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I’m taking 4 units, and each unit worth 6 credits.

August 17, 2009

First of all, I’ve misplaced my camera USB cord. The last time I remembered using it is in the computer lab at St. George’s College, the same time when I snuck back to do my laundry for free. So If I did leave the USB cord there…that’s karma, baby. I’ll go by this afternoon to check if it’s still there (after 3-4 weeks), but fortunately it’s not prohibitively expensive to replace.

Overall the units I’m taking seem to be very practical, focusing on skills that you can directly use after graduation. There are policy projects, research proposals, research projects, and more research projects. I feel like classes at Cal tended to be broader and more philosophical, meant to prepare you to be a better citizen of the world and teaching you how to learn. This could also be because at Cal we have a lot of general ed requirements and a lot of flexibility in choosing our majors. It seems that here at UWA you need to come in with your major declared, and your entire 3- or 4-year plan is set up for you already, with only a few choices of major-related electives. Most majors here are 3-year programs, extending to the 4th year only if you intend to complete an honors project.

There are few chances for mid-sem or mid-project assessment. There are fewer contact hours (I have about 12-15 contact hours a week), and office hours don’t exist. If you have a question, you are expected to ask it in class or set up an appointment with the lecturer.

uwa schedule

EART3304: Environmental Planning, Management, and Sustainability
2 hours of lecture a week, 0-2 hours of workshop a week
About 150 students

This unit focuses on environmental planning and management, because the unit coordinator said that “sustainability has been shoved down your throats for the past 3 years.” The lectures are split into three sections: socio-economic background of environmental change and policies, environmental monitoring and indicators, and assessment of environmental management. The workshops (2 hours long and led by the lecturer) focus on methodology of facing current environmental issues. There are 3 projects in the class, each worth 20%, and a final exam that is worth 40%.

Our first mini-project is to respond to an “Invitation to Make a Formal Offer to Tender.” The Department of Environment, water, Heritage and the Arts wants a group to complete a “socio-economic analysis and description of the marine industries of Australia’s North-west marine region,” and so the department solicits tenders from interested teams (usually from acadmia or a consulting group). The tender includes an interpretation of the brief, a methodology, a timeline, a budget, a 1-paragraph track record of each team member, along with an abbreviated CV of each team member. A lot of work to convince the Department that your team’s methodology is the best and the most inexpensive.

ANTH2219: Australian Society: Facts and Fantasies
2 hours lecture a week, 1 hour tute (= tutorial) a week
About 90 people

This is a sociology unit, and I have background in neither sociology or Australian society. Intimidating. This unit, as the title suggests, looks at Australian society from a sociological point of view and introduces us to “the conceptual tools required for developing a critical understanding of major characteristics of ‘Australian society'”. Whatever that means. Each week we look at a different topic. Last week’s was “Who is Australian?” thinking about race, gender, ethnicity, formal citizenship, and self-identification as Australian. This week’s focus was on Australia’s reputation as “The Land of ‘The Fair Go'”; in our tutes we had to respond to the statement, “Egalitarianism in Australia is a myth; Australians are not, and never have been, committed to a fair go for all.”

At the very end of the unit we need to have produced a sociological biography of an Australian we will interview, worth . As per the unit outline, “This biography will reflect major themes explored in your study, namely education, work and leisure, religion and belief, family life and will use some of the major theoretical concepts employed by sociologists and anthropologists, including life chances, cultural capital, social class, gender, ethnicity/rice, social reproduction.” What does that all mean? I’ll let you know when I find out.

The sociological biography is worth 45%, 4 quizzes are worth a total of 25%, and tute and workshop participation are worth 30%. I made this class pass/no pass, so I’m not stressing out too much about it.

Okay, my friends are over, and they’re studying, which means I should be studying. Also, this is a long post already.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Sophia permalink
    August 21, 2009 17:16

    YOUR SOC CLASS SOUNDS AMAZING!! (this is coming from a soc major haha) I really hope you like it and learn a lot!! Apply what you learn to life outside Australia too!

  2. Philip Hsiao permalink
    August 22, 2009 19:07

    So, which class is your favorite?

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