Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

The ability to conduct outdoor programs in a variety of environments is central to sound outdoor education leadership practice. This unit explores guiding techniques, ecological literacy and conservation issues through outdoor pursuits, in the context of a marine and aquatic environment. In addition, the unit provides the foundational skills required for the responsible conduct of outdoor field work. The unit aims to enable students to understand the application of outdoor programs for health, wellbeing, education and behavioural change. This knowledge and skill base form part of the professional standards expected of all outdoor education practitioners and leaders.

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 - Identify and explain a variety of aquatic conservation issues and their impact on outdoor programs (GA2, GA8, GA9) 

LO2 - Identify and deliver instructional and session plan strategies, which can be used across a variety of outdoor pursuit skills (GA4, GA5, GA8) 

LO3 - Identify and apply principals of safety and emergency management for a range of outdoor pursuits (GA5, GA7, GA9) 

LO4 - Analyse a program that uses the outdoor environment for health, wellbeing, education and behaviour change (GA8, GA9) 

Graduate attributes

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

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

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


Topics will include: 

  • Aquatic programs, applications and limitations for diverse outcomes  
  • Specifics of aquatic risk, safety management and organizational protocol (sun exposure, capsizes, water rescues, stingers, rips) 
  • Weather – Interpreting weather, understanding synoptic charts and forecasting, trigger points, understanding tides, currents, Beaufort Scale, weather systems, high and low fronts, severe weather, etc.  
  • Marine and aquatic conservation issues 
  • Traditional and contemporary aquatic environmental practices 
  • Conducting and implementing Activity Instructional Session Plans 
  • Briefing  
  • Demonstration models 
  • Site assessment  

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Learning and teaching strategies include active learning, collaborative and cooperative learning, and reflective/critical thinking activities, along with project, small group and team-based learning strategies, which are delivered over a semester. This range of strategies will provide students with appropriate access to required knowledge and understanding of unit content, and opportunities for development of competency in the practical skills of outdoor leadership. These strategies will allow students to meet the aim, learning outcomes and graduate attributes of the unit, as well as the industry professional practice standards. Learning and teaching strategies will reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and are required to actively participate in all classes, field trips and out-of-class tasks.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to best enable students to achieve unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes, standards-based assessment is utilised, consistent with University assessment requirements. A range of assessment strategies are used including: (i) a written project to assess student awareness of alternative applications of outdoor programs for health, wellbeing, educational and behavioural change; (ii) an educational presentation to assess understanding of conservation issues and sustainable practice in aquatic environments; (iii) a written test to assess student learning of unit content; and desired key concepts and (iv) practical field work to demonstrate the skills and competencies required for professional practice (hurdle task).  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Written Project:  

Enables students to demonstrate their understanding of alternative applications of outdoor environments 




Educational Presentation: 

Enables students to demonstrate their understanding of conservation issues and sustainable practice in aquatic environments  



GA2, GA8, GA9 

Written and Practical Test: 

Enables students to demonstrate their ability to understand course content and describe key concepts 



GA4, GA5 

Field Work Hurdle Task: 

Enables students to demonstrate competency, a culture of respect and professionalism in all field work. 



GA5, GA7, GA9 

Representative texts and references

Australian Canoeing. (2015). Australian Canoeing Award Scheme Handbook. Silverwater, NSW. Education and Safety Technical Committee. 


Baker, J.L.(2014) Sharks and Rays of South Eastern Australia: A Field Guide to Species of Conservation and Concern. Booklet produced with support from The Norman Wettenhall Foundation Gippsland Coastal Board, Save our Seas Foundation and Natural Resources – South East (DEWNR) 


Butler AJ, Rees T, Beesley P, Bax NJ (2010) Marine Biodiversity in the Australian Region. PLoS ONE 5(8): e11831. 


Oliver, J. (n.d). Field Activities for Coastal and Marine Environments. Reports sSeries 10.  Department of Environment, Sport and Territories ACT.  


Martin, Wagstaff, Breunig, Goldenburg. (2017). Outdoor Leadership: Theory and practice. (2nd Ed)Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. 


Moffat, B., Wolfe, A., Ryan, T., O’Connor, M., Wirth, G., Burnett, John., & Sudgen, M.(1997) An Introduction to Marine Studies. Brisbane, QLD: Wet Paper Publishers and Consultants. 


Surf Life Saving Australia. (2011). Public Safety and Aquatic Rescue. 33rd revised edition. Chatswood, NSW 


Wagstaff, M., Attarian, A., & Drury, J. K.(2007). Teaching and leading outdoor adventure pursuits In Prouty, D. Panicucci, J. & Collinson, R . Adventure education: theory and applications ( pp.181-206). Radford, VA, USA.Human Kinetics  

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