• Class Number 5644
  • Term Code 2940
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • AsPr Carolyn Hendriks
    • AsPr Carolyn Hendriks
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 22/03/2019
  • Class End Date 24/05/2019
  • Census Date 05/04/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 05/04/2019
SELT Survey Results

One of the central challenges in public policy is understanding and responding to the needs and interests of diverse publics. This course explores how governments and citizens tackle this challenge. Taught in an interactive mode, students in this course consider questions, such as: How do policy makers engage citizens in the policy process? How do citizens themselves seek to voice their concerns and exert influence on the policy process? What happens when their interests are mis-represented, misunderstood or ignored? What does meaningful citizen participation look like in an era of 24/7 news cycles and social media? In focusing on 'public' aspects of public policy, this course engages students in various democratic issues that surface in the public policy process. Through applied examples and case studies, students reflect on how democratic ideals, such as inclusion, participation, representation and legitimacy may be realised in contemporary governance. Practical attempts at participatory policy making will be examined and critiqued, including deliberative forums, community meetings, petitions, online engagement and social media. 

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. demonstrate a working knowledge of key terms, concepts and ideas on citizen engagement and public talk in public policy
  2. critically engage with relevant practical and theoretical literature on the design and politics of citizen engagement and public talk in public policy
  3. engage and facilitate informed discussions on the practice, politics and challenges of engaging citizens in public policy
  4. critically analyse participatory forms of policy making drawing connections between theory and practice
  5. demonstrate the ability to think independently, develop informed perspectives and persuasively communicate in the field of public policy

Required Resources

Each day is accompanied by a set of compulsory readings which are available on Wattle. 

It is an expectation that you read these before each day. 

Remember the more you read and engage in the literature on public engagement, the more you will learn and get out of the course. 

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Day 1: 29 April Introduction and course overview On the first day of the course, we begin by exploring the question: who is 'the public' in public policy? We then consider whether public engagement in public policy is about conforming to state agendas and structures, or opposing them, or both. With this discussion in mind we map the various ways the public can participate play in public policy from the very disruptive to the high cooperative. Insisted publics: protests, advocacy and digital participation In the second half of day 1, we examine the form and function of insisted publics in public policy, that is citizens, groups and social movements that mobilize, organize and strategize to affect public policy outcomes. We consider a range of advocacy activities such as community organising and campaigning, as well as more disruptive activities such as whistle blowing, sit ins, consumer boycotts. We also discuss how Information and Communications Technologies ICTs are changing the way citizens connect and relate to each other, and the opportunities (and risks) ICTs present to social movements, advocacy groups and associations.
2 Day 2: 1 April Invited Publics: participatory engagement and e-government Many citizens engage in public policy through structured participatory processes where they are invited in to advise decision makers (who are typically, but not always, in government). On Day 2 we look at the normative and instrumental reasons for inviting the public into the policy process, and begin to discuss some of the participatory methods for doing so (we expand on this topic further in the Design Workshops on Days 4 and 5). We also examine the various ways in which governments are accommodating (or not) to Information and Communications Technologies ICTs by considering different examples of e-governance.
3 Day 3: 5 April Collaborative Publics and Doing Publics On Day 3 we look closely at two hybrid ways in which the public participate in public policy: 1) via collaborative arrangement with the state, ii) through direct grass-roots problem-solving initiatives such as civic enterprises. In first half of the day we explore notions of collaboration, co-production and co-design, and consider how they are practiced in contemporary public policy settings. Typically collaborative projects are instigated by ‘the state’ (e.g. a government department) who steers a collaborative or co-production process working closely with users, citizens, advocacy groups, experts and other policy actors. The second half of the day, we look at bottom up or community driven attempts to solve public policy problems, or 'doing publics'. These grass-roots initiatives typically emerge when citizens are frustrated with the policy status quo, and they see pathways for addressing a public problem. In contrast to invited publics, citizens in doing publics exercise considerable agency in public policy by determining by themselves, how they want to work with state and corporate actors. We will spend time in Day 3 searching for cases of ‘doing publics’ (for the Case Study assessment item).
4 Days 4 & 5: 3 & 17 May Participatory Design Workshops I and II On Days 4 and 5 we return to the topic of ‘invited publics’ and explore the principles and practical craft of participatory design. Throughout both days we will explore and critically analyse various norms, concepts and practical processes for designing contemporary public engagement. Through applied examples and case studies, we will reflect on how democratic ideals, such as inclusion, participation, representation and legitimacy are operationalised in contemporary participatory design. We will examine frameworks and resources for designing effective participatory processes. We also consider some of the common questions and challenges facing participatory designers such as: • Who is the target group and how they be engaged? • How will you avoid participatory fatigue and over-consultation? • Who is likely to be excluded by the process? • How will you ensure that public engagement is meaningful i.e. that decision makers listen? On Day 4 students will be allocated a Design Group for their participatory design assessment task.
5 Day 6: 24 May Design Pitches & the Future of Public Engagement On Day 6 groups will ‘pitch’ their participatory design concepts to the class. Collectively we will discuss each design and explore strategies to strengthen each design. We will also take time on this final day to reflect on the limits and dangers of public engagement for public policy. When there is too much talk and not enough action, then the effectiveness and legitimacy of public policy can suffer. We also consider various circumstances when it might not be appropriate to engage the public. Through class discussions we will consider future trends in public participation in public policy, such as the role and rise of participatory consultants, philanthropists and corporations. Finally we will discuss how all this comes together: what happens in practice when all the different publics we have examined in this course come together? Do they mutually support each other or clash?

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Comparative Paper 25% 25 % 08/04/2019 26/04/2019 1,2,3
Case Study 25% 25 % 01/05/2019 15/05/2019 1,2,4,5
Participatory Design Pitch (15% group mark) 15 % 24/05/2019 24/05/2019 1,2,3,5
Design Report (25%) 25 % 14/06/2019 04/07/2019 1,2,4,5
Active participation in class discussions (10%) 10 % 24/05/2019 04/07/2019 1,2,3

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 08/04/2019
Return of Assessment: 26/04/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Comparative Paper 25%

1500 words (not including refs)

This assessment task requires you to write a short essay-style paper comparing insisted publics (Day 1) and invited publics (Day 2).

In your paper compare these two ‘publics’ in terms of:

•  how the public participates in public policy

•  the benefits and risks each presents to public policy 

In your discussion make reference to at least two case studies drawn from relevant course literature (see required readings plus resources on Wattle). Emphasis is on clarity of organisation and conciseness of expression.

Assessment Criteria

•  Comprehension and focus on set task (Learning Outcome 5)

•  Understanding of key concepts and ideas (Learning Outcome 1)

•  Comparative analysis of different approaches to public engagement in policy (Learning Outcome 4)

•  Critical engagement in course literature (Learning Outcome 2)

•  Competent use of case studies connecting theory and practice (Learning Outcome 4)

•  Clarity of organisational structure and expression (Learning Outcome 5)


Assessment Task 2

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 01/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 15/05/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4,5

Case Study 25%

 1500 words (not including refs)

You are required to identify and discuss a case study of a ‘doing public’ – a topic we will explore in detail on Day 3. The case study should be based on your own research, rather than one that has been written up in a scholarly article. This assessment task is designed to increase your skills in researching, analysing and discussing how citizens engage in public policy. Specific tasks include:

  • Use the internet to research and find a case where citizens have taken a collective, grass-roots and above all participatory approach to governing a particular public problem, for example energy reform, crime, social issues, planning issues, pollution, care, immigration etc. Two particular features need to be present in your case study:
  • Citizens in the case should be self-governing. That is, they are taking proactive and pragmatic steps to resolve a policy problem (not just protesting against something, or providing recommendations to policy makers, but actually doing the governing).
  • Citizens should be taking a participatory approach to governing (for example, by using simple participatory procedures to engage other citizens)

Once you have found a suitable case study, discuss the following:

·      What ‘public problem’ are the citizens trying to solve?

·      How did the citizens self-organise?

·      How are the citizens self-governing?

·      What participatory methods are they using to engage other citizens (or the broader public)?

·      In your assessment, how inclusive and deliberative is the initiative?

·      How does the citizens’ initiative work with the state (cooperatively, selectively, at arms-length, or in another manner)?

·      How does this case inform ideas in the scholarly literature on ‘doing publics’?

Assessment criteria

•  Comprehension and focus on set task (Learning Outcome 5)

•  Understanding of relevant concepts and ideas (Learning Outcome 1)

•  Connection of case to relevant scholarly literature (Learning Outcome 2)

•  Original analysis (not just description) of the case (Learning outcome 4)

•  Clarity of organisational structure and expression (Learning Outcome 5)


Assessment Task 3

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 24/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 24/05/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,5

Participatory Design Pitch (15% group mark)

Students will be allocated into a small group and together you will develop a participatory design proposal for an unresolved policy problem. Each group will play the role of a community engagement consultancy firm who has been asked to submit a participatory design concept to a specified client for engaging the public on specified policy problem. Groups will be allocated in Day 4, and they will each consider a different policy problem, with different clients. There will be time set aside in Days 4 and 5 for students to work together on their team design. 

As a this task requires you to:

·      Consider the allocated scenario (each group will have a different scenario to consider)

·      Engage in the literature on participatory design in order to develop a design concept for your allocated scenario

·      Prepare a 15min presentation (on Day 6) in which you ‘pitch’ your design to the class, followed by a 15 min questions and answer session.

The pitch needs to provide an overview of the design process and product and engage the class in discussion on the design. During your 15 min presentation, your group should outline the following aspects of your participatory design concept:

·      What’s the policy problem?

·      Make clear any assumptions that your group made about your scenario.

·      Who are the affected publics?

·      How will different affected publics be recruited and engaged?

·      What is the timeline for the design?

·      What are the expected benefits and possible risks?

 Assessment criteria

·     Understanding and focus on the set task (Learning Outcome 5)

·      Demonstration of participatory design principles informed by relevant literature (Learning Outcomes 1 and 2)

·      Evidence of inclusive and effective group work (Learning outcome 3)

·      Engaging the class in a discussion on the design (Learning outcome 3)

·      Effective and persuasive communication of participatory ideas and design (Learning outcome 5)


Assessment Task 4

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 14/06/2019
Return of Assessment: 04/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4,5

Design Report (25%)

1500 words (not including refs)

Following the design pitches, each student will write a paper reflecting on how they personally experienced the group design process, and how they would revise the original design proposal based on class feedback and further reading. The paper should be written in first person, and consider the following questions:

·      Reflecting on the process of the Participatory Design, what aspect of the design process worked well and what could have been improved?

·      How would you personally revise your group’s Design Concept based on class discussions, ideas from other presentations and subsequent readings?

·      What has been the key learning for you from this course about effective participatory design in public policy?

 Assessment criteria

•  Focus on the set task (Learning Outcome 5)

•  Understanding of relevant concepts and ideas (Learning Outcome 1)

•  Revision of original design concept drawing on insights from class discussion and relevant practical and scholarly literature (Learning Outcomes 2 and 4)

•  Critical reflection on the process and produce of participatory design (Learning outcome 4)

•  Clarity of organisational structure and expression (Learning Outcome 5)

Assessment Task 5

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 24/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 04/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Active participation in class discussions (10%)

Participation is a central theme of this course, and as such students will gain skills in practicing active, inclusive and constructive engagement. This assessment item (which relates to learning outcomes 1, 2 and 3) requires that you actively contribute to class discussions by:

•  offering informed and constructive inputs

•  engaging in discussion questions

•  encouraging inclusive discussion with fellow students

Successful course participation requires more than ‘turning up’. Throughout the course you will be equipped with resources on critical thinking in group deliberation, and skills for effective group discussion.

Note: Students will not be penalised if they provide legitimate medical or personal reasons why they are unable to attend class. If you are unable to attend class please email course convenor before class.


Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information. In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service — including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy. If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
AsPr Carolyn Hendriks
6125 7557

Research Interests

citizen engagement, public participation, democratic aspects of public policy including forms of collective action, political representation, inclusion and legitimacy, deliberative democracy?

AsPr Carolyn Hendriks

AsPr Carolyn Hendriks
6125 7557

Research Interests

AsPr Carolyn Hendriks

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions