Faculty of Education

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Education
OfferedNot offered in 2015


This unit addresses a central question in outdoor education and environmental studies: how to understand and appreciate the relationship between nature and culture. It explores why some regard the dominant values and practices associated with culture as conflicting with those of nature; the aspects of nature and culture that are most closely interconnected; where, with whom and when people experience and understand connections that are intimate, intense, attaching or their converses. The unit focuses on the role and status of particular values and worldviews in shaping human interactions with diverse Australian outdoor environments (including alpine, marine, coastal, wetlands, grassland, forest and arid). Students critique a range of socio-cultural considerations in experiences of outdoor environments, including metaphors and exemplars that illustrate a range of culture-nature relationships in Victoria, Australia, and elsewhere (e.g. as playground, gymnasium, adversary, testing ground, museum, cathedral, machine, storehouse, sacred site). Students develop critical understandings of how relationships with Australian outdoor environments are expressed by specific Indigenous communities before and after European colonisation and how outdoor environments have been, and are, culturally, politically, economically and socially constructed, preserved, conserved and managed.


Upon successful completion of this unit students should be able to:

  1. demonstrate a critical understanding of the different ways in which culture and nature can be related philosophically and practically, and how these relationships can be challenged, sustained and evaluated
  2. identify how educational-based approaches can contribute to a deeper understanding of outdoor experiences and place attachments
  3. develop creative ways of experiencing and representing relationships between nature and culture through perspectives and settings associated with outdoor education
  4. demonstrate necessary technical skills to conduct an independent place-based inquiry project.


Folio: Culture, nature and a personal exploration of an outdoor place (2000 words equivalent, 50%)
Essay: A conversation with place (2000 words, 50%)

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload equals 144 hours per semester comprising:

(a.) Contact hours for on-campus students:

  • 3-hour workshop per week for six weeks

(b.) Additional requirements:

  • independent study to make up the required minimum hours per semester
  • one-day off campus intensive

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study