• Class Number 3325
  • Term Code 3230
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Rod Lamberts
    • Dr Rod Lamberts
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 21/02/2022
  • Class End Date 27/05/2022
  • Census Date 31/03/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 28/02/2022
SELT Survey Results

Uncertainty is everywhere. We casually and unknowingly take risks and accept uncertainty many times every day. However, in the sciences, we cannot afford to be so blasé. The ramifications of poor risk assessment (and communication) in science can and do have dramatic, global consequences. Risk is very hard to calculate, and even harder to communicate. What is risky, to whom, and why? How is risk understood by experts? How does it manifest in public domains? When does a risk become acceptable? Is it possible to speak about “real” or “true” risks in science? How do the concepts of risk and ethics relate?


In recent years, issues such as climate change, environmental degradation and gene/ nano-technologies have regularly highlighted the need for society to challenge and address risks and ethics in the sciences. In this course, the practice and application of science is analyzed from risk communication and ethical perspectives. Consideration is given to how social, political and psychological contexts of scientific research influence contemporary debates about risk and ethics. The concept of ethical research is analyzed and critiqued and the communication of risk and uncertainty with lay publics is examined in detail. Throughout the course, significant attention is devoted to the consideration of clear and effective ways to characterize and communicate controversial, risky, and ethically charged science-based matters in the public sphere.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Analyse critically and reflect on risk/ethical issues pertaining to science in the public sphere
  2. Research, synthesise and professionally communicate information about social, cultural and psychological influences that affect people’s perception of risks and ethical positions associated with science
  3. Critically analyze and comprehensively review risk communication strategies involving the communication of contemporary science-related risk issues
  4. Undertake expert desktop research into the theory and practice of risk communication
  5. Write persuasively for diverse non-specialist audiences about risk and ethics in science, integrating personal opinion, advanced knowledge of risk theory and responsible ethical judgement
  6. Using course reading and lecture materials as a catalyst, but integrating knowledge of published research, clearly present personal views, and critically respond to those of others, in open forums.

Research-Led Teaching

The material underpinning SCOM2031 incorporates both classical/ traditional and current research and theory in science communication and related disciplines and is accessed by students via lecture content, texts, readers, journal papers, professional guides and policy documents. Students will also be exposed to, and at times apply, elements of research practice during the course, especially via the course readings and their evidence-based critique and recommendations for improvement of public risk communication campaigns in the course assessment.  

Required Resources

All reading and audio visual materials for the course will be made available via the course WATTLE site

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:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

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 project forms the largest component of SCOM2031 assessment and comprises 2, separately assessed components: one individual component (listed on this site as assessment task 2) , and one group component (listed on this site as assessment task 5)

AN overview of the project is presented here,


List of Project Components 

1.   Individual progress report (25%)

2.   Final group report (30%)


The overall project

The main purpose of this project is to apply the suite of theories, tools and ideas addressed throughout the course to identify, analyze and critique science-based risk communication efforts in the public realm. It consists of 5 main elements. 


1.   In consultation with teaching staff, choose a science-based risk issue of relevance to a public audience. Some good options would be:

a.   Climate change, fluoride, obesity, speeding, vaccination, drugs/ alcohol, breast feeding, wind-power and health, bike helmets, weather forecasting, alternative energies (e.g., nuclear, solar, geothermal), alternative medicine, predicting election results, genetic modification of food, reproductive technologies

b.   Briefly outline your rationale for deciding why you chose the topic you will be addressing in your project. Consider things like:

                                               i.     why is it a ‘risk’ issue at all?

                                             ii.     how prevalent is it in, or relevant to, the public domain? 

                                            iii.     what are the likely consequences of this issue being poorly communicated (and for whom)?

                                            iv.     How well is it being addressed now/ has it been addressed in the past?      

2.   Gather and summarise the background facts pertinent to the issue

a.   Science factsThe risk issue you present must have a scientific basis. There must be a body of evidence that offers information about the issue. It is not uncommon for such scientific work to have controversial and/or contradictory elements within it. Your project must include a section, comprehensively supported by evidence from the literature, that sets the scientific scene for your risk issue.What does the science behind the issue say? Is it clear, or are there nuances and / or disagreements among experts?

b.   Context facts. Is this issue a particularly hot political topic? Has it been inspired by a specific event, or is it something that has been around for a while? Who are the main voices / stakeholders in the issue (and what might their motivations be)? Are there characteristic of the issue that are specific to a place, a time, particular types of people, etc.? Are there strong, non-science influences (e.g., religion, culture, political persuasion, financial interests, history/traditions, etc.)? 

c.    Theory. What (science) communication, risk perception & comprehension, and/or persuasion & influence theories are best suited to understanding and analysing your issue? 

3.   Gather and analyze pertinent materials (for example: advertising or marketing collateral, content / format of TV or radio programs, website content/ structure/ proponents, conferences or public briefings, blogs etc.) . Consider:

a.   Media. What kinds of ‘publication venues’ are being used? Are there particular messengers (e.g., celebrities, people who look like scientists/doctors, mascots)? Do these media themselves have characteristics that may influence the way the issue is presented and considered in the public arena?

b.   Audiences. Who are they (assuming you can even tell)? Why those audiences? Are they explicitly targeted or merely implied? To what extent are the materials and their messages suited to the desired audiences? 

c.    Messages. What are the messages? Are there many, or just one or two key ones? How do you know/ can you tell? Do they appear to be tailored to suit particular audiences, media, content, etc.? Are they clear? Do any messages conflict or contradict each other?

d.   Message creators/ ‘owners’. Who is responsible for the messages you are critiquing? What are their reasons or intentions (consider explicit and implicit possibilities)? 

e.   Evaluation. Has any been done? If so, what did it say/ how useful was it?

f.     Use of evidence. To what extent are the messages supported by science evidence (both overtly and implicitly)?


4.   Critique

a.   Using what you have learned throughout the course via the lectures, readings and conversations in tutorials, critiquethe campaign, strategy and materials (including the extent to which it can be supported by scientific evidence).

b.   Consider what ‘works’ (being sure to define what ‘works’ means), and what does not. Here you should look at things such as the alignment of messages with intention and with audiences, evaluation (or lack thereof), and the extent to which what is being communicated (and how) reflects good practice and theory. Use the data and information you have generated at step 3.


5.   Recommendations

a.   Assuming there is in fact something worth communicating (that is: is this a risk issue that needs public communication at all?), suggest how efforts could be improved, modified, expanded or disbanded. 

b.   This could involve you proposing alternative messages, mocking-up different – or new – collateral, re-framing the issue, or targeting audiences more effectively. 

c.    Make sure your recommendations are based on best-practice and relevant theory.


Satisfactory completion of this project will involve a substantial amount of work. Effectively organising your group will be a crucial factor in how thoroughly you can engage with your topic. If tasks are well organised and sub-tasks delegated, you should find the project quite manageable. You will be given opportunities to discuss group and project issues during tutorial classes throughout the semester.


Communicating within your project group – this is critical!

You should establish some basic communication guidelines and expectations for your group early in the semester. These should cover things like:

·      what are the best, and most reliable, ways to communicate with each other (email, phone, DM via Twitter, etc)

·      how often you should communicate with each other

·      how to address problems with the group (communication problems or otherwise)

·      agreeing what constitutes a reasonable timeframe for responding to groups communications. For example, if you sent an email to everyone in your group, should they be obliged to respond with 24 hours, 2 days, or a week? Establishing and agreeing to protocols like this upfront can pre-empt and mitigate possible tensions down the track.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction to science communication, to communicating risk, & to the course
2 SCOM Research & theoretical foundations of risk communication
3 On Evidence
4 Techniques & methods for crafting risk strategies
5 Perceptions of risk ASSESSMENT - Individual progress report due
6 Crafting an argument/ opinion pieces
7 Introduction to ethics
8 Persuasion & Influence ASSESSMENT - Opinion piece assignment due
9 Risk, Ethics & Public Health
10 Communication & Ethics, Crisis communication
11 Perceptions of expertise, strategies for involving & consulting publics Group Report due Reflection due
12 Lecture - Risk, ethics and policy Tutorial – NO CLASS

Tutorial Registration

See wattle for tutorial details

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Learning Outcomes
Individual Progress report (Major project part 1 of 2) 25 % 1,2,3,4,5,6
Opinion Piece Exercise 35 % 1,5,6
Reflection 10 % 2,3,6
Final group report 30 % 1,2,4,5,6

* 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 one tutorial class which will be run face-to-face on campus. It's important to attend this class as much of it will relate to your assessment in this course. If you will be unable to attend the tutorial, please contact the course convener ASAP before enrolling in this course.

PLEASE NOTE - if we need to respond to changes due to COVID, the course convener will let you know through the course Wattle site. 

Assessment Task 1

Value: 25 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6

Individual Progress report (Major project part 1 of 2)

The major assessment piece for SCOM2031 involves the development of a risk communication strategy that you research, write and report on based on a science-based risk issue relevant to “the general public”. The strategy will be done in teams of 3 or 4 people and will run throughout the semester. 

This task has 2 assessable components:

·      Part 1 (this one) an individually completed ‘progress’ report, presenting initial research on one of the components of the risk communication strategy (25%, individual marks)

·      Part 2 (described below) a final group report, detailing and justifying all aspects of your risk communication strategy, as if submitting a proposal to a ‘client’ (30%, group mark modified by peer/self-assessment marks – see last section of this manual for more information on this)



In consultation with course staff, you can select any topical science and risk issue that is relevant to people beyond just technical experts. 

Points to consider when selecting a topic:

·      Clearly identify an area of public risk that is fundamentally affected by science or is science based. Some possible topic ideas:

o   Climate change, fluoride, vaccination, obesity, speeding, drugs/ alcohol, breast feeding, wind-power and health, bike helmets, weather forecasting, alternative energies (e.g., nuclear, solar, geothermal), alternative medicine, predicting election results, genetic modification of food, reproductive technologies, etc.

·      Outline why it’s important to communicate with people about the risk issues associated with your topic. This will involve looking beyond just scholarly sources and considering relevant grey literature as well. Questions to consider

o   Is there evidence that people are overly - or insufficiently - concerned about the risk of a particular disease (like COVID in 2022), or the benefits/risks of nuclear energy?

o   What are the likely consequences of this risk issue being poorly communicated (and for whom)?

o   How well is it being addressed now/ has it been addressed in the past?       

·      Scope - how large will your strategy be? What parameters will you set around your strategy? How do you decide how much to do/how broadly to work?

·      Have you set realistic goals? How well are they reflected in your strategy? Are there specific tactics that implement your strategy?

·      Consider the greater context, for example

o   Is this issue a particularly hot political topic? 

o   Has it been inspired by a specific event, or is it something that has been around for a while? 

o   Are there clear leading voices / stakeholders on the? 

o   Are there characteristic of the issue that are specific to a place, a time, particular types of people, etc.? 

o   Are there strong, non-science influences (e.g., religion, culture, political persuasion, financial interests, history/traditions, etc.)? 

·      Is your topic area “real enough” – that is, does it reflect a tangible enough risk issue to bother creating a strategy? If it is too obscure to be of interest or concern to broader, non-technical publics, there may be no reason to create a risk comm’s strategy in the first place.

The science 

The risk issue you present must have a scientific basis. There must be a body of evidence that offers information about the issue. It is not uncommon for scientific work concerning risky matters to have controversial and/or contradictory aspects and for experts to disagree. Your project must include a section, comprehensively supported by evidence from the literature, that sets the scientific scene for your risk issue.

For example, if you are trying to raise public awareness of antibiotic resistance, you must inform yourselves about the relevant scientific information. Even though very little overt science might appear in your final risk communication strategy itself, your report must demonstrate you are sufficiently familiar with the science behind the risk and that it has informed the information you include in your strategy.

Communication Theory 

·      Have you used any? Why or why not?

·      Are your choices appropriate for the subject matter, the audience(s), and the proposed communication strategy?

·      Refer to course material in the first instance to guide  you towards potentially useful theory. You are also encouraged to seek out theories that could be relevant to you that aren’t covered in the course (there are so many!). Regardless of what theoretical foundations you use, it’s better to focus more deeply on one or two pertinent ones than superficially refer to multiple theories.


·      Doing the project:

o   Have you identified project “chunks”? 

o   What steps can be done simultaneously, what can be done in  parallel? (ie, identify dependent and independent tasks)

o   Have you delegated tasks?

o   Do you have mechanisms in place to check on your progress regularly and to adjust if things have slipped?

·      Plan for “rolling out” your strategy:

o   Does your strategy have stages whose release needs to be timed?

o   Outline your hypothetical timeline for strategy rollout


·      Identify the major stakeholders in this topic. NOTE, they may not be the same people you are targeting as your strategy’s audience. However, they may be critical in the way you inform, plan and conduct your strategy.

·      Who are they, how do you know, are there likely to be any you have missed?

·      How similar/different are they (do they fall into distinct communication categories)?

·      Do you need to include just some, or all, of them in your target audience?

Target Audience 

·      Identify your target audience(s) - who are they, how do you find out, how might you reach them?

·      What are their major concerns/interests in the topic?

·      Are their expressed concerns the same as their “real” concerns (eg, are they screaming “environmental damage” when they really mean “loss of profits”?)

·      What would they like to know?

·      How would they like to find out?

·      What/who do they trust/believe/respect (and why)?

SWOT analysis 

·      Consider the issue, the stakeholders, the timeframe, the magnitude of the issue, the cost involved in conducting a risk communication strategy with your target audience(s), the complexities of the science involved and look at:

o   Strengths - of your strategy, people, timing, ideas budget, expertise, access to expertise, etc

o   Weaknesses - of your strategy, people, timing, ideas budget, expertise, access to expertise, etc

o   Opportunities - those that exist externally to your strategy and people (eg, a government environmental initiative may be kicking off in a way that you can “piggy back” on the publicity)

o   Threats - those that exist externally to your strategy and people (eg, a large multi-national with an enormous budget has an information campaign running that counters the arguments you will be making)

·      Once identified, how will you use the strengths and opportunities and how will you counter your weaknesses and threats?


·      Does the feedback you are collecting relate directly to the major goal(s) of your strategy? That is, are you evaluating things that actually provide evidence about the success of your strategy?

·      How will you measure the success of your strategy when it is finished? That is:

o   What does “success” mean in the context of your project (for example, does a measurable short-term change in Canberrans’ recycling behaviours mean your recycling communication strategy worked)?

o   What can you do to measure that success and demonstrate it?

o   How will you measure success along the way?

o   What strategies do you have in place to modify your strategy should ongoing feedback suggest the need?

o   How will you decide what feedback is critical and what is incidental?

·      Is your proposed evaluation realistic? For example, it would be extremely unlikely you would be able to get the money and other resources needed to check the contents of 50% of Canberran recycling bins every week for the course of your campaign to increase household recycling in the ACT. You would need to come up with  more realistic, but still valid and reliable, alternatives.

Communication products 

You will need to present examples (mock-ups/designs) of your communication materials. However, you are not required to build the materials. For example, if you are planning a website, you should indicate what its content would be (and why), and perhaps do a mock-up in PowerPoint or Word to show the concept. You are not required to become a web-designer, graphic artist, television producer, IG influencer, etc. to create a successful communication strategy in SCOM2031. Communication products might include (but are not limited to):

Social media posts, threads, stories etc.

Radio or podcast scripts

Fact sheets 


Running sheet for a public meeting or conference

Logos, T-shirts, jingles etc. for the strategy

Details for relevant spokespeople

Reflection and recommendations

·      What did you do well?

·      What would you improve upon next time?

·      How might your project inform future/more comprehensive strategies?

·      How did you manage your team process – what worked, what would you change next time?

Individual progress report - Details of task: 

The individual progress report will present the aspects of your team’s risk communication strategy that individual students have done. These individually researched components will later join to become group property and incorporated into the final group report.


This means that early in the semester once teams and topics have been chosen, your team should divide up the workload into approximately equal chunks. Each team member should then work on their own to complete a component for submission for this piece of assessment. You will be marked solely on the piece of work you submit 

The individual progress reports provide opportunities to get critical feedback on the direction of your risk communication strategy. There will inevitably be some overlap between the individual reports and the final group report, so some of the material from these will likely get dropped straight into the final report . However, you are also expected to respond to, and incorporate, feedback on the individual reports into the final report.


·      a report from each group member of up to a MAXIMUM of 2000 words (excluding cover page and references).

·      a peer-self assessment sheet (see the last page of this manual for full details). This tool will only be used to calculate marks for the final report, not to calculate marks for the progress report. For this individual report it will serve as a diagnostic tool for staff to see how groups are getting along so far, and as a practice run for the final report.

·      If a group’s peer-self assessment forms reveal a lot of disparity between group member ratings, the convener will organise to meet with the group to make sure there are no avoidable issues that might adversely affect the group project

·      NOTE – your report will not be marked until you have submitted a peer-self assessment form. Late penalties will apply until it is received, even if you have submitted your progress report.

What this report should ideally demonstrate: 

·      a clear understanding of the (collectively decided) project topic, and of where / how your individual report fits 

·      a comprehensive, succinct, critical review and discussion of your chosen aspect of the project 

·      effective and relevant incorporation of ideas raised in class

·      a high standard of comprehensive research

·      comprehensive and appropriate referencing

·      clear communication of ideas, written in proper English prose with correct spelling, grammar and punctuation.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 35 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,5,6

Opinion Piece Exercise


Choose ONE topic areas from this list

o   Longevity research

o   Climate change

o   Research using animals

o   Nutrition, exercise and obesity

o   Reproductive technologies

o   Nanotechnology 

o   GM foods

Write 2 opinion pieces for your topic (a total of 2 opinion pieces):

o   1 piece should focus on aspects of the topic you think should be supported (and why)

o   1 piece should focus on aspects of the topic that you think should not be supported (and why not)

How to begin?

o   Consider the kinds of questions about the topics you have chosen that would be of interest to your audience. It can be a simple as What would happen if everyone lived to 150? OR How do we decide what is a healthy body shape? OR Can we afford to ignore warnings from climate scientists?

o   Alternatively, come up with some clear, bold statements about the topic and then address them in your piece. For example, Reproductive technologies should be made available to anyone who wants them  OR We should not conduct any experiments on animals that we wouldn't conduct on people

Base your 2 pieces on 

1.    scientific evidence related to the topic,

2.    your own beliefs, opinions and experience, and

3.    arguments, positions and ideas from the ethics component of the course.


For both of the pieces briefly and clearly state what venue you are writing for (for example; The Australian, Woroni, The Women’s Weekly, New Matilda, The Conversation, On Campus, etc) and whywhat you have written is suitable for this format/ audience. This should be brief – one or two paragraphs maximum

You do not need to formally reference within the 2 pieces, instead you should have a separate reference section (see next bullet)

Reference section:

o   You will be required to attach a formal reference list of the main scholarly sources that inspired you and provided supporting evidence for the arguments represented in both of your pieces.

o   Under each of these references, note the most significant elements that relate either to the science or the ethical position you have made on the topic (maximum three (3) bullet points per reference – no more)

Learning Outcomes 

·      Actively reflect on your beliefs and positions on ethically complex, science-based issues that are of broad public interest

·      Practice creating arguments to support ethical positions based on scientific evidence, theories of ethics and personal views

·      Develop skills in writing for venues that contribute directly to popular discourse while still basing your content on scholarly evidence and thinking


·      Your two pieces.

·      NOTE:  each piece must be between 600 and 800 words. No more, no less. Marks will be deducted for pieces that are too short OR too long at a rate of 1% for every 10 words over or under.

·      Your reference list, including the maximum 3 bullet points per reference as outlined above.

Word limit                            Both pieces must be between 600 and 800 words. 

                                                Marks will be deducted for pieces that are too short OR too 

                                                long (1% for every 10 words over or under)

Value                                     35%

Assessment Task 3

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 2,3,6


Think back across the semester and consider what you have learned and experienced in SCOM2031 as a starting point to write a reflective critique of your journey through SCOM2031. You might want to use question like these to inspire your thinking (you are not obliged to answer all – or any – of these questions, they are just here to get you started):


Have any of your views on risk, ethics or science changed? If so how, or why?

Did you come across ideas or tools that you found particularly intriguing, useful or interesting?

What about ideas that you found especially confronting?

What do you think you did well?

What could you learn to do better?


The critical thing we are looking for here is intelligent, reasoned opinion, critiques and arguments that draw on the course material, particularly in the context of your personal experiencewith science, risk and ethics. It doesn’t matter if what you say is controversial or if others might disagree here, as long as what you say is clear, logical and substantiated. 



A short written piece of prose in coherent, grammatically correct English (BETWEEN 300 AND 500 WORDS).




You do not need formal referencing for this assignment

Assessment Task 4

Value: 30 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4,5,6

Final group report

Details of task: 

Your final report includes both the risk communication strategy itself and the background research that led you to presenting the strategy.

Here is a summary of the things you should consider incorporating into your report. This list is indicative only. Different topics and approaches may require different and /or other elements as well: 

·      explicitly stated project goals and objectives directly related to strategies and tactics

·      critical engagement with, and incorporation of, risk communication techniques, concepts and theories discussed in SCOM2031 as pertinent to your project 

·      a critical review of the scientific evidence behind the risk problem (and its solutions) that you have identified and have drawn on in your own risk communication strategy

·      a contextualisation of the risk problem in time and space, and discussion of the temporal, geographical, cultural etc limits of your communication strategy 

·      an evaluation plan for your strategy 

·      target audience and stakeholder analyses

·      a critical review of previous risk communication strategies on the same or related topics and a discussion of how your proposal differs 

·      a realistic timeframe for the rollout of your communication strategy (not the timeline for completing your assessment, but a hypothetical timeframe were you to implement your strategy in real life)

·      examples of communication products and media you could use to carry your message(s).

Since group work and organisational skills are an integral part of carrying out this assignment, you should also discuss the following issues and also be prepared to discuss them with staff during class time: 

·      a timeline for the project and comment on how well it worked

·      the division of tasks between group members

·      an honest assessment of how well your group functioned

What your assignment should ideally demonstrate:

·      appropriate language with correct grammatical structure, spelling and punctuation

·      a complete and comprehensive strategy

·      a balance between big picture overview and smaller detail

·      appropriate use of relevant science communication theory

·      evidence that you have considered and researched the issue, the stakeholders and the audience thoroughly and objectively

·      a relevant and feasible strategy in terms of the issue(s), the stakeholders, likely resources and timeframes

·      recognition and reportage of your assumptions and specific biases that may have influenced the project and the way it was conducted. This will be easier if your goals, objectives, strategies and tactics are clear

·      seamless integration of the sub-elements of your final report. It should look like one, coherent document, not 3 or 4 individual sub-reports that have been stuck together. For example, ensure you have:

o   a clear and accurate table of contents

o   an internally well-referenced document. That is, if you refer to other elements of your report, you make it easy for the reader to find them (e.g. “please see appendix B, page 28”)

o   a uniform overall style for the report

o   proof-read the document and paid attention to detail

·      complete, comprehensive and consistent referencing throughout

·      evidence and supporting references for all relevant aspects of your report and your strategy

·      professional presentation – the report should be eye-catching and look ‘professional’. Innovative and interesting presentation is absolutely encouraged. If in doubt, ask your tutor

·      evidence of critical thinking – your report should demonstrate that you have considered the available literature, informants and public information relevant to your topic area, presented the necessary information in a considered fashion that reflects the theory and practice considered in SCOM2031

·      recommendations, limitations, things you would do differently if you were to do this again.


·      a report/folio of not more than 25 pages (excluding appendices). Reports over 25 pages (excluding appendices) will be returned to be trimmed and late penalties will apply.

·      sample material/mock-ups of your communication artefacts in appendices

·      One peer/self-assessment form from each group member – submit this individually via turnitin.


NOTE – Late penalties will be applied to the report grade of any individual who fails to submit their peer/self-assessment form on time, even if the group report was submitted by the due date. 

Allocation of marks for final report

Assessment for the final report is worth a total of 30%. A single mark will be awarded for each report. Individuals will be allocated a unique mark by multiplying the report mark by their mean score on the peer/self-assessment form, a copy of which is at end of this document and on the SCOM2031 WATTLE site.

The percentage you allocate to each of your teammates and to yourself should reflect the effort that the person has put into the project throughout the semester. It is up to you to determine how to measure that. You should discuss expectations with your team early in the semester.

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

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) submission must be through Turnitin.

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 use 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.

Returning Assignments

All assessment will be returned via turnitin

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


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 Rod Lamberts

Research Interests

Dr Rod Lamberts

By Appointment
By Appointment
Dr Rod Lamberts

Research Interests

Dr Rod Lamberts

By Appointment
By Appointment

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