• Class Number 1511
  • Term Code 3420
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Topic On Campus
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Carolyn Hendriks
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 16/02/2024
  • Class End Date 19/04/2024
  • Census Date 01/03/2024
  • Last Date to Enrol 16/02/2024
SELT Survey Results

One of the central challenges in public policy is understanding and responding to the needs and interests of diverse publics. This course explores how governments and citizens tackle this challenge. Taught in an interactive mode, students in this course consider questions, such as: How do policy makers engage citizens in the policy process? How do citizens themselves seek to voice their concerns and exert influence on the policy process? What happens when their interests are mis-represented, misunderstood or ignored? What does meaningful citizen participation look like in an era of 24/7 news cycles and social media? In focusing on 'public' aspects of public policy, this course engages students in various democratic issues that surface in the public policy process. Through applied examples and case studies, students reflect on how democratic ideals, such as inclusion, participation, representation and legitimacy may be realised in contemporary governance. Practical attempts at participatory policy making will be examined and critiqued, including deliberative forums, community meetings, petitions, online engagement and social media. 

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate a working knowledge of key terms, concepts and ideas on citizen engagement and public talk in public policy.
  2. Critically engage with relevant practical and theoretical literature on the design and politics of citizen engagement and public talk in public policy.
  3. Engage and facilitate informed discussions on the practice, politics and challenges of engaging citizens in public policy.
  4. Critically analyse participatory forms of policy making drawing connections between theory and practice.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to think independently, develop informed perspectives and persuasively communicate in the field of public policy.

Required Resources

Each day is accompanied by a set of compulsory readings and other online resources (such as videos, blogs, and websites) which will be available on the course website (Wattle). 

It is an expectation that you engage with the set materials before each class. 

Remember the more you read and engage in the materials on public engagement, the more you will learn and get out of the course. 

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • Written comments to individuals on Assessment items 1, 3 and 4.
  • Written comments to groups on Assessment item 2 (Participatory Design Pitch)
  • Verbal feedback to the whole class on Assessment item 1 (Comparative Paper)

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 Day 1: Friday 16 February 2024Introduction and course overviewWe begin the course by exploring the question: who is 'the public' in public policy? Next we consider whether public participation in public policy is about assisting the development and implmentation of state policies, or opposing them, or both. With this discussion in mind we map the various spaces where citizens participate in public policy for example: via antagonistic protests and social movements, via structured participatory forums, and via grass-roots problem-solving efforts. Insisted spaces: protests, advocacy and digital participation In the interactive sessions on Day 1 we look in detail at the form and function of 'insisted spaces' in public policy. These are arenas created by citizens, groups and social movements to mobilize, organize and shape public policy outcomes. We consider a range of advocacy activities such as lobbying and campaigning, as well as more disruptive activities of protests and social movements.
We also discuss how Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) are changing the way citizens connect and relate to each other, and the opportunities (and risks) ICTs present to social movements, advocacy groups and associations.
Before class, please visit the course website (on Wattle) for details on readings and other activities to complete before class.

2 Day 2: Friday 23 February 2024Invited spaces: structured forms of public participation On Day 2, we look at spaces that are created (typically by governments, but occasionally civil society groups) to invite the public into the policy process. In these spaces citizens are formally invited to engage in public policy via structured participatory processes, most often to advise decision makers. We consider the normative and instrumental reasons for inviting the public into the policy process, and start to explore some of the participatory methods for doing so (we expand on this topic further on Days 3 and 4 in the Design Workshops). We also examine the various ways in which governments are using Information and Communications Technologies ICTs to engage and connect with the public. Before class, please visit the course website (on Wattle) for details on readings and other activities to complete before class.
3 Days 3 & 4 : Friday 1 March & Friday 8 March 2024
Participatory Design Workshops I & II
On Days 3 and 4 we will workshop the principles and practical craft of how to design 'invited spaces'. Throughout both days we will explore and critically analyse various norms, concepts and practical processes for participatory design. Through applied examples and case studies, we will reflect on how democratic ideals, such as inclusion, participation, representation and legitimacy are operationalised in contemporary participatory design. The workshops will explore frameworks and resources for designing effective participatory processes. We also consider some of the common questions and challenges facing participatory designers such as:•  Who is the target group and how will they be engaged?•  How will you avoid participatory fatigue and over-consultation?•  Who is likely to be excluded by the process?•  How will you ensure that public engagement is meaningful i.e. that decision makers listen? On Day 3 students will be allocated a Design Group for their Participatory Design Pitch assessment task. Students will be given time on Days 3 and 4 to work in their group on their Pitch.
Before class, please visit the course website (on Wattle) for details on readings and other activities to complete before class.
On Day 4, students will present their group assessment task, the Participatory Design Pitch.
4 See session 3 information
5 Day 5: Friday 15 March 2024
Design Pitches On Day 5 groups will ‘pitch’ their participatory design to the class. Collectively we will discuss each design and explore strategies to strengthen each design. Following the pitches the class will reflect on their own personal experiences of participating and deliberating in small groups.
Introduction to citizen-led governance spacesIn the workshop session on Day 5 we will discuss 'citizen-led governance spaces', which are bottom-up or grassroots efforts to solve collective problems. These community initiatives typically emerge when citizens are frustrated with the policy status quo, and they see pathways for addressing a public problem. In contrast to invited spaces, citizens in 'citizen-led governance spaces' can exercise considerable agency in public policy by determining how they want to work with state and market actors.  
Before class, please visit the course website (on Wattle) for details on readings and other activities to complete before class.
6 Day 6: Friday 22 March 2024
Citizen-led Governance Spaces On Day 6 we look further at 'citizen-led governance spaces', and consider the opportunities and challenges they create for citizens, civil society, governments, public policy and democracy more broadly. Students will spend time in class discussing and selecting a ‘citizen-led governance space’ (or grassroots/community-based initiative) for their final assessment task (the Case Study).
Future Trends and Themes in Public Engagement In the workshop session of Day 6 we summarise key themes across the course and discuss future trends in public participation.

Before class, please visit the course website (on Wattle) for details on readings and other activities to complete before class.


Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Quiz (15% individual mark) 15 % 20/02/2024 29/02/2024 1,2,4,5
Participatory Design Pitch (30% group mark) 30 % 15/03/2024 20/03/2024 1,2,3,5
Design Reflection (20% individual mark) 20 % 25/03/2024 05/04/2024 1,2,3,4,5
Case Study (35% individual mark) 35 % 15/04/2024 13/05/2024 1,2,4,5

* 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 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.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 20/02/2024
Return of Assessment: 29/02/2024
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4,5

Quiz (15% individual mark)

This assessment task requires you to complete a short quiz (online) on the first type of participatory space considered in the course, insisted spaces (Day 1). The online quiz will require students to write short responses to questions on: the nature of the participatory space, different ways that the public can participate in the space, and the benefits and risks the space presents to citizens, governments and public policy.

Assessment Criteria

•  Comprehension and focus on set questions (Learning Outcome 5)

•  Understanding of key concepts and ideas (Learning Outcome 1)

•  Critical engagement in course literature (Learning Outcome 2)

•  Demonstrated capacity to connect participatory concepts to practice (Learning Outcome 4)

•  Clarity of expression and argumentation (Learning Outcome 5)


Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 15/03/2024
Return of Assessment: 20/03/2024
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,5

Participatory Design Pitch (30% group mark)

Students will work together in small groups to develop a 'participatory design pitch' for a specific public problem/policy issue. Each group will play the role of a community engagement consultancy firm that has been asked to submit a participatory design for a specified client on a specified policy problem. Groups will be allocated in Day 3, and each group will each consider a different policy problem, with different clients. There will be time set aside on Days 3 and 4 for students to work in groups to develop their participatory design pitch. 

This task requires you to:

  • Consider the allocated scenario (each group will have a different scenario to consider)
  • Engage in the practical and theoretical literature on participatory design in order to develop a design for your allocated scenario
  • Prepare and present a presentation (on Day 5) in which the group ‘pitches’ its design to the class, followed by a question and answer session.

The Pitch needs to provide an overview of the design process and its proposal, and engage the class in discussion on the design. During your presentation, your group should outline the following aspects of your participatory design concept:

  • Briefly summarise the scenario and the central policy problem
  • Make clear any assumptions that your group made about your scenario
  • Outline the group's design process
  • Who are the affected publics?
  • How will different affected publics be selected/recruited, and how will they participate?
  • What is the timeline for the design?
  • What are the expected benefits and possible risks?

 Assessment criteria

  • Understanding and focus on the set task (Learning Outcome 5)
  • Demonstration of participatory design principles informed by relevant literature (Learning Outcomes 1 and 2)
  • Evidence of inclusive and effective group work (Learning outcome 3)
  • Engaging the class in a discussion on the design (Learning outcome 3)
  • Effective and persuasive communication of participatory ideas and design (Learning outcome 5)


Assessment Task 3

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 25/03/2024
Return of Assessment: 05/04/2024
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Design Reflection (20% individual mark)

1200 words (not including refs)


Following the design pitches, each student will write a paper reflecting on how they personally experienced the group design process, and how they would revise the original design proposal based on class feedback and further reading. The paper should be written in first person, and consider the following questions:

·        Reflecting on the process of the Participatory Design, what aspect of the design process worked well and what could have been improved?

·        How would you personally revise your group’s Design Concept based on class discussions, ideas from other presentations and subsequent readings?

·        What has been the key learning for you from this course about effective participatory design in public policy?


 Assessment criteria

•      Focus on the set task (Learning Outcome 5)

•      Understanding of relevant concepts and ideas (Learning Outcome 1)

•      Evidence of reflection on comments and feedback from class discussion (Learning outcome 3)

•      Revision of original design concept drawing on feedback and relevant practical and scholarly literature (Learning Outcomes 2 and 4)

•      Critical reflection on the process and product of participatory design (Learning outcome 4)

•      Clarity of organisational structure and expression (Learning Outcome 5)


Assessment Task 4

Value: 35 %
Due Date: 15/04/2024
Return of Assessment: 13/05/2024
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4,5

Case Study (35% individual mark)

 2000 words (not including refs)

You are required to identify and discuss a case study of a contemporary ‘citizen-led governance space’ – a topic we will explore on Days 5 & 6. The case study should be based on your own desktop research, rather than one that has been written up in a scholarly article.

This assessment task is designed to increase your skills in researching, analysing and discussing how citizens engage in public policy. Students are asked to use the internet to research and find a case where citizens have taken a collective, grass-roots approach to governing a particular public problem, for example energy reform, crime, social issues, planning issues, pollution, care, immigration etc. the initiative has been instigated, and is run, by citizens.

To find a suitable 'citizen-led governance space' (CGS) for their case study, students should look for citizens' initiatives/grassroots community groups with the following characteristics:

  • It was founded and is run by citizens
  • Citizens participate by taking pragmatic steps to resolve a specific policy problem (i.e. they are not just protesting against something, or providing recommendations to policy makers, but actually doing the governing).
  • The citizens leading the CGS adopt a participatory approach to governing (for example, they use participatory procedures to engage other citizens)

Once you have found a suitable case study, students need to write a case study that addresses the following questions:

  •  What ‘public problem’ are the citizens trying to solve?
  •  How did the citizens self-organise into a CGS?
  • How are the citizens self-governing themselves? (e.g. how are decisions internal to the group being made, who is involved etc.)
  • What participatory methods (if any) are they using to engage or mobilise other citizens (or the broader public)?
  • In your assessment, how inclusive is the CGS of other citizens?
  • How does your CGS case interact with the state (cooperatively, selectively, at arms-length, or in another manner)?
  • How does this case inform ideas in the scholarly literature on citizen-led governance/community-based initiatives?

Assessment criteria

  • Comprehension and focus on set task (Learning Outcome 5)
  • Understanding of relevant concepts and ideas (Learning Outcome 1)
  • Evidence of extensive (desktop) research (Learning Outcomes 2 and 5)
  • Connection of case to relevant scholarly literature (Learning Outcome 2)
  • Original analysis (not just description) of the case (Learning outcome 4)
  • Clarity of organisational structure and expression (Learning Outcome 5)


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 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.

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).

Prof Carolyn Hendriks
02 6125 7557

Research Interests

citizen engagement, public participation, communities, democratic aspects of public policy including forms of collective action, political representation, inclusion and legitimacy, deliberative democracy

Prof Carolyn Hendriks

By Appointment

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