Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

Difference is an essential part of the reality and history of Australian society. Appreciating human diversity in regards to culture, ethnicity, religion, gender and sexuality, and social location, is fundamental to understanding our sense of who we are and who are the people in our society. In this unit, students are encouraged to view their own sense of self, their personal identity, through the prism of their history, family, culture, ethnicity, and to view their personal experience in relation to the experiences of other people in society. Students develop a sense of collective identity through the lens of other people’s experiences of gender, sexuality, place, culture, literacy, ethnicity and social class. In this study, students come to appreciate how forging connection and appreciating the experiences of a diverse group of individuals can generate connection and ultimately, unification in diversity.

The purpose of this unit is to enhance students’ capacity for meaningful connection with diverse groups of people, and to become civically minded adults that embrace difference and enact values of fairness and justice in everyday life

The unit in underpinned by the premise that contemporary society should see diversity of all kinds as productive, and that previously marginalised or silenced groups should be seen, heard and valued so that their contributions can enhance social dialogue. This unit will examine real world examples of how society has, and continues to exclude, ignore and oppress and what tools of connection can be used to oppose these dynamics in order to form groups of sympathy and common interest. It will also use real world examples of how society can embrace, support, and nurture people within our communities.

The unit aim is to develop students’ capacity for collaboration to effect change in society, to develop empathy for other people and to respect human diversity in everyday social interactions. 

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 - Describe the historical and cultural processes that have forged a sense of personal and collective identity in contemporary society (GA1, GA2, GA4)

LO2 - Interpret the interconnecting historical, political, economic, social and cultural experiences on a sense of individual identity (GA1, GA2, GA8)

LO3 - Analyse ways in which diverse groups of people form identity through forging connection around commonalities and reclamation of cultural knowledge (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA7, GA8, GA9)

LO4 - Evaluate the lived experiences of people from diverse culture, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, ability, and social location (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA6, GA8, GA9, GA10)

LO5 - Evaluate how diverse experiences impact identity through researching the lived experience of another person (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA6, GA8, GA9, GA10)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

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

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

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 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics and content may include:  

  • Historical processes of forging inclusivity and diversity in Australian society
  • Social cohesion, diversity and identity
  • Indigenous yarning circles: learning from the collective and passing on cultural knowledge 
  • Marginalisation of groups: forming solutions within groups
  • Individual versus collectivism: Collaboration and reciprocity
  • Diverse experiences of gender, sexuality and identity
  • Diverse experiences of dis/ability and identity
  • Diverse experiences of culture, ethnicity, place and identity
  • Diversity, equity and countering discrimination
  • Group behaviour and the ‘herd mentality’
  • Social media and identity formation
  • Online social connections, networks and influencers

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit will proceed initially through exploring the historical origins of cultural and social connection among disparate cultural groups in Australia learning how we became some exercises in group discussions, where students consider the relationship between their personal identity and society. The unit will consider the relationship between identity and nation across a number of nations and periods, but with Australia as a significant example. The students will consider the kinds of exclusions that still occur and location of this – is exclusion the result of deliberate government policy, entrenched ways of thinking or personal choice? Examination of these issues will proceed through classroom discussion; role play and scenario development. The role of social media in forming groups and the dangers of epistemic ‘bubbles’ will be covered in classroom discussions.

This unit will introduce students to the diverse experiences of other people through guest lecturers and engaged interactions with other students. Students will interview other students in class to understand how identity is formed individually and collectively and will extend this knowledge through active and empirical investigation of the diverse experiences of other people.

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. 

Assessment task one will provide first-year students with a low risk, relatively lightly weighted assessment task that is both diagnostic and formative. The 1000 word written task is a contextualised case study of the historical, social, cultural and political underpinnings of identity in Australian society. In this task, students research how diverse groups have vied for a place of recognition in society and provides students with a sense of how collective identity has formed over time.

The second assessment task is a reflective autobiography of students’ personal experiences of place, culture, sub-culture, gender, social location, and ability as the stimulus for students’ identifying their own identity formation through autobiographical reflection. The reflective component of the assignment aligns with Garnett’s (2013) proposal that critical reflection and reflective practice are key components of work-integrated learning.

The analysis will be shared with other students using a padlet or a similar online sharing tool.

This learning culminates in the third assessment task a 1500 word biographical project in which students investigate the lived experience/s of diversity and interpret how this has formed identity for another person through interviewing a person with different lived experiences to the student and reporting on this reflection in a written and multimedia format.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes


The 1000 word written task is a contextualised case study of the historical, social, cultural and political underpinnings of identity in Australian society


LO1, LO2

GA1, GA2, GA4, GA8


The task is a reflective autobiography based on personal experiences of place, culture, sub-culture, gender, social location, and ability and using the autobiography to identify a student’s own personal identity.

The analysis will be shared with other students using a padlet or similar digital sharing tool.


LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10


The 1500 word biographical project is the culmination of learning in this unit in which students investigate the lived experience/s of diversity and identity by interviewing another person in-depth, and reporting on this in a written format.

This summative task includes a multimedia presentation to be presented to other students in the class.


LO1, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Bendl, Regine, et al. The Oxford Handbook of Diversity in Organizations. Edited by Regine Bendl et al., Oxford University Press, 2016.

Berry, Bonnie. Social Rage: Emotion and Cultural Conflict. Taylor and Francis, 2013.

Bettinger, Patrick. Educational Perspectives on Mediality and Subjectivation: Discourse, Power and Analysis. Edited by Patrick Bettinger, Springer International Publishing, 2022.

Bruhn, John G. The Sociology of Community Connections. 2nd ed. 2011., Springer Netherlands, 2011.

Derman, Brandon Barclay. Struggles for Climate Justice Uneven Geographies and the Politics of Connection. 1st ed. 2020., Springer International Publishing, 2020.

Guilherme, Camara, Misoczky, Maria and Steffen Böhm. Organizational Practices of Social Movements and Popular Struggles: Understanding the Power of Organizing From Below. Emerald Publishing Limited, 2017.

Kane, X. Faucher. Social Capital Online: Alienation and Accumulation. University of Westminster Press, 2018.

Newman, Matthew L., and Nicole A. Roberts. Health and Social Relationships: The Good, the Bad, and the Complicated. American Psychological Association, 2013.

Rayner, Cynthia, and Francois Bonnici. The Systems Work of Social Change: How to Harness Connection, Context, and Power to Cultivate Deep and Enduring Change. Oxford University Press, 2021.

Snow, David A., et al. The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Social Movements. Edited by David A. Snow et al., Second edition., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2019.

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs