Course Title: Design for Sustainable Systems and Innovation

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Design for Sustainable Systems and Innovation

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


370H Design


Sem 1 2020

Course Coordinator: Pirjo Haikola

Course Coordinator Phone: Please email

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: Please email

Course Coordinator Availability: Please email

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities



Course Description

The most effective impact towards sustainability can be attained on a systems level. This elective focuses on design in the context of social-environmental-technological systems. The course explores approaches to how design can mobilise and support systemic changes, from products and services to governance. Through theory and practice, students will develop an understanding of systems approaches to sustainability and to more-than-human-centric design.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This is a university elective. 

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

1) Demonstrate an understanding of different approaches to systems. 2) Contextualize design challenges and opportunities within social-environmental-technological systems. 3) Recognize different scales of systems we are a part of through hands-on and mapping exercises and interventions. 4) Use practical approaches and tools to explore transformation of systems and possible futures (such as scenario development). 5) Engage in informed discussion and critique, and justify views and opinions articulately and respectfully.

Overview of Learning Activities

In this face-to-face course, you will be actively engaged in learning that involves a range of activities such as: lectures, class discussions and critiques, analysis of  theoretical content, and reading materials, and practical exercises performed in groups and individually. You will be challenged to develop your analytical and as well as creative abilities in this elective. In addition to scheduled classes you will need to complete course readings and assignments in your own time.

Overview of Learning Resources

A list of required and recommended reading will be provided by your lecturer. You are also expected to find some of your own references, specific to your individual and group exercises. 

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course though our online systems.

The RMIT Library has extensive resources for design students. The library has produced subject guides that include quality online and print resources for your studies: The library also provides guides on academic referencing:

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on how well you meet the courses learning outcomes and on your development against the program capabilities.

Assessment tasks may include written assignments, practical exercises, projects, and presentations (individual or group).

Your level of participation in class activities and discussion is also taken into consideration and forms 10% of your overall mark. An assessment rubric for participation will be collectively developed (students and teacher) in the first class.

Additional learning opportunities may include an RMIT Cred.

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 Equitable Learning Services if you would like to find out more.   Assessment tasks

• Written summary of provided reading — 250 words: 10% (LO 1&2)

• Practical exercise I — small scale systems mapping and intervention: 30% (LO 3 & 4)

• Practical exercise II — large scale systems mapping and intervention: 30% (LO 3 & 4)

• Written report: 20% (LO 1, 2, 3, &4)

• Self-review (Engagement and Contribution): 10% (LO1,2,5)   A Student Charter summarises your responsibilities as an RMIT student as well as those of your teachers.

Your course assessment complies with RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions, which are available for review online: