Course Title: Measuring Globalisation

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Measuring Globalisation

Credit Points: 12.00



Course Coordinator: Julian Lee

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 3440

Course Coordinator Email: julian.lee@rmit.edu.au

Course Coordinator Location: 37.5.16

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment


Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

None. There is no expectation that you are proficient in any statistical method and learning activities do not require any complex mathematical calculations.


Course Description

We are told that the world is becoming ever more globalised, but how do we measure globalisation? What information or data should we draw upon to test this and other claims about the nature of the global system? Statistics on global health and education for example provide essential detail for the ordering of institutional priorities and the setting of global policy goals. Yet data does not become meaningful until subjected to interpretation, and this process of meaning making is susceptible to human error and bias. Representations of global knowledge in colourful graphs, tables, and diagrams, can be compelling in their eloquence and simplicity. In the era of big data and data analytics especially, there is a need for greater critical awareness of the ways in which erroneous conclusions can be derived from mistaken readings of questionable statistical evidence. In this course you will explore need for greater awareness of how quantitative evidence can be manipulated for political effect. This course is therefore both an examination of competing claims about the nature of globalisation and its human and environmental dynamics, and an exploration of the foundations of our knowledge about the world.


Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

1) Recognise contestable assumptions in use of quantitative evidence by global policy makers to support major policy initiatives,

2) Critically evaluate competing interpretations of identical bodies of statistical information,

3) Compare and contrast same or similar conclusions drawn from vastly different sources of statistical information,

4) Extrapolate meaning and significance from statistical data and construct alternative interpretations.


In this course you will develop the following program learning outcomes:

• Demonstrated ability to contribute effectively to organisational decision making, to interpret organisational objectives and strategies, and to work within organisational constraints.

• Demonstrated capability to assist in the identification of needs, the design, planning, resourcing and implementation of research and development projects in international and cross-cultural settings.

• Demonstrated capacity to critically analyse, synthesise and reflect on the ways in which local practices are shaped by institutional and government policies and discourses at the global and national levels.


Overview of Learning Activities

To be run in an intensive inquiry-driven format, this course is built around a series of learning exercises in which you will work in a group to critically deconstruct the use of graphs, tables, diagrams and other schematic representations of knowledge in selected global policy documents addressing climate change, global health, security, crime, economic competitiveness, gender equity, and environmental sustainability. Working groups will investigate, compare and propose alternative interpretations of same and similar bodies of evidence, and then debate competing knowledge claims. Learning is supported with a series of complementary face-to-face lectures, and guest presentations.


Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems. All other required reading will be located on MyRMIT and the RMIT Library Database.


Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on how well you meet the course’s learning outcomes and on your development against the program learning outcomes. Assessment may include:

1. Workshop participation (20%) Course Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3 and 4. Sustained contribution to class learning activities over the duration of the intensive and online components of the course. Contributions include the dissemination, either in class or through online postings, of relevant sources not provided in the course materials.

2. Group-based analytical exercises and debates (40%) Course Learning Outcomes: 1, 2 and 3. Peer-reviewed analysis and discussion of global policy claims drawing upon theoretical ideas from the lecture program and set readings. Tasks include discussion, group presentations and structured inter-group debates.

3. Individual essay (40%) Course Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3 and 4. A selection of essay questions will be posed inviting you to explore the epistemological foundations of an area of global practice and to explain how these foundations shape the ways in which global policy priorities are identified and justified in the public domain.