• Class Number 4567
  • Term Code 3350
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • Dr Philippa Ryan
    • Dr Philippa Ryan
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 03/07/2023
  • Class End Date 01/09/2023
  • Census Date 14/07/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 04/07/2023
SELT Survey Results

This course explores how law and policy is shaping and being shaped by digital economies. Big technology companies dominate the stock exchange and Fortune 500. Mobile

apps support mega marketplaces, supported by seamless online payments systems. Gig economy networks are disrupting traditional service and employment models. This

ecosystem is fueled by data. Our every movement, search, post, sentiment, purchase, and deletion is saved, scraped, stored, analysed, and sold. Our personal information is

being harvested and fed back to us.

Topics include:

  • Defamation on social media
  • Industrial relations in gig economies
  • The supreme court of Facebook
  • Accountability of algorithms
  • Smart contracts in financial markets
  • Crypto-bubbles and Ponzi schemes

The legal and policy challenges to be examined include deciding jurisdiction, identifying participants, antitrust regulation, monitoring taxable events and financial surveillance.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Investigate and critically evaluate how the law and policy is shaping and being shaped by digital economies.
  2. Reflect critically on the legal ramifications of automating legal relationships and decision-making.
  3. Explore and review the legal principles and rules applicable to cryptocurrencies, digital assets and smart contracts.
  4. Critically analyse and assess the dispute resolution mechanisms developed by online marketplace providers and social media platforms.
  5. Undertake legal research and present findings which evaluate how e-business models have disrupted employment and business arrangements and relationships.

Required Resources

PA Ryan, Trust and Distrust in Digital Economies (Routledge, 2019) - ebook available at https://www.routledge.com/Trust-and-Distrust-in-Digital-Economies/Ryan/p/book/9781138477483

An additional reading list will be available on the course Wattle site.

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

Task submission times refer to Canberra time (AEST/AEDT).

Extensions, late submission and penalties: https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/extensions-late-submission-and-penalties

Deferred examination: http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/deferred-examinations

Special consideration: http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/special-assessment-consideration

Word length and excess word penalties: https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/word-length-and-excess-word-penalties

Further information about the course: is available from the course WATTLE page. Students are required to access the WATTLE site regularly throughout the course for any announcements relating to the course.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 This is a semi-intensive course that will be delivered 17:00pm - 20:00pm on 6-7, 11-14, 19-21 July 2023.
2 Introduction to digital economies
3 Defamation on social media
4 Industrial relations in gig economies
5 The supreme court of Facebook
6 Accountability of algorithms
7 Smart contracts in financial markets
8 Crypto-bubbles and Ponzi schemes
9 Regulation of digital economies

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Three blog posts 30 % 24/07/2023 * 1,2,3,4
Quiz 20 % 22/08/2023 13/09/2023 1,2,3
Research essay 50 % 31/08/2023 25/09/2023 1,2,3,4,5

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


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

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

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


For all courses taught in any mode (whether face to face or online), the ANU College of Law considers participation in the classes offered to be an important part of the educational experience of the graduate program. Students are expected to attend all classes.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 24/07/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Three blog posts

Name of Assessment Task

Three blog posts (10% for each blog post)

Details of Task: The blog posts provide an opportunity for students to reflect on their learning in the first three weeks of the course.

Nature of Task: The blog posts are compulsory. Non-completion of this task will result in a 0 for this assessment task. 

Word Limit: 1,800 words total; 600 words per blog 

Due Dates:

Blog post 1: Monday 10 July 2023 (600 words max) to the relevant Discussion Forum in Wattle.

Blog post 2: Monday 17 July 2023 (600 words max) to the relevant Discussion Forum in Wattle.

Blog post 3: Monday 24 July 2023 (600 words max) to the relevant Discussion Forum in Wattle.

Estimated Return Date: Within approximately one week of the submission dates. 

Assessment Criteria:

  • Understanding of the material taught in the course;
  • Ability to make connections across the materials;
  • Clarity and conciseness; and
  • Expression

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 22/08/2023
Return of Assessment: 13/09/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3


Details of Task: Students must answer 30 multiple choice questions to be completed within 90 minutes. The questions will focus on knowledge of the content arising from Topics 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the course. 

Nature of the task: Compulsory and non-redeemable. Failure to complete will result in a mark of zero for this task.

Weighting: 20%

Release: 2pm, Monday 21 August 2023 via WATTLE.

Duration: 90 minutes. Once you log into the quiz, you will have 90 minutes to complete it. The quiz will finish after 90 minutes and any open attempts will close and be submitted automatically. Please allow for sufficient time to complete the quiz.

Due: 2pm, Tuesday 22 August 2023 via WATTLE. Due to the nature of the task, late submission is not permitted.

If you experience extenuating circumstances and cannot attempt the assessment on the due date and time, you should apply for an extension here. The College will give you one final opportunity to complete the assessment, at the same time one week later. If you have already accessed the assessment, you will not be approved an extension and will need to complete the task by the due date. However, you may apply for special consideration for your circumstances to be considered.

Estimated return date: Wednesday 13 September 2023

Assessment Criteria: N/A

Assessment Task 3

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 31/08/2023
Return of Assessment: 25/09/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Research essay

Details of Task: The research essay will require students to conduct independent research that investigates a theme, issue or policy related to digital economies and the law. Original research will be required. Essays must include a bibliography, which is excluded from the word count. 

Nature of Task: Compulsory and non-redeemable. Failure to submit this assessment will result in a mark of zero for this assessment task. 

Word Limit: 3,600 words maximum. The ANU College of Law's Word Length and Excess Word penalties policy can be found at here. Assessments must be submitted in a word processing file format (.doc, .docx). PDF files are not acceptable. 

Release: Essay topics will be made available on WATTLE by 4pm, Monday 3 July 2023. 

Due Date: 5pm, Thursday 31 August 2023 via Turnitin. Late submissions (without an extension) are permitted, although late penalties will apply. 

Weighting: 50%

Estimated Return Date: 25 September 2023 

Assessment Criteria:

a) Understanding of the Issues

  • addresses the question and covers all the important points
  • evidence of close consideration of the question and the research materials drawn on
  • issues raised by the topic are clearly and concisely identified
  • material chosen relates clearly to the topic and is analysed not just summarised or quoted extensively

b) Communication & Development of Argument

  • clear theme or argument
  • arguments logical and well-organised
  • ideas/paragraphs linked coherently

c) Argument/Analysis

  • originality of ideas and critical analysis of the material
  • complexity and insight in dealing with theory/ideas
  • suggestions for change where appropriate
  • interdisciplinary perspective where appropriate
  • addressing opposing arguments
  • well-reasoned conclusions

d) Research

  • research covering primary and secondary materials
  • good organisation of sources and ability to synthesise all the research materials used
  • use of theoretical material where appropriate
  • range of research sources
  • integration of material from research resources into the essay

e) Presentation, style and referencing

  • good use of structure, section headings and paragraphs
  • clarity and conciseness of expression, interesting and engaging of reader
  • use of appropriate terminology and correct grammar, syntax and spelling
  • full and accurate footnotes together with a bibliography
  • style according to Australian Guide to Legal Citation
  • adherence to word limit

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 in a word processing file format (.doc, .docx). Electronic copies in .pdf file format are not acceptable.

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

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

  • Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
  • 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 test or examinations.
  • Late submission with an extension. To ensure equity for all students, the 5% penalty per working day for late submission of work does not apply if you have been given an extension. Where an extension is granted, the revised due date and submission time will be provided in writing. Importantly, any revised due date is inclusive of weekends and public holidays. Regardless of which day of the week the revised due date falls on, students who submit after that date will be penalised by 5% of the possible marks available for the task per 24-hour period. 

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 marks and feedback will be provided by the return date listed in the class summary.

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.

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 Philippa Ryan

Research Interests

The lecturers in this course are experts in this field and their teaching is led by their scholarship and research into AI and the impact of new technologies on society and the law.

Dr Philippa Ryan

By Appointment
Dr Philippa Ryan
+61 2 6125 3483

Research Interests

Dr Philippa Ryan

By Appointment

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