• Class Number 7587
  • Term Code 3360
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 to 12 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Bruce Doran
    • Dr Bruce Doran
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/07/2023
  • Class End Date 27/10/2023
  • Census Date 31/08/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 31/07/2023
SELT Survey Results

This course allows a special topic of study for individuals or small groups of students who wish to gain particular or additional knowledge in a topic in environment and society not covered in other courses taught in the School or elsewhere in the University. Depending on the topic, students may be required to develop a guided reading program, and/or to take part in selected lectures, workshops, tutorials, seminars, discussion groups, field trips and other activities.


This course is available as a variable unit course 6 - 12 units.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Pursue a sustained guided investigation of a topic relevant to the environment, society and/or sustainability.
  2. Systematically identify relevant theory and concepts, relate these to appropriate methodology and/or evidence, analyse data using appropriate methods and tools, and draw appropriate evidence-based conclusions.
  3. Work constructively with active researchers and practitioners on real research problems.
  4. Critically evaluate their own work and results as well as published research. 
  5. Communicate research concepts and results effectively in appropriate formats.

Research-Led Teaching

In this course, students will undertake a short independent research project from a list of suggested topics which follow logically from the lab work. The lab work covers topical issues and real-world applications, with an emphasis on using spatial approaches to address management challenges.

Examination Material or equipment

Documents are not permitted in the examination room.

Required Resources

Will be provided on wattle and in the lectures/lab sessions

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:

  • Oral feedback on draft research approaches
  • Written feedback on research papers

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). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Week 1Introduction & course overview
2 Weeks 2-7Principles of spatial data analysis
Themed computer activities, quizzes and readings
Social Atlas (20%) Week 6
3 Week 7Suggested topics, planning your research & exam preparation
Research project work and exam preparation
4 Week 12In-class exam (2 1/2 hours) In-class social GIS exam (30%) Week 12Short research paper (50%) Week 12 (see Wattle for dates)

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Learning Outcomes
Social Atlas 20 % 1,2
Examination - Social Applications of GIS 30 % 1,2
Short research paper - GIS 50 % 3,4

* 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 Integrity 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 Skills website. 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.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Social Atlas

This assignment requires you to produce an atlas-style report for a local government department. The department is interested in assessing whether high schools in the Wollongong Local Government Area (LGA) are equitably distributed. In particular, the department would like to know whether there are any areas of relative disadvantage that may have low levels of access to education.

For this assignment, it is expected that you:

Use the supplied ABS data (LGA boundaries, Mesh Blocks, SEIFA data, SA1s and SA3s)

Use additional spatial data for context (e.g. a road network)

Assignment structure:

Structure your atlas with the following sections:

·        Write a short context/introductory statement at the start of the report outlining your approach to presenting a visual assessment of access to high school education and disadvantage in the Wollongong area. It is expected that you make strategic use of references to address the general issues of accessibility, disadvantage and service delivery. It is expected that you explain your logic for classification and colour schemes. 


·        Present a series of maps in the main part of the report. The maps should profile logical sub-regions of Wollongong, with an emphasis on SEIFA data and access to high schools. You are expected to choose how many maps to present here – remember that, whilst it is an atlas, the emphasis is on effective communication in relation to the brief. The PDF version of the ABS Social Atlas of Canberra may be useful for formatting ideas: http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/2030.82006?OpenDocument


·         Discussion: in this section, provide your interpretation, based on the maps you have presented, about the distribution of high schools in the Wollongong area and whether there are any areas of relative disadvantage that may have low levels of access to education. It is expected that you balance your interpretations against potential limitations associated with the Modifiable Areal Unit Problem (MAUP) and the Ecological Fallacy.


·        Appendix: You may want to include an appendix if there is additional material you’d like to present or cite to support your findings. 

Due in Week 6 (see Wattle for specific dates)

Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Examination - Social Applications of GIS

The social GIS exam will be run during the lab time in week 12. The exam will be delivered through Wattle. The exam will be 2 hours long and will have the following sections:


  • SECTION A. Short answer section (40%)
  • SECTION B. Detailed theory section (30%)
  • SECTION C. Problem section (30%)


A revision lecture will be provided along with example questions. An exam strategy will also discussed during lab sessions.

Date: Week 12 (see Wattle for specific dates)

Assessment Task 3

Value: 50 %
Learning Outcomes: 3,4

Short research paper - GIS

The research paper is in the form of a short journal article. The length of the paper will be 2000 words, excluding appendices. It will cover a more in-depth consideration of one of the lab blocks covered in the course. Each of the labs in weeks 1-4 have assignment options (e.g. a spatial analysis of light rail usage in Canberra; the relationship between access to fast food and social disadvantage). The labs will give sufficient grounding to undertake the projects. The research paper should include the following sections:

·        An abstract;

·        A literature review which critical engages with relevant literature;

·        A research methods section;

·        A results section which presents a deeper examination of the issues and data covered in the relevant lab block;

·        A discussion where an interpretation of key findings is given and assessed against relevant literature;

·        A short conclusion components that summarizes the contribution of the paper

Length and format ENVS6319 students: 3,000 words (excluding appendices), Harvard referencing system, single spaced, PDF Document submitted via Turnitin. Appendices can contain supplementary information and need to be clearly linked to the research paper. ENVS6319 students are expected to provide a more comprehensive literature review and discussion of their spatial analysis.

Due in Week 12 (see Wattle for specific dates)

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

Online Submission

Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submissions must be through Turnitin. Assignments are submitted using Turnitin in the course Wattle site. 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.Assignments must include the cover sheet available here. Please keep a copy of the tasks completed 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.

Referencing Requirements

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

Returning Assignments

Assignments will be returned by Wattle or email.

Extensions and Penalties

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

Resubmission of Assignments

Resubmission of assignments will not normally be accepted and would require justification by extraordinary circumstances, to be judged case by case.

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 Bruce Doran

Research Interests

Urban Sociology And Community Studies, Social And Cultural Geography, Causes And Prevention Of Crime, Human Geography, Urban And Regional Planning

Dr Bruce Doran

By Appointment
Dr Bruce Doran

Research Interests

Dr Bruce Doran

By Appointment

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