SCIGEN 301/301G : Engaging in a Knowledge Society


2024 Semester Two (1245) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Addressing complex issues requires knowledge experts to engage with a variety of people. Solutions will be gained from collaborations that co-produce knowledge in transdisciplinary partnerships that lead to new ways of thinking. This course explores meaningful ways to engage with communities, and reassesses current ways of knowing and doing.

Course Overview

This course is about how we engage in partnerships and use knowledge to address complex challenges. Today’s increasing mistrust in experts, coming at the very moment expertise across all disciplines is most needed, is a dual challenge that requires a new understanding of science’s foundations, its social role, and changes to how this role is enacted. Solutions will be gained from collaborations that co-produce knowledge in transdisciplinary partnerships that lead to new ways of thinking. This course explores and unpacks assumptions about how science is done, how it is communicated, and how we might achieve more meaningful ways to engage with society to pose questions, reinterpret, and reassesses our current ways of knowing and doing.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: Any 180 points

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: People and Place
Capability 2: Sustainability
Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Capability 7: Collaboration
Capability 8: Ethics and Professionalism
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Critically examine theoretical underpinnings and principles that should underpin meaningful engagement (Capability 3 and 4)
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of and discuss how science is shaped by political, cultural and other values. (Capability 1, 3 and 8)
  3. Understand and apply contexts and methods for community engagement. (Capability 1, 3, 6 and 7)
  4. Critically explore effective ways to engage in community-based research. (Capability 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8)
  5. Engage with community through a real world engagement experience. (Capability 1 and 3)
  6. Understand and apply through group work the multiple ways in which science and policy can work together. (Capability 3, 5, 6, 7 and 8)
  7. Appreciate and apply in a learning simulation the importance of ethics in the development, uses and governance of science and technology (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8)
  8. Demonstrate an understanding of the concepts of risk and uncertainty in evidence use and discuss how this affects decision making. (Capability 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignment 20% Individual Coursework
Self Directed Field Experience and Creative Output 20% Individual Coursework
Scenario Engagement and Activities 20% Group & Individual Coursework
Final Exam 40% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Self Directed Field Experience and Creative Output
Scenario Engagement and Activities
Final Exam


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Key Topics

Why Engage?
Approaches to engagement
The Engaged scientist: Trust, responsibility and impact 
The Engaged Citizen: Complex issues demanding evidence-based multi-sectoral action
Engagement in contested spaces 
Understanding community contexts (SELF DIRECTED FIELD EXPERIENCE)
Schools as a setting for engagement.
Building and sustaining community partnerships
Public Dialogue and Engagement
Science and Governance
Being a reflective / reflexive practitioner
Lived Experience vs Evidence Based Research

Special Requirements

FIELD EXPERIENCE:  Students will undertake a self-directed field experience to explore a 'community'.  The experience can be staggered at different times to suit the student or can be undertaken on one specific day (likely during the mid semester break).  The experience enables the student to explore and record a community of the student's choosing.  The experience will be complemented with further investigation of the community through media / literature / council material etc.   The student will present their community investigation through a creative output of their choosing (video, photo essay, recorded talk, dance, art  etc).

Mock scenario Week 5/6: Throughout week 5/6 we will be undertaking an interactive mock scenario in lecture time. This involves groupwork and so students are expected to attend at least 2 of the 3 lectures as engagement marks are attached to this activity. The entire activity (engagement and groupwork)  is worth 10% of your final mark.

Mock scenario week 12:  During the last week of class (in week 12) we will be joining with BIOMED 399 (capstone course) to run a mock stakeholder meeting on a controversial issue.  This session usually takes place out of the normal lecture time (usually  4-6pm on one afternoon in week 12 - specific date yet to be arranged).  Students are expected to attend this session (as it is worth participation marks).  10% is attached to this activity as a whole - and the associated preparatory work that will occur in the tutorials). An alternative option is provided for rare 'pre-approved situations' (pre-approved at the start of semester)  or for a medical emergency when a student is genuinely unable to attend.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 34 hours of lectures, 10 hours of tutorial;  6 hours fieldtrip; 40 hours of reading and thinking about the content during the entire semester and 30 hours of work on assignments during the entire semester.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities including tutorials to complete and receive credit for components of the course.  

The  learning simulation activity (a group game) requires attendance for 3 of 4 lectures / tutorial days to gain full marks (10%) - however students can still gain some marks for lower levels of engagement (but not full marks) if they only attend some of the sessions.  

The mock stakeholder meeting (final week) requires attendance for one 90min session outside course time (in week 12) to gain participation marks, however students will still be eligible for preparatory work marks if they cannot attend.

Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including tutorials will not be available as recordings.
The course will not include live online events including group discussions and tutorials.

The Exam is online.

The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

All required learning resources are made available through canvas and the course talis reading list. You are however expected to independently access quality library sources for your assignments.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

100% of students agreed or strongly agreed that  SCIGEN 301/301G is an effective course in the 2018 and 2019 SET evaluations. 
SCIGEN 301 was not taught in 2023, but will be taught again in 2024.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 06/11/2023 08:40 a.m.