Course Outline

OES240 Leading Groups in Outdoor Environments

Course Coordinator:Glyn Thomas ( School:School of Education and Tertiary Access

2022Semester 1

USC Sunshine Coast

USC Moreton Bay

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

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

What is this course about?


In this course you will be introduced to the theories and practices that underpin effective small group leadership in the context of outdoor/environmental education. You will get opportunities to apply, analyse, and critique leadership skills in structured experiences with peers using a range of activities and non-motorised form of outdoor travel. You will also learn how to optimise participant safety, manage risks, and improve learning when leading groups in outdoor environments.
You'll need to be aware of the physical components and location requirements of the course. If you have a disability, medical condition or any concerns that may affect your potential participation in some of the practical components of the course, you are invited to discuss your options with the course coordinator.

How will this course be delivered?

Activity Hours Beginning Week Frequency
Blended learning
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – There will be a series of 2hour workshops throughout the semester. Attendance at some of these workshops will be a requirement as they serve as preparatory work and development or required safety knowledge for the completion of fieldwork. The schedule of tutorials/workshops will be available in Canvas 2hrs Week 1 8 times
Fieldwork – There will be two x single day fieldwork trips and one x 3 day fieldwork trips. The fieldwork requires off-campus activities. The detials of the fieldwork trips will be identified in Canvas 8hrs Throughout teaching period (refer to Format) 5 times
Learning materials – You will also engage with asynchonised online learning materials to support your learning and preparation for fieldwork. 1hr Week 1 8 times

Course Topics

Conditional Outdoor Leadership Theory; Experiential education theory; Group facilitation; Group leadership theory; Direct skill instruction; Social Psychology (attribution, self-efficacy and motivation theories); Student/participant safety; Risk management theories and practices; Leadership case studies & Field trips

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 Mapping Completing these tasks successfully will contribute to you becoming... Professional Standard Mapping * ALTC Threshold Learning Outcomes
1 Analyse and evaluate the use of group facilitation, experiential education, and instructional approaches when leading groups in outdoor environments. Creative and critical thinker
1, 2, 7
2 Apply and use judgement in decision making, regarding group safety and facilitation to enhance learning through outdoor experiences. Empowered
5, 6
3 Facilitate environmental interpretive activities with peers. Creative and critical thinker
1, 2, 3, 4, 6
4 Develop and apply personal and professional skills while leading peers in outdoor environments. Engaged
5, 7

* Competencies by Professional Body

ALTC Threshold Learning Outcomes
1 Outdoor educators create opportunities for experiential learning
2 Outdoor educators use pedagogies that align their program’s purpose and practice
3 Outdoor educators are place-responsive, and see their work as a social, cultural and environmental endeavour
4 Outdoor educators advocate for social and environmental justice
5 Outdoor educators continue to develop their skills, knowledge and expertise
6 Outdoor educators understand safety and apply a strict aversion to fatalities
7 Outdoor educators routinely engage in reflective practice

Am I eligible to enrol in this course?

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


OES101 or enrolled in Program ED112




Not applicable

Specific assumed prior knowledge and skills (where 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

Students will submit Assessment Task 1 in week 3. Prior to submission, students will discuss in tutorials the case studies they plan to use in the task and receive peer-feedback on their ideas.  

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 Oral Individual 25%
8-10 minute video-recorded presentation.
Week 4 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All 2 Oral and Written Piece Group 30%
1000 word plan, and led bushwalking session.
Refer to Format Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All 3 Essay Individual 45%
3 x 750 word reflections over semester
Throughout teaching period (refer to Format) Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All - Assessment Task 1:Outdoor leadership analysis and critique
In this task you will use Conditional Outdoor Leadership Theory to assess the appropriatenessof the leadership style used in two self-selected case-studies. You will also critique the theory and suggest any improvements for its application to leading groups in outdoor environments.
Product: Oral
8-10 minute multi-media presentation of your analysis of two case studies.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Presentation and analysis of outdoor leadership case studies
1 2
Application and critique of conditional outdoor leadership theory
1 2
Oral communication
All - Assessment Task 2:Outdoor leadership session with peers
This task gives you the opportunity to apply experiential education principles to plan and lead one day of a three-day bushwalking trip with peers. The plan and leadership session will include specific environmental interpretation activities throughout the day.
Product: Oral and Written Piece
You will work with a small group of 2-3 peers to safely plan one of the days of the three-day bushwalk including some environmental activities. You will submit a 2-3 page plan of the leadership plan, outlining the walking route, leadership practices, safety strategies,  and environmental activities planned.
Submit: Plan due at 4pm, Friday, week 7.
Leadership session on bushwalking 
field trip.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Planning and leadership of a bushwalking activity to optimise safety and engagement of group.
1 2 3
Design and facilitation of an environmental interpretive activity to improve environmental awareness, understanding, and appreciation.
3 4
Oral communication skills
3 4
All - Assessment Task 3:Take-home exam
To assess higher order thinking using a take-home exam format.
Product: Essay
In this task you will complete 3  x 750 word short essays on range of outdoor
leadership topics. You will use theories and models in the outdoor leadership literature in addition to your own reflections recorded in your learning journal. 
Submit: 4pm Friday, weeks 5. 11, and 13.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Application of outdoor leadership theories to outdoor leadership contexts.
Analysis of outdoor leadership theories and their ability to inform outdoor leadership practice.
Written communication skills and academic literacies including English expression, grammar, spelling, punctuation, APA referencing conventions

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. Directed study hours may vary by location. 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

OES240 is structured to provide you with a sequence of fieldwork experiences that equip you with the knowledge and practical skills necessary to meet industry established safety standards. It is therefore an expectation of both the University and our industry partners that you will participate in all of the directed study activities (learning materials, tutorials and fieldwork) and demonstrate satisfactory proficiency in the safety- related activities required for safe participation in fieldwork within this course and other OES courses in your program. You are required to complete the WHS fieldwork induction and successfully complete the quiz before the first practical session and wear appropriate clothing for fieldwork activities. Reasonable alternatives will be provided for students who cannot attend fieldtrips because of circumstances beyond their control. 
You will need to provide the following items for the practical field trips components of the trip: suitable clothing for all weather contingencies; a sleeping mat; a sleeping bag; and other personal camping equipment. Tents and stoves will be provided to students.
Please note that course information, including specific information of learning activities, resources, weekly readings, etc. are available on Canvas. Please log in as soon as possible.

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

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.


USC 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

Visit the USC website:

Student Charter

USC is committed to excellence in teaching, research and engagement in an environment that is inclusive, inspiring, safe and respectful. The Student Charter sets out what students can expect from the University, and what in turn is expected of students, to achieve these outcomes.

General Enquiries

  • In person:
    • USC Sunshine Coast - Student Central, Ground Floor, Building C, 90 Sippy Downs Drive, Sippy Downs
    • USC Moreton Bay - Service Centre, Ground Floor, Foundation Building, Gympie Road, Petrie
    • USC SouthBank - Student Central, Building A4 (SW1), 52 Merivale Street, South Brisbane
    • USC Gympie - Student Central, 71 Cartwright Road, Gympie
    • USC Fraser Coast - Student Central, Student Central, Building A, 161 Old Maryborough Rd, Hervey Bay
    • USC Caboolture - Student Central, Level 1 Building J, Cnr Manley and Tallon Street, Caboolture
  • Tel:+61 7 5430 2890