Course Outline

SWK302 Community Development and Social Action

Course Coordinator:Athena Lathouras ( School:School of Law and Society

2023Semester 2

UniSC Sunshine Coast

UniSC Moreton Bay

UniSC Fraser Coast

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?


Community development practice approaches are increasingly important in our globalised world that is characterised by populism, capitalism,patriarchy, cultural imperialism, environmental exploitation and climate change. Additionally, the concepts found within this field are contested, representing diverse meanings are where funded by government are fraught with conflicting political agendas. To prepare you for these realities, this course will explore theoretical and practice dimensions of a critical-relational method to community building.

How will this course be delivered?

Activity Hours Beginning Week Frequency
Blended learning
Learning materials – One hour weekly online preparation tasks 1hr Week 1 13 times
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – 13 x 2 hour tutorials 2hrs Week 1 13 times
Learning materials – One hour weekly online workshop preparation tasks 1hr Week 1 13 times
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – Tutorials will be conducted via Zoom at a scheduled time. 2hrs Week 1 13 times

Course Topics

Intro to Community Development; Foundational Concepts; Modernist and Postmodernist Interpretations of ‘Community’; What is Development?; Social Action and Protest Movements; Micro Method and Dialogue; Mezzo Method and Forming Participatory Action Groups; The Spiral Model of Community Education; The Elicitive Model of Group Facilitation.

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 Mapping Completing these tasks successfully will contribute to you becoming... Professional Standard Mapping * Australian Association of Social Workers
1 Demonstrated understanding of community development theory and practice as a means to work collectively with groups Empowered
3, 3.1, 4, 4.4, 5, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 6.3
2 Demonstrated critical understanding of the inequality in our socio-political structures Sustainability-focussed
4.1, 4.2
3 Demonstrated understanding of the political implications and the value base in moving a private concern to a public action Sustainability-focussed
4, 4.2, 5, 5.2, 6
4 Ability to identify and demonstrate purposeful steps that structure community development processes Empowered
4, 5, 5.3, 6
5 Demonstrated awareness of effective interpersonal skills, including group work, public speaking and the use of community development discourses Empowered
5, 5.2, 6, 6.1, 6.3
6 Analyse the practical approaches of a practitioner/activist Sustainability-focussed
4, 4.2, 4.4

* Competencies by Professional Body

Australian Association of Social Workers
3 Culturally responsive and inclusive practice
3.1 Work inclusively and respectfully with cultural difference and diversity
4 Knowledge for practice
4.1 Understand higher level systemic influences on people with respect to area of practice
4.2 Understand and articulate social work and other relevant theories and concepts
4.4 Understand and articulate how and when theories, knowledge bases and knowledge sources inform practice
5 Applying knowledge to practice
5.2 Work collaboratively
5.3 Use a range of social work methods and techniques appropriate to the area of practice
5.4 Apply critical and reflective thinking to practice
6 Communication and interpersonal skills
6.1 Communicate with a diverse range of people
6.3 Work with others in a team environment

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

Student form presentation groups in Week 2 and during the next two weeks share research undertaken for the first assessment piece.  They receive feedback from members of the peer group prior to the first assessment task being presented.  ​ 

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 Activity Participation Individual 10%
13 tutorials
Throughout teaching period (refer to Format) In Class
All 2 Written Piece Group 30%
1000-1500 words
Week 5 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All 3 Written Piece Individual 30%
1500 words
Week 9 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All 4 Written Piece Individual 30%
1500 words
Week 13 Online Submission
All - Assessment Task 1:Active Participation in Workshops
To take an active role in learning, about the application of community development skills and to learn from peers.
Product: Activity Participation
At the tutorials engage in class activities demonstrating your ability to: articulate your ideas clearly; spark discussion and comments from others; build on the ideas and contributions of others by posing questions to the group and responding to constructive feedback.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Demonstrated ability to articulate your ideas clearly; spark discussion and comments from others; and to build on the ideas and contributions of others by posing questions to the group and responding to constructive feedback.
All - Assessment Task 2:Reflecting on the work of a critical thinker/activist
To learn how to research and critically reflect on the work of a critical thinker/activist and apply that thinking to a contemporary issue.
Product: Written Piece
1. In small groups each student chooses a different critical thinker / activist from the text and reflects on their work/contribution to society.
2. Together, develop a powerpoint presentation that includes a summary of each critical thinkers’ contribution and compares and contrasts their approaches.
3. Think of a social justice issue impacting on contemporary society and explore how the critical thinkers/activists approaches could be used by practitioners to respond to the issue.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
​Demonstrated ability to compare and contrast the thinkers’ contributions to society.
Demonstrated ability to research a social justice issue and apply critical thinking as a just
Demonstrated groupwork collaboration drawing from community development principles.
A well-written (clarity of expression, correct grammar, spelling and punctuation), logically structured, coherently argued analysis, appropriately supported by relevant published literature.
All - Assessment Task 3:An Appreciative and Critical Analysis of CD Practice
To learn critical analysis skills in relation to community development practice.
Product: Written Piece
Imagine you have been invited by a fellow CD practitioner to assist them in a review of their current work, so they may reflect and plan.  They have provided you with a write up of their practice, which is in the form of a case study story.  A range of case studies will be provided and you may choose one.  Draw on theoretical concepts from the course materials (including at least 10 set readings) and undertake a critical (theory-informed) review of their community development practice based on these questions below:  

1.What motivated the development practitioner to engage in the particular issues s/he worked on? 

2.What structural barriers were present in the case, and which informed the practitioner’s analysis of power/disadvantage/oppression? 

3.What aspects of the community development method (Micro Method and Mezzo Method practice theory) were employed by the practitioner? 

4.What theoretically-informed recommendations would you suggest to your fellow colleagues based on the review of their practice?
No. Learning Outcome assessed
​A comprehensive engagement with the course materials (including set readings) demonstrating an understanding of the principles and values of community development.
A critical understanding of inequalities in our socio-political-cultural structures and community development’s commitment to address these.
A clear articulation of community development method, that is, the practice theory explored in SWK302, and the practice skills evident in the case study.
A well-written (clarity of expression, correct grammar, spelling and punctuation), logically structured, coherently argued analysis, appropriately supported by relevant published literature.​
All - Assessment Task 4:A Plan for a 'Developmental' Community Work Process
To learn to develop a plan for a developmental community work process.
Product: Written Piece
​This Process Plan provides you with an opportunity to think about your own community development practice in relation to a private concern or hope you have for your community (that is, a place-based community or an identity-based community).  You will report on your analysis about the issues and your plan to engage in some action (processes) about them.  You will make reflections based on content explored throughout the entire course, which includes: Implicate-Method, Micro-Method (and Dialogue) and also, Mezzo-Method.  

1. Think about a personal concern, or hope that you have about your community or the state of world in general.  This matter needs to be something you personally have already done or want to do something about.  This can be a ‘community-building’ type of process, which aims to build social capital with others and generate some new resource for your community; or it might involve some type of campaign process that is a collective process to ‘stand against’ some kind of injustice.  Your job is to explore how the community development method could be applied to that personal concern or hope and bring about some kind of positive change.    

2. Write up your plan for a ‘Developmental’ Community Work process.  It is to include verbatim examples (approx. 200 words) of how you have, or how you intend to engage in dialogue, that is, the approach to forming developmental relationships in Micro-Method.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
​An engagement with course materials (including the set readings), and particularly referring to Implicate-Method, Micro-Method and Mezzo-method, demonstrating an understanding of the method and analysis of community development.
A critical understanding of inequalities in our socio-political-cultural structures and the practice of community development to address these.
A clear articulation and application of community development method (Micro Method and Mezzo Method practice theory) including verbatim dialogue, showing that the practice/processes are drawing from theory explored in SWK302.
A well-written (clarity of expression, correct grammar, spelling and punctuation), logically structured, coherently argued analysis, appropriately supported by relevant published literature.​

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

Information regarding prescribed texts or other associated resources will be made available on the Canvas site prior to commencement of study.

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.


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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.

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