• Class Number 4274
  • Term Code 3250
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 to 12 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Sara Beavis
    • Victoria Miller
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 22/07/2022
  • Class End Date 16/10/2022
  • Census Date 02/09/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/09/2022
SELT Survey Results

Small island states face considerable challenges as they attempt to achieve sustainable development. Particular challenges for these nations were recognised in the 1984 Barbados Programme of Action for Small Island Developing States and in the 2014 SAMOA Pathway. These meetings recognised that Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have a narrow range of resources, which forces undue specialization; excessive dependence on international trade and hence vulnerability to global developments; relatively small watersheds and threatened supplies of fresh water; costly public administration and infrastructure, including transportation and communication; and limited institutional capacities and domestic markets, which are too small to provide significant scale economies.  


The particular challenges faced by a Fiji as a SIDS will be explored in this course. The field trip aims to give students a first-hand experience of the real-world circumstances that confront an island nation by exploring important sectoral themes in the context of sustainable development.  


The course will investigate the interactions between economic development and the sustainable management of key sectors including fisheries, agriculture, water catchment management, tourism, waste management, cultural heritage management and marine and coastal biodiversity. Within each theme students will consider factors relevant to island nations, including climate change, natural disasters, water availability, gender, cultural identity, population and race relations, governance and globalization.  


The course will be undertaken in collaboration with the University of the South Pacific’s Pacific Centre for Sustainable Development PACE-SD. 

This course is co-taught with undergraduate students but assessed separately.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate advanced understanding of the complex social, environmental and cultural challenges that confront an island nation, like Fiji
  2. Demonstrate enhanced skills to interact with people from another country in a culturally sensitive manner
  3. Gain practical experience in using interdisciplinary approaches to resolving sustainable development issues in an island context
  4. Effectively present and discuss complex ideas, and to: listen, assess and respond to ideas of others
  5. Demonstrate an advanced ability to undertake analysis of issues related to island sustainable development and to present these in a coherent manner

Field Trips

Students will participate in a 14 day international field trip in Fiji as part of their studies in this course.

Additional Course Costs

There are additional field trip fees of approximately $1300 applicable to participation in this course (payment to ANU Science Shop). Students will also need to cover the costs of their own airfares as well as some meals.

Required Resources

Reading on Wattle - pre and in-country on Wattle.

Orientation outlines resources.

Whether you are on campus or studying remotely, there are a variety of online platforms you will use to participate in your study program. These could include videos 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/or photo/scan for handwritten work and drawings, and home-based assessment.

ANU outlines recommended student system requirements to ensure you are able to participate fully in your learning. Other information is also available about the various Learning Platforms you may use.

Staff Feedback

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

  • Verbal feedback is provided on a daily basis in-country and forms an integral part of the course.
  • Written feedback in hard copy is provided on all assessment items.

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

Core skills we hope you will develop or enhance in the course:

  • Ability to think in depth about an issue, including understanding and analysing different perspectives on it
  • Ability to observe, analyse and contextualise observations of an unfamiliar culture without being judgemental
  • Ability to work harmoniously with other students in unfamiliar cultural setting
  • Ability to write concisely and accurately, with well organised ideas, material, and arguments
  • Ability to effectively present and discuss ideas, and to listen, assess and respond to ideas of others
  •  Ability to locate relevant material and judge its authority and credibility

Referencing style: The Fenner School uses the Harvard System of referencing. Please make yourself familiar with this system and use it for the Policy Paper or Research Paper. 

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 This course is an intensive course delivered in-country (Fiji) from 4-18 September inclusive.
2 Orientation A compulsory orientation session (30-31 July) will be conducted to ensure that participating students are properly briefed on what to expect during the Field School, and this is also an opportunity to get to know everyone within the group.
3 In-Country We will engage with local communities at various locations on the main island of Viti Levu and the island of Ovalau. We will explore a number of sustainability issues including but not limited to: water catchment management and large scale tourism in the Nadi Basin, an eco-tourism resort run by a local Fijian village, management of a World Heritage Site at Levuka, a tuna cannery and a community-based water management project. We will undertake various surveys and studies which will contribute to a greater understanding of the complex relationships that are inherent in island communities. In association with localised in-country studies, students will explore sustainable development policies in a broader context including the Barbados Programme of Action for Small Island Developing States, the Mauritius Strategy for Implementation, the SAMOA Pathway, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development - 2012, (Rio +20). The course will be undertaken in collaboration with the University of the South Pacific’s Pacific Centre for Sustainable Development PACE-SD. Please refer to the course Wattle site for detailed program.

Tutorial Registration


Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Pre-trip preparatory exam 10 % * * 1
Learning and Photographic Journal (2200 words) 30 % 26/09/2022 * 1,3,4,5,6
Group project short communication paper (2000 words) with oral presentation at end of Field School 30 % 18/09/2022 * 1,2,3,4,6
Policy Paper (3000 words) 30 % 10/10/2022 01/12/2022 1,2,3

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


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

Assessment Requirements

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

Moderation of Assessment

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


All required work must be submitted in order to pass the course. In addition, a pass must be reached for each element of assessment to pass the course. 


There is no formal examination for this course.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1

Pre-trip preparatory exam

This will be a multiple choice exam posted on the Wattle site. It will be based on a list of preliminary readings provided. Students can elect when to undertake the test, so long as it is done before the commencement of the field school. Further details will be provided.

Requirement: Multiple choice exam.

The test must be taken before the commencement of the Field School.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 26/09/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,3,4,5,6

Learning and Photographic Journal (2200 words)

The learning journal will be a daily record of your experiences and learning during the field school. Time is allocated each day after the “Talanoa” session (talking and exchange of views), to write up your journal as a Wiki within Wattle. as a Wiki on the Wattle site. The journal will need to be submitted in final format a week after the conclusion of the Field School, but the Wiki should reflect daily inputs throughout the trip. The journal should be supported by 2-4 photographs per day. The photographs should provide visual support to the text of your daily journal. They should not be ‘travel snaps’.

Requirement: 2200 words (11 thematic days with 200 words per day)

Assessment Task 3

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 18/09/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,6

Group project short communication paper (2000 words) with oral presentation at end of Field School

During the Orientation session you will be given the chance to sign up for a group working on a specific research topic relevant to our travels:

  • Ecotourism
  •  River extraction
  • Agriculture in the context of climate change and variability
  • Marine protected areas
  • Adaptation and resilience to extreme climate
  • Island sustainability and COVID

As a small group or in pairs, you can undertake preliminary research prior to the trip and then in-country make as many observations and talk to relevant people as much as possible. NOTE: your in-country research activities and oral presentation (6 unit students) or blog (12 unit students) will all be group based. This is a team effort. 

Requirement: Group project (2000 words) with oral presentation at end of Field School

Assessment Task 4

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 10/10/2022
Return of Assessment: 01/12/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Policy Paper (3000 words)

This is a paper that explores a specific policy issue in Fiji. The paper needs to identify the issue, identify current policy status, the potential problems or challenges to those policies, and options for Fiji in its efforts to work towards a sustainable future.


Requirement: 3000 words with appropriate references

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

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) as submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

Group Project Papers, Policy Papers and Research Papers must be submitted via Turnitin.

 The Learning Journal and Photographic Journal should be submitted to Sara Beavis email/Turnitin (you have to be careful with the size of these journals because there is an upper limit for Turnitin. Sara.Beavis@anu.edu.au

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • 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. 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

All written work will be returned in hard copy. Students will be advised in writing how they can access their work.

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.

Resubmission of Assignments

In exceptional circumstances the convenor will allow an assignment to be resubmitted, but this must be negotiated in person with the convenor.

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 Sara Beavis
+61 2 6125 8138

Research Interests

Surface Processes, Surface water Hydrology, Hydrogeology, Natural Resource Management,Environmental Science And Management, Geochemistry.

Dr Sara Beavis

By Appointment
Victoria Miller

Research Interests

Victoria Miller

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