COMM5714 Social Impact Capstone - 2020

Online, weekly
Term 1
6 Units of Credit
UNSW Business School

Offering Selection
This course outline is provided in advance of offering to guide student course selection. Please note that while accurate at time of publication, changes may be required prior to the start of the teaching session. To view other versions, visit the archives .

1. Course Details

Summary of Course

This course is the compulsory capstone in the MBA (Social Impact) program. As the final course taken, the purpose of the capstone is to enable students to synthesise their learning across the program and to achieve a common understanding of the degree qualification.

The capstone will add significant value to your Master's degree by building on your knowledge and skills from a range of disciplines (financial, management, marketing, etc.) as well as the specialist knowledge and skills in Social Impact that you have developed through your study and professional experience. It is also very applied in that you are required to work on a real social impact project with deliverables determined by the project client in collaboration with the course facilitator. Your project will require you to draw on related knowledge and expertise in some of the areas of the Social Impact specialisation such as social entrepreneurship, social innovation, corporate responsibility and accountability, collaboration, design for social innovation, the demonstration and measurement of social impact, social investment, shared value, and leadership.

As a graduate of the MBAX Social Impact program, it is expected that you will be able to perform effectively at a high level in the area of Social Impact initiatives. You should now be able to demonstrate effective management and leadership in the field of Social Impact by combining strong generic management skills with specialist expertise and to do so in a critically reflective manner. Due to the integrative nature of this course, it is therefore highly advised that the capstone is the last course taken, or one of the last courses taken in a final study period.

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.

The course runs for 12 weeks from Week 1 Monday 17th February to Week 12 Sunday 10th May 2020. An additional week (Week 13) is allocated for the completion of the final assignment. Students are expected to be online and participating from Week 1. All course discussion will take place online with no face-to-face meetings required.

View course timetable

Course Policies & Support

Course Aims and Relationship to Other Courses

As a capstone course, COMM5714 Social Impact Capstone is designed to bring together the different threads of your management and social impact studies. The vehicle for this integration is the social impact project you will work on with your fellow team members, which will require you to investigate a market-based social impact issue and develop recommendations for an organisation in relation to this issue. The nature of the recommendations and how these are to be presented will be determined by the deliverables for each respective project. 


Your allocated project might include the need to draw on one or more of the following:


  1. Financial:
    1. Financial sustainability
    2. Attracting social impact investment
    3. Financial scalability
    4. Social procurement


  1. Organisational capacity, retention and development:
    1. Governance and risk
    2. Succession planning
    3. Professional development of staff in SI organisations
    4. Organisational culture and managing change in SI organisations 


  1. Social impact:
    1. Measuring social impact
    2. Strategic partnerships
    3. Inter/Intra-sectorial collaboration
    4. End-user involvement models
    5. Social innovation and design for an area of unmet social need


Additonal 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 login 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 designed to initiate thinking and understanding of key themes in social systems and change. 

2. Staff Contact Details

Position Name Email Location Phone Consultation Times
Course AuthorityAdam McCurdie

Course Facilitator: Adam McCurdie


Adam McCurdie is the Co-founder and CEO of Humanitix, a world leading social enterprise disrupting the multi-billion dollar events ticketing industry to fund education for disadvantaged students through distributing 100% of profits from booking fees. Adam was a founding director and board member of Ripple Capital, providing refugees and asylum seekers with access to capital and other services to help them realise their business aspirations. Previously, Adam lectured and tutored at the University of Sydney Business School for their social enterprise program and core business subjects. Adam also worked in the communications, media and technology consulting arm of Accenture, leading business transformation projects in the Asia-Pacific region. Adam is the winner of the Third Sector 2018 Social Entrepreneur of the Year, Westpac Top 20 Business of Tomorrow, iAwards Start up of the Year and NSW Premier's Medal for Business Excellence in Social Impact. Adam holds Bachelor's degrees in mechanical engineering and applied mathematics from UNSW and a Masters of Agriculture and Environmental Economics from the University of Sydney.

​​​​​​​Centre for Social Impact Student Administration

Centre for Social Impact Student Team

Phone No: 02 8936 0990


3. Learning and Teaching Activities

Approach to Learning and Teaching in the Course

The teaching model in the online class is fully online. The Moodle site will provide access to resources that can provide you with the tools to examine, explore and discuss your learning with your co-participants and facilitators. The online resources will set the scene, framework and context for the topics being examined.


Learning Activities and Teaching Strategies

This course is project based. Your group will receive your project brief in Week 1 of the session.  In addition to working on your capstone project you will also complete a number of modules designed to support your project completion as well as develop your reflective practice for your final leadership reflection.

Course Structure

Comprised of 8 online modules which are delivered over the first 8 weeks of the course. Participation and engagement with these modules will occur simultaneously to performing the deliverables of the client project. Weekly participation will take place in the form of online discussion forums designed for students to reflect and critically analyse the content of each unit. Where appropriate students should comment on how the unit content is relevant to their client project.

Note: Unit 6 should be read in week 2 so as to provide a framework for critical reflection throughout the course.


Week 1 of the course provides a summary of the key concepts that underpin the study of social impact. Many or perhaps all will be familiar but provide a way to focus at the start of the capstone course. You will see that there are some mandatory and other recommended readings. Again, if you are familiar with these you might just want to skim over them to refresh the key points.


Providing notes and learning resources designed to develop your critical reflection skills and intended to assist with your final Reflection Task.


Provides notes and learning resources that can be used to assist in designing the roadmap for your project.


Provides notes and learning resources designed to develop your understanding of business models in the context of social impact and intended to assist with your final Reflection Task.


Provides notes and learning resources designed to develop your understanding of tools for performance and scale in the context of social impact and intended to assist with your final Reflection Task.


Provides notes and learning resources designed to develop your understanding of the art of story telling in the context of social impact and intended to assist with your final Reflection Task and your project.


Provides notes and learning resources designed to consolidate your understanding of social impact and intended to assist with your final Reflection Task and your project.


Provides notes and learning resources designed to develop your understanding of governance and risk in the context of both corporate and social enterprise.


5. 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: 9385 3189.


• Moodle eLearning Support

For online help using Moodle, go to: For technical support, email:; Phone: 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: 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: 9385 5418; Email:


• 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. Office: Ground Floor, John Goodsell Building; Phone: 9385 4734; Email:


6. Course Evaluation & Development

Continual Course Improvement

Each year feedback is sought from students and other stakeholders about the courses offered in the Business School and continual improvements are made based on this feedback. UNSW's myExperience process is one of the ways in which student evaluative feedback is gathered. In this course we will seek your feedback through end of semester myExperience evaluations.

Student Response


Response to Student Feedback


7. Course Schedule

For AGSM academic calendars and key dates please visit
Week Activity Topic Detail/Engagement Assessment Task
Week 1 Online ParticipationUnit 1
Week 2 Online ParticipationUnit 2
Week 3 Online ParticipationUnit 3
Week 4 Individual Project Review dueUnit 4

Online Participation

Individual Project Review (10%) 

Assessment 2 : Individual Project Review
Week 5 Online ParticipationUnit 5
Week 6 Online ParticipationUnit 6
Online ParticipationUnit 6
Week 7 Online ParticipationUnit 7
Week 8 Online ParticipationUnit 8
Week 9 -
Week 10 -
Week 11 -
Week 12 Group Final Report & Group presentation due

Group Final Report (30%)

Group Presentation (20%)

Assessment 3a : Group Final Report
Assessment 4 : Project Presentation (oral presentation)
Week 13 Peer Assessment due

Peer Assessment (10%) 

Self Reflection (10%) 

Assessment 3c : Final Reflection
Assessment 3b : Peer Assessment

8. 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

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 Centre
The UNSW Learning Centre provides academic skills support services, including workshops and resources, for all UNSW students. See their website for details.
Lower Ground Floor, North Wing Chancellery Building.
02 9385 2060

Educational Support Service
Educational 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. Check their website to request an appointment or to register in the Academic Success Program.
John Goodsell Building, Ground Floor.
02 9385 4734

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

Disability Support Services
UNSW 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 who have personal circumstances that are having an impact on their studies. Disability Advisers can arrange to put in place services and educational adjustments to make things more manageable so that students are able to complete their course requirements. To receive educational adjustments for disability support, students must first register with Disability Services.
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

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