Assessing the role of digital literacy in English for Academic Purposes university pathway programs


  • Thomas Bernard Roche Southern Cross University


English for Academic Purposes, digital literacy, pathway programs, academic integrity, English as Additional Language students, international students


In the higher education sector, English for Academic Purposes (EAP) programs play an important role preparing an increasing number of international English as Additional Language (EAL) students for university degree programs where English is the medium of instruction. These pathway programs differ in their conceptualisation and operationalisation of EAP, and as a result of which, in their learning outcomes for students. This research aims to develop a better understanding of undergraduate EAL students’ (N = 125) academic experience at an Australian university through contrasting the experience of students who have gained admission via a university EAP pathway program with an explicit focus on digital literacy practices, with students who entered via an alternate pathway without explicit digital literacy tuition. I explore how embedding digital literacy practices in an EAP program impacts on students’ performance in and perception of difficulties in subsequent first-year undergraduate study. The study finds that students who enter via the university’s EAP pathway with an explicit digital literacy focus report a better understanding of academic integrity practices and institutional policy, and less difficulty accessing course content. As a result of which, I argue for a reconceptualisation of EAP to include an explicit digital literacy component.

Author Biography

Thomas Bernard Roche, Southern Cross University

Thomas Roche is the Director of English Language Programs at Southern Cross University (SCU) College, Australia; and, an Associate Professor at Sohar University, Sultanate of Oman. Thomas' research interests include additional language (L2) learning and teaching: L2 testing, English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and higher education enabling program curriculum design.




How to Cite

Roche, T. B. (2017). Assessing the role of digital literacy in English for Academic Purposes university pathway programs. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 11(1), A71-A87. Retrieved from



Research Articles