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CDS2000 Ethical Issues and Human Rights

Semester 1, 2011 On-campus Springfield
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Arts
School or Department : School of Humanities and Communication

Contents on this page


Examiner: Nathan Beel
Moderator: Greg Dean


Pre-requisite or Co-requisite: CMS1000 or CMS1009 or EDC1100


Ethical professional practice is a key requirement of all graduates, with evolving community expectations, legal requirements and the demands of professional accreditation. This is particularly the case in human services where the clients are often in an unequal power relationship with professionals.


This course introduces students to the main legal, ethical, and social justice responsibilities that are integral to work in community and human services organisations. While considering a range of approaches to moral philosophy, students will focus on a rights based approach to human services delivery together with an awareness of contemporary social justice issues.


On completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. Define the major philosophical approaches to ethics
  2. Reflect on the ethical basis for their own and society's values and attitudes to a variety of contemporary ethical issues
  3. Defend a rights-based approach in human services
  4. Give examples of human rights issues in contemporary Australia
  5. Describe the efficacy and limitations of various legislative provisions for rights
  6. Define social justice
  7. Identify the key factors that shape contemporary understanding of social justice in Australia
  8. Critically analyse instances of inequality and marginalisation in Australian society
  9. Demonstrate ethical research and enquiry skills through an understanding of the application of professional ethics in human services
  10. Demonstrate oral and written skills in the analysis and discussion of ethical issues and human rights
  11. Demonstrate academic and professional literacy skills by comprehending, applying and analysing ethical literature and theory to the human services profession
  12. Demonstrate effective teamwork and the ability to engage in respectful dialogue in order to resolve conflict
  13. Identify, analyse and resolve ethical dilemmas in human services practice


Description Weighting(%)
1. Ethical frameworks and issues 25.00
2. Human rights 25.00
3. Social Justice 25.00
4. Professional ethics in human services 25.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Selected Readings, Course CDS2000 Ethical Issues and Human Rights, DeC, USQ, Toowoomba.
  • Transmodal CD-Rom, Course CDS2000 Ethical Issues and Human Rights, DeC, USQ, Toowoomba.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Attwood, B 2003, Rights for aborigines, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, NSW.
  • Bailey, P 1993, Bringing human rights to life, The Federation Press, Sydney.
  • Bailey, PH 1990, Human Rights: Australia in an international context, Butterworths, Sydney, NSW.
  • Billington, R 2003, Living Philosophy: an introduction to moral thought, 3rd edn, Routledge, London.
  • Charlesworth, R 2002, Writing in rights, UNSW Press, Sydney.
  • Corey, G & Corey, M & Callanan, P 2007, Issues and ethics in the helping profession, 7th edn, Brooke/Cole, Pacific Grove.
  • Flynn, M 2003, Human rights in Australia: treaties, statutes and cases, LexisNexis Butterworths, Chatswood, NSW.
  • Galtung, J 1994, Human Rights in another key, Polity Press, Cambridge, MA.
  • Hayter, T 2000, Open borders: the case against immigration controls, 2nd edn, Pluto Press, London.
  • Jacobsen, M & Bruun, O (eds) 2000, Human rights and Asian values, Curzon, Richmond, NSW.
  • Kymlicka, W (ed) 1995, The rights of minority cultures, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  • O'Neill, N & Handley, R 2004, Retreat from injustice: human rights in Australian law, 2nd edn, The Federation Press, Sydney.
  • Reichert, F 2006, Understanding Human Rights, Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA.
  • Singer, P 1999, Practical Ethics, 2nd edn, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Private Study 129.00
Workshops 36.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Objectives assessed Graduate skill Level assessed Notes
DISCUSSION 1 30 6 03 Apr 2011 1,2,10,11,12 U1,U2,U3,U4,U5.U6,U8 2,1,2,2,2,2,1 (see note 1)
ISSUE PAPER 100 30 26 Apr 2011 1,2,3,4,5,10,11 U1,U3,U4,U7 2,2,2,1 (see note 2)
DISCUSSION 2 30 7 08 May 2011 4,5,10,11,12 U1,U2,U3,U4,U5.U6,U8 2,1,2,2,2,2,1 (see note 3)
MEDIA CRITIQUE 100 20 16 May 2011 6,7,8,10,11 U1.U3.U4.U7 2,2,2,1
DISCUSSION 3 30 7 12 Jun 2011 6,7,8,10,11,12 U1,U2,U3,U4,U5.U6,U8 2,1,2,2,2,2,1 (see note 4)
CASE STUDY 100 30 14 Jun 2011 2,3,9,10,11,13 U1,U2,U3,U4,U7,U8,U9,U10 2,2,2,2,1,1,1,1

  1. Discussions will be in assigned groups and may be conducted using USQStudyDesk. Assessment will be based in part upon a group submission and in part on individual contributions
  2. .
  3. Discussions will be in assigned groups and may be conducted using USQStudyDesk. Assessment will be based in part upon a group submission and in part on individual contributions
  4. Discussions will be in assigned groups and may be conducted using USQStudyDesk. Assessment will be based in part upon a group submission and in part on individual contributions

Graduate qualities and skills

Elements of the following USQ Graduate Skills are associated with the sucessful completion of this course.
Ethical research and enquiry (U1)Intermediate (Level 2)
Sustainable practice (U10)Introductory (Level 1)
Problem solving (U2)Intermediate (Level 2)
Academic, professional and digital literacy (U3)Intermediate (Level 2)
Written and oral communication (U4)Intermediate (Level 2)
Interpersonal skills (U5)Intermediate (Level 2)
Teamwork (U6)Intermediate (Level 2)
Cultural literacy (U7)Introductory (Level 1)
Management, planning and organisational skills (U8)Introductory (Level 1)
Creativity, initiative and enterprise (U9)Introductory (Level 1)

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the student's responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration. For this course, normal class attendance is one 3 hour workshop per week. This course also contains a discussion forum where students' participation is formally assessed and successful participation in that discussion group is required to complete the requirements to be awarded a passing grade in the course.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To successfully complete an individual assessment item, a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks or a grade of at least C-. This statement must be read in conjunction with Statement 4 below.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without extenuating circumstances and without prior approval, then a penalty of a maximum of 5% of the assigned mark may apply for each working day late, up to a maximum of 10 working days, at which time a mark of zero can be recorded for that assignment.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade, a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no exam for this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Given the details under (6) above, there are no deferred exams for this course. However, if any deferred/makeup work is granted, it would have to be submitted by a date set by the examiner.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. (a) The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must either submit online or lodge the assignment at the USQ. (b) All Faculty of Arts assignments must be lodged in the submission box at the Springfield Campus no later than 5.00 pm on the due date. Online submission must be made by 12 midnight on the due date. (c) In the event that a due date for an assignment falls on a local public holiday in their area, such as a Show holiday, the due date for the assignment will be the next day. Students are to note on the assignment cover the date of the public holiday for the examiner's convenience. (d). Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be despatched to USQ within 24 hours if requested by the Examiner. (e) In accordance with University's Assignment Extension Policy (Regulation 5.6.1), the examiner of a course may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances such as documented ill-health. (f) Students who have undertaken all of the required assessments in the course but who have failed to meet some of the specified objectives of the course within the normally prescribed time may be awarded the temporary grade: IM (Incomplete-Makeup). An IM grade will only be awarded when, in the opinion of the examiner, a student will be able to achieve the remaining objectives of the course after a period of non-directed personal study. (g) Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or sit for an examination at the scheduled time, may apply to defer an assessment in the course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded: IDS (Incomplete - Deferred Examination; IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  2. Students will require access to email and have internet access to UConnect for this course.

  3. In this course students may use either Harvard (AGPS) or the APA referencing systems. Students should consistently use one of these systems in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The USQ library provides advice on how to format information sources using these systems. //

Other requirements

  1. Students can expect that questions in assessment items in this course may draw upon knowledge and skills that they can reasonably be expected to have acquired before enrolling in the course. This includes knowledge contained in pre-requisite courses and appropriate communication, information literacy, analytical, critical thinking, problem solving or numeracy skills. Students who do not possess such knowledge and skills should not expect to achieve the same grades as those students who do possess them.