Course Title: Ethics, Practice and Applied Human Rights

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Ethics, Practice and Applied Human Rights

Credit Points: 12

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


360H Education


Sem 2 2008,
Sem 2 2009


City Campus


360H Education

Face-to-Face or Internet

Sem 1 2012

Course Coordinator: Dr Tracey Ollis

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 2539

Course Coordinator

Course Coordinator Location: 98.1.2D

Course Coordinator Availability: Email for an appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

The course is a postgraduate course and requires you to be able to:

• Undertake independent research and study using a range of texts and electronic resources
• Examine and evaluate a variety of ethical ideas and arguments
• Place those arguments within historical traditions and contexts
• Engage in practical reasoning to address contemporary workplace situations in ways that incorporate values within a human rights framework.

Course Description

This is a core course in the Graduate Diploma of Applied Human Rights and invites you to consider a number of major ethical ideas and traditions and their relationship to human rights. The study of these ideas and traditions will enable you to clarify the relationship between values, practices and human rights.

Most importantly the course is designed to assist you to apply your insights and understandings to practical applications of ethics and human rights in workplaces and other organisations.

The course will focus upon identifying a number of key ethical ideas and traditions and major modern writers, asking you to evaluate their arguments and to reflect upon what constitutes good practice in applying human rights. Amongst other ideas this will ask you to consider questions of sustainability and the issues involved in balancing human rights against the needs of nature.

In particular, the course will be laying the groundwork for you to develop an ongoing ability to appraise workplace practices and relationships in the light of basic ethical positions.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

On successful completion of this course you will be able to:

1. Identify good practice in administering ethical standards and a human rights framework in your work place
2. Prepare an implementation guide for ethical standards in your work place
3. Analyse the traditions and arguments which have led to contemporary ethical ideas
4. Compare and comment critically upon the work of major thinkers concerned with ethics and human rights
5. Develop a capacity to engage in the ongoing debate about ethics, human rights and the environment.

Overview of Learning Activities

You will achieve these abilities through variety of learning activities :
• Guided discussion of key writers who have contributed to western ethical dialogues
• Comparison of the underpinning assumptions of key thinkers
• Case study analysis of the implementation and maintenance of ethical standards and human rights in fields such as education, medicine, engineering and social planning
• Analysis of your own workplace against agreed criteria
• Research into practical applications of theory to workplace situations and policies.
You will engage in a number of seminars as well as two full day workshops to debate and consider a range of ideas, to get some familiarity with the vocabulary and styles of practical reasoning and to think about how best to enable a sustainable culture of human rights. A major part of the assessment will be the development of an analysis and action plan for implementation of human rights in a workplace.
The course will use a case-study approach where possible. An important part of the initial discussion with you will be determining your individual learning goals.

Overview of Learning Resources

Buckeridge, J.St J.S; 4 Es : Ethics, Engineering, Economics and Environment RMIT University Press 2008.

Additional readings on ethics and human rights will be provided in workshops.

Learning resource material will be available online. Details will be provided in the first workshops

Overview of Assessment

Assessment will be ongoing

Presentation of an oral case study for class discussion (10%)

Research papers and case study analysis (50%)

Students will be expected to contribute papers analysing the western human rights and ethical traditions and also papers commenting on case-studies of human rights and ethical practice. Further details will be given in class.

Action plan (40%)

A major part of the assessment will be the development of an analysis and action plan for the implementation of a human rights strategy in a workplace or organisation.