- Class Number 6676
- Term Code 3360
- Class Info
- Unit Value 6 units
- Mode of Delivery In Person
- Chris Browne
- Chris Browne
- 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
Unravelling Complexity is open to students from all academic Colleges.
'Universities serve to make students think: to resolve problems by argument supported by evidence; not to be dismayed by complexity, but bold in unravelling it'.
(What are universities for?, Boulton and Lucas, 2008).
Unravelling Complexity takes up this challenge by encouraging students from any part of the ANU the opportunity to explore the nature of complex issues, with a focus on drawing connections between disciplines and dimensions of complex problems. ANU researchers will provide insights into the behaviour of complexity by using a broad range of concepts from the social, natural and design sciences and teams from the interdisciplinary ANU Grand Challenges research initiative will provide insights on contemporary complex problems. The course encourages students to build on their existing disciplinary perspectives to develop a broad understanding of effective collaborative approaches to unravelling complex issues.
This courses is co-taught with undergraduate students, but postgraduate students will be assessed separately.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Identify and generalise behaviours in complex problems
- Analyse and construct arguments from multiple perspectives, supported by evidence and with intellectual independence
- Reflect critically on concepts from the course in relation to contemporary complex problems
- Situate and guide disciplinary perspectives and methodologies in an interdisciplinary team
- Design, research and defend an extended major work unravelling a complex problem
Unravelling Complexity brings in leading ANU researchers from all Colleges at ANU, and places an emphasis on topics broadly defined in the Complexity Sciences and the Integration and Implementation Sciences in the course delivery.
Examination Material or equipment
This course does not have an examination.
Complexity is a burgeoning area of study. Once exposed, many students find that they start seeing complexity everywhere. There is no prescribed textbook for this course. You should be able to complete this course using the materials and selected readings made available through the Wattle.
- Bammer, Gabriele and Michael Smithson, 2008, Uncertainty and risk: multidisciplinary perspectives, Earthscan Recommended: Chapters 2 and 26
- Bar-Yam, Yaneer, 2004, Making things work: solving complex problems in a complex world, NECSI Knowledge Press Recommended: Overview, Chapter 1 and conclusion
- Brown, Valerie A., John A. Harris, Jacqueline Y Russell, 2010, Tackling wicked problems through the transdisciplinary imagination, Earthscan Recommended: Chapters 1 and 2
- Harris, Graham, 2007, Seeking sustainability in an age of complexity, Cambridge University Press Recommended: Preamble, Chapters 1 and 2
- Mitchell, Melanie, 2009 Complexity a guided tour, Oxford University Press Recommended: Preface, chapter 1
- Lineweaver, Charley, 2013, Complexity and the Arrow of Time.
There are a variety of online platforms you will use to participate in your study program. These could include videos for lectures and other instruction, two-way video conferencing for interactive learning, email and other messaging tools for communication, interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities, print and/or photo/scan for handwritten work and drawings, and home-based assessment.
ANU outlines recommended student system requirements to ensure you are able to participate fully in your learning. Other information is also available about the various Learning Platforms you may use.
In this course, there are many formal and informal processes to collect formative feedback to help submit the best work you can. These include regular opportunities with teaching staff for specific feedback, and most assessment items are staged so that you can receive feedback as you go. You should also make the most of informal feedback, such as through other members of your group and examining the work of former students. When marks are returned, they will be accompanied with minimal summative feedback to justify the mark. You are welcome to ask your marker for more feedback if you would like or need.
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.
Task submission times refer to Canberra time (AEST/AEDT).
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 details on weekly classes and any announcement and updates relating to the course.
|Week/Session||Summary of Activities||Assessment|
|1||Week 1: Introduction to Complexity||No workshop|
|2||Week 2: Working Together; What Are Universities For?||Tutor-led workshop|
|3||Weeks 3-7: Useful Ways of Thinking about Complexity – Transdisciplinary Skills||Student-led workshop facilitations and discussions|
|4||Weeks 8-12: Grand Challenges, Wicked Problems and Unravelling Complexity||Project and Portfolio work|
ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials / seminars so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.
|Assessment task||Value||Due Date||Return of assessment||Learning Outcomes|
|Workshop Co-facilitation and Complexity Primer||30 %||*||*||1,2,4|
|Collaborative Challenge Project||20 %||*||*||2,4|
|Learning Portfolio||50 %||27/10/2023||10/11/2023||1,2,3,5|
* 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 Integrity Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:
- Academic Integrity Policy and Procedure
- Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure
- Special Assessment Consideration Guideline and General Information
- Student Surveys and Evaluations
- Deferred Examinations
- Student Complaint Resolution Policy and Procedure
- Code of practice for teaching and learning
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.
For all courses taught in any mode (whether face to face or online), the ANU College of Science considers participation in the classes offered to be an important part of the educational experience of the program. Students are expected to attend all classes.
There are no examinations in this course.
Assessment Task 1
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4
Workshop Co-facilitation and Complexity Primer
Details of Task: Co-facilitate a Workshop for your peers on an allocated topic, including developing a Secret Plan, and a shareable and aligned contribution to the co-created Complexity Primer. Indicative topics can be found on the VC's Courses public website. Groups will individually and collectively reflect on their individual contribution at the time of the Complexity Primer Contribution submission
Nature of Task: Group task with scope for identifying area of focus. Group formation in Week 2 classes.
Weighting: 30%. Co-Facilitation and Secret Plan (15% group activity); Complexity Primer Contribution (15% group activity).
Release: Co-facilitation delivered during class weeks 3-7. Complexity Primer Draft due Fri Wk 4; Final due Fri Wk 7
Due Date: Ongoing. Due to the nature of the task, late submission or extension is not permitted.
Estimated Return Date: Feedback on Co-Facilitation returned in 1 week via Wattle; Feedback on Complexity Primer draft returned in 2 weeks via Wattle.
Assessment Criteria: Assessment criteria and indicators available on Wattle.
Assessment Task 2
Learning Outcomes: 2,4
Collaborative Challenge Project
Details of Task: Present an idea on how we should resolve (not solve!) a 'Grand Challenge'. The project will be based around a provocation provided by an external project champion, who will be present for final pitches in Week 11. Each group will present a 1-page proposal on how to effect change, and an accompanying 3-min pitch with Q&A. This group activity is intentionally short, and the focus is on collaboratively applying course concepts to a contemporary problem.
Nature of Task: Group task. Group formation in Week 7 classes after briefing from the project champion.
Release: Week 7
Due Date: 1-page proposal due alongside 3-min pitch during Week 11 class. Due to the nature of the task, late submission or extension is not permitted.
Estimated Return Date: Feedback provided within 1 week to groups via Wattle.
Assessment Criteria: Assessment criteria and indicators available on Wattle.
Assessment Task 3
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,5
Details of Task: Produce a major work that connects your experience in the course and the course themes to a contemporary complex problem. Many students choose to examine a problem relevant to their discipline/s. The design prompt for this task is to: generate a critical or creative artefact that can be consumed in 10 minutes. Let your imagination run wild! We'll have an opportunity to informally share our ideas in the final week, and an optional Portfolio Plan can be submitted to provide formative feedback.
Nature of Task: Individual task.
Weighting: 50% total, Individual, Optional plan (10%), Optional weekly reflections (20%).
Release: Optional weekly reflections can commence from Week 1.
Due Date: Final portfolio due Friday Week 12. Late submissions or extensions permitted.
Optional tasks: Plan/Scoping Document due Friday Week 6; Weekly reflections via Wattle due Friday Week 9. Late submissions or extensions not permitted.
Note: Students submitting optional components may declare to have them included in the final grade, or not, at the time of the final submission.
Estimated Return Date: Feedback on each component provided within 2 weeks via Wattle.
Assessment Criteria: Assessment criteria and indicators available on Wattle.
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.
Students are bound to the Code of Practice for Student Academic Integrity. This includes provisions and directions on issues such as academic integrity, plagiarism and academic misconduct. All students should be familiar with the Code. 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Resubmission of Assignments
If you are in a position where you need to resubmit an assignment, please contact your course convenor.
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).
- ANU Health, safety & wellbeing for medical services, counselling, mental health and spiritual support
- ANU Access and inclusion for students with a disability or ongoing or chronic illness
- ANU Dean of Students for confidential, impartial advice and help to resolve problems between students and the academic or administrative areas of the University
- ANU Academic Skills and Learning Centre supports you make your own decisions about how you learn and manage your workload.
- ANU Counselling Centre promotes, supports and enhances mental health and wellbeing within the University student community.
- ANUSA supports and represents undergraduate and ANU College students
- PARSA supports and represents postgraduate and research students
Socio-technical systems, complex systems, interdisciplinary studies, education.