• Class Number 4659
  • Term Code 3350
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Topic Online
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • Dr Siobhan McDonnell
    • Dr Siobhan McDonnell
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 27/06/2023
  • Class End Date 23/07/2023
  • Census Date 07/07/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 27/06/2023
SELT Survey Results

This course takes a critical approach to explore case studies of disaster governance and responses across Asia and the Pacific. Beginning with framing ideas of resilience theory, as well as concepts of vulnerability and disaster governance this course is designed to explore the politics of disasters and climate change. 

The second half of the course will involve students playing the innovative online disaster game. The focus of the course is a consideration of best-practice, inclusive disaster planning and response. COVID 19 has taught us that the impacts of pandemics and disasters are different depending on a range of political choices, this course will help you explore some of these issues in a real and applied way through a carefully designed, innovative online game played in real-time alongside other students. It is designed for both online and uncaps cohorts, and is taught as an intensive.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Critically evaluate the principles and practices of disaster risk reduction and management;
  2. Understand disaster resilience, risk mitigation, and recovery policies as they arise from natural hazards around the globe;
  3. Critically analyse disaster resilience, risk mitigation, and recovery policies;
  4. Participate in debates on disaster governance and societal reconstruction;
  5. Work collaboratively in diverse teams.

Required Resources

Oliver-Smith, Anthony and Susanna M. Hoffman (eds) 1999. The Angry Earth: disaster in anthropological perspective. New York: Routledge.

Fred Kruger, Greg Bankoff, Terry Cannon, Benedikt Orlowski, E. Lisa F. Schipper (eds) (2015) Cultures and Disasters: Understanding Cultural Framings in Disaster Risk Reduction, (London: Routledge).

Sakai, Minako, Edwin Jurriens, Jian Zhang and Alec Thornton (eds) 2014. Disaster Relief in the Asia Pacific: agency and resilience. London: Routledge.


Two compulsory readings for each week, as well as recommended readings, will be available on the Wattle site.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information


The Crawford School of Public Policy has its own Academic Skills team dedicated to helping students to understand the academic expectations of studying at Crawford and succeed in their chosen program of study. Through individual appointments, course-embedded workshops and online resources, Crawford Academic Skills provides tailored advice to students keen to develop their academic reading, thinking, planning, writing, and presentation skills.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 What is a disaster?
2 Resilience Tutorial and introduction to the course and assessment
3 Vulnerability
4 Inclusive Disaster Planning
5 Disasters in the Age of the Anthropocence: Migration/Resettlement One day workshop cover weeks topics across all lecture weeks, and also introduction to the game.
6 Disaster Governance: The Myanmar Crisis (Practitioner Perspectives) Group statement due
7 Students participate in the disaster game (online)
8 Students participate in the disaster game (online)
9 Students participate in the disaster game (online)
10 Students participate in the disaster game (online)
11 Students reflect on disaster game (online) Debrief assessment
12 Conclusion of the course Reflection essay due

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Short essay (1000 words) 20 % 02/07/2023 16/07/2023 1, 3
Group statement (500 words). 10 % 09/07/2023 23/07/2023 1, 2
Active participation in negotiations and debrief 40 % 10/07/2023 24/07/2023 1,2,3,4
Long Essay (2000 words) 30 % 31/08/2023 30/09/2022 1, 2

* 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.


There is no examination for this subject.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 02/07/2023
Return of Assessment: 16/07/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1, 3

Short essay (1000 words)

Write an essay in response to one of the questions listed in topics 1-6. The purpose of this essay is to demonstrate your capacity to critically engage with the literature on the disaster management by (1) analysing and assessing authors’ arguments, and (2) communicating this analysis clearly in an academic format.

When answering one these questions you should also make reference to the recommended readings listed in the weeks, as well as some of the other reading material from Weeks 1-6. Your analytical essay should be about 1000 words in length, including at least five references. This paper is worth 20% of the assessment.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 09/07/2023
Return of Assessment: 23/07/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2

Group statement (500 words).

Participate in the intensive workshop and prepare a short group statement of 500 words representing your groups position in the disaster game.

Participation in the intensive workshop and preparation of a group statement. Your group will review the information provided about their role in the game and follow up on relevant additional information in order to prepare a group statement that establishes your identity and profile in the eyes of the other players. This group statement is worth 10% of the assessment.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 10/07/2023
Return of Assessment: 24/07/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Active participation in negotiations and debrief

There will be 40% of the assessment allocated for active in-class participation, participation in negotiations and in post-game debrief.

Negotiations between the different groups in the game take place through a number of dedicated discussion forums on the Disaster Game Wattle site. Students need to be prepared for these negotiations to reach a peak of intensity as the negotiation period comes to a close.

The game debriefing session will take place through a separate discussion forum on the Wattle site. Each day for one week, the course conveners will post a different question about what happened in the game negotiations. Each student is expected to post answers to at least three of these questions during the course of the session.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 31/08/2023
Return of Assessment: 30/09/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2

Long Essay (2000 words)

Prepare a longer paper of 2,000 words. Your reflection paper should reflect on key processes and lessons in the game from your perspective, drawing on your own experience, readings and material covered in lectures. The paper will clearly present up to four key observations or themes that capture important insights from the game. This can include your response to issues that came up in the game debrief

Your reflection paper should be roughly 2000 words in length, including references, and should make reference to at least ten of the course readings. This reflective essay is worth 30% of the assessment.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalized at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information. In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service — including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy. If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
Dr Siobhan McDonnell
02 6125 0751

Research Interests

Dr. Siobhan McDonnell is a legal anthropologist and activist scholar with expertise on Indigenous people and land, climate change, resettlement/displacement, disasters and gender.

Dr Siobhan McDonnell

By Appointment
Dr Siobhan McDonnell
02 6125 0751

Research Interests

Dr Siobhan McDonnell

By Appointment

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