Course Outline

DES304 Sensing Environments

Course Coordinator:Leah Barclay ( School:School of Business and Creative Industries

2024Semester 1

UniSC Sunshine Coast

UniSC Moreton Bay

Blended learning Most of your course is on campus but you may be able to do some components of this course online.


Online You can do this course without coming onto campus.

Please go to for up to date information on the
teaching sessions and campuses where this course is usually offered.

What is this course about?


This course will give you a strong ecocritical grounding, practical fieldwork experience and fundamental audio-visual documentation skills to create work that responds to a diversity of environments and ecosystems. Through interdisciplinary practice which intersects sound, photography and design, you will focus on creative technologies and emerging methods for understanding and sensing changing environments. This course will introduce you to the potential of new technologies for creative practice including spatial audio, XR, drone photography and locative media.  

How will this course be delivered?

Activity Hours Beginning Week Frequency
Blended learning
Learning materials – Interactive online learning activities. 1hr Week 1 12 times
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – Scheduled face to face workshops. 2hrs Week 1 10 times
Fieldwork – Scheduled face to face field trips 2hrs Week 5 2 times
Learning materials – Interactive online learning activities. 1hr Week 1 12 times
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – Scheduled online workshops (recorded)/ 2hrs Week 1 10 times
Fieldwork – Scheduled virtual field trips (Recorded). 2hrs Week 5 2 times

Course Topics

First Nations perspectives
Understanding landscapes 
Seeing and listening in place  
Oceans, rivers and rainforests  
Photography and the environment 
Sonic geography and field recording 
Visualising place 
Sensory ecology 
Locative media 
Environmental mapping and monitoring 
The science of sound and photography 
Shifting perspectives 
Site-specific art and design  
Audio-visual post production 
Immersive environments

What level is this course?

300 Level (Graduate)

Demonstrating coherence and breadth or depth of knowledge and skills. Independent application of knowledge and skills in unfamiliar contexts. Meeting professional requirements and AQF descriptors for the degree. May require pre-requisites where discipline specific introductory or developing knowledge or skills is necessary. Normally undertaken in the third or fourth full-time study year of an undergraduate program.

What is the unit value of this course?

12 units

How does this course contribute to my learning?

Course Learning Outcomes On successful completion of this course, you should be able to... Graduate Qualities Completing these tasks successfully will contribute to you becoming...
1 Application of principles of environmental engagement and demonstrated ecological awareness Sustainability-focussed
2 Demonstrated application of the principles of image and audio quality, creativity and technical skills within a creative project Empowered
3 Recognise and reflect upon local, regional, and global perspectives in approaching creative practices. Engaged
4 Analyse and apply the post-production pipeline to a complex project. Empowered
5 Apply reflective practice, innovation and experimentation to design outcomes that are responsive and adaptable in diverse contexts to imagine, shape and navigate a future that is changing rapidly by design. Empowered
6 Apply design thinking, ethical practice, and inclusive design methods to generate innovative creative projects and original ideas for diverse contexts locally and internationally. Ethical
7 Apply design methods and creative thinking that respond to the SGDs including SGD 3 (health and well-being), SGD 11 (Sustainable cities and communities), SGD 13 (Climate Action), SDG 14 (Life Below Water), SGD 15 (Life on Land) Ethical

Am I eligible to enrol in this course?

Refer to the UniSC Glossary of terms for definitions of “pre-requisites, co-requisites and anti-requisites”.


Not applicable


Not applicable


Not applicable

Specific assumed prior knowledge and skills (where applicable)

Not applicable

How am I going to be assessed?

Grading Scale

Standard Grading (GRD)

High Distinction (HD), Distinction (DN), Credit (CR), Pass (PS), Fail (FL).

Details of early feedback on progress

Formative feedback on Task 1 will be provided in Week 4 during tutorials. Formative feedback on Task 2 and Task 3 will occur during field work. 

Assessment tasks

Delivery mode Task No. Assessment Product Individual or Group Weighting % What is the duration / length? When should I submit? Where should I submit it?
All 1 Artefact - Creative, and Written Piece Individual 30%
6-8 images, 3-5 minutes of audio, 250 words.
Week 6 Online Submission
All 2 Artefact - Creative, and Written Piece Individual 40%
6-8 minutes audio-visual piece, 500 words
Week 13 Online Submission
All 3 Artefact - Creative, and Written Piece Individual 30%
2000 word journal, supporting images and audio.
Exam Period Online Submission
All - Assessment Task 1:Digital Map
The goal of this task is to create a geolocated digital map with images and sound that demonstrate an ecological awareness and understanding of place and design principles.
Product: Artefact - Creative, and Written Piece
You will select one field location from the provided options and create 6-8 images and audio recordings (total duration of 3-5 minutes) for publication on an interaction geolocated digital map. The map can involve additional creative elements including drone footage and environmental data. The resulting work will be presented for public engagement with the geolocated maps accessible via a locative media project and mobile app on campus. 

The artefact will be accompanied by all project documentation including original images, audio recordings, journal and critical reflection (250 words) on the final artefact. 

Please refer to the Assessment 1 Folder on Canvas for the full project brief, along with relevant readings, links and information on the field locations.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Demonstrate and apply an ecological awareness and understanding of place, environment and design principles.
Application of the principles of image and audio quality, creativity and technical skills
Demonstrated understanding and application of inclusive design, ethical practice and cultural awareness
5 6
Application of innovation and experimentation in design outcomes and post-production.
4 5
All - Assessment Task 2:Temporal Transitions
Select one location and create multiple images, audio recordings and optional video that you will compose into an audio-visual experience to demonstrate environmental changes throughout a day.
Product: Artefact - Creative, and Written Piece
You will select one location (it could be a field site from class or a location you choose) and you will record audio and images. You will then compose these recordings of place into an audio-visual experience using the transition and editing techniques introduced in this course. Your final work will be rendered as an audio-visual piece of 6-8 minutes duration suitable for large-scale projections and gallery installations. 

The creative artefact could include examples of dawn, dusk, night and day and explore place from different perspectives drawing on sensory photography and acoustic ecology. The images and recordings should be focused on sensing the environment. The artefact will be accompanied by a 500-word report reflecting on the post production and location. 

Please refer to the Assessment 2 Folder on Canvas for the full project brief, along with relevant readings, links and examples.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Ability to describe, engage and reflect on the ecological, social and cultural contexts of the environment with a strong visual and auditory awareness.
Application of principles of image and audio quality, creativity, and technical implementation of the audio-visual transitions.
2 3
Application of technical skills and ability to manage digital assets in post production environments.
Application of environmental knowledge and cultural understanding in generating original ideas for diverse applications
Application of SGDs in creative outcomes
All - Assessment Task 3:Field Journal
The goal of this task is to create a field journal that reflects on the field experiences and documents the development of key ideas and concepts in text, images and sound.
Product: Artefact - Creative, and Written Piece
The field journal will document personal responses and critical reflections on field work, audio-visual artefacts and post production activities. The journal will document the process of creating audio-visual recordings in the field and will describe, engage and reflect on the ecological, social and cultural contexts of photography and sound recordings. 

The 2000-word journal will be presented online and can include images, sounds, maps, reflective field notes and must reference at least three of the course readings. You will be provided with feedback on your journal in week 11 prior to final submission. Across all our Creative Industries undergraduate programs, we are collecting data for assurance of learning purposes. This task is being used for measurement towards our School's Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation. The following Program Competency will be assessed is this Task: Ethical and cultural understanding (3).
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Demonstrated ecological awareness and understanding of place, environment and design principles
1 2
Ability to recognise and reflect upon local, regional, and global perspectives in approaching creative practices with environmental concerns
Demonstrated application of reflective practice, experimentation and critical thinking in field journal and design outcomes
5 6
Communication and professional presentation
1 2

Directed study hours

A 12-unit course will have total of 150 learning hours which will include directed study hours (including online if required), self-directed learning and completion of assessable tasks. Student workload is calculated at 12.5 learning hours per one unit.

What resources do I need to undertake this course?

Please note: Course information, including specific information of recommended readings, learning activities, resources, weekly readings, etc. are available on the course Canvas site– Please log in as soon as possible.

Prescribed text(s) or course reader

There are no required/recommended resources for this course.

Specific requirements

Not applicable

How are risks managed in this course?

Risk assessments have been performed for all field activities and low to moderate levels of health and safety risk exists. Moderate risks may include working in an Australian bush setting, working with people, working outside normal office hours for example. It is your responsibility to review course material, search online, discuss with lecturers and peers and understand the health and safety risks associated with your specific course of study and to familiarise yourself with the University’s general health and safety principles by reviewing the online induction training for students, and following the instructions of the University staff.

What administrative information is relevant to this course?

Assessment: Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the ethical standard of university participation.  It ensures that students graduate as a result of proving they are competent in their discipline.  This is integral in maintaining the value of academic qualifications. Each industry has expectations and standards of the skills and knowledge within that discipline and these are reflected in assessment.

Academic integrity means that you do not engage in any activity that is considered to be academic fraud; including plagiarism, collusion or outsourcing any part of any assessment item to any other person.  You are expected to be honest and ethical by completing all work yourself and indicating in your work which ideas and information were developed by you and which were taken from others. You cannot provide your assessment work to others. You are also expected to provide evidence of wide and critical reading, usually by using appropriate academic references.

In order to minimise incidents of academic fraud, this course may require that some of its assessment tasks, when submitted to Canvas, are electronically checked through Turnitin.  This software allows for text comparisons to be made between your submitted assessment item and all other work to which Turnitin has access.

Assessment: Additional Requirements

Your eligibility for supplementary assessment in a course is dependent of the following conditions applying:

The final mark is in the percentage range 47% to 49.4%
The course is graded using the Standard Grading scale
You have not failed an assessment task in the course due to academic misconduct.

Assessment: Submission penalties

Late submission of assessment tasks may be penalised at the following maximum rate: 
- 5% (of the assessment task's identified value) per day for the first two days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- 10% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the third day - 20% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the fourth day and subsequent days up to and including seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- A result of zero is awarded for an assessment task submitted after seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. Weekdays and weekends are included in the calculation of days late. To request an extension you must contact your course coordinator to negotiate an outcome.


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Study help

For help with course-specific advice, for example what information to include in your assessment, you should first contact your tutor, then your course coordinator, if needed.

If you require additional assistance, the Learning Advisers are trained professionals who are ready to help you develop a wide range of academic skills. Visit the Learning Advisers web page for more information, or contact Student Central for further assistance: +61 7 5430 2890 or

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Ability Advisers ensure equal access to all aspects of university life. If your studies are affected by a disability, learning disorder mental health issue, injury or illness, or you are a primary carer for someone with a disability or who is considered frail and aged, AccessAbility Services can provide access to appropriate reasonable adjustments and practical advice about the support and facilities available to you throughout the University.

To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 2890.

Links to relevant University policy and procedures

For more information on Academic Learning & Teaching categories including:

  • Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs
  • Review of Assessment and Final Grades
  • Supplementary Assessment
  • Central Examinations
  • Deferred Examinations
  • Student Conduct
  • Students with a Disability

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