Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


UNCC100 Self and Community: Exploring the Anatomy of Modern Society OR PHCC102 Being Human OR PHIL104 Introduction to Ethics OR PHIL102 Theories of Human Nature OR PHCC104 Ethics and the Good Life

Unit rationale, description and aim

The mission of the University confirms ACU's commitment to producing graduates who are ethical in their behaviour, demonstrate impact through empathy, and are skilled in their chosen field.

To help students to develop these qualities, this capstone core curriculum unit stresses four key tenets of community engagement: critical reflection, active learning, student involvement in community-learning and civic engagement experiences by offering students in the Bachelor of Arts degrees the chance to undertake a placement in the local community. When available, students may also apply to undertake their placement overseas through an ACU approved scheme. In this unit students will be contributing directly to a local community by bringing creativity, skills and initiative to a range of projects run by community groups; government; not-for-profit, social enterprise or otherwise ethically-focused organisations. The unit includes a module on working with children, young people and vulnerable adults that will focus on responding to concerns and developing strategies to support and keep ourselves and others safe.

The aim of this unit is to provide students with the opportunity to improve their leadership, communication and organisational skills while making a valuable difference to the community.

This unit complements the University Core Curriculum that challenges us to consider need and disadvantage in the community around us. Working alongside either UNCC300 Justice and Change in a Global World or PHCC320 The Just Society, HUMA330 provides students with an opportunity to investigate how individuals may assist the co-operative efforts of business, social business, social entrepreneurship, faith groups and not-for-profit agencies to achieve a more just and equitable world and to participate in and contribute to this important work. This unit will aid in the development of distinct graduates who are committed to the pursuit of the common good and are ethically and morally work-ready. 

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 an understanding of the importance, policies and strategies for building safe and supportive environments for working with children, young people and vulnerable adults. (GA1)

LO2 - Demonstrate increased personal and professional appreciation of active citizenship and community leadership. (GA2, GA5, GA7)

LO3 - Critically evaluate how the work of the not for profit sector contributes to community development. (GA1, GA2, GA4)

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 

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 


Content selected to ensure that students achieve the learning outcomes for the unit. 

Students undertaking a placement in Australia will take topics that help prepare for and participate in 50-70 hours of volunteer experience with a government, not-for-profit or community organisation.

These may include:

  • Building safe and supportive environments for working with children, young people and vulnerable adults
  • Identifying students’ own perceptions and definitions of poverty and disadvantage
  • Community development in local and international contexts
  • A theoretical framework of community service or development: the evolving needs of the community and the role of not-for-profit organisations in community service and development
  • Contestable issues and current debates related to community development work or volunteering
  • How student placements fit within a development context 
  • Reciprocity
  • Diverse roles students might play while at placement (eg. learner, listener, project collaborator)
  • An introduction to workplace issues such as procedures surrounding working with vulnerable or disadvantaged people, occupational health and safety (including students’ own safety and well-being), risk management and workplace codes of conduct
  • Interpersonal communication necessary for effective liaison in volunteer organisations and workplaces and the University code of conduct and the guidelines around appropriate use of social media
  • Identifying skills that translate from volunteer experience to other ethical work, portfolio careers and pathways 
  • Strategies for continuing to identify opportunities, build skills, networks and contacts in the community as a preparation for higher-level voluntary or paid work such as: 
  • CV and job application development, building a professional online presence, interview skills, strategies for networking, volunteering and professional practice, managing workload for performance, coordinating projects and meeting timelines.

When available, students taking an overseas community-engaged placement organised by ACU and approved by the course coordinator will have separate induction and debriefing sessions which will be drawn from the following topics:

An introduction to:

  • Community Development and ‘Voluntourism’ 
  • Different conceptions of development and critical engagement with theories and debates
  • Identifying students’ own perceptions and definitions of poverty and disadvantage
  • The classroom of many cultures:
  • How students’ placements might fit within a development context 
  • How is a community engaged placement different from ‘voluntourism’
  • Reciprocity
  • Diverse roles students might play (eg. learner, listener, project collaborator)
  • Culture and cross-cultural communication
  • Child Protection
  • Social Media
  • Looking after student mental health and encourages identification of strategies for doing this both as individuals and as members of a team
  • University Code of Conduct
  • Insurance and logistics

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The activities listed below function to expose students to a body of knowledge related to community-engagement practices and social entrepreneurship in advance of students developing and applying skills in real-world settings. 

Mode/ Attendance Pattern:   

Semester One:

Online lectures; tutorials and workshops on campus; webinars; in-class forums on social entrepreneurship/engagement; placement or project work with a community group, government, not-for-profit, or otherwise ethically-focused organisation. 

Summer/Winter Term and Overseas placement: online guided learning, webinars, online forums, placement or project with a community group, government, not-for-profit, or otherwise ethically-focused organisation.


Semester One:  Three contact hours per week for six weeks or equivalent over twelve weeks; 50-70 hour period of voluntary placement time, which may be in Australia or overseas through an ACU-approved project. The 50-70 hour period may include compulsory training classes as designated in the unit outline. The 50-70 hour period may be conducted part-time as needed.

Winter or Summer Term: Guided learning online with 50-70 hour period of voluntary placement time, which may be in Australia or overseas through an ACU-approved project. The 50-70 hour period may include compulsory training classes as designated in the unit outline. The 50-70 hour period may be conducted part-time as needed.

The Child Safe module is an online module that will take approximately 2 hours to complete. Upon completion, participants will be given a certificate. 

150 hours in total with a normal expectation of 50-70 hours of placement and 18 hours of directed study. The balance of the hours becomes private study.

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. As a capstone unit, this is a graded unit. In order to meet the learning outcomes for this unit students must complete and submit all assessment tasks designated for the unit and meet specified attendance or placement requirements specified in the Placement Agreement. 

The same assessments are required in both semester mode and summer/winter mode as well as for students undertaking an approved international placement.

The unit includes three hurdle assessments each with its own purpose. 

The first hurdle task is an online Child Safe module. This will provide information and scenarios that will ask students to demonstrate an understanding of the importance, policies and strategies for building safe and supportive environments for working with children, young people and vulnerable adults. This prepares students for their community placement and learning outcome 1.

The second hurdle task, the placement agreement, clarifies the role to be performed by the student and the expectations of both parties. This assessment also prompts students to provide any necessary documentation such as a police check or working with children check and requires that each student submits a signed statement acknowledging the expectations arising from ACU’s student code of conduct and the social media policy. This is connected to learning outcome 2.

The third hurdle task requires students to complete 50-70 hours of community placement. Students may undertake a longer placement if available and approved by the lecturer. Students will undertake and report on a community-based project, gain significant insight into workplace issues, and further develop employability skills in communication, planning and organisation, self-management and problem-solving. This is connected to learning outcome 2.

There are three graded assessment tasks in the unit:

The first is to analyse the strategic plan and mission of the host organisation and its relationship to community development goals. This assesses learning outcomes 2 and 3.

The second asks students to critically reflect on their placement experience and observations and to consider active citizenship and community leadership issues within a specific organisational or community context. This assesses learning outcomes 2 and 3.

The third task, fitting for a third-year capstone unit, requires students to reflect on the skills developed over the degree and prepare work-related documents or profiles relevant to entry-level job-seekers with a Bachelor of Arts or dual degree. This assesses learning outcome 2.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Hurdle task: Child Safe online module:

Online multiple-choice or short answer questions in 4 sub-modules. Students will need to pass the first sub-module with a pass mark of 75% before progressing to the next sub-module.




Hurdle task: Placement Agreement



GA2, GA7

Hurdle Task: 50-70 hours of placement which may include training sessions

This hurdle requires students to complete 50-70 hours of placement and to submit a report from the relevant organisation confirming satisfactory completion of the placement, as per the terms of the Placement Agreement. 



GA2, GA5, GA7

Assessment item 1:  Analyse the strategic plan and mission of your host organisation and its relationship to community development goals


LO2, LO3

GA1, GA2, GA4, GA5, GA7

Assessment item 2:

Learning in the community assignment

Placement/project Assignment. 

Students will demonstrate critical self-appraisal and self-reflection and will be required to:

  • Identify the gaps in policy or service provision that lead to ongoing disadvantage or unmet need. 
  • Explain the ways in which their host organisation currently serves or develops the community 
  • Describe the kinds of disadvantage observed or identified and/or the particular client needs addressed by the placement or project organisation
  • Critically reflect on the strengths, opportunities served or identified and or/ particular client benefits addressed by the placement or project
  • Evaluate the impact of the placement on the student’s own values, assumptions and attitudes with regard to ethical workplace practice and social responsibility.


LO2, LO3

GA1, GA2, GA4, GA5, GA7

Assessment item 3:  Knowledge Transfer: The Citizen of the Future

Authentic assessment task: students will develop work-related documents that are relevant to employment in the workplace such as (but not limited to) a CV, cover letter, job application or oral mock interview or formal internship report.



GA2, GA5, GA7

Representative texts and references

Australian Children’s Commissioners and Guardians (2013). Submission to Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse Issues Paper 3 – Child Safe Institutions Principles for Child Safety in Organisations.  

Chahine, T. (2016). Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Duguid, Fiona, Karsten Mündel, & Daniel Schugurensky, (2013) Volunteer Work, Informal Learning and Social Action, Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Fitzgerald, Hiram E & Primavera, Judith. (2013) Going Public: Civic and Community Engagement, East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press 

Healey, J. (2020). Volunteering. The Spinney Press.

Ife, J. (2013). Community Development in an Uncertain World: Vision, analysis and practice, Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.

King, Mary A. & H. Frederick Sweitzer (2014) The Successful Internship: personal, professional, and civic development in experiential learning, University of Hartford, Fitchburg State University.

McSweeney, Mitchell J. (2020). Returning the ‘social’ to social entrepreneurship: Future possibilities of critically exploring sport for development and peace and social entrepreneurship. International Review for the Sociology of Sport55(1), 3–21

Smith, D., Stebbins, R., & Grotz, J. (2017). The Palgrave handbook of volunteering, civic participation, and nonprofit associations. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire; New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Wortley, R., & Smallbone, S. (2006). Applying Situational Principles to Sexual Offenses Against Children. In R. Wortley, & S. Smallbone (Eds.). Situational prevention of child sexual abuse. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice Press.

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