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Unit of study_

CIVL3310: Humanitarian Engineering

Semester 1, 2020 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

Humanitarian Engineering is the application of engineering to meet the needs of communities globally; while maintaining a focus on sustainability and appropriateness. This unit will give an introduction to engineers from all disciplines about the unique skills and knowledge needed to tackle challenges in; developing countries, during all stages of disasters and indigenous communities. Achieving global sustainability is a consistent theme through-out the subject. The unit will develop skills in intra-disciplinary teamwork and cross-cultural competence. The subject is taught through a series of lectures based on real case studies and engaging guest seminars. Seminars presenters are all people who are currently working in the field of humanitarian engineering with representatives from industry, government, multi-lateral organisations and non-government organisations. This unit of study is the first lecture based subject in the Humanitarian Engineering major. The unit aligns as a 3rd year elective and is a prerequisite for 4th year subject in the Humanitarian Engineering major CIVL5320 Engineering for Sustainable Development.

Unit details and rules

Unit code CIVL3310
Academic unit Civil Engineering
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Jacqueline Thomas,
Lecturer(s) Jacqueline Thomas,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam Final exam
30% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3
Participation Tutorial participation
10% Multiple weeks n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3 LO1
Presentation Individual presentation on SDGs
10% Week 04 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3
Small test Mid-semester quiz
Quiz with short and long answer questions
15% Week 07
Due date: 06 Apr 2020 at 12:00
1 hr mid-semester quiz
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment Interview report
Details are available on Canvas
15% Week 08 Report
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3
Assignment group assignment Disaster planning refugee camp report
10% Week 10 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO1 LO3
Assignment group assignment Disaster planning refugee camp model
10% Week 10 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO1 LO3
group assignment = group assignment ?

Assessment summary

  • Individual presentation: Individually present on a chosen sustainable development goal, its importance and the role of engineers. The individual performance will be marked by grading by peers.
  • Tutorial participation: Preparation, engagement and participation in the tutorial will be assessed each week over the semester.
  • Interview report: Individually, students will conduct a structured interview with a person who has lived in a developing country. That can either be from birth or during work. The interview will draw out the positives and negatives as well as the role of engineering in development.
  • Mid-semester quiz: Assessment of the knowledge and understanding of the first half of the course. Short and long answer and held during the normal Monday lecture.
  • Disaster planning refugee camp report: In assigned intra-discipline engineering groups of three people, the team is to use the Sphere Handbook standards to design a refugee camp for a given scenario. The team will present their design in the as a joint report.
  • Disaster planning refugee camp model: In the same teams, students will use the Sphere Handbook standards to design a refugee camp for a given scenario. The team will then use a model to present their design in the tutorials as a presentation.
  • Decentralised technologies report: Individually students will research decentralized technologies and select a technology that will beneficial to remote communities. Students will then present their chosen technology during the tutorials as well as handing in a brief report.
  • Final exam: During exams students will sit a closed book exam which will assess the knowledge of the concepts that were taught (including guest seminar content). The questions will be mix of short and long answer.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

Standard university penalties apply: > 5 % penalty per day up until 10 days > After 10 days a zero mark is awarded

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Multiple weeks During every odd week, there will be a 1.5 hr presentations from an industry professional. The format of these workshops are designed to encourage discussion. Workshop (1.5 hr) LO1 LO4
Weekly Weekly lectures provide the main content delivery and interactive activities Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Tutorials will commence in Week 2. Activities are designed to allow students to apply the lecture material. In set weeks the tutorials will be held in the Immersive Learning Laboratory. Tutorial (2 hr) LO2 LO3

Attendance and class requirements

Attending lectures and workshops is highly encouraged to gain the most from the interactive discussions. Tutorial attendance is compulsory to participate in laboratories and group work.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Explain the professional roles and ethical considerations of engineers working in the context of humanitarian engineering (developing countries, disasters and remote areas)
  • LO2. Work in a small team with different engineering disciplines to solve an engineering challenge
  • LO3. Use analytical and evaluation skills to present the theoretical and practical considerations for project success and failure in humanitarian engineering.
  • LO4. Explain how engineers contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

Alignment with Competency standards

Outcomes Competency standards
Engineers Australia Curriculum Performance Indicators - EAPI
1.2. Tackling technically challenging problems from first principles.
2.1. Appropriate range and depth of learning in the technical domains comprising the field of practice informed by national and international benchmarks.
2.3. Meaningful engagement with current technical and professional practices and issues in the designated field.
3.4. An understanding of and commitment to ethical and professional responsibilities.
3.7. A capacity for lifelong learning and professional development and appropriate professional attitudes.
5.3. Skills in the selection and characterisation of engineering systems, devices, components and materials.
5.4. Skills in the selection and application of appropriate engineering resources tools and techniques, appreciation of accuracy and limitations;.

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

This subject has been updated with a change in assessment to give students feedback earlier in the course.

Work, health and safety

There are specific WHS requirements for the Immersive Learning Laboratory. These will be shared during the laboratory sessions.


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