ensure that you complete all modules on time and successfully.

iCAS Team

Lai Kuan Lim, Helen Hooper & Lyn Mackay

Module 1: Kimberley Cawood
Module 2: Lyn Mackay & Trina Jackson
Module 3: Helen Hooper
Module 4: Lyn Mackay & Trina Jackson
Module 5: Emma Casey

Art Designer
Deborah Winkel

Web Manager
Marcus Hooper



Home Click on this Lighthouse button to return to the gateway
Activity: Complete the activity to enhance your learning. You do not have to submit these activities.
Thinking question Thinking Question: Take a few minutes to consider the question.
Handy tip: Decide for yourself if it's helpful.
Take-home-message: Key message for you to consider.
When you see the Quiz button, it means you have completed the materials for the module. If you feel confident of your understanding of the module, go back to LearnJCU > Assessment to complete the quiz. Then, move on to the next module.

Further reference text

For further information, you may wish to refer to the text, Essential Academics Skills.

Suggested Timeline

Module Suggested Timeline
1. Orientation 27 February
2. Critical Reading 6 March
3. Information Literacy 13 March
4. Critical Writing 20 March
5. Presentations 3 April



Funding support: Learning Teaching and Student Engagement

Music for opening video: Not the hero by Doc Moores

Goodwill and good input from family, colleagues and friends.

iCAS Support

iCAS works best with recent versions of Firefox.  If using Internet Explorer please ensure it is v7 or later. If you need help with iCAS, contact: laikuan.lim@jcu.edu.au


We acknowledge the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first inhabitants of the nation and acknowledge Traditional Owners of the lands where our staff and students, live, learn and work.Acknowledgement of Country