POLIS 1101 - Introduction to Australian Politics

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2016

Politics affect you everyday - the conditions you live and work under, your identity, your security, the values and fears you possess, and ultimately your expectations as a citizen and your place in the world. This course will provide an introduction to the Australian political system in its social and economic context. Students will also be introduced to relevant theoretical debates in a range of areas. Topics covered include: power, national identity, political parties, interest groups, environmental issues, the media, class, gender, race, ethnicity, technology, the impact of economic globalisation, political institutions, democracy and elections. The course will address the major forces that are influencing and shaping the Australian political environment.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code POLIS 1101
    Course Introduction to Australian Politics
    Coordinating Unit Politics and International Relations
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Incompatible POLI 1101
    Assessment Minor Essay (15%) 800 words, Major Essay (40%) 1800 Words, Tutorial Participation (15%), Tests totalling (30%)
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Wayne Errington

    Course Timetable

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

    Weekly lectures consist of one online lecture (via MyUni) and one face to face lecture (see the timetable).
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    At the successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
    1 Critically analyse some of the key concepts in Australian political science
    2 Participate in group discussions about contested concepts with confidence and with tolerance for other points of view
    3 Evaluate subjective claims about Australian politics
    4 Write and argue about these claims using the basic terminology of social science
    5 Navigate the large amounts of research material available in this subject through both traditional academic sources and through the use of information technology
    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)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Students need to purchase a textbook and access additional set reading via MyUni.

    The textbook is available from Unibooks:
    Miragliotta, Narelle, Wayne Errington and Nicholas Barry. 2013. The Australian Political System in Action. 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, Melbourne. 

    Recommended Resources
    The following texts will help you revise the key concepts across the course:

    Eccleston, Richard, Paul Williams and Robyn Hollander. 2006. Foundations of Australian Politics, Pearson Longman, Melbourne.

    Smith, Rodney, Ariadne Vromen and Ian Cook 2006. Keywords in Australian Politics,
    Cambridge University Press, Melbourne.

    Lists of further reading for each topic will be available on the MyUni site for POLIS 1101.

    Awareness of contemporary Australian politics is an essential part of the course. Keep up with state and national politics by reading a daily newspaper, and watching/listening to current affairs programs.

    Online Learning
    The POLIS 1101 MyUni site contains announcements, copies of many course materials such as lecture material, a further reading list, a discussion forum, and links to useful web sites. You should check this site regularly.

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The online lectures outline the material to be discussed in each week’s tutorials. The tutorials are your opportunity to ensure that you understand the key concepts as we move through the course.

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

    2 x 1-hour lectures (or equivalent) per week 24 hours per semester
    1 x 1-hour tutorial (or equivalent) per week 12 hours per semester
    6 hours reading per week 72 hours per semester
    2 hours research per week 24 hours per semester
    2 hours assignment preparation per week 24 hours per semester
    TOTAL WORKLOAD 156 hours per semester
    Learning Activities Summary
    Week 1 Introduction: Liberalism and Democracy
    Week 2 Elections: Electoral Systems
    Week 3 Parties and the Party System:
    - The Australian Labor Party
    - The Liberal Party of Australia
    Week 4 Parties and the Party System:
    - The Greens
    - Minor Parties and Independents
    Week 5 Social Movements: Power
    Week 6 Responsible Government: The Constitution
    Week 7 Parliament: 1975
    Week 8 Executive Power: Accountability
    Week 9 Public Policy
    Week 10 Media Power: Media and Accountability
    Week 11 Nationalism and Religion
    Week 12 Review and test preparation
  • 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 Weighting Learning Outcome
    Small Group Discovery Formative and Summative 25% 1,2,4
    Weekly online quizzes Formative and Summative 10% 1,3,4,5
    Major essay Formative and Summative 40% 1,3,4,5
    Key concepts test Summative 25% 1,3,4,5
    Assessment Detail
    Information on enrolment.
    Information on enrolment.
    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 (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) 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
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