University of Technology Sydney

94673 Science Fiction: Making Futures

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2021 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Transdisciplinary Innovation
Credit points: 8 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject actively explores science fiction as imagined possibilities. Students are inspired to ask 'big questions' about the future, supported by insights from technological and cultural development. They are introduced to and compare a multidisciplinary range of frameworks and methods for envisioning futures, where humans and non-humans are constantly interacting. The genres of science fiction in this subject engage students with philosophical questions about technology, probing and recognising assumptions, ethical dilemmas and responses, as well as provoking them to consider foundational and moral principles to guide judgements, decisions and actions, and the rights and responsibilities of both humans and non-humans. Working together, students generate (technological) scenarios in order to imagine alternative futures and consider implications.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

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

1. Use a range of frameworks, approaches and methods creatively and critically to envision and gain different insights
2. Articulate and critically examine the assumptions and judgements that are intentionally or unintentionally formed and applied in, for example, sci-fi narratives, technological scenarios or imagined futures
3. Examine the possibilities and consequences of technologies in speculative contexts to discern guiding principles
4. Use envisioning methods, ideate and create scenarios to speculate on preferable futures and examine technological trends for betterment
5. Describe and analyse how technology shapes society, including how it influences norms, ethics, rights and responsibilities

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject contributes specifically to the development of the following course intended learning outcomes:

  • Explore the relevance and test the value of frameworks, approaches and methods from different disciplines, professional practices or fields of inquiry for gaining insights into particular problems, proposals, technological practices, contexts and systems (2.1)
  • Research and analyse problem situations or contexts from multiple disciplinary or personal perspectives to develop a deep understanding of the needs, interests and values of multiple stakeholders (2.2)
  • Identify significant issues, challenges or opportunities and assess potential to act creatively, technologically and ethically on them (5.1)
  • Design and develop technological ideas, strategies and practices for betterment that engage with and respond respectfully, generatively and analytically to different ways of knowing across community and cultural contexts (5.2)

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

This subject contributes to the development of the following graduate attributes:

  • Graduate Attribute 2 - Creating value in problem solving and inquiry
  • Graduate Attribute 5 - Imaginative and ethical citizenship

Teaching and learning strategies

Learning in this subject will take place in a collaborative, immersive, experiential and studio-based environment. This subject is enquiry-based: students will conduct individual preparatory research and exploration, which will form the basis for collaborative discovery and interactive learning activities in class. Students will work with academics and professionals across a wide range of disciplines. Staff, peers and invited experts will give formative feedback through class activities as students develop their future-oriented projects.

An aim of this subject is to help you develop academic and professional language and communication skills in order to succeed at university and in the workplace. To determine your current academic language proficiency, you are required to complete a written diagnostic task. If you receive a Basic grade for the written diagnostic task, you must attend additional Language Development Tutorials (each week from weeks 4 to 12) in order to pass the subject. The development of these tutorials is a new university-wide initiative designed to provide personalised support and enhance students’ English language skills. They will focus on developing your communication skills (reading, writing, speaking, listening) and your independent learning skills, which will help you to prepare for the subject assessment tasks and for professional workplace communication tasks.

Content (topics)

  • Science fiction as imagined possibilities
  • Futures thinking – concepts, frameworks, methods,
  • Speculative design and design fiction
  • Philosophy of technology
  • Past, present, future of technological innovation


Assessment task 1: Envisioning futures


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 2 and 3

This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):

2.1, 2.2 and 5.1

Type: Project
Groupwork: Group, group and individually assessed
Weight: 30%

Assessment task 2: Designing futures


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 2, 3 and 4

This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):

2.1, 2.2, 5.1 and 5.2

Type: Design/drawing/plan/sketch
Groupwork: Group, group and individually assessed
Weight: 40%

Assessment task 3: Speculative scenarios


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

4 and 5

This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):


Type: Portfolio
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 30%

This assessment will be assessed for English language proficiency. You may be directed to further language support after the completion of this subject if your language is below the required standard.

Minimum requirements

Students must attempt each assessment task and achieve an overall pass mark in order to pass this subject.

Late penalties apply to all assessment tasks as outlined in the FTDi FYI student booklet. Please consult this booklet for other useful information including Special Consideration, Plagiarism,Extension, and Student Support Services.

A minimum of 80% of attendance of classes (as outlined in the timetable) is required

It is a requirement of this subject that all students complete a written diagnostic task. Students who received a Basic grade in the written diagnostic task are required to attend 80% of the Language Development Tutorials in order to pass the subject. Please see the UTS Student Rules Section 3.8 (detailed under ‘other resources’).

Required texts

No required texts. Readings and other resources will be provided online.

Other resources

For completion of the practical work in class in this subject, students are expected to use their own laptop, and bring it to class each week. Students without a laptop that can be used in class are advised to contact the subject coordinator.