Course Title: Ethics and Sustainability

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Ethics and Sustainability

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


120H Civil, Environmental & Chemical Engineering


Sem 2 2016


City Campus


172H School of Engineering


Sem 2 2019

Course Coordinator: Edmund Horan

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 3926

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 12.12.018

Course Coordinator Availability: by email appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

The Ethical and sustainable component will introduce the moral framework(s) upon which ethical decision making is based; this will include a close assessment of selected professional codes of ethics; you will be encouraged to recognise and reconsider your assumptions and attitudes relating to the assessment, sustainability and performance of natural, built and social systems. Different perspectives arising from case studies of failure of natural, built and social systems, along with resulting investigations and outcomes will be analysed considering the duty of care of professional managers. you will be introduced to the reporting of failures, deficiencies and associated investigations - and this will include discussion on "whistleblowing"; consideration will also be given to intellectual theft, including plagiarism. 

The legal component will introduce students to matters such as innovation and liability, understanding the legal implications associated with assessment, investigation and arbitration.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development


On successful completions of the course, you should be able to:

1. Explain the need for an functioning within an ethical and sustainable framework as engineering, science and management professionals.

2. Define and explain the meaning of relevant terms and concepts.

Evaluate issues associated with systems failures from various ethical perspectives and on the basis of this, recommend appropriate action(s).

4. Identify the process of law and the different types of law.

5. Critically examine arguments for and against a particular incident of systems failure.

6. Critically assess the sustainability of a proposal from the ethical, environmental, economic and engineering perspectives.

7. Present orally and in document form a preferred position based on substantiated reasoning and evidence.

Overview of Learning Activities

A modular blended learning model comprising of intensive lecture/workshop sessions, on-line fora and team-based activities will be employed in the course. 

Students will utilise case studies of systems failure and will analyse the ethical, environmental, technical, economic and legal implications associated with these incidents. 

On-line fora will be established to share information and active participation of all students, ensuring that peer-learning enhances cognitive development.

Overview of Learning Resources

Learning resources required will include the library, a printed "legal dossier", the learning management system (where pdfs of relevant papers will be posted), the web and discussion groups with colleagues and faculty.

Overview of Assessment

This course has no hurdle requirements. 

Assessment tasks

Early Assessment Task: Short answer test (individual)
Weighting 10%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2 & 4

Assessment Task 2: Group Presentation with peer assessment component. 
Weighting 40%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1-7

Assessment Task 3: Report on selected topic
Weighting 50%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1-6