Course Outline

HIS210 Explorations in Environmental History

Course Coordinator:Margaret Cook ( School:School of Law and Society

2022Semester 2

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 explores the relationship between humans and nature by examining the interactions between natural, social, and political processes across time. The approach will be chronological and thematic with a concentration on Australian environment. These will include Indigenous approaches to caring for Country, colonisation and land settlement, ‘natural’ disasters, the Murray-Darling Basin and climate change. The course explains how history can help us understand current environmental issues.  

How will this course be delivered?

Activity Hours Beginning Week Frequency
Blended learning
Learning materials – 1 hour online learning materials 1hr Week 1 13 times
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – On campus tutorial - 2 hours 2hrs Week 2 11 times
Learning materials – Online learning materials 1hr Week 1 13 times
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – Online weekly tutorial 2hrs Week 2 11 times

Course Topics

This course will  address what is environmental history from an Australian perspective. We will look at deep time, Aboriginal custodianship of Country, colonising the Empire, taming the land, (un)natural disasters, slow violence of drought, Great Barrier Reef, The Murray-Darling Basin, urban environment, environmental movements, the Anthroprocene and climate change.

What level is this course?

200 Level (Developing)

Building on and expanding the scope of introductory knowledge and skills, developing breadth or depth and applying knowledge and skills in a new context. May require pre-requisites where discipline specific introductory knowledge or skills is necessary. Normally, undertaken in the second or third full-time year of an undergraduate programs.

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 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of course material, learning materials and tutorial readings Knowledgeable
2 Demonstrate advanced historical research skills of primary and secondary sources. Creative and critical thinker
3 Demonstrate an ability to communicate effectively about environmental history in both written and oral formats Creative and critical thinker

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

Timely and detailed feedback is provided for each assessment. Feedback is provided both within text and general comments to build scholarly skills. Students are able to seek feedback through face-to-face discussion with the course coordinator. Tutorials will include extended discussion and review of the assessment task requirements and scope.

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 Quiz/zes Individual 20%
4 x short online quizzes in weeks 3, 5, 7 and 9
Throughout teaching period (refer to Format) Online Test (Quiz)
All 2 Oral Individual 35%
10 minutes
Throughout teaching period (refer to Format) In Class
All 3 Essay Individual 45%
2250 word essay
Exam Period Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All - Assessment Task 1:Quizzes
To demonstrate knowledge of Australian environmental history concepts, issues and debates to the early 21st century.
Product: Quiz/zes
Students will complete four (4) short online quizzes throughout semester in weeks 3, 5, 7 and 9. Each quiz will be worth five (5) marks and will contain a combination of multiple-choice and short answer questions. Quiz content will be drawn from the previous fortnight’s learning materials and the set readings. Students may refer to readings, learning materials and PowerPoints during the two-week periods the quiz is active.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Demonstration of knowledge and understanding of course material, learning material and tutorial readings
Ability to critically analyse course material in answers
All - Assessment Task 2:Oral Presentation
To demonstrate advanced research skills and application of knowledge and environmental history concepts through an oral presentation of a specific case study.
Product: Oral
Students will deliver a 10 minute PowerPoint presentation to the class in week 8, 9 or 10 on a self-chosen case study within Australia. Guidance on topics will be given in workshops.

The presentation should be engaging and professional in tone, be well illustrated and referenced (Harvard or Chicago 16) and follow a logical structure. Presentations should include primary evidence (historical sources).

The tutorial presentation needs to include the following:
•	A brief introduction to the topics/subject and region being represented (including map)
•	A brief explanation of how it demonstrates concepts/ debates of environmental history
•	A detailed history of the environmental and cultural conditions that shaped the area under discussion (including photographs and other visual material where appropriate)
•	Discussion of the key environmental and social drivers at work
•	A conclusion.
•	List of sources/bibliography slide
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Ability to present in an engaging and professional manner
Ability to research including primary and secondary sources
Extent of understanding of environmental history by applying critical analysis to a case study
Ability to reference appropriately and adhere to time limit
All - Assessment Task 3:Research Essay
To demonstrate advanced research skills and historical analysis of primary and secondary sources and communicate findings in an analytical essay.
Product: Essay
Choose one of the topics available on Canvas and write a 2250 word essay. Due in exam period.
In responding to the chosen topic, the essay should combine knowledge developed in the course with in-depth research of a specific environmental history theme or issue.  The essay must make extensive use of primary and secondary sources and may include visual material (e.g. maps, images) but this is not compulsory. 
The essay must be written using appropriate academic language and formatting and must be include references and a bibliography. The referencing style must be Harvard or Chicago 16A. Footnotes, captions and bibliography are not included in the word count.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Demonstrate ability to research, interpret and analyse primary and secondary sources
Demonstrate ability to write an analytical essay using appropriate academic language and structure (including argument).
Demonstrate understanding of the key ideas/ themes concepts of environmental history
Apply appropriate referencing and presentation

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.


Period and Topic Activities

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


How are risks managed in this course?

Health and safety risks for this course have been assessed as low. 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

Eligibility for Supplementary Assessment

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.


UniSC is committed to a culture of respect and providing a safe and supportive environment for all members of our community. For immediate assistance on campus contact SafeUSC by phone: 07 5430 1168 or using the SafeZone app. For general enquires contact the SafeUSC team by phone 07 5456 3864 or email

The SafeUSC Specialist Service is a Student Wellbeing service that provides free and confidential support to students who may have experienced or observed behaviour that could cause fear, offence or trauma. To contact the service call 07 5430 1226 or email

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

Wellbeing Services

Student Wellbeing provide free and confidential counselling on a wide range of personal, academic, social and psychological matters, to foster positive mental health and wellbeing for your academic success.

To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 1226.

AccessAbility Services

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
  • Administration of Central Examinations
  • Deferred Examinations
  • Student Academic Misconduct
  • Students with a Disability

For more information, visit

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General Enquiries

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