• Class Number 4232
  • Term Code 3030
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Robert Cribb
    • Dr Robert Cribb
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/02/2020
  • Class End Date 05/06/2020
  • Census Date 08/05/2020
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/03/2020
SELT Survey Results

We are being lied to at every turn. Our perceptions of the world are manipulated and things that matter to us are decided behind a veil of secrecy. At the same time, accusations of lying, 'false news' and conspiracy undermine social trust. Drawing especially from examples in and about Asia, this course examines how and why lies are constructed, why we believe them (and why we often want to believe them) and how we can use investigative techniques to get closer to the truth. This course utilises a historical approach combined with contemporary examples to understand the role of lies, conspiracy, and propaganda.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. identify the characteristics of public deception, including common forms of lying, techniques for manipulation and the circumstances in which deception is attempted
  2. critically analyse the impact of culture and of political circumstance on patterns of deception and credulity
  3. undertake source-critical research aimed at better determining the reliability of information
  4. demonstrate the most important elements of good writing and presentation practice

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 Week 1: Detecting lies
2 Week 2: Complicit lies; the problem of memory
3 Week 3: No classes: Canberra Day
4 Week 4: Fake News and lies in politics; Background to the Research essay task
5 Week 5: Maps and photos; the problem of knowledge
6 Week 6: Propaganda and persuasion; Good academic presentation
7 Mid semester break: No classes for two weeks
8 Week 7: Hoaxes and fraud; Background for research essay: war crimes trials of Japanese suspects
9 Week 8: No classes (ANZAC Day substitute holiday)
10 Week 9: Student presentations
11 Week 10: Student presentations
12 Week 11: Lying with numbers: statistics; Good academic writing
13 Week 12: Conspiracy

Tutorial Registration

No tutorials. Class runs as a three-hour block including lectures and other activities

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Learning Outcomes
Class participation tasks 10 % * 1
Document Research Project 40 % 29/05/2020 3,4
Oral presentation 25 % * 1,2,4
Take-home exam 25 % * 1,2,3,4

* 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: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1

Class participation tasks

Five items due at various times during semester (each item must be submitted before the relevant class).

These items are intended to promote preparation for class. Answers will be discussed in class and marks provided online.

  1. Assessment of Arbuthnot letter (2%). Due 28 Feb 2020
  2. Interrogation questions (2%). Due Friday 13 Mar 2020
  3. Ethics of plagiarism (2%). Due Friday 20 Mar 2020
  4. Rhetorical comparison (2%). Due Friday 27 Mar 2020
  5. Marking up an essay (2%). Due Friday 22 May 2020

Assessment Task 2

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 29/05/2020
Learning Outcomes: 3,4

Document Research Project

Due 29 May 2020

Students will write a research essay based on archival material (provided)

Assessment Task 3

Value: 25 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4

Oral presentation

-Formulation of question (including written bibliography) … (to be submitted by 18 May 2020) 5%

-rehearsal 5% (to be scheduled)

-final presentation 15% (to be scheduled)


Note: in order to comply with University rules concerning the verifiability of non-written presentations, this presentation will be recorded in Wattle.


Students will receive oral feedback on the formulation of the question and the rehearsal immediately after the rehearsal. They will receive a short written report on the presentation through Wattle.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 25 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Take-home exam

To be discussed. Will be held after the end of classes.

Exam scripts are not normally returned or discussed with students and examination marks are not provided. If any student feels that there has been an anomaly in the course result arising from the exam result, the first step is to contact the lecturer to discuss the exam script.

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 Robert Cribb
02 6125 3207

Research Interests

Robert Cribb: Indonesia, Japan, mass violence, historical geography, national identity, orangutans

Dr Robert Cribb

By Appointment
Dr Robert Cribb
02 6125 3207

Research Interests

Dr Robert Cribb

By Appointment

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