Course Outline

SUS302 Sustainability Problem Solving

Course Coordinator:Brian Stockwell ( School:School of Law and Society

2023Semester 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?


Can we fix it? You'll learn critical, strategic and lateral-thinking skills in this advanced sustainability course. Sustainability issues are explored in dynamic and future contexts using the contemporary concepts of vulnerability, adaptation, adaptive capacity and resilience. You'll gain valuable experience in the use of analytical and creative tools including systems thinking, complexity mapping software, mental models, and scenario development. Sustainability problems? You'll be the one to call.

How will this course be delivered?

Activity Hours Beginning Week Frequency
Blended learning
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – On Campus Workshop 2 Hours 2hrs Week 1 13 times
Learning materials – 1 hour online content for individual preparation 1hr Week 1 13 times
Learning materials – 1 hour online content for individual preparation 1hr Week 1 13 times
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – Online Workshop 2 Hours 2hrs Week 1 13 times

Course Topics

Pre-course material

Introduction and assessment


Sustainability Issues Analysis

Possible Solutions

Core concepts – Resilience, Vulnerability, Risk, Outrage and Trends

Project Planning

Monitoring and Evaluation

Case Studies

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 Identify and describe sustainability issues with reference to sustainability theory and practice. Empowered
2 Recognise complex linkages and feedback mechanisms between social and ecological contexts to identify barriers to and opportunities for sustainable systems. Creative and critical thinker
3 Reflect on sustainability strategies to propose sustainable solutions to contemporary problems. Creative and critical thinker
4 Draw on research and sustainability frameworks to imagine and evaluate novel and alternative futures. Creative and critical thinker
5 Utilise a range of contemporary and practical communication strategies for the effective dissemination of sustainability knowledge and ideas. Engaged

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”.


2 SUS coded courses including SUS101


Not applicable


Not applicable

Specific assumed prior knowledge and skills (where applicable)

Foundation and developing knowledge in sustainability principles, theory and application

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 can seek feedback through in-class peer and self-assessments and from 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 Artefact - Creative Individual 30%
A1 Size poster , plus 300 words conference leaflet
Week 4 Online Submission
All 2 Written Piece Individual 30%
750 words
Week 7 Online Submission
All 3 Case Study Individual 40%
2000 words
Week 13 Online Submission
All - Assessment Task 1:Conference poster: Systems thinking analysis
To apply systems thinking to analyse a complex sustainability issue and identify barriers to, and opportunities for, achieving sustainability within systems.
Product: Artefact - Creative
Individual conference poster (A1 in size) suitable for presentation to sustainability professionals. 

A one page conference leaflet (300 words)
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Present a clear, concise and independent description of an issue and who or what is affected
1 2 3 5
Evaluate the relevance to, and implications for, sustainability
1 2 3 5
Use research and evidence-based resources
4 5
Ensure the quality of syntax and mechanics of your policy brief
All - Assessment Task 2:Project Brief with a monitoring and evaluation plan
To critically reflect on the barriers and opportunities identified to propose a potential strategy for sustainability
Product: Written Piece
Format Individual 750 word project brief (excluding references).

Further task instructions will be provided on Canvas
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Apply systems thinking to analyse a sustainability issue and identify drivers, relay variables and impacts
1 2 5
Critically reflect on the barriers and opportunities identified to propose a potential strategy for sustainability
1 2 5
Use effective presentation techniques that consider the target audience
Use research and evidence-based resources
1 2 5
All - Assessment Task 3:Case study: applying problem solving framework to complex sustainability issues
To demonstrate your ability to evaluate a sustainability problem and its components, their dimensions, states and interdependencies to draw logical links towards creating a more sustainable future.
Product: Case Study
Individual 2000 word case study report.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Describe a sustainability issue and implications for the future
1 2 3 4 5
Present an imaginative and preferred future scenario for the sustainability issue
2 3 4 5
Develop plausible strategies for achieving the preferred future
2 3 4 5
Use research and evidence-based resources

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


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

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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The SafeUniSC 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

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

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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

For more information, visit

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General Enquiries

  • In person:
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    • UniSC Moreton Bay - Service Centre, Ground Floor, Foundation Building, Gympie Road, Petrie
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