MULT10013: Sustainability in Developing Communities

Sustainability in Developing Communities was reviewed by Reanna Clark. She is a second year Bachelor of Arts student, majoring in Psychology and Criminology. She also runs her own blog, You’ll Move Mountains – check it out!


When was the subject taken?

Semester 2, 2013

What topics were covered in the subject?

As a warning, this subject is quite different to your average lecture and tutorial subject. Rather, the subject is set up with five hours (two hours in the morning, three in the afternoon: yes, five hours all in the one day!) of “workshops”. These can compromise of mini “lectures”, class discussions, individual and group work, and drawing 500,000 context maps on jumbo sized pieces of paper.

Topics covered include introduction to design, sustainability, community development, teamwork and reflective practice. The subject is based around the premise of the EWB Challenge, which is an annual competition in which groups of university students work together to create a sustainable solution based upon criteria taken from a developing community.

Universities across the country offer this subject (intended for first year engineering students), and the best projects get presented at a state, then national level, with a winner being selected from a panel judges. However, at UniMelb, we like to do things a little differently and offer the subject as multidisciplinary.

What textbooks/workbooks were required for the subject?

None! However, highlighters, markers, sticky notes and your imagination are recommended (seriously, you do a lot of context maps).

What type of assessments were they?

Again, MULT10013 is not your average subject. 20% of your mark is based upon attendance and class participation, another 20% is taken from your weekly reflective journals and semester review (yeah, it’s that kind of class), and 10% from an individual research piece. The remaining 50% comes from your group’s final project. If you do well enough in your final project, up to four of projects are nominated to EWB to be selected from the Victorian showcase at the end of the year.

Were the lectures/tutorials recorded when you did the subject?

As lectures aren’t really a reality in this subject, no. However, attendance is recorded. The teacher was a bit lax about attendance, and as the subject took up five hours of a whole day, many students came and went from the subject freely. Class began at nine in the morning, and pretty much no one turned up until after 10am. However, in order to do well in this subject I highly recommend turning up and staying for the entirety of both workshops.

How did you find the subject? Did you enjoy it?

Overall, the subject was enjoyable. However, I don’t think this subject is for everyone. It can be a bit airy-fairy, and you really have to be driven to work on your own to do well and have fun along the way. The teacher isn’t there to tell you what to learn, but rather to guide you through the design process.

Group work is a major component of the subject, and I was incredibly lucky to find myself working with a group of amazing girls. We worked well together, and as a result excelled in the subject and were able to end up as runners up in the national showcase! That’s right, five Arts students beat a bunch of engineers at their own game.

Reanna rates the subject: 3.5 out of 5

Handbook link:


Thanks for the review Reanna!


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