Studying online

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Unit Overview


The media influences community perceptions around the application of new technologies or knowledge. In this unit students will explore the influence of the on-line media on how our society views current high profile issues around agriculture, food, environmental management and application of biotechnology. Issues will be identified and discussed in class throughout the unit. Students will chose a topic of interest to them; it may be of local, national, international or global significance. Options include: the potential of genetically modified crops to enhance global food security, the need for greater management of the Murray Darling system, fire management in southern Australian forests or whether we all should be encouraged to eat less meat. Students will explore their topic though choosing a high-profile specific aspect of it, which has been highlighted in the past 12 months in the media, but with contrasting viewpoints expressed. They will then compare the media views to those in the peer-reviewed scientific literature through identification of appropriate papers and careful assessment of their rigour and relevance. They will write a short report and present results to the class.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) critically assess scientific literature; (2) communicate a critical analysis of contrasting viewpoints in both written and oral form; and (3) understand the need for a robust scientific literature to underlie media viewpoints.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) written report; (2) workshop attendance; and (3) final presentation. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Professor Megan Ryan
Unit rules
Enrolment in
73530 Master of Agricultural Economics
or 72510 Master of Agricultural Science
Unit(s) ECON5006 Topics in Agricultural Economics
Contact hours
1 hour contact per week for 10 weeks. The total work requirement for the unit is 150 hours.
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.