• Class Number 6429
  • Term Code 3160
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Edwina Fingleton-Smith
    • Edwina Fingleton-Smith
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 26/07/2021
  • Class End Date 29/10/2021
  • Census Date 14/09/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/08/2021
SELT Survey Results

In a time of rapid population growth, unlimited economic growth and the threat of climate change, it is increasingly obvious that we need a transformation in the way we manage our resources, environment and economies. However, bringing about such societal change is not easy, whether it be at the global, national or local level. This course considers the complex drivers behind societal change in pursuit of environmental objectives.

Using both global and local case studies, the course will break apart some of the crucial building blocks of modern society and explore how we understand the concepts of society, environment, and the economy and the complex relationships between them. The course will also look at who ‘we’ is and how different individuals and groups experience the environment and environmental change differently. From here the course will explore how societies can and do pursue change, the complex relationships which influence change, the different discourses represented in the global conversation about environmental and social issues, and the links between international environmental movements and local, domestic environmental outcomes. In particular, the course will address such questions as: What are the key factors for successful societal change? What are the barriers? How do we know we are addressing the most critical environmental issues? And how do we know when we have succeeded?

Note: Graduate students attend joint classes with undergraduates but are assessed separately.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Identify and evaluate the drivers and barriers of societal change for environmental objectives in different contexts, particularly the respective roles of the media, public, civil society, governments and technological developments in encouraging that change.
  2. Critique and evaluate key environmental movements, and how they include or exclude certain groups in society or globally.
  3. Conduct in--depth problem analysis; design and implement appropriate research and evaluation tools.
  4. Employ advanced research, writing and presentation skills.
  5. Participate effectively in team-based integrative research projects.
  6. Design appropriate activities to faciliate others to develop innovative approaches to contemporary sustainability problems.

Recommended student system requirements 

ANU courses commonly use a number of online resources and activities including:

  • video material, similar to YouTube, for lectures and other instruction
  • two-way video conferencing for interactive learning
  • email and other messaging tools for communication
  • interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities
  • print and photo/scan for handwritten work
  • home-based assessment.

To fully participate in ANU learning, students need:

  • A computer or laptop. Mobile devices may work well but in some situations a computer/laptop may be more appropriate.
  • Webcam
  • Speakers and a microphone (e.g. headset)
  • Reliable, stable internet connection. Broadband recommended. If using a mobile network or wi-fi then check performance is adequate.
  • Suitable location with minimal interruptions and adequate privacy for classes and assessments.
  • Printing, and photo/scanning equipment

For more information please see https://www.anu.edu.au/students/systems/recommended-student-system-requirements

Staff Feedback

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

• marks and written comments to individuals on assessment items (e.g. public thought piece and essays)

• on-going discussion with individual students and 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 Course Overview What are we doing here? Introduction and housekeeping A taster – Decolonising the environment - What is the environment and who does that definition belong to?
2 Discourses with Dryzek How do we construct meaning and how does this shape what we know?
3 Economics: Inequality, social justice and the environment. A brief history of capitalism. What exactly is our economic system? Why does it matter? Is it a problem or an opportunity?
4 Girls (not) gone wild Gender in the outside world. How do perceptions of gender affect our ability to lead sustainable lifestyles? Is addressing gender a way to maximise sustainable transitions?
5 Human psychology Why understanding ourselves is critical to understanding environmental problems.
6 Ethics Why do we do, think and feel how we do about the environment and nature? And whose ethics exactly are they?
7 Would you like fries with that? Food, a global case study.
8 99 Problems Why scale is important when conceptualising and addressing environmental change. What are the different leverage points for different environmental problems?
9 Environmental accounting Making the intangible tangible. Who owns water? Should anyone?
10 North vs South? Or people vs environment? Energy, inequality and sustainability
11 NUMTOTS of the world unite! Thinking critically about how we shape urban design and how urban design shapes us.
12 Don’t worry, be happy A brief history of right wing, conservative environmentalism

Tutorial Registration

Tutorial registration will be through Wattle from the end of week 1

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Tutorial participation including a group presentation, planning and facilitation of group exercises 10 % * * 1,2
Opinion piece 10 % 20/08/2021 04/09/2021 1,2,4
Grand Challenge - OVERVIEW 0 % * * 1,2,3,4,5
Grand Challenge Problem Video 20 % 30/08/2021 10/09/2021 1,3,4,5
Grand Challenge Solution Presentation 20 % 28/10/2021 05/11/2021 1,2,4
Final essay 20 % 15/10/2021 25/11/2021 1,3,4,5
Brainstorm Tutorial Facilitation 20 % 30/09/2021 05/10/2021 1,3,4,5

* 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 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.


Students are expected to attend all tutorials. Furthermore, students are expected to have done the reading for tutorials and participate in class discussions and group work each week. If you cannot make your tutorial, you must make arrangements to attend another one that week. Failure to attend more than four tutorials may render you liable to fail the course. In addition, the major assessment for this course will be heavily based on skills learnt in the tutorials, so failure to attend tutorials will make it very difficult for you to do well in the assessment.


This course does not include formal examination during the examination period.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Tutorial participation including a group presentation, planning and facilitation of group exercises

Students are expected to attend all tutorials. Furthermore, students are expected to have done the reading for tutorials. If you cannot make your tutorial, make arrangements to attend another one that week. Failure to attend more than four tutorials may render you liable to fail the course. In addition, the major assessment for this course will be heavily based on skills learnt in the tutorials, failure to attend tutorials will make it very difficult for you to do well in the assessment.

Value: 10% of the final mark.

Students are expected to contribute on an on-going basis throughout the semester.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 20/08/2021
Return of Assessment: 04/09/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4

Opinion piece

Prepare a short (600-800 words) thought piece on a topic related to the course and an issue of public interest in Australia or internationally. The purpose of this piece is to create a piece of writing that is deliberately attempting to change an opinion around a particular issue, not just attempting to inform. The piece should be written in a style appropriate for a media piece aimed at a general audience and should be persuasive and engaging. It is not required that you cite academic literature, however you may find references to various sources or data important for aiding your persuasiveness.

Value: 10%

Submission date: 20th August 2021

Assessment Task 3

Value: 0 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Grand Challenge - OVERVIEW

Competitive challenges as a method to generate new and innovative solutions to complex problems are becoming increasingly popular around the globe. ANU itself has adopted this format to encourage researchers from across campus to work together in collaborative groups in order to incentivise ambitious and creative solutions to some of the great problems we are facing today. As a piece of assessment this project is designed in three parts.

Firstly you will work in small groups to choose an environmental problem and create a grand challenge framework. Groups will need to analyse their problem and identify the causes and possible leverage points and then create an evaluation criteria for judging solutions. Groups will pitch their grand challenge problem statement to the class in the form of a video, in week 6, and students will vote on their favourite. The challenge with the most votes will be the basis for the second half of the semester. In small

groups students will then work on and submit their solutions to the chosen grand challenge problem. This will culminate in the creation of a grand challenge solution pitch which will be given by groups, in person, in week 12.

There will also be an individual component of a 2000 word essay on a case study related to the chosen problem that we will be working on in the second half of the course. We will do lots of skills development in the second hour of every tutorial and will have guest lectures from people who have been involved in different aspects of grand challenges at ANU and in other industries to give you advice and answer your questions, so although I hope this will stretch you as a piece of assessment, rest assured you will be equipped to complete these tasks.

This task is broken into three components - please also refer to assessment task 4 and 5 for the dates and value of each subsequent component

Assessment Task 4

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 30/08/2021
Return of Assessment: 10/09/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,3,4,5

Grand Challenge Problem Video

Students will create a video detailing a complex environmental problem, for which innovative solutions are needed. It will exhibit sophisticated analysis of the problem, identify the society-environmental links including possible drivers, affected stakeholders, and frames the specific aspect of the problem, via a question, that solutions must address. Grand challenge problem statements are often framed along the lines of “How might we address x problem”.

Value: 20%

Assessment requirements: The videos will be no longer than 8 minutes long and must include assessment criteria for evaluating solutions to the problem.

Due date: In class, Week 6

Estimated return date: Following week

Assessment Task 5

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 28/10/2021
Return of Assessment: 05/11/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4

Grand Challenge Solution Presentation

Students will work together in groups to come up with an innovative solution to the complex problem chosen in week 6. Solutions will be specific and detailed and while they may be any type of solution (ie technological or social etc), they must analyse the implications, barriers or changes in relevant policy, economic systems, laws or social behaviours necessary for the solution to work. Presentations will be 10 minutes long and all group members must present. Presentations will be judged by both content and presentation skills as per the different parts of the rubric. Please note the rubric also includes the need for the solution to address the evaluation criteria set for the


Value: 20%

Due date: In class, Week 12

Estimated return date: Following week

Assessment Task 6

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 15/10/2021
Return of Assessment: 25/11/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,3,4,5

Final essay

Students are to critically analyse a core issue/ driver related to the chosen environmental problem that is selected for the Grand Challenge presentation and answer the

following question “To what extent is, has, or could, the chosen issue be critical in shaping change in the selected problem?” The case study may be local or global in nature, may focus on a particular stakeholder, may be historic or contemporary, may be one of the drivers of this problem or may be an institution that could effectively address this problem (for example the media, civil society, a particular movement etc) or a disciplinary approach. I am happy to be quite flexible in what aspects students chose but you must be able to answer the above question.

Value: 20%

Assessment requirements: 2000 words (not including footnotes or references)

Due date: 15th October 2021

Estimated return date: 25th November 2021

Assessment Task 7

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 30/09/2021
Return of Assessment: 05/10/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,3,4,5

Brainstorm Tutorial Facilitation

Students are to work in small groups to facilitate a brainstorming session for the other groups in class in week 8 as part of the grand challenge skills sessions.

Value: 20%

Due date: Week 8 in class

Estimated return date: 27th September 2021

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, or usinga Wattle assignment submission link. You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as

part of the submission of your assignments on Turnitin. Please keep a copy of each assignment for your records.

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

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 it 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.

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.

Returning Assignments

Student work will be marked electronically and comments provided via Turnitin or Wattle

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

Assignments may not be resubmitted.

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).

Edwina Fingleton-Smith

Research Interests

Interdisciplinary, qualitative, problem focused research in sustainable development; human centred design, energy use for development and environmental law.

Edwina Fingleton-Smith

Monday 10:00 11:00
Edwina Fingleton-Smith

Research Interests

Edwina Fingleton-Smith

Monday 10:00 11:00

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