COMM1000 Creating Social Change: From Innovation to Impact - 2021

Term 3
6 Units of Credit
UNSW Business School

Offering Selection
This course outline is for the current term. To view outlines from other years and/or terms, visit the archives

1. Course Details

Summary of Course

Do you want to change the world, but don't know where to start?

This course is for aspiring change agents across all sectors, including business, not-for-profit and government. Whether your career lies in business, law, art and design, arts and social sciences, the built environment, science, engineering or medicine, you will learn how to address complex social problems and you will develop practical skills to create better social outcomes.

We explore the issues that policy makers, industry leaders and social service providers grapple with every day, such as inequality, place-based disadvantage, mental health, homelessness, and human rights. We will introduce models for systems change, social innovation, and cross-sectoral collaboration. You will complete the course with a broad understanding of social systems and the keys to initiating and sustaining positive social change.

The course introduces national and global trends through a range of case studies, and you will have the opportunity to hear directly from experts in business, government and social purpose organisations who have successfully initiated social change.

Teaching Times and Locations

Please note that teaching times and locations are subject to change. Students are strongly advised to refer to the Class Timetable website for the most up-to-date teaching times and locations.

View course timetable

Course Policies & Support

Course Aims and Relationship to Other Courses

This course aims to introduce students to systems thinking and societal change scenarios. It provides an overview of how sectors (public, private, and not-for-profit) create social impact in Australia and how they can work together more effectively to achieve positive social change.

Students will examine these change processes within specific sectors, as well as how these sectors interact to generate change. Catalysts and barriers to change will also be highlighted and supported by the real-life experiences of high calibre guest speakers.

Students will be given the opportunity to put this learning into practice by planning their own change process to address a social problem. This course is designed as a flexible core elective in the Commerce (or Commerce related) program, a level 1 Business School elective, or a General Education course for students from other UNSW faculties. It is designed to complement learning within the broad range of programs from across the University.

Additional Course Details

Links to all required and optional resources are on the reading list for your course in the UNSW Library's Leganto system, which you can access via your Moodle course. Please note you will need to log in and may be required to enter your UNSW zID and zPass in order to access the library site.

Required readings consist of core texts and their applications. Readings are chosen to provide both theoretical foundation and to illuminate their meaning and usage in professional contexts. The readings are not to be studied in detail but are designed to initiate thinking and understanding of key themes in social systems and change.

3. Staff Contact Details

Position Name Email Location Phone Consultation Times
Course AuthoritySarah WhiteCentre for Social Impact, 704, Level 7 Science Engineering Building (E8) (SEB)
By appointment

Course Authority: Dr Sarah White


Centre for Social Impact Student Administration

Please direct any CSI education program, enrolment and administration queries here:

Centre for Social Impact Student Team

Phone No: 02 8936 0990



4. Learning and Teaching Activities

Approach to Learning and Teaching in the Course

The overall pedagogical philosophy of this course is based on the belief that learning is an active process requiring engagement and immersion.

Due to the dynamic nature of social change this course will be highly interactive and discussion oriented. It will utilise innovative and varied learning, teaching and assessment strategies designed to apply content to practical examples and case studies.

Learning Activities and Teaching Strategies

To maximise the collaborative and experiential nature of this course, a 'flipped' learning and teaching approach will be used that will help to support deeper student engagement and outcomes. The flipped approach means students undertake reading and research independently and use group discussion time for active and interactive learning. Each Unit (topic/module) will include a range of activities that you will complete before and after the unit is offered. You have three major resources to help you learn:  

1. The course materials comprising readings, references, insights and commentary for each unit. You will do much of your learning independently by working through the course materials and completing the learning activities, and collaboratively through online discussions and webinars.  

2. Your class discussions are conducted in tutorials. Your facilitator's role is to guide your learning by conducting class discussions and activities and answering questions that might arise after you have completed the week's work. The facilitator also presents insights from practical experience and understanding of theory and provides feedback on your assignments.  

3. Your co-participants are an invaluable source of rich learning content for you. Their work and life, and their willingness to question and debate the course materials, your views and those of the facilitator, represent a great learning opportunity. They bring much valuable insight to the learning.


Course Structure

Online only

The course is delivered across 9 learning modules over 10 weeks (11 weeks including O-week). Students work through 1 module per week with. The content and learning materials are presented in distinct modules all of which are available online, these are worked through sequentially with an online tutorial discussion group and tutors. Weekly deadlines apply for discussion forums and online activities. Some online activities must be completed with other students in Microsoft Teams.

F2F only

The course is delivered in 9 modules and runs over 10 weeks. Access to learning materials is through Moodle and lectures (live streamed and online). Prescribed readings should be completed before attending each tutorial on campus. Some online activities must be completed with other students in Microsoft Teams

6. Course Resources

The University and the Business School provide a wide range of support services for students, including:

• Centre for Social Impact (CSI)  

Email: Phone: 02 8936 0990.

• Business Student Centre 

Office: Level 1, Room 1028 in the Quadrangle Building; Phone: 02 9385 3189.

• Moodle eLearning Support

For online help using Moodle, go to:

For technical support: Email: Phone: 02 9385 1333.

• UNSW Learning Centre 

Provides academic skills support services, including workshops and resources, for all UNSW students. See website for details.

• Library services and facilities for students

• IT Service Centre 

Provides technical support to troubleshoot problems with logging into websites, downloading documents, etc.

Office: UNSW Library Annexe (Ground floor). Phone: 02 9385 1333.

• UNSW Counselling and Psychological Services 

Provides support and services if you need help with your personal life, getting your academic life back on track or just want to know how to stay safe, including free, confidential counselling.

Office: Level 2, East Wing, Quadrangle Building; Phone: 02 9385 5418; Email:

• Equity Learning Services (formally Disability Support Services)

Provides assistance to students who are trying to manage the demands of university as well as a health condition, learning disability or have personal circumstances that are having an impact on their studies.

 Phone: 02 8374 9201; Email:

• Nura Gili Indigenous Student Support

Nura Gili's Academic Support Officers are available to assist Indigenous students

Phone: 02 9385 3805 Email:

7. Course Evaluation & Development

Continual Course Improvement

Each term feedback is sought from students about the course and continual improvements are made based on this feedback. In this course, we will seek your feedback through end of term myExperience Survey responses. Your feedback is important to ensure the course is continually improved.

Student Response

Students wanted more tutor involvement in the teamwork on Microsoft Teams.

Students wanted to have more input into the assessment of their teamwork mark.

Students needed clearer guidelines for online participation.

Students wanted more detailed assessment information for the social change pitch.

Greater accessibility with transcripts and slides provided to accompany online presentations

There were too many weekly readings.

Response to Student Feedback

Having more tutor involvement in the teamwork on Microsoft Teams.

A peer evaluation tool has been developed to enable each member of the team to share their experience on the quality of each members' contribution and reflect on their own teamwork in the Social Change Pitch Assessment.

Modelling discussion forums to demonstrate ideal online participation. Providing introductory material for online learning. 

We have developed a more detailed assessment document for the social change pitch.

Updated presentations and changes meant that some presentations lacked transcripts, new transcripts have been created and additional slides provided where needed to improve student access to the learning materials.

We have reviewed the readings and resources; we have moved some readings from mandatory to optional. Please note many of the optional readings are short readings and have specific page numbers.

8. Course Schedule

Week Activity Topic Detail/Engagement Assessment Task
Week 1 Module 1 Course materials on Social InequalityTalking About Social Issues Understanding academic integrity, referencing & plagiarism, Introduction to Social Change & the consequences of social inequality

Week 0: Course Outline, Academic Honesty module, Ice-breaker forum

* Read the Course Outline

* Participation in online discussion forum

Week 1: Complete the Module, Participation in discussion forum

* Complete the Module

Discussion forum - activity on social inequality


Assessment 2 : Multiple Choice Quiz
Assessment 4 : Online engagement & participation
Week 2 Moodle Book module 2, Online readings Wicked Problems and Cynefin framework: What is the (wicked) problem? Wicked problems and types of change

Week 2: Discussion forums - Wicked problems, Types of Change Wicked problems

* Complete the Module

* Participation in discussion forums and online acitvities

Assessment Webinar 1 

Assessment 2 : Multiple Choice Quiz
Week 3 Moodle Book module 3 online readings Systems thinking & the three sectors

Week 3: Discussion forum - Systems thinking activity

Assessment Webinar 2 

Assessment 1 : Critical Analysis
Assessment 2 : Multiple Choice Quiz
Week 4 Moodle Book 4 Online readings on the three sectorsThe three sectors; private, public and social, social impact Government, business and human rights

Week 4: Discussion: business and human rights

Assessment 2 : Multiple Choice Quiz
Assessment 4 : Online engagement & participation
Week 5 Moodle book module 5 online readings on SDGsLeadership & the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Week 5: Discussion: the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Team work: choosing a social issue

* Complete the Module

Online activities and team work

Upload team contract to moodle 

Assessment 2 : Multiple Choice Quiz
Week 6 Flexibility Week Tutorial (optional)Review of course material
Week 7 Moodle Book module 7 Social Innovation, systems analysis and designing a blueprint for change

Week 7: Discussion forum - Social Change and wicked problems, Teams activity- Work through social change innovation parts 1 & 2

* Complete the Module and Readings

* Participation in discussion forum and Teams platform

Assessment Webinar 3

Week 8 Moodle Book module 8Designing & measuring your change process; systems mapping, measuring and collaboration

Week 8: Discussion forum - Designing a change process, Teams activity- work on social innovation

* Complete the Module and readings

* Participation in discussion forum and Teams platform

Week 9 Moodle Book module 9 Collaboration, collective impact and creating shared value

Week 9: Discussion forum - Social Change pitch, purpose and audience, Teams work on social change

Assessment 3a : Social Change Pitch-written report
Week 10 Moodle Book module 10 ReviewPreparing your social pitch and wrap up

Week 10: Teams activity- continue working on social change presentation, Discussion forum - Course Review and Reflection

Assessment 3b : Social Change Pitch- oral presentation
Assessment 3c : Team design and presentation

9. Policies and Support

Information about UNSW Business School protocols, University policies, student responsibilities and education quality and support.

Program Learning Outcomes

The Business School places knowledge and capabilities at the core of its curriculum via seven Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs). These PLOs are systematically embedded and developed across the duration of all coursework programs in the Business School.

PLOs embody the knowledge, skills and capabilities that are taught, practised and assessed within each Business School program. They articulate what you should know and be able to do upon successful completion of your degree.

Upon graduation, you should have a high level of specialised business knowledge and capacity for responsible business thinking, underpinned by ethical professional practice. You should be able to harness, manage and communicate business information effectively and work collaboratively with others. You should be an experienced problem-solver and critical thinker, with a global perspective, cultural competence and the potential for innovative leadership.

All UNSW programs and courses are designed to assess the attainment of program and/or course level learning outcomes, as required by the UNSW Assessment Design Procedure. It is important that you become familiar with the Business School PLOs, as they constitute the framework which informs and shapes the components and assessments of the courses within your program of study.

PLO 1: Business knowledge

Students will make informed and effective selection and application of knowledge in a discipline or profession, in the contexts of local and global business.

PLO 2: Problem solving

Students will define and address business problems, and propose effective evidence-based solutions, through the application of rigorous analysis and critical thinking.

PLO 3: Business communication

Students will harness, manage and communicate business information effectively using multiple forms of communication across different channels.

PLO 4: Teamwork

Students will interact and collaborate effectively with others to achieve a common business purpose or fulfil a common business project, and reflect critically on the process and the outcomes.

PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Students will develop and be committed to responsible business thinking and approaches, which are underpinned by ethical professional practice and sustainability considerations.

PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

Students will be aware of business systems in the wider world and actively committed to recognise and respect the cultural norms, beliefs and values of others, and will apply this knowledge to interact, communicate and work effectively in diverse environments.

PLO 7: Leadership development

Students will develop the capacity to take initiative, encourage forward thinking and bring about innovation, while effectively influencing others to achieve desired results.

These PLOs relate to undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs.  Separate PLOs for honours and postgraduate research programs are included under 'Related Documents'.

Business School course outlines provide detailed information for students on how the course learning outcomes, learning activities, and assessment/s contribute to the development of Program Learning Outcomes.



UNSW Graduate Capabilities

The Business School PLOs also incorporate UNSW graduate capabilities, a set of generic abilities and skills that all students are expected to achieve by graduation. These capabilities articulate the University’s institutional values, as well as future employer expectations.

UNSW Graduate CapabilitiesBusiness School PLOs
Scholars capable of independent and collaborative enquiry, rigorous in their analysis, critique and reflection, and able to innovate by applying their knowledge and skills to the solution of novel as well as routine problems.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Entrepreneurial leaders capable of initiating and embracing innovation and change, as well as engaging and enabling others to contribute to change
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Professionals capable of ethical, self-directed practice and independent lifelong learning
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Global citizens who are culturally adept and capable of respecting diversity and acting in a socially just and responsible way.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

While our programs are designed to provide coverage of all PLOs and graduate capabilities, they also provide you with a great deal of choice and flexibility.  The Business School strongly advises you to choose a range of courses that assist your development against the seven PLOs and four graduate capabilities, and to keep a record of your achievements as part of your portfolio. You can use a portfolio as evidence in employment applications as well as a reference for work or further study. For support with selecting your courses contact the UNSW Business School Student Centre.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

Academic Integrity is honest and responsible scholarship. This form of ethical scholarship is highly valued at UNSW. Terms like Academic Integrity, misconduct, referencing, conventions, plagiarism, academic practices, citations and evidence based learning are all considered basic concepts that successful university students understand. Learning how to communicate original ideas, refer sources, work independently, and report results accurately and honestly are skills that you will be able to carry beyond your studies.

The definition of academic misconduct is broad. It covers practices such as cheating, copying and using another person’s work without appropriate acknowledgement. Incidents of academic misconduct may have serious consequences for students.


UNSW regards plagiarism as a form of academic misconduct. UNSW has very strict rules regarding plagiarism. Plagiarism at UNSW is using the words or ideas of others and passing them off as your own. All Schools in the Business School have a Student Ethics Officer who will investigate incidents of plagiarism and may result in a student’s name being placed on the Plagiarism and Student Misconduct Registers.

Below are examples of plagiarism including self-plagiarism:

Copying: Using the same or very similar words to the original text or idea without acknowledging the source or using quotation marks. This includes copying materials, ideas or concepts from a book, article, report or other written document, presentation, composition, artwork, design, drawing, circuitry, computer program or software, website, internet, other electronic resource, or another person's assignment, without appropriate acknowledgement of authorship.

Inappropriate Paraphrasing: Changing a few words and phrases while mostly retaining the original structure and/or progression of ideas of the original, and information without acknowledgement. This also applies in presentations where someone paraphrases another’s ideas or words without credit and to piecing together quotes and paraphrases into a new whole, without appropriate referencing.

Collusion: Presenting work as independent work when it has been produced in whole or part in collusion with other people. Collusion includes:

  • Students providing their work to another student before the due date, or for the purpose of them plagiarising at any time
  • Paying another person to perform an academic task and passing it off as your own
  • Stealing or acquiring another person’s academic work and copying it
  • Offering to complete another person’s work or seeking payment for completing academic work

Collusion should not be confused with academic collaboration (i.e., shared contribution towards a group task).

Inappropriate Citation: Citing sources which have not been read, without acknowledging the 'secondary' source from which knowledge of them has been obtained.

Self-Plagiarism: ‘Self-plagiarism’ occurs where an author republishes their own previously written work and presents it as new findings without referencing the earlier work, either in its entirety or partially. Self-plagiarism is also referred to as 'recycling', 'duplication', or 'multiple submissions of research findings' without disclosure. In the student context, self-plagiarism includes re-using parts of, or all of, a body of work that has already been submitted for assessment without proper citation.

To see if you understand plagiarism, do this short quiz:


The University also regards cheating as a form of academic misconduct. Cheating is knowingly submitting the work of others as their own and includes contract cheating (work produced by an external agent or third party that is submitted under the pretences of being a student’s original piece of work). Cheating is not acceptable at UNSW.

If you need to revise or clarify any terms associated with academic integrity you should explore the 'Working with Academic Integrity' self-paced lessons available at:

For UNSW policies, penalties, and information to help you avoid plagiarism see: as well as the guidelines in the online ELISE tutorials for all new UNSW students: For information on student conduct see:

For information on how to acknowledge your sources and reference correctly, see: If you are unsure what referencing style to use in this course, you should ask the lecturer in charge.

Student Responsibilities and Conduct

​Students are expected to be familiar with and adhere to university policies in relation to class attendance and general conduct and behaviour, including maintaining a safe, respectful environment; and to understand their obligations in relation to workload, assessment and keeping informed.

Information and policies on these topics can be found on the 'Managing your Program' website.


It is expected that you will spend at least ten to twelve hours per week studying for a course except for Summer Term courses which have a minimum weekly workload of twenty to twenty four hours. This time should be made up of reading, research, working on exercises and problems, online activities and attending classes. In periods where you need to complete assignments or prepare for examinations, the workload may be greater. Over-commitment has been a cause of failure for many students. You should take the required workload into account when planning how to balance study with employment and other activities.

We strongly encourage you to connect with your Moodle course websites in the first week of semester. Local and international research indicates that students who engage early and often with their course website are more likely to pass their course.

View more information on expected workload


Your regular and punctual attendance at lectures and seminars or in online learning activities is expected in this course. The Business School reserves the right to refuse final assessment to those students who attend less than 80% of scheduled classes where attendance and participation is required as part of the learning process (e.g., tutorials, flipped classroom sessions, seminars, labs, etc.).

View more information on attendance

General Conduct and Behaviour

You are expected to conduct yourself with consideration and respect for the needs of your fellow students and teaching staff. Conduct which unduly disrupts or interferes with a class, such as ringing or talking on mobile phones, is not acceptable and students may be asked to leave the class.

View more information on student conduct

Health and Safety

UNSW Policy requires each person to work safely and responsibly, in order to avoid personal injury and to protect the safety of others.

View more information on Health and Safety

Keeping Informed

You should take note of all announcements made in lectures, tutorials or on the course web site. From time to time, the University will send important announcements to your university e-mail address without providing you with a paper copy. You will be deemed to have received this information. It is also your responsibility to keep the University informed of all changes to your contact details.

Student Support and Resources

​The University and the Business School provide a wide range of support services and resources for students, including:

Business School EQS Consultation Program
The Consultation Program offers academic writing, literacy and numeracy consultations, study skills, exam preparation for Business students. Services include workshops, online resources, individual and group consultations. 
Level 1, Room 1035, Quadrangle Building.
02 9385 4508

Communication Resources
The Business School Communication and Academic Support programs provide online modules, communication workshops and additional online resources to assist you in developing your academic writing.

Business School Student Centre
The Business School Student Centre provides advice and direction on all aspects of admission, enrolment and graduation.
Level 1, Room 1028 in the Quadrangle Building
02 9385 3189

UNSW Learning & Careers Hub
The UNSW Learning & Careers Hub provides academic skills and careers support services—including workshops, individual consultations and a range of online resources—for all UNSW students. See their website for details.
Lower Ground Floor, North Wing Chancellery Building.
02 9385 2060

Student Support Advisors
Student Support Advisors work with all students to promote the development of skills needed to succeed at university, whilst also providing personal support throughout the process.
John Goodsell Building, Ground Floor.
02 9385 4734

International Student Support
The International Student Experience Unit (ISEU) is the first point of contact for international students. ISEU staff are always here to help with personalised advice and information about all aspects of university life and life in Australia.
Advisors can support you with your student visa, health and wellbeing, making friends, accommodation and academic performance.
02 9385 4734

Equitable Learning Services
Equitable Learning Services (formerly Disability Support Services) is a free and confidential service that provides practical support to ensure that your health condition doesn't adversely affect your studies. Register with the service to receive educational adjustments.
Ground Floor, John Goodsell Building.
02 9385 4734

UNSW Counselling and Psychological Services
Provides support and services if you need help with your personal life, getting your academic life back on track or just want to know how to stay safe, including free, confidential counselling.
Level 2, East Wing, Quadrangle Building.
02 9385 5418

Library services and facilities for students
The UNSW Library offers a range of collections, services and facilities both on-campus and online.
Main Library, F21.
02 9385 2650

Moodle eLearning Support
Moodle is the University’s learning management system. You should ensure that you log into Moodle regularly.
02 9385 3331

UNSW IT provides support and services for students such as password access, email services, wireless services and technical support.
UNSW Library Annexe (Ground floor).
02 9385 1333