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Unit (2020)

Information on this page, including unit offerings, is from the 2020 academic year.

Transitions to Post Carbon Society (BRD306)

Organisational Unit Engineering and Energy
Credit Points 3
Availability MURDOCH: S2-internal, S2-external
Teaching Timetables Murdoch S2
Description This unit presents a range of discipline perspectives on how cities and regions may function after the Age of Oil. How will different parts of the world look without dependency on fossil fuels as the primary energy source? Post carbon societies will be varied and disciplinary perspectives blurred. Students will engage with the political economy of cultural and institutional challenges of transition, use creative problem-solving techniques to develop scenarios for different societies and compare different technologies in various industry sectors.
Unit Learning Outcomes On successful completion of the unit you should be able to:
1. Create and present relevant scenarios on post carbon society by integrating different perspectives.
2. Discuss the political economy of post carbon societies by looking at a number of case studies around the world.
3. Investigate and report on various national approaches to policy development mechanisms for transition to post carbon societies.
4. Apply creative problem-solving techniques in media and communications to designing education campaigns that influence attitudes and behaviour for carbon emissions reduction.
5. Explain how various engineered socio-ecological-technical systems work to provide renewable energy in the form of liquid fuels and electricity.
Timetabled Learning Activities Lectures: 1 hour per week; workshops: 1 x 3 hours per week.
Unit Learning Experiences Early in this unit students will be introduced to large-scale, energy-intensive, heavy industry such as mining, minerals processing, electrical power generation and transportation. How can these currently high carbon emissions activities that underpin our advanced industrial economies be transformed or adapted into a post carbon society? What are some of the emerging new patterns of low carbon living that may lead us to a post carbon society? A series of case studies and virtual tours will show not only the impacts of the greenhouse effect and climate change but also how communities are harnessing new technologies, social media and marketing for carbon emissions abatement and adaptation. Lectures will provide an introduction to the technical, ecological, social, political and economic processes behind these cases.

Students will be introduced to options for governance arrangements, creative problem-solving methods and a quantitative carbon footprint modelling tool to compare options and develop scenarios. Students will work in teams and choose from identified publicly accessible low carbon demonstration sites to explore on-line. Each team will visit virtually the selected facility with a particular rationale developed beforehand in group brainstorming workshops and this will be supplemented by virtual tours of global educational, demonstration and research centres available online.

A series of four tutorial and online discussions will be conducted in the latter part of the semester, led by different student team leaders each time on social, political and economic challenges of transition. Each student team will develop and present their vision of a post carbon society using multimedia techniques. Students will choose from a particular industry sector: mining, housing and settlement design, transport or power supply and will evaluate options for the post carbon society, a transition strategy and final scenario.
A series of workshop participation activities will be designed to test students learning of the inter-disciplinary nature of transition processes to a post carbon society.
* Internal students will be required to prepare a group report on the virtual site visits and present this orally in workshops. In teams they will run workshops and present their findings.
* External students will be asked to work with their tutors to identify suitable industrial and community facilities they can visit and/or research and engage in equivalent online discussions, activities and quizzes.
* Staff will identify equivalent transnational sites and facilities for students at these locations and make the necessary arrangements.

Students will be required to work in groups, comprised of individuals from different disciplines, to develop scenarios for a post carbon society and present their progress orally during semester in workshop sessions for discussion with their peers and tutor. Global, regional and local scenarios will be considered. Simple quantitative and qualitative methods to forecast scenarios will be demonstrated. A simple quantitative model of a carbon footprint will be developed in a workshop for submission and assessment. An essay and concept map by each individual student synthesising the technical, ecological, social, political and economic processes of transition to post carbon society will be submitted by the end of semester. As is intended in these interdisciplinary breadth units greater focus and assessment weight is placed on development of '21st Century skills' and correspondingly less weight on the conceptual content. Therefore, there will not be an end of semester exam, rather assessment items are scheduled through the semester.
Other Learning Experiences Two site visits on-campus by walking, one site visit off-campus.
Assessment Written Group project report (2500 words/student) 50%
Quiz 20%
Quantitative model 30%
The written group project will consist of project proposal, a poster presentation and a final project essay. The Project Proposal, one from each individual student, will be a project management plan. The Progress Report (one from each group) will be in the form of a short video, poster or PowerPoint slide pack. The final project essay will be where students draw together all the work undertaken in their group.
There will be 4 online quizzes completed by each student based on the unit readings.
A quantitative model will be prepared in one of the workshops during the semester with support from the teaching staff.
Prerequisites Nil.
Notes This is a University-Wide Breadth Unit.
Previously 2015: BRD206
Internet Access RequirementsMurdoch units normally include an online component comprising materials, discussions, lecture recordings and assessment activities. All students, regardless of their location or mode of study, need to have access to and be able to use computing devices with browsing capability and a connection to the Internet via Broadband (Cable, ADSL or Mobile) or Wireless. The Internet connection should be readily available and allow large amounts of data to be streamed or downloaded (approximately 100MB per lecture recording). Students also need to be able to enter into online discussions and submit assignments online.


Unit Coordinator
Dr Martin Anda
Senior Lecturer

Murdoch Campus
t: 9360 6123
e: M.Anda@murdoch.edu.au
o: 245.3.017 - Building 245, Murdoch Campus
Unit Contacts

MURDOCH: S2-External
MURDOCH: S2-Internal
Dr Martin Anda
Senior Lecturer

Murdoch Campus
t: 9360 6123
e: M.Anda@murdoch.edu.au
o: 245.3.017 - Building 245, Murdoch Campus
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