• Class Number 9314
  • Term Code 3070
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof James Pittock
    • Prof James Pittock
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 07/09/2020
  • Class End Date 12/10/2020
  • Census Date 02/10/2020
  • Last Date to Enrol 08/09/2020
SELT Survey Results

This course examines the climate change problem in terms of vulnerability and adaptation from primarily scientific, societal and policy perspectives. There is now a certain amount of unavoidable climate change, and therefore a need to adapt to these changing climatic conditions and their consequences. The need to adapt, and the kinds of adaptation responses necessary will depend on how the climate changes at a specific location over time, whether the direct or indirect impacts are positive or negative, and the capacity of people and systems to respond. Participants in this intensive course (two weeks) will gain knowledge of methods for assessing climate change impacts, vulnerability and adaptation, as well as how societies in developed and developing nations can effectively adapt to climate change.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Describe the kinds of climate change adaptation responses that may be necessary and the risks, costs and benefits that these may entail
  2. Understand key theories, analytical methods and sources of information for climate change adaptation.
  3. Critically consider the elements of effective climate change adaptation policies at national and sub-national scales.

Research-Led Teaching

The research activities of a number of ANU research staff, who are guest lecturers, are the basis of this course. The course field trip visits Fenner School research sites. The adaptation research of the course convenor underpins the course curriculum.

Field Trips

There will be a one day field trip on the second Thursday of the course. There is a ~$25 cost for this trip that can be paid by the ANU Science Shop (will advise when live). Participants need to bring their lunch, drinking water, solid shoes and a hat.

Additional Course Costs

There are no extra costs for students other than the ~$25 for the field trip.

Required Resources

No special resources are required.

Key reference:

  • Field, C and Van Aalst, M, 2014. Climate change 2014: impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability. Working Group II. Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, Geneva. http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg2/

Academic and government information:

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • Written comments on assignments;
  • Verbal comments on individual presentations;
  • Verbal feedback to the whole class on group exercises and on assignments;
  • Additional, individual feedback on request.

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.

Other Information

This course has been planned for face to face teaching on campus. Online delivery will be available for any overseas students unable to travel to Canberra in 2020.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Face to face teaching in this course consists of ten full days (9:00 to 4:30) from 7-18 September (weekdays only). Daily activities include lectures, discussions, practicals and field trips. Students should refer to the course Wattle site for a detailed daily schedule.

Tutorial Registration

Not applicable

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Defining climate change concepts 10 % 07/09/2020 09/09/2020 1,2
Learning portfolio 20 % 13/09/2020 16/09/2020 1,2
Presentation 10 % 16/09/2020 16/09/2020 1,2
Adaptation plan evaluation report 50 % 11/10/2020 30/10/2020 3
Course Participation 10 % 07/09/2020 19/09/2020 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 Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

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.


There is no examination.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 07/09/2020
Return of Assessment: 09/09/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Defining climate change concepts

Drawing on authoritative academic standard publications, in less than 400 words define:

1. Vulnerability to climate change

2. Climate change adaptation

3. Climate change mitigation

4. The key differences between climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Justify this research by citing at least three academic standard publications in Harvard (author, date) format in a reference list (references are not included in the word count).

Submission via Wattle by midnight.

Assessment will be based on:

a) clear definition of each of the terms and differences (60%),

b) nature of references and academic standard referencing (20%)

c) clearly structured and written text (20%).

Word limit: 400 words plus references

Value: 10%

Submission by midnight on the first day / Monday.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 13/09/2020
Return of Assessment: 16/09/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Learning portfolio

Text to be submitted on Wattle by midnight on the middle Sunday.

The learning portfolio task is intended to help you connect your existing knowledge with ideas, concepts, and issues that you are exposed to in the course. The learning portfolio will help you to make sense of the course by drawing upon what you have already learned through life experience, other courses, and participation in the first five days of the course. The learning portfolio is a place for reflection. Reflection is a way of thinking critically about the ideas presented in course material, weighing up the arguments and reacting to them in logical prose that shows your engagement with the course material. Detailed, day by day description of concepts DOES NOT constitute engagement with course material, your reflections need to be analytical.

Your task is to identify the two climate change vulnerability or adaptation course readings or lectures presented thus far in the course that you feel are most relevant to your life. This may include relevance to place that you are from, your core discipline and/or your current or future work. Please explain what are the key ideas in each of these course materials that you found most important to you and why.

You should also include at least two academic references in the work (and not more than five). The reference list is not included in the word count.

Appendices. You should also include from the first three days of the course in appendices the following practical results:

1. Tuesday: Climate change modelling. Attach an image of your BIOCLIM species distribution map prepared by you and your partner and add a short legend explaining what it shows.

2. Wednesday: A photo of your group’s influence diagram.

The above figures should be presented as for academic work, labelled as a figure and with a legend below the figure.

Word limit: 800 words plus references and appendices

Value: 20%

Rubric: Please refer to the course Wattle site

Assessment Task 3

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 16/09/2020
Return of Assessment: 16/09/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2


On the second Wednesday, individually you are to use Prezi or PowerPoint to present in 5 minutes on:

a) The climate change vulnerability and adaptation policy or policies of a country of your choosing (the nation that will be the focus of your essay is recommended). You may also choose a state or province, or major societal sector where there is an adaptation policy or policies.

b) Your assessment of the adequacy of the adaptation policy or policies with respect to key elements that you have learnt in the course so far.

The schedule of presentations will be worked out in the class on the preceding Monday and Tuesday. Your presentations need to be pre-loaded in class.

A possible format (please feel free to devise your own approach):

1. Introduce yourself and your approach to the presentation;

2. Explain which country you are assessing and its key vulnerabilities to climate change;

3. Outline any climate change adaptation policy or policies for the country;

4. Assess the adequately of the climate change adaptation policy or policies based on your key learnings from the course to date;

5. Make sure you end with a strong concluding statement.

For the short, 5 minute presentation students would not be expected to have more than eight slides and to have carefully selected a limited number of the most important points.

Penalties: 10% penalty if you are still talking at 5m 30s and you will be told your time is up and asked to sit down.

Word limit: 5 minutes presentation time

Value: 10%

Estimated return date: Feedback provided on the spot, grade on Friday 18th September.

Rubric: Please refer to the course Wattle site

Assessment Task 4

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 11/10/2020
Return of Assessment: 30/10/2020
Learning Outcomes: 3

Adaptation plan evaluation report

Select a nation of your choice and critically evaluate its national adaptation policy or policies. You may also choose to assess a state or province or a major, organised sector of society that has some form of adaptation policy or policies.

National adaptation policies can be selected from:

You will need to specify the evaluation criteria you used to evaluate the national adaptation plan.

In your evaluation, include consideration of the:

i. Kinds of adaptation activities being proposed (e.g. technological and structural, ecosystem-based, governance/institutional; behavioural);

ii. Appropriateness and adequacy of proposed adaptation activities given projected impacts, vulnerabilities and capacities;

iii. Use being made of (a) the ecosystem-based approach and (b) systems and resilience thinking (including resilience thinking);

iv. Roles of different stakeholders and scales of government.

Assessment value: 50% of total course grade

Length: 2,000 words plus references and tables or appendices.

Due date: To be submitted following the course, due by midnight on Sunday three weeks after the course.

Submission: via Wattle.

Required format

1.The general structure of your evaluation report should include a:

“Introduction” section where you state the question being addressed and provide context to the problem using key background information;

‘Methods’ section where you describe (i) the criteria being used for the evaluation and (ii) a brief overview of your selected developing nation;

“Comparison” section or sections where you make the necessary evaluations as noted in the report question above;

“Discussion” section where you synthesise the information you have produced from the various comparisons; and

“Conclusion” section where you state the main conclusions you have reached from your evaluations.

2.Use the Fenner School Harvard referencing style available on Wattle.

3. The Fenner School policy on word limits and late submission will be applied.

Word limit: 2,000 words plus references

Value: 50%

Estimated return date: end of October.

Rubric: Please refer to the course Wattle site

Assessment Task 5

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 07/09/2020
Return of Assessment: 19/09/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Course Participation

Participate in all course activities over the ten teaching days (especially the fire practical and course field trip). Be an active participant in course activities by asking questions and contributing ideas.

1. Participate in all course activities

2. Be a constructive contributor to course activities

3. Ask good questions and contribute insightful ideas to discussions.

Value: 10%

The date range indicates the start of the course and the end of the course. Assessment under this task is continuous throughout the intensive.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to 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 be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, 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 Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

Assignments are submitted using Turnitin in the course Wattle site. You will be required to attach an assignment cover sheet and electronically sign that declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records.

Hardcopy Submission

Hard copy submission is not permitted.

Late Submission

Late submission permitted. 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.

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.

Returning Assignments

Feedback on assignments is provided electronically on TurnItIn via the Wattle course page.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted 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.

Resubmission of Assignments

Resubmission of assignments is not permitted.

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).

Prof James Pittock

Research Interests

Environmental policy conflicts and synergies between conservation of biodiversity, sustaining agricultural production, and energy and water supplies, while responding to climate change.

Prof James Pittock

By Appointment
Prof James Pittock
+61 2 6125 4882

Research Interests

Prof James Pittock

By Appointment

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