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CIVL5320: Engineering for Sustainable Development (2020 - Semester 2)

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Unit: CIVL5320: Engineering for Sustainable Development (6 CP)
Mode: Normal-Day
On Offer: Yes
Level: Postgraduate
Faculty/School: School of Civil Engineering
Unit Coordinator/s: Dr. Opdyke, Aaron
Session options: Semester 2
Versions for this Unit:
Site(s) for this Unit:
Campus: Camperdown/Darlington
Pre-Requisites: CIVL3310 OR CIVL9310.
Brief Handbook Description: This unit of study is intended to provide engineering students with an understanding of principles of engineering for sustainable development. Topics will include the history of international development and foreign aid, engineering program and project tools for working with developing communities, and exploration of current trends in areas of development practice. Material will focus on the application of engineering in developing and indigenous communities, humanitarian response, and broader society. Students will learn to engage with marginalized communities on addressing complex and uncertain problems using systems thinking, inter-disciplinary approaches, partnerships, and policy. This unit of study is a requirement to complete the Humanitarian Engineering major and is open to all undergraduate engineering students who have completed CIVL 3310 or CIVL 9310.
Assumed Knowledge: None.
Tutor/s: Luke Gordon
Timetable: CIVL5320 Timetable
Time Commitment:
# Activity Name Hours per Week Sessions per Week Weeks per Semester
1 Lecture 2.00 1 13
2 Tutorial 2.00 1 12
3 Independent Study 8.00 1 13
T&L Activities: The unit of study will be delivered through 2 hours of lectures each week. There will be a 2 hour tutorial commencing from week 2. The tutorial will facilitate laboratory and practical activities.

Attributes listed here represent the key course goals (see Course Map tab) designated for this unit. The list below describes how these attributes are developed through practice in the unit. See Learning Outcomes and Assessment tabs for details of how these attributes are assessed.

Attribute Development Method Attribute Developed
Students will learn about the history and theories of development and humanitarian sectors through readings and in-class discussion and debate. (2) Engineering/ IT Specialisation (Level 4)
Students will design an engineering solution to a development challenge with a development or humanitarian organisation with limited data, limited resources, and social constraints. (3) Problem Solving and Inventiveness (Level 4)
Students will engage in a semester-long practical project with a development or humanitarian organisation to develop and design a solution to address practical challenge, applying appraisal tools, engineering design, and monitoring and evaluation frameworks. (4) Design (Level 5)
Students will work in interdisciplinary teams to translate engineering designs into policy recommendations for a partner organisation. Additional activities will include simulations to build cross-cultural competency skills. (5) Interdisciplinary, Inclusiveness, Influence (Level 5)
Students will disseminate findings through general and technical writing as well as and oral presentations with and without visual aids. (6) Communication and Inquiry/ Research (Level 4)
Students will work in project teams to appraise, plan, and design an engineering project for a developing community. (7) Project and Team Skills (Level 4)
Students will work with a partner organisation on applied engineering work to understand the complexities of working with developing communities and associated ethical dilemmas that arise. (8) Professional Effectiveness and Ethical Conduct (Level 5)

For explanation of attributes and levels see Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table 2018.

Learning outcomes are the key abilities and knowledge that will be assessed in this unit. They are listed according to the course goal supported by each. See Assessment Tab for details how each outcome is assessed.

(7) Project and Team Skills (Level 4)
1. Employ appropriate teamwork skills across project phases to address development challenges.
(8) Professional Effectiveness and Ethical Conduct (Level 5)
2. Apply ethical and appropriate judgement in development practice while introspectively examining positionality.
(6) Communication and Inquiry/ Research (Level 4)
3. Convey engineering analysis to multi-cultural audiences to inform effective technical solutions and policy recommendations.
(5) Interdisciplinary, Inclusiveness, Influence (Level 5)
4. Choose participative approaches and tools in project planning, implementation, and evaluation to inform more inclusive engineering designs.
(3) Problem Solving and Inventiveness (Level 4)
5. Develop sustainable engineering solutions using incomplete or limited data from multiple sources to address complex social, economic, and environmental challenges facing developing communities.
(4) Design (Level 5)
6. Apply engineering toolsets to needs assessment, project planning, monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEAL) in developing community contexts.
(2) Engineering/ IT Specialisation (Level 4)
7. Understand the history and legacy of engineering in development and humanitarian practice.
8. Converse in and critically examine sustainable development theories, frameworks, and debates.
Assessment Methods:
# Name Group Weight Due Week Outcomes
1 Weekly Reading Questions & Lecture Participation No 20.00 Multiple Weeks 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,
2 Tutorial Participation No 15.00 Multiple Weeks 4, 5, 6, 8,
3 Development Discourse Presentation No 5.00 Multiple Weeks 3, 8,
4 Project Terms of Reference Yes 5.00 Week 4 1, 2, 3, 6,
5 Project Progress Report Yes 10.00 Week 8 1, 2, 3, 6,
6 Project Presentation Yes 10.00 Week 13 1, 2, 3, 6,
7 Final Report Yes 30.00 Exam Period 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
8 Policy Note Yes 5.00 Exam Period 1, 2, 3, 6,
Assessment Description: Any changes to the assessment schedule below will be communicated to the student in the first week during lecture and via Canvas.

Task 1. Students will submit discussion questions to Canvas prior to lectures from the assigned weekly readings. Questions will be submitted each week and used to guide lecture content. Assessment will be based on the quality of questions and demonstration of concepts in the reading material as well as participation in lectures.

Task 2. Tutorial activities will include virtual reality sessions, simulations, and lab exercises. Short reflections and associated activities will be assessed.

Task 3. Students will find a development or humanitarian article or report of their choosing and given a 3-5 minute presentation during lecture for a selected week. The presentation should provide a concise summary of the topic, what was learned, and how it ties back to the broader scope of engineering for sustainable development. Students will be assessed on the relevance of the topic and ability to communicate concisely. Sign-ups for a week to present will be provided during the first week of class.

Students will be assigned to interdisciplinary engineering teams to work with a partner development or humanitarian organisation over the course of the semester. The following tasks will be completed in these groups during the semester:

Task 4. Students will submit a terms of reference (TOR) document (1,500 words) which details their project scope of work, objectives, roles and responsibilities, and work breakdown structure.

Task 5. A mid-term project report (3,000 words) will be submitted to show progress toward final deliverables.

Task 6. During the final lecture/tutorial, students will give a 20-minute presentation discussing their analysis and results from project activities. Partner organisations will be invited to attend.

Task 7. A final report (10,000 words) will be the final submission outlining conducted needs assessment, analysis, and recommendations. An executive summary, not more than 500 words should be included which summarises the project work. More information on specific sections required will be posted to the Canvas page.

Task 8. Teams will submit a standalone policy note (500 words) which proposes policy changes (international, national, or local) based on project activities.

A late penalty of 5% per day will assessed on all assignments turned in after the deadline. Assignments submitted after 10 days will not be accepted. The University has authorised and mandated the use of text-based similarity detecting software Turnitin for all text-based written assignments.
Grade Type Description
Standards Based Assessment Final grades in this unit are awarded at levels of HD for High Distinction, DI (previously D) for Distinction, CR for Credit, PS (previously P) for Pass and FA (previously F) for Fail as defined by University of Sydney Assessment Policy. Details of the Assessment Policy are available on the Policies website at . Standards for grades in individual assessment tasks and the summative method for obtaining a final mark in the unit will be set out in a marking guide supplied by the unit coordinator.
Online Course Content: Canvas contains the course information and more information on the HE major can be found here:
Note on Resources: All readings for the class will be posted as pdf files on the unit Canvas page. A detailed list of weekly readings will be provided during the first week.

Note that the "Weeks" referred to in this Schedule are those of the official university semester calendar

Week Description
Week 1 Lecture: What is Sustainable Development?
Week 2 Lecture: History and Theories of Development and Humanitarianism
Tutorial: Introduction to Project
Week 3 Lecture: Poverty – Definitions and Dynamics
Tutorial: Poverty Baskets (Activity)
Week 4 Tutorial: Faces of ‘the Traps’ (VR Lab)
Lecture: Development Paradigms
Assessment Due: Project Terms of Reference
Week 5 Lecture: Needs Assessment and Project Appraisal
Tutorial: Needs Assessment (VR Lab)
Week 6 Lecture: Project Planning and Data in Development
Tutorial: Digital Mapping in Emergencies (OpenStreetMap Lab)
Week 7 Tutorial: Working Across Cultures (Activity)
Lecture: Participation and Power
Week 8 Lecture: Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEAL)
Tutorial: Project Work Session
Assessment Due: Project Progress Report
Week 9 Lecture: Global Health
Tutorial: Health in Emergencies (VR Lab)
Week 10 Tutorial: Project Work Session
Lecture: Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH), Energy, and Food Security
Week 11 Lecture: Transportation, Housing, and Urbanization
Tutorial: Project Work Session
Week 12 Lecture: Doing Development Differently, Fieldwork, and Professional Issues in Aid
Tutorial: Project Work Session
Week 13 Tutorial: Project Presentations
Lecture: Project Presentations
Assessment Due: Project Presentation
Exam Period Assessment Due: Final Report
Assessment Due: Policy Note

Course Relations

The following is a list of courses which have added this Unit to their structure.

Course Year(s) Offered
Master of Professional Engineering (Sustainability and Environmental Engineering) 2021
Biomedical Mid-Year 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Biomedical 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Civil/ Project Management 2019, 2020
Civil 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021
Civil / Arts 2016, 2017
Civil / Project Management 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Civil / Science 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Civil/Science (Health) 2018, 2019, 2020
Civil Mid-Year 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021
Civil/Science (Medical Science Stream) 2018, 2019, 2020
Master of Engineering 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Master of Professional Engineering (Accelerated) (Civil) 2019, 2020
Master of Professional Engineering (Accelerated) (Fluids) 2019, 2020
Master of Professional Engineering (Accelerated) (Geomechanical) 2019, 2020
Master of Professional Engineering (Accelerated) (Structural) 2019, 2020
Master of Professional Engineering (Civil) 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Master of Professional Engineering (Fluids) 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Master of Professional Engineering (Geomechanical) 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Master of Professional Engineering (Structural) 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020

Course Goals

This unit contributes to the achievement of the following course goals:

Attribute Practiced Assessed
(7) Project and Team Skills (Level 4) Yes 6%
(8) Professional Effectiveness and Ethical Conduct (Level 5) Yes 6%
(6) Communication and Inquiry/ Research (Level 4) Yes 23%
(5) Interdisciplinary, Inclusiveness, Influence (Level 5) Yes 6.5%
(3) Problem Solving and Inventiveness (Level 4) Yes 9.5%
(4) Design (Level 5) Yes 34%
(2) Engineering/ IT Specialisation (Level 4) Yes 15%

These goals are selected from Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table 2018 which defines overall goals for courses where this unit is primarily offered. See Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table 2018 for details of the attributes and levels to be developed in the course as a whole. Percentage figures alongside each course goal provide a rough indication of their relative weighting in assessment for this unit. Note that not all goals are necessarily part of assessment. Some may be more about practice activity. See Learning outcomes for details of what is assessed in relation to each goal and Assessment for details of how the outcome is assessed. See Attributes for details of practice provided for each goal.