Credit points


Campus offering

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HUMA251 Shaping Humanity: Ideas and Scholarship

Teaching organisation

3hrs per week for 12 weeks or equivalent

Unit rationale, description and aim

Excellent research in the Arts, Humanities and Creative arts requires brainstorming, planning, analysis and problem-solving techniques. Building on the learning that is undertaken in the Scholars 1 unit, this unit will provide students with the opportunity to engage deeply with influential debates and issues in the contemporary humanities, and to work with an academic mentor on a research project leading to the completion of a significant independently-formulated research project at the end of semester. On successful completion of this unit, students will have gained experience applying some of the most innovative theories, methodologies and practices used by leading contemporary scholars and practitioners in their chosen field. The aim of this advanced unit for high-achieving students is to provide students with active research skills, methodologies and mentoring and the opportunity to apply theoretical frameworks, conceptual processes and methodologies to their own research in the humanities.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Demonstrate polished inter-personal communication and writing skills in the discussion of key works, problems, and methodologies in the Arts, Humanities or Creative Arts (GA5, GA8, GA9)

LO2 - Identify and apply ethical approaches and practices necessary for active research in a specific arts, social sciences, humanities, and/or creative arts discipline (GA3, GA5)

LO3 - Devise and propose an innovative research-based project on an arts, social sciences, humanities, and/or creative arts topic (GA3, GA4, GA5)

LO4 - Effectively apply arts, social sciences, humanities, and/or creative arts research methods to complete an independent research project and present the findings in oral and written forms (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8)

Graduate attributes

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include:

  • Key current works, problems, and methodologies in your chosen area of research interest in an arts, social sciences, humanities, and/or creative arts area;
  • Advanced scholarly writing at an undergraduate level, academic project planning, experimental research design, and ethical dimensions to active research;
  • Techniques for surveying and reviewing the literature in your chosen discipline.
  • Engagement with academic publications or other outputs that enrich the study of your area of research interest.
  • Brainstorming, planning, analysis and problem-solving techniques developed with your Arts/Humanities research mentor.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit has been developed to develop and deliver the learning outcomes in 150 hours. It is delivered as a multi-mode class that will immerse in active learning in which students engage in activities such as reading, writing, discussion, peer feedback and peer-led team learning. Lectures will be delivered to all campuses via video conference, followed by small group discussions happening under the guidance of tutors on all campuses thus ensuring students will gain a deep understanding of content knowledge.

The unit also engages students in inquiry-based learning, a research-based strategy that actively involves students in the exploration of the content, issues and questions surrounding a concept of the topic of their own devising. Students will be allocated a mentor who will provide guidance in their area of research. This approach has been selected because of the breadth, depth and complexity inherent in an advanced humanities unit for high-achieving and highly motivated students.

Students in this unit will be encouraged to develop specific skills in applying a range of theories and concepts in the humanities to their own research agendas and, indeed, their way of understanding the world. At the end of the semester, students will participate in a cross-campus ‘festival of ideas’ in which they share their research findings with their peers.

Assessment strategy and rationale

This third-year interdisciplinary for high achieving students is designed to include assessment tasks that build deep content knowledge, independent learning, and higher-order research and analytic skills.

The analytic tasks require students to demonstrate knowledge of cutting-edge theories and concepts in the humanities and a capacity to apply these concepts to a range of concepts. These tasks will be enhanced through collaborative peer-led learning in the tutorial context

The research task builds on these skills through a self-devised research project that locates critical resources to produce a sustained argument that reflects on the most urgent questions in the contemporary humanities. In the final week of semester, students will deliver a short presentation on their research project. This task ensures students benefit from peer learning, class cohesion and peer feedback processes.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Analytic tasks: Students will analyse key works, problems, ethics and methodologies in the humanities, creative arts and social sciences.


LO1, LO2 

GA3, GA5, GA8, GA9 

Devise and complete an independent Arts/Humanities research project. 


LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8 

Oral presentation: students will present their research findings to their peers. 


LO1, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9 

Representative texts and references

Andrews, Patricia H. and John E. Baird Jr. Communication for Business and the Professions. 7th ed., (Boston: McGraw Hill, 2000).

Bell, Daniel. The Coming of Post-Industrial Society (Harper Colophon Books, 2011)

Dyer, Geoff, Contest of the Century: The New Era of Competition with China. (New York: Vintage, 2014).

Eagleton-Pierce, Matthew. Neoliberalism (London: Routledge, 2016).

Gardiner, E and Musto, R. Digital Humanities: A Primer for Students and Scholars (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2015).

Gleeson-White, Jane, Six Capitals. (Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 2014).

Kolbert. Elizabeth, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History. (London: Henry Holt and Company, 2014).

Piketty, Thomas, Capital in the 21st Century (Cambridge MA: Harvard University, 2013).

Powell, Jonathan, Talking to Terrorists: How to End Armed Conflicts, (London: Random House, 2014).

Roth, Michael, Memory, Trauma and History, (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011).

Walliman, Nicholas, Your Undergraduate Dissertation: The Essential Guide for Success, (Los Angeles: Sage Publications, 2014).

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