Course Title: Community Work

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Community Work

Credit Points: 12


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


330H Social Science & Planning


Sem 1 2006


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies


Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 1 2016,
Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2018,
Sem 1 2019,
Sem 1 2020

Course Coordinator: Associate Professor John Douglass Whyte

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 1079

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 08.10.34

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

HWSS2218 Field education integrated learning 1

HWSS2220 Social work field education A

Note it is a condition of enrolment at RMIT that you accept responsibility for ensuring that you have completed the prerequisite/s and agree to concurrently enrol in co-requisite courses before enrolling in a course. 

Course Description

This course provides you with a critical introduction to theories and practices for community development in its various forms and contexts.

These different approaches are utilised by citizens seeking change, as well as by professionals concerned with social justice and sustainability. Within social work theory and practice, community work has been seen as a traditional ‘method’, along with social work with groups, individuals and families, and research and social policy.

You will explore how community work encompasses a wide variety of activities and practices where people in communities take collective action towards desired social change and development. Different approaches will be investigated including radical social activism and community development approaches, community consultation, community strengthening and regeneration, and community care. 

Please note that if you take this course for a bachelor honours program, your overall mark in this course will be one of the course marks that will be used to calculate the weighted average mark (WAM) that will determine your award level. (This applies to students who commence enrolment in a bachelor honours program from 1 January 2016 onwards. See the WAM information web page for more information.)

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

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

  • Identify and analyse the scope and diversity of community practice within the contemporary socio-political context
  • Critically analyse the major perspectives and theories informing community practice
  • Differentiate between a range of contexts for community development: eg. local, rural, international and organisational contexts
  • Critically assess and evaluate community development strategies
  • Communicate the ways in which community work relates to and complements other methods of social work and international development in both theory and practice

You will be assessed on the following Program Learning Outcomes:

  • Critically analyse, synthesise and reflect on issues of social disadvantage, marginalisation and oppression in both local and international contexts, and proactively work to promote social justice and human rights
  • Demonstrate creativity, critical thinking and practical reasoning when identifying and solving problems in diverse contexts within the discipline of social work
  • Communicate using diverse formats and strategies to stakeholders within and external to your discipline
  • Work with others in a range of roles and contexts, demonstrating cultural, environmental and social awareness while promoting respectful, ethical and reflective practice

Overview of Learning Activities

You will be engaged in learning that involves a range of activities both face to face and online such as seminars, workshops, group and class discussion and individual research The course is designed to balance practical case material and theoretical input, presentations, DVD, guided reading, discussion and reflection, web resources, practice scenarios and your own experiences of community action.

Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems. A list of recommended learning resources will be provided by your lecturer, including books, journal articles and web resources.

You will also be expected to seek further resources relevant to the focus of your own learning.

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on how well you meet the course’s learning outcomes and on your development against the program capabilities. Assessment may include reports, projects and presentations, individually and in groups. Assessment will cover both theoretical and practical aspects of your learning. You will be able to develop your work in relation to your own specific areas of interest in your professional practice. Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks.

  • If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or the Disability Liaison Unit if you would like to find out more.
  • A student charter summarises your responsibilities as an RMIT student as well as those of your teachers.
  • Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions which are available for review online: