EDUC 1012 - Preparation for the Study of Social Sciences

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2014

This course will introduce students to the Social Sciences, a very broad and diverse area of study, enabling them to focus on an inquiry that most interests them. Beginning by exploring what Social Sciences are, the course will then focus on systems, histories and impacts within two key areas, Cultural Studies and Human Systems. Students will engage with issues and debates that typify academic studies in these areas, and reflect on their own identities and societal positions as well as critiquing and analysing media texts that pervade popular culture.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code EDUC 1012
    Course Preparation for the Study of Social Sciences
    Coordinating Unit School of Education
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Restrictions This class is only open for students in the University Preparatory Program or Wilto Yerlo Preparatory Program.
    Assessment Short Media Analysis; Essay; Group class presentation; Online discussion board; Class participation
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Chad Habel

    Lecturer/tutor (Gender Studies, Cultural Studies): Dr Kirsty Whitman

    Lecturer/tutor (Politics/Law/History): Dr Kim Sorensen

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    This course aims to prepare students for undergraduate study in the Humanities and Social Sciences in an inclusive manner recognizing social diversity.

    At the successful completion of this course, students should be able to achieve the following outcomes in the following areas:


    1. Identify a range of disciplines within the Humanities and Social Sciences and participate in some discipline-specific discussions.
    2. Discuss various theories and concepts from Humanities and Social Sciences and apply them to specific examples from real life.
    3. Identify particular issues in political and historical events such as a national election.

    Problem Solving Skills, Critical and Creative Thinking

    4. Relate identity categories to their own life and social being, articulate how they perform these identities and discuss ‘Other’ identities in an academic setting.
    5. Reflect on their own life experiences and position in society and apply some of the concepts from this course to themselves.
    6. Connect relevant theories to wider cultural and social phenomena.

    Working Alone and Collaboratively

    7. Work collaboratively and in groups more comfortably and confidently than before.
    8. Work individually at an undergraduate level more comfortably and confidently than before.
    9. Discuss culture and human systems in an academic setting.
    10. Communicate both verbally and in written form.
    11. Critically analyse media representations and academic arguments in more depth than previously.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1,2,3,4,5,6
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 2,3,7,8,11
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,11
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 4,5,6,7,9,10
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 1,2,8,11
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 3,4,6,9,10,11
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 1,2,6,10,11
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 2,3,4,5,6
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Weekly readings will be available via MyUni
    Recommended Resources
    While there are no wider readings, it is important to become proficient in using the university library to find appropriate texts for a range of subjects in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Please use the Library online tutorials for assistance with this:
    Online Learning
    Substantial activity will be undertaken through the online environment. Due to a very early timetable for lectures, some lectures may be delivered via narrated Powerpoint files and will available via MyUni. There is a blog assignment that requires summary and analysis of a reading throughout the semester, and comments on others' blogs to enhance online discussion. It is essential that you are familiar with MyUni and engage with it regularly toperform well in this course.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Students are required to attend a one-hour lecture (or engage with it online if delivered in this way) and they must attend the two-hour tutorial for this course.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    1 x 1-hour lecture per week
    1 x 2-hour tutorial per week
    10 hours of independent study per week

    Total: 156 hours
    Learning Activities Summary
    Lecture Tutorial
    Week 1 Introduction to common theories on gender and sexuality – sex-role theory, social construction and normativity. (Kirsty Whitman) Class introductions, class discussion on what students hope to achieve. Introduction to course, course outline, assessments. What are the Humanities and Social Sciences? (Kirsty Whitman/Kim Sorensen)
    Week 2 Work, gender, welfare and class – how work is gendered and classed. Workplace debates. Surveying ‘the family’: normativity, structure and relationships – gendered perspectives. (Kirsty Whitman) Class discussion of readings on gender and sexuality, Class groups activity. Short video about gender inequity. (Kirsty Whitman)
    Week 3 Race and Indigenous Australians: considering whiteness and constructions of the ‘other’. (Kirsty Whitman) Class activity – the gender gap. Discussion of media responses to workplace issues. Reflexive discussions of our own experiences in the workplace and family. (Kirsty Whitman)
    Week 4 Media representations and intersections of marginalization and privilege: how do mainstream political and media discourses construct the ‘worthy’ Australian citizen? How do gender, class and race intersect? (Kirsty Whitman) Discussion of Moreton-Robinson reading and class activity focussing on recognizing the intersection of marginalization and privilege.
    Week 5 The personal is the political: deconstructing hegemonic discursive constructions. (Kirsty Whitman) Small group discussions of different articles in the mainstream media considering how they construct several different groups in Australian society and culture. (Kirsty Whitman)
    Week 6 Class, gender, race and sexuality in film: considering constructions of the idealized Australian subject in ‘Kenny’. (Kirsty Whitman) Activity: reflection on personal experiences and their relationship to political processes and power structures (Kirsty Whitman)
    Week 7 What is a social or political argument, and how do you recognise one? What are the hidden agendas behind some arguments, and how does structural privilege and equity shape the arguments some people make? (Kim Sorensen) Discussion of ‘Kenny’ and ways in which film works as a site of mediated social construction. (Kirsty Whitman)
    Week 8 What is Australian representative democracy and what are its origins? What is the constitution? How does an election work? (Kim Sorensen) Class discussion and analysis/critique of argument examples. (Kim Sorensen)
    Mid-semester break
    Week 9 What is the difference between race, ethnicity and nation, and how have these identity categories influenced history and politics in the past? What kinds of loyalty does the nation command? (Kim Sorensen) Class activity: assess the quality of Australian democracy today using the IDEA framework (Kim Sorensen)
    Week 10 How do law and justice function? How are laws made? What are the relationships and tensions between law, justice and ethics? (Kim Sorensen) Class discussion and reflection on national identity; analysis and critique of specific texts, events or spaces that are central to the national imagination. (Kim Sorensen)
    Week 11 How does politics work in other countries? What are the links between politics and economics? How have international political systems changed throughout history? (Kim Sorensen) Class activity: Drafting and debating a bill on a current contentious issue (Kim Sorensen)
    Week 12 Where to from here? Studying in the Humanities and Social Sciences (Chad Habel) Activity: analysing examples of censored material from around the world and debating reasons for censorship (Kim Sorensen)
    Specific Course Requirements
    To pass this course, students must attend at least 75% of tutorials; in cases of absence for medical or compassionate reasons, documentation must be provided and students must still attend at least 50% of classes. If students fail to attend the minimum required number of tutorials, they will be considered to have not completed an assignment (see below). 
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    The University of Adelaide has committed to a pedagogical approach termed the “Small Group Discovery Experience”, indicating that the SHDE will be a core component in a credit-bearing course of every undergraduate program, and that it will be part of every first-year level from 2014. Since the UPP is not an award-based program, it is not strictly required to include an SGDE in the UPP.

    However, since the UPP is designed to prepare students for first-year study, and the SGDE will be a core component of all first-year study, it is important for the UPP to provide some preparation in Small Group Discovery. These should be of a scaffolded, preparatory nature as befits each course within the program, and the philosophy and program objectives of the UPP. The Program has been designed to include preparation for small group work and research activity in many of its courses.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Due Weighting Submission
    Class participation Formative


    15% N/A
    Reading analysis blog Formative (approx. 200 words)

    Ongoing (but must be complete by Friday 5pm Week 12) 

    20% MyUni Blog
    Reflective Journal 1 Formative (300 words)

    Friday 5pm Week 3

    5% MyUni
    Short Media Analysis Formative (500 words) Friday 5pm Week 5 10% MyUni
    Major Essay Summative (1500 words) Friday 5pm Week 12 35% MyUni
    Rweflective Journal 2 Summative (500 words) Friday 5pm Week 13 15% MyUni
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Students must attempt all assessment tasks to pass this course. Since the University Preparatory Program is designed to prepare students for success at University, completing and submitting all assignments is central to the intended learning outcomes of the program and each course within it. Often, at least attempting and submitting assignments in the face of difficulty or adversity is enough for success at University and the UPP encourages this resilience by employing this policy in select courses. Please note that the absolute last date for the submission of assignments in Semester 1 is the end of Swot Vac week, which is one week after the final assignment is due.

    If a student fails to submit all assessment tasks and would otherwise have received a grade greater than 45, they will be given a nominal grade of 45 (Fail) for that course in that semester. This will permit them to undertake additional assessment (formerly called academic supplementaryassessment) at the Course Coordinator’s discretion, as per policy at  

    It is not necessary to apply for additional assessment; this assessment will usually consist of the missed pieces of assessment, but the course coordinator may require more. As per policy, if the student passes the additional assessment to the Course Coordinator’s satisfaction, the maximum grade they can get for the course is 50 (Pass). If a student’s raw grade is below 45, regardless of whether all tasks have been attempted, this score will stand unless exceptional, documented circumstances apply as per the University’s Modified Arrangements for Coursework Assessment:  

    Substantial non-engagement in this course (evidenced by repeated non-attendance at tutorials and failure to submit assessments) may result in students being withdrawn from the University Preparatory Program and being required to apply for reinstatement if they wish to continue. 
    Assessment Detail
    Reflective Journal 1

    As in other UPP courses, you will be required to write a reflective journal in this course, but one which is particularly focussed on the course content. In this first reflective journal, consider the issues of societal power in relation to class, gender, and other identity formations that you have experienced. Questions you might like to consider include:

    · What kind of household did you grow up in? Would you describe it as traditional and homogenous, or non-traditional and heterogeneous? What language did you speak at home? Did any of these factors make you feel ‘different’ in other settings, e.g., school?
    · What kind of gender identities did your parents express as you were growing up? Were they traditional, or not? How did you know? What kinds of performance of their identity did they engage in?
    · What are the dominant ideas of sexuality in your family or friendship group? What kinds of sexuality are seen as normal or strange?
    · How has your learning in this course so far changed any of your ideas about these issues? Have you begun to see people and social structures in a different light? What are these differences?

    Short Media Analysis

    Students are required to write a 500 word response to representations of human systems in one media example. (Human systems might include class, race, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic status, political affiliation, legal status, or any other identity categories.) Your example can be from any form of media including, but not limited to, advertising, film, gaming, news media and television. You will be required to search for and select your own media example, so start looking at the beginning of the semester. We encourage you to pursue your own passion and interests and link them to the kinds of critique and analysis that you are practicing in class.

    The purpose of this assignment is to encourage you to critically analyse your chosen media example to explore some of the assumptions, biases, or incorrect conclusions present. You might like to consider some of the following questions (not all of them will be relevant to every example):

    · Who wrote the piece? What is their background and level of experience? Has this influenced the representations present in the piece?
    · Who published the piece? Is it from the mainstream press, or a smaller, more independent source? What vested interests might be influencing the representations you have chosen to analyse?
    · What are the main arguments underlying these representations? What is the author trying to convince you of? Do you agree? If so, why? If not, why not?

    Remember that there is no “right answer” to this assignment. You will be assessed on how well you critique the article and give reasons for supporting or disagreeing with it. Try to think of some of the points and approaches used in class in order to create a scholarly perspective on the media example.

    Major Essay

    Students will be required to write an essay incorporating the media analysis from earlier in the semester. It is essential that you do not simply copy your media analysis into your essay as this will be considered plagiarism, although you may use some of the same points and perspectives, expressed in different words. At the same time you will be required to research and discover numerous other sources from journal articles and media to support your arguments. Make sure you take account of the feedback you have received from Assignment 1, as the markers will be looking at this in particular.

    You must choose from the following essay questions:

    1. In recent years it seems that toys have become increasingly gendered, with a focus on conflict and competition in toys for ‘boys’ and nurturing, domestic skills and beauty for girls. How are toy advertisements gendered, and why are gender dichotomies increasingly apparent? Answer with reference to two to four recent toy advertisements.

    2. ‘The News is organized around strategies of inclusion and exclusion from “our” community; strategies which not only distinguish our nation and its leaders or representatives from others, but which separate out certain values, types of action or classes of persons who, although they may be in the home community, are treated as foreign to it’ (Hartley 1992: 207). Using two recent stories from news shows such as Today Tonight, A Current Affair or The Project, examine how one particular group is excluded from ‘our’ community. What kind of exclusionary discourses are commonly utilized in relation to this group?

    3. According to Steph Lawler, ‘working class-ness forms the constitutive outside to middle-class existence … such understandings work to produce working-class people as abhorrent and as foundationally “other” to middle-class existence that is silently marked as normal and desirable’ (2005: 431). Australian news media both pathologizes the working-classes and ‘others’ the cultural ‘elites’. Using two examples such as newspaper articles or opinion pieces, examine how mainstream media commentary produces and reproduces class divisions.

    4. What does Richards mean when she argues, ‘In Australia there is a growing body of evidence that family life is dominated by sets of ideas that qualify as ideology’ (1997: 165)? Which are the dominant ideologies that are tied to mainstream definitions of the ‘family’? Discuss with reference to one or two examples from the Australian media.

    5. When discussing the ‘work/life’ collision, Barbara Pocock argues that ‘there are a range of “cover stories” that obscure the complexities and compromises that arise from the work/life collision … the cover stories obscure the truth’ (2003: 6). What are these ‘cover stories’? Examine one or two examples of recent media ‘cover stories’ about the work/life collision. You can use any type of media, such as newspaper articles, blog posts, fictional TV shows, films, etc.

    6. Australia still has a gendered pay gap of 17.4% (30% in the areas of health and finance). What are the main arguments as to why this is the case, and why are many of these arguments problematic? You can concentrate on the health or finance sector if you wish.

    7. Online and gaming communities can be highly discriminatory. Looking at either the attack on Anita Sarkeesian and her Kickstarter project on ‘Tropes in Gaming’, or at the recent debates about harassment in online gaming discuss the ways in which such discriminatory practices are challenged through the use of online media.

    8. ‘Non-white or non-Anglo-Australians are much more aware of the representational codes shaping Australian-ness because they are more frequently excluded or insulted by them’ (Elder 2007: 139). Discuss some of the ways that the media constructs ‘representational codes’ in relation to whiteness and ‘othered’ groups, and pay particular attention to the ways that ‘othered’ groups are constructed as threatening to mainstream (white) Australia.

    9. The mainstream media often constructs the interests of Aboriginal Australians as being dichotomous from the interests of mainstream (white) Australians. How are these divisions produced in the media? Consider this in relation to reporting on either land rights or mining.

    10. ‘Over the past decade, ongoing Indigenous sovereignty struggles have receded from the horizon of white Australian debates about land rights and native title … Instead the debate has shifted to the discussion to violence and other problems … in Aboriginal communities’ (Moreton-Robinson and Nicoll 2007: 156). Discuss media attention on the Northern Territory intervention in regards to protectionist and Othering discourses.

    11. If there is an area you are particularly interested in researching you can create your own question in collaboration with your lecturer. The question will have to be worked out before class in Week 5.

    Essay question references

    Richards, Lyn (1997) 'The ideology of the family: Women, family and ideology in three Australian contexts.' In Kate Pritchard Hughes (ed) Contemporary Australian Feminism 2. (Longman: South Melbourne).

    Pocock, Barbara (2003) The Work/Life Collision. (Federation Press: Arnedale).


    Students will be required to formulate a response to a reading and post this on their blog on MyUni, and to ask two or three questions about the chosen reading. They will also be required to respond to at least five other student blogs, and particularly their questions in response to that student’s chosen reading. As a guideline, use the kinds of questions you address in the 'media analysis' assignment, but note that this should be a response to a scholarly journal article, and so your response should be more scholarly in turn. You are allowed to use relatively informal language (compared to the essay) such as the personal pronoun ('I') but remember to focus on the arguments being put forward and the evidence provided to support them.

    Class Participation

    Ongoing class participation will be graded, with students given a formative grade mid-semester. Tutors will be closely observing your engagement and involvement in classes throughout the semester, and particularly will focus on:

    · Whether you have visibly completed readings (i.e., you can talk about them, discuss them, question them, or show that you have taken notes or underlined them);
    · Active listening skills demonstrated by eye contact with speakers (tutors or other students), nodding, taking notes or responding verbally or non-verbally to speakers in class;
    · How closely you are paying attention to speakers in the class (both tutors and other students);
    · Questions that you ask about readings, lectures, or other aspects of the course, both in class and out of class (after lectures/tutorials or via email to tutors or on blogs or discussion boards);
    · Answers that you provide or perspectives that you offer in relation to the questions or to points made by lecturers or other tutors.

    Remember, participation does not necessarily mean being the loudest or most vocal contributor to class discussions. In fact, overly dominating discussions can have a negative effect! If you feel shy or lack confidence to answer questions in class, try to show your participation by active listening and preparation for class, reading, taking notes, and engaging with lecturers and tutors outside of class time. (Of course, you should be sensitive to their other commitments – everyone is busy.) Teachers usually have a very accurate idea of who is engaged and working hard in class.

    Reflective Journal 2

    This second reflective journal should build from your first one, so be sure to take into account the feedback you received on that one.

    In the second reflective journal, try to link your personal experiences to the larger political and social processes that have been discussed in the second part of the course. What laws, structures and protocols have had a direct bearing on your life, and in what way have they influenced your experiences? Do you feel that these larger structures have been unfair, or unjust in any way? In what ways have the personal and political come together or blurred in your own life? Be sure to make concrete reference to ideas, concepts, and readings from the course in your reflection, using the Harvard referencing system.
    All assignments will be electronically submitted via MyUni, except (obviously) for Participation.

    Students may be granted extensions to assignments on medical or compassionate grounds; documentation to support these ground will be required. Requests for extension must be made before the due date; requests for extension submitted after the due date will not be considered. All extension requests must be submitted to the Course Coordinator (Chad Habel:; any extensions granted by the lecturer or tutor will not be considered valid.
    All extension requests will be administered according to the Modified Arrangements for Coursework Assessment Policy:
    For a concise information sheet on this policy, please visit

    Penalties for Late Submission

    Unless the Course Outline states otherwise when an assessment is submitted after the due date, and without an extension, 5% of the total mark possible will be deducted for every 24 hours or part thereof that it is late, including each day on a weekend. For example, an essay that is submitted after the due date and time but within the first 24 hour period, and that has been graded at 63%, will have 5% deducted, for a final grade of 58%. An essay that is more than 24 hours late will lose 10%, etc. Hard copy submissions made after 5.00pm on a Friday will be assumed to have been submitted on the next business day and will be penalised 5% per day for every day including weekend days and public holidays. This penalty may be increased where the assignment is to be completed ina period of less than a week.

    This course aims to return assessed work within 2 weeks of its submission, although this cannot be guaranteed. The resubmission of assignments is not possible for this course, except in exceptional circumstances as approved by the Course Coordinator. 
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.