• Class Number 7711
  • Term Code 2960
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Steven Cork
    • Dr Rebecca Colvin
    • Dr Steven Cork
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 22/07/2019
  • Class End Date 25/10/2019
  • Census Date 31/08/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 29/07/2019
SELT Survey Results

“Environmental Communication is the planned and strategic use of communication processes to support effective policy-making and project implementation geared towards environmental sustainability.” (OECD) 


Environmental policy focuses on issues arising from human impact on the natural environment. This course will examine how public policy is developed and the role played by different forms of communication in the policy processes, with a particular focus on contentious environmental issues. Most of the examples used will have a significant environmental component but the themes of the course are also broadly relevant to the development of other types of policy in politically pluralist societies such as Australia and the United States. The course will use public policy and communications activities in those countries as the starting point but students from elsewhere will be encouraged to make comparisons with their home countries. The nature of public opinion, and how it is shaped, will be examined along with a look at the impact of public opinion in the policy process. We will also look rise of environmental consciousness and the concept of sustainability, now a cornerstone of much public policy.  Media such as newspapers, televisions, radio and the web in its various forms, including social media, will be examined along with other forms of communications such as citizen activism, public participation, political campaigning, advertising and public relations.

Learning Outcomes

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

By the end of the course students will have learnt to critically assess:

  • the processes through which environmental policy is developed, and related communications activities are conducted,
  • the competing discourses relating to environmental policy,
  • methods used by interests groups to influence environmental policy debates,
  • government efforts to promote public participation and mobilise support for their policies, and
  • ways that can be used by citizens to participate in public debates about environmental policy.

Textbook: Pezzullo, PC & Cox, R 2018, Environmental Communication and the Public Sphere, Sage, Los Angeles.

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 Tutorial and lecture - Week #1: Introduction: What is policy and how is it made? How is ‘environmental communication’ understood across society? What do you, the participants in this course, want to get from it? Note: Each week's 3-hour session will be structured as follows - a tutorial based on the previous week's lecture (except for Week 1, of course) and then a lecture, which will be the basis of the following week's tutorial. Policy is the process by which governments manage issues of importance to people. There are various formulations of the ‘policy cycle’, but most include components of: identifying the issues; understanding how they come about; considering the tools available for addressing the issues; considering the viewpoints of stakeholders; exploring implications of alternative solutions; deciding and planning; implementing; and evaluating. In this course we will explore environmental policy –policy relating to the biophysical environment and its interactions with human society –and associated communication activities in a structure similar to that of the policy cycle. In this first week we will preview the content of the course, consider what policy is and discuss various perspectives on what ‘environmental communication’ is. We will consider the roles of governments and other parts of society in developing and implementing policy and how effective participation of society in these processes depends on good communication in more than one direction. Learning outcomes: Students will have an understanding of the ways in which environmental policy and communication are understood across society and will have had a chance to clarify their own views on these core concepts Note: The course textbook is Pezzullo, PC & Cox, R 2018, Environmental Communication and the Public Sphere, Sage, Los Angeles. There are at least two previous editions available via secondhand book outlets, and these can be used even though they do not include all topics covered in the course. Readings: Pezzullo & Cox (textbook) Introduction and Chapter 1 (= Introduction and Chapter 1 in the 2012 and 2015 editions) Bridgman, P & Davis, G 2003, 'What use is a policy cycle? Plenty, if the aim is clear', Australian Journal of Public Administration, vol. 62, pp. 98-102. Dovers, S 2013, 'The Australian environmental policy agenda', Australian Journal of Public Administration, vol. 72, pp. 114-128. (Suggestion: This is a long paper and most of it will be relevant in later weeks. I suggest that you focus this week on the Abstract, pages 115-116, and the Conclusions, and consider the general discussion rather than specific details) Clark, TW, Mazur, N, Begg, RJ & Cork, SJ 2000, 'Interdisciplinary guidelines for developing effective koala conservation policy', Conservation Biology, vol. 14, pp. 691-701. (Suggestion: This paper contains a case study of applying policy sciences to conservation of koalas. This should be of interest to you as this course progresses, but the most important part of the paper for this week's lecture is the section called Overview of Interdisciplinary Guidelines on pages 692-693) [Note: Other, or alternative, readings might be recommended as the course proceeds and world events present themselves as examples]
2 Tutorial and lecture - Week #2: The framing of environmental issues Humans communicate through stories. We make sense of the world through simplified narratives that help us deal with complexity and uncertainty. The nature of these narratives is influenced by our cultural and educational backgrounds and the people we have interacted with in our lives. Often we are unaware of these influences, leading to interpretations of what we see that take only some of the evidence into account. Developing good environmental policy requires a capacity to dig down to the real underlying issues that need to be addressed and to engage productively with complexity and uncertainty. Sometimes the issues will be as much social and they are biophysical, so awareness of the ‘mental filters’ that exist in society is an essential part of both the policy development process and communication with those who need to understand and engage with the process. In this session, we will consider the various ways in which people make sense of the relationship between themselves and the environment and what challenges and opportunities these different conceptions raise for policy and communication. Recently, cognitive and neuropsychological scientists have made advances in understanding how language influences how issues are defined (‘framed’) in public discourse. This will be a recurring theme in later sessions as well. Learning outcomes: Students will further refine their understanding of the role of narratives or discourses in shaping the development of public policy and the communication of environmental issues. Readings: Pezzullo & Cox 2018 (textbook - see details under Week 1), Chapters 3 and 4 (= Chapter 3 in the 2012 edition and Chapters 3 and 4 in the 2015 edition) Raupach, MR 2012, 'The evolutionary nature of narratives about expansion and sustenance', in MR Raupach, AJ McMichael, JJ Finnigan, L Manderson & BH Walker (eds), Negotiating our future: Living scenarios for Australia to 205, Volume 2: Background Papers, Australian Academy of Science, Canberra, pp. 201-213. (Suggestion: Skim this paper to get a sense of how people use different narratives to makes sense of their relationship with the environment) Lakoff, G 2010, 'Why it matters how we frame the environment', Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture, vol. 4, pp. 70-81. Jones, N, Ross, H, Lynam, T, Perez, P & Leitch, A 2011, 'Mental models: An interdisciplinary synthesis of theory and methods', Ecology and Society, vol. 16, p. 46 [online], (Suggestion: Focus on the sections Abstract, Introduction and What is a Mental Model?) [Note: Other, or alternative, readings might be recommended as the course proceeds and world events present themselves as examples]
3 Tutorial and lecture - Week #3: The rise of environmental consciousness Around the world, attitudes towards the environment have gone through many changes. before the 1800s the environment was seen as a dark and forbidding place. Since then it has been seen as something to preserve, then conserve, as then as a major factor supporting human health and wellbeing. We will trace the evolution of attitudes, and their framing in words and images, and consider what this evolution has meant for environmental policy. We will look especially at how environmental concerns became part of a social movement in many countries in the 1970s and later. From the characterisation of environmental activists as ‘tree huggers’ to the mass media’s framing of the multiple discourses of environmental politics, we look here at how environmental issues, and their advocates, are depicted. Learning outcomes: Students will become familiar with the historical basis for the rise of environmental awareness in Australia and compare this with perspectives from other countries. They will become aware of how environmental messages are structured and played out in the media. Readings: Pezzullo & Cox 2018 (textbook - see details under Week 1), Chapters 2 and 3 (= Chapters 2 and 3 in the 2012 and 2015 editions). Pages 53-54 of: Cork, S 1997, 'The contribution of science to resolving ecological issues in temperate Australian forests', in C Copeland & D Lewis (eds) Saving our natural heritage? The role of science in managing Australia's ecosystems, Halstead Press, Rushcutter's Bay, NSW, pp. 52-93. Chapter 8 (and other chapters if interested) of: Reeve, I, Frost, L, Musgrave, W & Stayner, R 2002, Agriculture and natural resource management in the Murray-Darling Basin: A policy history and analysis. Report to the Murray-Darling Basin Commission, Institute for Rural Futures, University of New England, Armidale, viewed May 28 2014, . [Note: Other, or alternative, readings might be recommended as the course proceeds and world events present themselves as examples]
4 Tutorial and lecture - Week #4: Attempts by ecologists and economists to frame environmental issues in social contexts Over the past several decades, concern has grown about the challenge of representing the impacts of humans on the environment and the benefits that humans derive from the environment in ways that can be considered in decision-making alongside factors that are readily converted into monetary value, jobs or other measures of social impact. In this session we will consider a range of ways that ecologists and economists have developed to address this challenge, including total economic value, ecosystem services, ecological footprint and industrial metabolism. Learning outcomes: Students will understand how and why a range of ways of assessing human environmental impact and benefits have been devised and their strengths and weaknesses as contributors to environmental policy and communication. Readings: Pezzullo & Cox 2018 (textbook - see details under Week 1), Chapters 2, 3 and 6 (= Chapters 2, 3 and 11 in the 2012 edition and Chapters 2, 3 and 6 in the 2015 edition) Costanza, R, Kubiszewski, I, Giovannini, E, Lovins, H, McGlade, J, Pickett, KE, Ragnarsdà ³ttir, KV, Roberts, D, De Vogli, R & Wilkinson, R 2014, 'Time to leave GDP behind', Nature, vol. 505, pp. 283-285. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts 2010, Ecosystem services: Key concepts and applications. Occasional Paper No 1. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Canberra. Raudsepp-Hearne, C, Peterson, GD, Tengö, M, Bennett, EM, Holland, T, Benessaiah, K, MacDonald, GK, & Pfeifer, L 2010, 'Untangling the environmentalist's paradox: Why is human well-being increasing as ecosystem services degrade?', BioScience, vol. 60, pp. 576-589 Reid, WV, Mooney, HA, Capistrano, D, Carpenter, SR, Chopra, K, Cropper, A, Dasgupta, P, Hassan, R, Leemans, R, May, RM, Pingali, P, Samper, C, Scholes, R, Watson, RT, Zakri, AH & Shidong, Z 2006, 'Nature: the many benefits of ecosystem services', Nature, vol. 443, p. 749. Rapport, DJ 2000, 'Ecological footprints and ecosystem health: Complementary approaches to a sustainable future', Ecological Economics, vol. 32, pp. 367-370. Folke, C, Carpenter, S, Elmqvist, T, Gunderson, L, Holling, CS & Walker, B 2002, 'Resilience and sustainable development: Building adaptive capacity in a world of transformations', AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment, vol. 31, pp. 437-440. Rockstrom, J, Steffen, W, Noone, K, Persson, Ã…, Chapin III, FS, Lambin, E, Lenton, TM, Scheffer, M, Folke, C, Schellnhuber, H, Nykvist, B, Wit, CAD, Hughes, T, van der Leeuw, S, Rodhe, H, Sorlin, S, Snyder, PK, Costanza, R, Svedin, U, Falkenmark, M, Karlberg, L, Corell, RW, Fabry, VJ, Hansen, J, Walker, B, Liverman, D, Richardson, K, Crutzen, P & Foley, J 2009, 'A safe operating space for humanity', Nature. vol. 461, pp. 472-475. [Note: Other, or alternative, readings might be recommended as the course proceeds and world events present themselves as examples]
5 Tutorial and lecture - Week #5: Engaging publics The necessity of public participation in achieving successful environmental policy outcomes has been recognised for some years at both the international and the national level. At the international level, the documentation generated by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio in 1992 (UNCED or the ‘Earth Summit’) emphasised the need for public involvement in the design and implementation of all sorts of environmental policy. In Australia, as in many other countries, there has been a trend towards mandating forms of public participation in environmental decision making. We look here at the idea that there are multiple publics that need to be engaged in different ways. We consider the different reasons for governments engaging with publics, what expectations different engagements create, and the importance of being clear about the purpose of engagement at the outset. We look also at the inherent tensions in encouraging public participation in what are often highly technical areas where even the basic science is contested. Learning outcomes: Students will become familiar with the issue of public participation in decision making and how it is managed and the tensions between ‘expert’ opinion and public opinion. Readings: Pezzullo & Cox 2018 (textbook - see details under Week 1), Chapters 12, 13 and 14 (= Chapters 4 and 5 in the 2012 edition and Chapter12, 13 and 14 in the 2015 edition). International Association for Public Participation 2013, Foundations of Public Participation, International Association for Public Participation, viewed 28 May 2014, . [If you are interested in reading more see the IAPP web page at http://www.iap2.org.au/about-us/about-us and read their longer report, which will be made available in Wattle] [Note: Other, or alternative, readings might be recommended as the course proceeds and world events present themselves as examples]
6 Tutorial and lecture - Week #6: Communicating risk, and disaster management A particular challenge for development and communication of environmental policy is understanding risk and explaining it to publics. Humans are often poor judges of risk and their perceptions can be influenced by many social and environmental factors. If publics do not recognise risks, or underestimate them, politicians and policy makers can feel they have little support for necessary policies. Some psychologists argue that the difficulty governments are experiencing in developing effective action to address climate change is because the inate response mechanisms that humans have evolved to deal with clear and present danger are not triggered and hence we underestimate the risks of inaction and the benefits of action. Similarly, policies and their communication in times of disaster must address both logical and illogical responses of publics. Learning outcomes: Students will gain an understanding of how humans perceive risk, the challenges this presents for environmental policy and communication, and the approaches that have been employed to address these challenges. Readings: Pezzullo & Cox 2018 (textbook - see details under Week 1), Chapter 7 (= Chapter 12 in the 2012 edition and Chapter 7 in the 2015 edition). Nicholls, S & Glenny, L 2005, 'Communicating for recovery: A case study in communication between the Australian Capital Territory government and the ACT community after the ACT bushfires, January 2003', in Public relations issues and crisis management, C Galloway & K Kwansah-Aidoo (eds), Thomson Social Science Press, South Melbourne, pp. 41€“58. [Note: Other, or alternative, readings might be recommended as the course proceeds and world events present themselves as examples]
7 Tutorial and lecture - Week #7: Case study: Environmental policy and communication challenges in the public sector Developing policy to deal with major environmental change that result from complex interactions among biophysical and social systems, like climate change, is challenging not only because of the magnitude of the responses required but also because it is difficult for politicians, policy makers and publics to understand such complex processes or to feel urgency to address change that appears to be happening slowly and is contested by interest groups with sophisticated understanding about how to influence public opinion. It is also argued by some that the reactive nature of politics in many wealthy developed countries at present works against the development and implementation of major environmental policies in the face of mixed public opinion. This week we will have a presentation from a policy maker who deals with these issues and will talk about the real-world challenges and how they can be addressed. Learning outcomes: Students will gain first-hand insights into the political and social factors influencing how issues like climate changes are dealt with by policy makers and those communicating the issues in different weays for different purposes. Readings: Pezzullo & Cox 2018 (textbook - see details under Week 1), Chapter 11 (especially the climate and environmental justice sections) (= Chapter 9 in the 2012 edition and Chapter 10 in the 2015 edition). [Note: Other, or alternative, readings might be recommended as the course proceeds and world events present themselves as examples]
8 Tutorial and lecture - Week #8: Encouraging useful thinking about the future: An underestimated but vital major communication and policy challenge For several decades there has been a focus on how science can be integrated better with other "ways of knowing" used across society. Over the past decade there has been an increasing focus on the use foresighting techniques (e.g. scenario planning) as a way to consider uncertainties about the future for which there is no evidence base. Many governments around the world require two things of policy makers: (1) evidence based policy; and (2) forward-looking policy. Futurist Wendy Schultz has called this a "cultural contradition" as the more we rely on evidence the more we are held to the past and present and the more we look forward the less we can used evidence. In this session we will review a range of ways in which foresighting has been used in Australia and internationally to address major environmental policy and communication issues. Learning outcomes: Students will understand how foresighting techniques have been applied to aid development and testing of environmental policies and as communication tools. They will also learn the basics of apply such approaches. Readings: Schultz, WL 2006, 'The cultural contradictions of managing change: using horizon scanning in an evidence-based policy context', Foresight vol. 8, pp. 3-12. Alford, K, Cork, S, Finnigan, J, Grigg, N, Fulton, B & Raupauch, M 2014, 'The challenges of living scenarios for Australia in 2050', Journal of Futures Studies, vol. 18, pp. 115-26. Cork, S., Grigg, N., Alford, K., Finnigan, J., Fulton, B. & Raupach, M. 2015. 'Australia 2050: Structuring Conversations About Our Future'. Canberra: Australian Academy of Science. [Not in reading brick - please access at https://www.science.org.au/support/analysis/reports/australia-2050-conversations-about-our-future] Costanza R., Atkins P. W. B., Bolton M., Cork S., Grigg N. J., Kasser T. & Kubiszewski I. (2017) Societal addiction therapy: from motivational interviewing to Community Engaged Scenario Planning. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 26€“27, 47-53. Costanza R., Kubiszewski I., Cork S., Atkins P. W. B., Bean A., Diamond A., Grigg N., Korb E., Logg-Scarvell J., Navis R. & Patrick K. (2015) Scenarios for Australia in 2050: A Synthesis and Proposed Survey. Journal of Futures Studies 19, 49-76. Ravetz, JR 2006, 'Post-normal science and the complexity of transitions towards sustainability', Ecological Complexity, vol. 3, pp. 275-284. [Note: Other, or alternative, readings might be recommended as the course proceeds and world events present themselves as examples]
9 Tutorial and lecture - Week #9: Old and new media For most of the twentieth century public communications were dominated by newspapers, radio and television which were very influential in terms of their impact on environmental policy. Online media which emerged in the 1990s is causing many changes to the way policy makers and the wider public communicate with each other. Fewer people are reading newspapers or watching the major commercial television channels. The vast array of material on the internet from an extraordinary range of sources is proving difficult to control by traditional elites who are also having trouble working out how to get people to pay for what they can easily get for free. The old business models for media organisations are in trouble. In addition, governments are finding it harder to control information flow across borders and private individuals with innovative communications skills can reach large audiences at low cost and often anonymously. In this session, a guest speaker with extensive experience working with both old and new media will discuss the implications for environmental policy and communication. Learning outcomes: Students will understand the different ways in which old and new online media communicate and how the latter is creating opportunities for new types of policy actors. Readings: Pezzullo & Cox 2018 (textbook - see details under Week 1), Chapters 5 and 10 (= Chapters 6 and 7 in the 2012 edition and Chapters 5 and 9 in the 2015 edition). [Note: Additional readings will be recommended by the guest speaker]
10 Tutorial and lecture - Week #10: Driving change in public opinion and policy Public interest in environmental issues waxes and wanes under the influence of a range of social and biophysical influences. In Australia there is a cultural tradition of relying heavily on government to look after the environment, whereas in some other countries (e.g., the USA) non-government organisations play a greater role. The emergence of green political parties in many countries has been an indication of growing concern about environmental and ethical issues. Industries too have become more active and sophisticated in influencing public opinion and political agendas and contributing directly to environmental outcomes. Think tanks, lobby groups and public relations firms have increaisngly played a role in environmental debates and politics. We will consider the roles of, and methods used by, all of these groups, as well as individual citizen activists, in shaping public opinion, and influencing environmental policies via political and other processes. Other courses focus on the roles of actors in the processes of policy development. Here we will consider the communication approaches used by different actors and encourage course participants to share their own reflections on approaches evident in their home countries. Learning outcomes: Students will develop an understanding of the different actors seeking to influence public opinion and policy development in Australia and other countries, the approaches used by these actors, and the influence they have had on how enevironmental policy has evolved and been communicate. Readings: Pezzullo & Cox 2018 (textbook - see details under Week 1), Chapters 1, 8 and 9 (= Chapters 1, 8 and 10 in the 2012 edition and Chapters 1, 8 and 11 in the 2015 edition). Maddison, S & Denniss, R 2005, 'Democratic constraint and embrace: Implications for progressive non-government advocacy organisations in Australia', Australian Journal of Political Science, vol. 40, pp. 373-89. TerraChoice Environmental Marketing Inc. 2007, The ‘six sins of greenwashing'. A study of environmental claims in North American consumer markets, TerraChoice Environmental Marketing Inc., viewed 12 May 2015, . Kasser, T 2012, 'Values and the next generation', Solutions, vol. 3, viewed 12 May 2015, . [Note: Other, or alternative, readings might be recommended as the course proceeds and world events present themselves as examples]
11 Tutorial and lecture - Week #11: Case study: Policy and communication challenges in a major environmental issue In this session, we will have a guest presenter, who will discuss a major environmental challenge in Australia or elsewhere and give the course participants the chance to apply what they have learned in the course so far by asking challenging equations and making inspired suggestions. Learning outcomes: Students will have interpreted and applied what they have learned so far to a major real-world challenge. Readings: To be advised
12 Tutorial and lecture - Week #12: Taking stock: Assessing progress towards the goals of environmental policy and communication By now in this course, we will have examined a wide range of interest groups, objectives and methods of seeking outcomes in relation to environmental policy and communication. But how does a society assess whether its objectives are being met by these, often disparate, groups working towards their own ends. The concepts of sustainability, resilience and environmental and social justice offer frameworks for defining essential attributes of a society in tune with its natural environment. As interest in environmental communication has grown, methods have been developed to assess the effectiveness and quality of public participation and communication. There has also been increasing discussion of governance arrangements for achieving not only sound development of policy but also effective implementation and review and improvement. In this session we will review these important components of the policy and communication cycles and consider where gaps still exist that require research and development. This lecture will include a review of the course and how the topics we have covered interrelate. Learning outcomes: Students will develop an awareness and understanding of how societies do, or might, assess their progress towards the coupled environmental and social objectives set in policies. Readings: Pezzullo & Cox 2018 (textbook - see details under Week 1), Chapter 11 (= Chapter 9 in the 2012 edition and Chapter 11 in the 2015 edition). Kassing, JW, Johnson, HS, Kloeber, DN & Wentzel, BR 2010, 'Development and validation of the environmental Communication scale', Environmental Communication, vol. 4, pp. 1-21. Cantrill, G 2010, 'Measurement and meaning in environmental communication studies: A response to Kassing, Johnson, Kloeber, and Wentzel', Environmental Communication, vol. 4, pp. 22-36. Hezri, AA & Dovers, SR 2009, 'Australia's indicator-based sustainability assessments and public policy', Australian Journal of Public Administration, vol. 68, pp. 303-18. Pruitt, B, & Thomas, P 2007, Democratic dialogue –A handbook for practitioners, UNDP, New York, viewed 12 May 2015, . [Only Chapter 2.5 is provided in your reading brick but the whole report is available on line and will be included on Wattle. This report is a useful resource for you to use in your future careers as communicators] [Note: Other, or alternative, readings might be recommended as the course proceeds and world events present themselves as examples]

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Commentaries (best eight 300-word commentaries, each worth 5%) 40 % 29/07/2019 05/08/2019 1,2,3,4,5
Essay 30 % 16/09/2019 07/10/2019 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Exam 30 % 06/11/2019 28/11/2019 1,2,3,4,5

* 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.


Final exam (see Assessment Task 3)

Assessment Task 1

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 29/07/2019
Return of Assessment: 05/08/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Commentaries (best eight 300-word commentaries, each worth 5%)

Students are encouraged to submit a 300-500 word commentary on the lecture topic addressed in a given week, in response to questions provided at the end of the lecture. Students may choose to submit commentaries on most or all weeks, but a minimum of 8 is required as the final assessment will be based on the best 8. In other words, students may choose to not submit commentaries for up to 4 of the 12 weeks if other demands on their time are pressing.

These commentaries will follow from a lecture given at the end of each week's 3-hour session (Wednesday 0900-1200). There are three purposes of these commentaries:

  1. To ensure that students are prepared for tutorials and that it is possible to have lively and useful dialogue in the those tutorials
  2. To encourage students to continuously review and revise their knowledge, which will enhance their learning experience, and help them prepare in advance for the other two assessments (the mid-term essay and the final exam)
  3. Allow students to practice scientific writing… and receive feedback on their skills before undertaking the major assessments.

Students will be required to hand in these assignments on the Monday following a Wednesday lecture (starting in Week 2) so the lecturer can assess what issues should be focused on in the tutorial on that subject. The tutorial will take place between 0900 and 1100 each Wednesday, and will be followed by a lecture (1100-1200), which will be the subject of the following week's tutorial.

As these are short assignments they should not take long to write but they will require consideration… of the set readings and, for the best grades, a small amount of additional reading and thinking.

Ideas and facts should be properly referenced using the Crawford style guide.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 16/09/2019
Return of Assessment: 07/10/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5


  • A range of topics will be provided in the second class
  • The essay (1500 words) is due at the end of the mid-semester break
  • The essay will require critical thinking about an issue

Due date: 16/09/2019, 11:55pm

Assessment Task 3

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 06/11/2019
Return of Assessment: 28/11/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5


This final exam will be submitted on-line on a date to be determined but likely within 1-2 weeks of the last lecture/ tutorial. Questions will be provided at least one week before the submission date. Students will be required to choose 4 questions from a larger number. The exam will be designed to allow students to bring ideas form the course together and should require around 30 minutes for each question, not including revision time beforehand. These are not intended to be major essays, but succinct applications of what has been learned in the course.

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).
Dr Steven Cork

Research Interests

Strategic thinking; foresight; ecosystem services

Dr Steven Cork

Dr Rebecca Colvin
6125 5628

Research Interests

Dr Rebecca Colvin

Dr Steven Cork
6125 5628

Research Interests

Dr Steven Cork

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