Course Title: Fundamentals of Humanitarian Innovation

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Fundamentals of Humanitarian Innovation

Credit Points: 12.00

Important Information:

Please note that this course may have compulsory in-person attendance requirements for some teaching activities. 

To participate in any RMIT course in-person activities or assessment, you will need to comply with RMIT vaccination requirements which are applicable during the duration of the course. This RMIT requirement includes being vaccinated against COVID-19 or holding a valid medical exemption. 

Please read this RMIT Enrolment Procedure as it has important information regarding COVID vaccination and your study at RMIT:  https://policies.rmit.edu.au/document/view.php?id=209

Please read the Student website for additional requirements of in-person attendance:  https://www.rmit.edu.au/covid/coming-to-campus 

Please check your Canvas course shell closer to when the course starts to see if this course requires mandatory in-person attendance. The delivery method of the course might have to change quickly in response to changes in the local state/national directive regarding in-person course attendance. 



Course Coordinator: Dr. Nick Brown

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 3024

Course Coordinator Email: nick.brown@rmit.edu.au

Course Coordinator Location: City Campus

Course Coordinator Availability: Email to book appointment


Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

There are no pre-requisites.

This course is part of the Minor in Humanitarian Innovation and is a prerequisite for other courses in this Minor.


Course Description

Through instruction, experimentation, and hands on activities you will explore the role, responsibilities, and application of engineering and associated scientific and technical disciplines in humanitarian and global development contexts. You will learn best practices and approaches for technical knowledge application in long-term development and emergency settings and understand the applicability of these approaches in your own area of practice. Humanitarian innovation skills will be beneficial for those interested in building resilience to global stresses such as climate change, pandemics, natural disasters, urban and rural development. This course is for those wanting to expand their skills and be prepared to tackle the pressing and complex global challenges of the 21st century.


Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to development of the following capability assured program learning outcomes for the following programs:

BH068, BH069, BH070, BH073, BH075, BH076, BH077, BH078, BH079, BH080.

  • PLO1: Demonstrate an in-depth understanding knowledge of fundamental engineering and scientific theories, principals and concepts and apply advanced technical knowledge in specialist domain of engineering.
  • PLO3: Apply engineering research principals, methods and contemporary technologies and practices to plan and execute a project, taking into account ethical, environmental and global impacts.
  • PLO6: Develop and demonstrate the capacity for autonomy, agility and reflection of own learning, career and professional development and conduct.
  • PLO7: Collaborate and contribute as an effective team member in diverse, multi-level, multi-disciplinary teams, with commitment to First Nations Peoples and globally inclusive perspectives and participation.


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

  1. Articulate the roles and responsibilities of engineers and technical disciplines in complex humanitarian contexts incorporating law, ethics, cultural contexts and other factors.
  2. Understand the application and limitations of engineering and technical fundamentals in the humanitarian domain.
  3. Build, test, and evaluate a humanitarian innovation in response to a humanitarian need.

Apply approaches (e.g. rights-based, strengths -based) to humanitarian contexts with applicability to broader practice.


Overview of Learning Activities

Learning activities include viewing on-line resources, workshops, practicals and lab-based build and test activities, Learning activities are designed to address the course learning outcomes and will be based on simulated contexts. Essential professional skills (eg. communication skills, team work, critical thinking) will be fostered throughout the semester. Course-related resources and assessment tasks will be provided through RMIT’s learning management system.


Overview of Learning Resources

Course-related resources will be provided on Canvas, which is accessed through the RMIT Student website. Resources will include videos, pictures, case studies, supplementary course notes, a reading list and references.

The Library provides guides on academic referencing and subject specialist help as well as a range of study support services. For further information, please visit the Library page on the RMIT University website and the RMIT Student website.


Overview of Assessment

This course has no hurdle requirements.

The purpose of assessment is to determine whether you have developed the capabilities stated in the Course Learning Outcomes and selected Program Learning Outcomes. The assessment focuses on your ability to consider and present options and recommendations for solving problems related to humanitarian and development contexts.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task 1 – Individual case study
Weighting: 20%
This assessment task supports CLOs: 1, 2

Assessment Task 2 –Individual Practice Portfolio
Weighting: 30%
This assessment task supports CLOs: 2, 3, 4

Assessment Task 3 – Group Experimental Lab Report
Weighting: 30%
This assessment task supports CLOs: 2, 3, 4

Assessment Task 4 - Individual Job Application
Weighting: 20%
This assessment task supports CLOs: 1,&4