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Unit of study_

SCIE1001: Sydney Science 2050: Towards the Future

Semester 2, 2023 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

Climate change, disease outbreaks, public health challenges, mass movements of people, renewable energy, sustainable cities, social media and AI and automation are some examples of the "wicked problems" that we all face as we move through 21C. Science provides many of the solutions to these challenges, yet sceptics and deniers continue to flourish. What is it about many scientific claims that often generate mistrust and confusion in the broader public? Creating and communicating valid scientific evidence and arguments requires a skilful balance of truth, objectivity and evidence. Science is not black and white becausewicked problems have not only scientific but also economic, historical, social, legal, environmental and moral dimensions. In this unit you willdevelop skills used to address challenging problems and consider the ethical, political, social and regulatory issues that create further complexity. You will work together with students from diverse disciplinary backgrounds to explore case studies and conduct experiments around campus. You will learn how data collection and models are used to create knowledge anddevelop core skills in scientific and critical thinking. You will learn how to leverage ways of interdisciplinary and inter-cultural thinking and points of view to communicate your decisions to a variety of professional and lay audiences. These are skills that enable to you to make valuable contributions to future society no matter what your career.

Unit details and rules

Unit code SCIE1001
Academic unit History and Philosophy of Science Academic Operations
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Jacqueline Dalziell,
Lecturer(s) Pauline Ross,
Hans Pols,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment hurdle task group assignment Scientific Poster I: Form a Group
Form a group for assessment "Scientific Poster, II: The Poster"
0% Week 04
Due date: 25 Aug 2023 at 23:59

Closing date: 08 Sep 2023
Outcomes assessed: LO4
Assignment group assignment Scientific poster, II: The Poster
Produce a poster to present the results of experiments conducted
25% Week 08
Due date: 22 Sep 2023 at 23:59

Closing date: 27 Oct 2023
One poster
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO6
Online task Quiz
Online Canvas quiz
20% Week 09
Due date: 06 Oct 2023 at 17:00

Closing date: 27 Oct 2023
30 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO3 LO2
Assignment Action Research Case Study
Short essay in response to case studies
25% Week 13
Due date: 03 Nov 2023 at 23:59

Closing date: 24 Nov 2023
max 1,000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO7 LO8 LO9
Participation Participation
Attendance at at least 10 tutorials is required to pass.
10% Weekly Participation in tutorials
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO9 LO8 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Small continuous assessment Weekly Short response
2 points/week, max score 20. Due on Mondays 23:59.
20% Weekly max 300 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO9 LO8 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
hurdle task = hurdle task ?
group assignment = group assignment ?

Assessment summary

  1. Poster—group exercise. Preparing a poster that present the results of the smartphone experiment in a way that conveys these result adequately and consicely.
  2. Online task on the material covered in the weeks on Use and Misuse of Data, and Uncertainty in the Scientific Process.
  3. Action Research Case Study--Preparation: Thesis paragraph and outline.
  4. Action Research Case Study. Pick a case study out of those presented and answer the questions associated with it.

If a second replacement exam is required, this exam may be delivered via an alternative assessment method, such as a viva voce (oral exam). The alternative assessment will meet the same learning outcomes as the original exam. The format of the alternative assessment will be determined by the unit coordinator. 

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

At HD level, a student demonstrates a flair for the subject as well as a detailed and comprehensive understanding of the unit material. A ‘High Distinction’ reflects exceptional achievement and is awarded to a student who demonstrates the ability to apply their subject knowledge and understanding to produce original solutions for novel or highly complex problems and/or comprehensive critical discussions of theoretical concepts.


75 - 84

At DI level, a student demonstrates an aptitude for the subject and a well-developed understanding of the unit material. A ‘Distinction’ reflects excellent achievement and is awarded to a student who demonstrates an ability to apply their subject knowledge and understanding of the subject to produce good solutions for challenging problems and/or a reasonably well-developed critical analysis of theoretical concepts.


65 - 74

At CR level, a student demonstrates a good command and knowledge of the unit material. A ‘Credit’ reflects solid achievement and is awarded to a student who has a broad general understanding of the unit material and can solve routine problems and/or identify and superficially discuss theoretical concepts.


50 - 64

At PS level, a student demonstrates proficiency in the unit material. A ‘Pass’ reflects satisfactory achievement and is awarded to a student who has threshold knowledge.


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:

5% of the grade will be deducted for every day the assignment is late, unless a special consideration request is approved.

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
Week 01 Introduction: Science: The BIG Picture Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5 LO8 LO9
Science and Other Knowledge Traditions Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5 LO8 LO9
Welcome to SCIE1001: Science: The Big Picture Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO8
Week 02 Trust in Science Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5 LO8 LO9
Doubting Science Lecture (1 hr) LO2 LO4 LO7 LO8 LO9
Trusting and Doubting Science Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5 LO8 LO9
Week 03 Using the Tools of Science: Conducting Scientific Experiments on a Smart Phone Lecture (1 hr) LO6
Communicating Science: Writing Articles and Poster Presentations Lecture (1 hr) LO8
Conducting Scientific Experiments on Your Smart Phone Tutorial (1 hr) LO6
Week 04 Climate Modelling Lecture (1 hr) LO2 LO4 LO7 LO8 LO9
Modelling COVID-19 Lecture (1 hr) LO2 LO4 LO7 LO8 LO9
Modelling in Science Tutorial (1 hr) LO2 LO4 LO7 LO8 LO9
Week 05 Working as a Scientist Lecture (1 hr) LO6
Working as a Scientist, ii Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Working as a Scientist: Collaborating on Smartphone Experiments Tutorial (1 hr) LO6
Week 06 The Use and Misuse of Data Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
The Use and Misuse of Data, II Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Use and Misuse of Data Tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 07 Uncertainty Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Uncertainty in the Scientific Process Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Uncertainty in the Scientific Process, II Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 08 58 Degrees of Ecosystem Loss Lecture (1 hr) LO4 LO5 LO8
58 Degrees of Ecosystem Loss, II Lecture (1 hr) LO4 LO5 LO8
Ecosystem Collapse Tutorial (2 hr) LO4 LO5 LO8
Week 09 Knitting While Australia Burns Lecture (1 hr) LO4 LO5 LO8
Knitting While Australia Burns, II Lecture (1 hr) LO5 LO8 LO9
Knitting While Australia Burns Tutorial (1 hr) LO5 LO8 LO9
Week 10 Aboriginal Knowledge Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO5 LO8 LO9
Aboriginal Knowledge, II Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO5 LO8 LO9
Aboriginal Knowledge Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO5 LO8 LO9
Week 11 Traditional Chinese Medicine Lecture (1 hr) LO5 LO8 LO9
Traditional Chinese Medicine and Science Lecture (1 hr) LO5 LO8 LO9
Science and Traditional Chinese Medicine Tutorial (1 hr) LO5 LO8 LO9
Week 12 Science and Social Responsibility Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5 LO8 LO9
Science and Social Responsibility, II Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5 LO8 LO9
Science and Social Responsibility Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5 LO8 LO9
Week 13 Pressing Issues Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5 LO8 LO9
Overview and Conclusion: Science and Today's Big Problems Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5 LO8 LO9
Responsible Science Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5 LO8 LO9

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. Use epistemic concepts such as objectivity and evidence and explain how they are relevant to scientific research.
  • LO2. Explore the use, misuse and limitations of science, mathematics and statistics in decision making. Topics covered will include the authority and mystic of science, false positives and negative test results, the counter intuitive nature of statistical outcomes, and uncertainties inherent in the scientific process.
  • LO3. Explain and appreciate the uncertainties inherent in the scientific process and the place of conditional probabilities and Bayesian logic
  • LO4. Articulate the power of science for understanding and manipulating the world and the impact on local, global and international communities. Examples to be used include Sydney Science contributions such as gravitational waves, rust in wheat, renewable energy.
  • LO5. Describe the influence of social, moral and political contexts on science and be inclusive of knowledge systems which are non-science and are important in decisions.
  • LO6. Use technologies and design experiments to collect data and solve simple and complex science problems on the Camperdown campus.
  • LO7. Analyse and appreciate how mathematical models explain systems and the values associated with their use.
  • LO8. Identify, describe and communicate the nature of interdisciplinary problems where science has made impact in industry, and regulatory practice. For example, asbestos, neuronal disorders, climate change, health and well-being.
  • LO9. Describe scientific knowledge is used in policy formulation and the constraints on policy-makers and other real-world actors.

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

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

This is the first time this unit has been offered.

Work, health and safety

We are governed by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 and Codes of Practice. Penalties for non-compliance have increased. Everyone has a responsibility for health and safety at work. The University’s Work Health and Safety policy explains the responsibilities and expectations of workers and others, and the procedures for managing WHS risks associated with University activities.

General Laboratory Safety Rules

  • No eating or drinking is allowed in any laboratory under any circumstances
  • A laboratory coat and closed-toe shoes are mandatory
  • Follow safety instructions in your manual and posted in laboratories
  • In case of fire, follow instructions posted outside the laboratory door
  • First aid kits, eye wash and fire extinguishers are located in or immediately outside each laboratory
  • As a precautionary measure, it is recommended that you have a current tetanus immunisation. This can be obtained from University Health Service:


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.