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Unit of study_

ENGL3711: Travellers' Tales

This unit explores travel writing as both historical genre and creative practice. Ranging from Homer to contemporary travel blogs, it considers how the archetypal journey story is reshaped in particular cultural and political contexts. Students will have the opportunity to demonstrate their learning via both critical and creative assessment.


Academic unit
Unit code ENGL3711
Unit name Travellers' Tales
Session, year
Semester 1, 2021
Attendance mode Normal day
Location Remote
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

ENGL2648 or ENGL2048
12 credit points at 2000 level in the English major
Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Vanessa Smith,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Take-home extended release) Type E final exam Take-home exam
60% Formal exam period
Due date: 21 Jun 2021 at 09:00

Closing date: 23 Jun 2021
48 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment Blog post 1
15% Week 05
Due date: 02 Apr 2021 at 17:00
1000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3 LO4
Assignment Blog post 2
15% Week 10
Due date: 14 May 2021 at 17:00
1000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO4 LO6 LO7
Skills-based evaluation Participation
10% Week 13 entire semester in class participation
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO5 LO7
Type E final exam = Type E final exam ?

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

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.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic honesty, academic dishonesty, 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 dishonesty or plagiarism seriously.

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

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction to the unit Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 02 Ethnographic travel: Herman Melville, Typee Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 03 Ethnographic travel: Herman Melville, Typee Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 04 Ethnographic Travel: R. L. Stevenson, In the South Seas Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 05 Ethnographic Travel: R. L. Stevenson In the South Seas Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 06 Psychology of Travel: Marion Milner, Eternity's Sunrise Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 07 Psychology of Travel: Marion Milner, Eternity's Sunrise Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 08 Psychology of Travel: Olivia Laing, The Lonely City Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 09 Psychology of Travel: Olivia Laing, The Lonely City Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 10 Extreme Travel: Robyn Davidson, Tracks Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 11 Extreme Travel: Robyn Davidson, Tracks Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 12 Extreme Travel: Cheryl Strayed, Wild Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 13 Extreme Travel: Cheryl Strayed, Wild Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6 LO7

Attendance and class requirements

  • Attendance: According to Faculty Board Resolutions, students in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences are expected to attend 90% of their classes. If you attend less than 50% of classes, regardless of the reasons, you may be referred to the Examiner’s Board. The Examiner’s Board will decide whether you should pass or fail the unit of study if your attendance falls below this threshold.
  • Lecture recording: Most lectures (in recording-equipped venues) will be recorded and may be made available to students on the LMS. However, you should not rely on lecture recording to substitute your classroom learning experience.
  • Preparation: Students should commit to spend approximately three hours’ preparation time (reading, studying, homework, essays, etc.) for every hour of scheduled instruction.

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.

Required readings

Herman Melville, Typee

Robert Louis Stevenson, In the South Seas (extracts)

Marion Milner, Eternity’s Sunrise

Olivia Laing, The Lonely City

Robyn Davidson, Tracks

Cheryl Strayed, Wild


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. appreciate the historical breadth and generic complexity of works of travel literature
  • LO2. understand travel writing as a genre poised between reportage and fiction
  • LO3. critically and creatively engage with current theories of travel writing as both genre and practice of cultural observation
  • LO4. demonstrate a high level of proficiency in your written assignments
  • LO5. demonstrate confidence and relevant disciplinary knowledge in engaging with your peers and the wider intellectual community
  • LO6. demonstrate understanding of texts in their contexts
  • LO7. demonstrate developing capacity in using disciplinary knowledge in an interdisciplinary context.

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
changes of delivery format and texts based on student feedback last session


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