Convicts in Context

Would you like to know more about the circumstances that shaped the lives of convicts, their children, and their grandchildren?

In Convicts in Context, we will explore individual convict lives within a wider context. We’ll show you how to make sense of information about occupation, height, age, and literacy; how to analyse tattoos and scar patterns; and how to situate offending and health outcomes within the wider context of the development of Australian colonial society.

Please note: Students must have successfully completed Convict Ancestors to study Convicts in Context.


Online: Convicts in Context is part of a fully online suite of units to enable flexible study.


HECS Scholarships may be available for domestic students that cover half of the tuition fees for Convicts in Context in 2017*. You will be charged a tuition fee of 50% for this unit. HECS-HELP is available for domestic students wishing to defer this cost. Students will also be required to pay the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) for 2017 when enrolled in Convicts in Context. The cost of the SSAF is $44.10 per unit. This amount can be deferred through the SA-HELP form on eStudent for domestic students. SA-HELP eligibility can be confirmed at SSAF guidelines. This unit is offered within the Diploma of Family History (R2H) or the Associate Degree in Arts (R2B) / Bachelor of General Studies courses, depending on whether you are a commencing or continuing student (* conditions apply).


Free access to Ancestry.com Library: Gain free access to billions of historical documents, millions of historical photos, plus local narratives, oral histories and other resources that span from the 1500s to the 2000s.


What you will learn

On successful completion of this unit you will have:

  1. Greater familiarity with a range of criminal justice and civil record groups relevant to convicts and their descendants.
  2. An understanding of record linkage techniques.
  3. The ability to apply a range of analytical skills to convict and related records.
  4. The ability to understand individual lives within their wider society.
Location: Online

Intake: 24 July 2017

General Enquiries:
E: ASC.Contact@utas.edu.au
T: +61 3 6226 6365

What students say...

"I had been researching my family history for years and thought I had already found pretty much all there was to find. But the Introduction to Family History course pointed me towards new resources, sharpened up my research skills and led to new discoveries. It also helped me navigate through the maze of web-based resources and to identify the reliable ones."
- Lisa Hutton, Australian, living in France


Fees & Scholarships

HECS (Higher Education Contribution Scheme) scholarships may be available for domestic students*. These scholarships cover half of the tuition fees for Convicts in Context in 2017. You will be charged a tuition fee of 50% for these units. For 2017 the Student Contribution Amount for these units, after the 50% scholarship, is $396.50.

The 50% HECS scholarship is applied to your record as soon as possible after you enrol in the Convicts in Context unit within the Diploma of Family History or another College of Arts and Law approved course. Initially, your invoice in eStudent may reflect the full cost of the unit. Sometimes it may take up to a week after your enrolment is processed, but please be assured your correct invoice will appear in eStudent after this time.

Convicts in Context is one of nine units available to study under the Diploma of Family History. Further study in 2017/18 may attract HECS tuition fees, however for domestic students these may be deferred under the HECS-HELP Scheme. For further information on HECS-HELP consult the Australian Tax Office (ATO) guidelines.

Students will also be required to pay the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) for 2017 when enrolled in Convicts in Context. The cost of the SSAF is $44.10 per unit. This amount can be deferred through the SA-HELP form on eStudent for domestic students. SA-HELP eligibility can be confirmed at SSAF guidelines. The funds from this fee are allocated to the improvement of services and amenities for students of the University for both on-campus and online students.

A requirement for all students receiving a HECS Scholarship for this unit is compulsory completion of the eCAF. The eCAF (electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form) is a government form that is available online through eStudent. Completing the form is a requirement for all students. Instructions for how to complete the eCAF form will be included in the Convicts in Context unit content. Also see eCAF Instruction Guide (PDF 531KB).

Should you have any problems submitting your eCAF, please contact us by email ASC.Contact@utas.edu.au, phone +61 3 6226 6365, or the Contact Us online form.

*Domestic students include Australian citizens or students holding Permanent Humanitarian Visas or with Permanent Resident Status. Citizens of countries outside of Australia (excluding New Zealand), are not eligible to study this unit.


Frequently Asked Questions

Who can apply for Convicts in Context?

The Family History units are available to Australian citizens; and for NZ citizens, Permanent Residents and Humanitarian Visa Holders provided all studies are on-shore in Australia. You will need to have access to a computer and a reliable internet connection.

Students must have successfully completed Convict Ancestors to study Convicts in Context.

When do I receive my free access to the Ancestry.com Library?

You will receive details about your access to Ancestry.com on the MyLO page once you begin the unit. Students will be able to access this via the Library portal once they are enrolled.

What are the dates for the next offering of this unit?

This unit runs from 24th July until 8th September 2017 (7 weeks).

When do applications close for the next offering of this unit?

This unit begins on 24th July 2017. Applications need to be completed by 21st July 2017.

Are there any pre-requisites for the unit?

Students must have successfully completed Convict Ancestors to study Convicts in Context. If you require any further information please see the Admission Requirements.

What will I be required to do when studying in this unit?

You should expect to spend approximately 6-8 hours/week undertaking study in this unit.
After completing the unit, you should have:

  • Greater familiarity with a range of criminal justice and civil record groups relevant to convicts and their descendants.
  • An understanding of record linkage techniques.
  • The ability to apply a range of analytical skills to convict and related records.
  • The ability to understand individual lives within their wider society.

Is there any face-to-face teaching?

No. Convicts in Context is fully online.

I don't own a computer; can I still apply for the unit?

You will need to have access to a computer to complete this unit. If you don't have your own computer, or perhaps someone in your family or a friend has one, you could use a computer at your local library, on campus in student areas, or at the university library.

You also require a reliable internet connection. You should expect to download about 1-2 GB of data each month while studying the unit online.

Do I need to be available online at specific times?

Generally you can complete the unit work in your own time. Please note that content is usually released on a weekly or fortnightly basis. The unit coordinators may choose to present some content in the form of a live web conference. You will be made aware of this via news items during the semester.

Are there exams or assignments?

There will be ongoing assessments throughout the semester. Assessments could include such items as online quizzes composed of multiple-choice and short answer questions (some of which may be time-limited), online discussion forums, e-tivities and/or presenting your genealogical work. There are no exams for this unit.

Who would benefit from studying Family History?

Anyone interested in their own family histories or genealogy in general.

What is the Diploma of Family History?

The Diploma of Family History is a course consisting of eight family history units. Students will automatically be enrolled under the Diploma when they apply for Convicts in Context.

If you are a current student studying under the Associate Degree in Arts (R2B) / Bachelor of General Studies and would like to transfer into the Diploma please contact us by email ASC.Contact@utas.edu.au, phone +61 3 6226 6365, or the Contact Us online form.

See the Diploma of Family History for more information on further family history units available for study.

How do I find out more about Family History units on offer?

If you would like more information please see the Diploma of Family History or please contact us by email ASC.Contact@utas.edu.au, phone +61 3 6226 6365, or the Contact Us online form.

Why is the University offering these units with concession tuition fees?

From time to time the University of Tasmania offers some units with concession fees. These are generally online units which help increase community awareness and skills in areas such as healthy living and social engagement.

For many potential students, the cost of university study is a significant barrier; and those who haven't studied for some time appreciate the opportunity to develop confidence in their ability to succeed at university without the pressure of tuition fees.  In addition, we believe that the development of skills in these units is critical to community advancement and social cohesion – and these concessions are part of meeting our university's broad community obligation.

What do I need to do to enrol and what support is available?

Students must enrol in a formal course (i.e. a diploma, associate degree or bachelor degree) to take advantage of these opportunities.  Enrolling in a unit will enrol you in the relevant course for that unit. Our courses aim to build confidence and capacity to develop a pathway to success.

We hope that you will be encouraged by the quality and flexibility of these particular units, and the academic support available, to continue with further study and complete a course.  We are aware of the need to manage work-life balance, and we offer flexible learning plans that can help tailor a program to suit individual circumstances.  We work closely with our students to support their progression through these learning opportunities.

Is it a requirement that I complete a full course at the University of Tasmania?

A high proportion of students undertaking these units go on to complete a course.  We realise that students' circumstances change due to financial and family commitments and there is no formal obligation to complete a course if your circumstances make that difficult.

It is possible to have a break from study and return at a later date and to change course, if your interests change.  We are also planning to develop shorter qualifications such as diplomas and associate degrees which will take less time to complete.

How do I apply for admission to Convicts in Context?

Applications for the next offering will open closer to the commencement date. You can Express Interest in the next offering and we will contact you when applications are open.

Students must have successfully completed Convict Ancestors to study Convicts in Context.

If you need any assistance to complete the form, please contact us by email ASC.Contact@utas.edu.au, phone +61 3 6226 6365, or the Contact Us online form.

What supporting documents do I need to apply for Convicts in Context?

If you are required to provide Citizenship documentation (if you have changed citizenship and are now an Australian citizen) or Permanent residency documentation (if you are not an Australian citizen but living under a permanent residency visa in Australia) you can scan and email them to us at ASC.Contact@utas.edu.au.

After you have received your login details you will also be required to submit an eCAF. The eCAF (electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form) is a government form that is available online, after you have received your login details, through eStudent.

What is the cost of this unit?

The University of Tasmania is offering a HECS Scholarship to approved participants in this unit within the Diploma of Family History or another College of Arts and Law approved course that covers half of the tuition fees for Convicts in Context in 2017. You will be charged a tuition fee of 50% for these units. For 2017 the 50% Student Contribution Amount for these units is $396.50. HECS-HELP is available for Domestic Students wishing to defer their Student Contribution Amount. Students will also be required to pay the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) for 2017 when enrolled in Convicts in Context. The cost of the SSAF is $44.10 per unit. This amount can be deferred through the SA-HELP form on eStudent for domestic students.

The 50% HECS scholarship is automatically applied when you enrol in the Convicts in Context unit within the Diploma of Family History or another College of Arts and Law approved course but will not show on your invoice, accessible via eStudent.

What is a HECS Scholarship?

The cost of university education is usually shared between the Australian Government and the student, with the student contributing a proportion of the cost and payable to the university. This tuition fee is commonly known as HECS (Higher Education Contribution Scheme). The University of Tasmania has offered to forgo half of the student contribution via a HECS Scholarship to approved students studying the Convicts in Context unit within the Diploma of Family History or another College of Arts and Law approved course in 2017. This arrangement will be negotiated each year and is only guaranteed for one year at a time.

The HECS Scholarship is automatically applied when you enrol in the Convicts in Context unit however may not show on your invoice until a later date.

Students will also be required to pay the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) for 2017 when enrolled in Convicts in Context. The cost of the SSAF is $44.10 per unit. This amount can be deferred through the SA-HELP form on eStudent for domestic students. SA-HELP eligibility can be confirmed at SSAF guidelines. The funds from this fee are allocated to the improvement of services and amenities for students of the University for both on-campus and online students.

Future studies may attract HECS tuition fees, however for domestic students these may be deferred under the HECS-HELP Scheme. For further information on HECS-HELP consult the Australian Tax Office (ATO) guidelines.

What is an eCAF?

The eCAF (electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form) is a government form that is available online through eStudent. Completing the eCAF allows you to choose to defer the partial payment for this unit onto HECS-HELP. This form is required for all students, despite the preferred payment option for the partial cost of this unit. Instructions for how to complete the eCAF form will be included in the unit content. Also see eCAF Instruction Guide (PDF 531KB).

When do applications close for the next offering of this unit?

This unit begins on 24th July 2017. Applications need to be completed by 21st July 2017.

How will I know if my application is successful and if I have received a place in Convicts in Context?

If you are a new student, once your application has been assessed, and if you have been successful, you will receive a letter/email from the university with details about your new University of Tasmania student username, email address and password. You will use your username and password to access the course content (through the MyLO online learning platform), as well as eStudent to manage your enrolment details and to submit your eCAF.

Please allow 10 working days for us to process your application however if you have not received an email or letter with your password/login details after 10 days, please complete the Have A Question? form so that we check your application.

If you are a current or returning UTAS student, you will receive confirmation of your enrolment in the week before the unit starts. You will not receive new login details but will continue using those already assigned to you. If your password has expired you can change this through the MyPassword Service.

What happens if my application is not successful? Will someone contact me?

All applicants will be advised about the outcome of their application.

What happens if I begin the unit after the official start date?

The Convicts in Context unit is delivered fully online. For this reason, you can study flexibly to make up for any time that you may have missed. Please note however that there will be assessment tasks due on certain dates, so please contact us by email ASC.Contact@utas.edu.au, phone +61 3 6226 6365, or the Contact Us online form to discuss starting the unit late.

How do I get started?

Instruction guides will be available to assist you in the online application and enrolment process. If you have any questions, please contact us by email ASC.Contact@utas.edu.au, phone +61 3 6226 6365, or the Contact Us online form.

I have received a login and password but I can't access MyLO, UTAS email or eStudent, what do I do?

Please contact the UTAS IT Service Desk for assistance: Ph +61 3 6226 1818 (8:30am-6:00pm weekdays and 10:00am-1:00pm weekends and Tasmanian state wide public holidays) or 1300 304 903 (local call charge within Tasmania) or Email: service.desk@utas.edu.au.

I am a previous student and haven't received a username and password, what do I do?

If you have studied with UTAS before, your login details will be the same as they were previously.

If your password has expired you can change this through the MyPassword Service.

If you have forgotten your login details, please contact please contact the UTAS IT Service Desk for assistance: Ph +61 3 6226 1818 (8:30am-6:00pm weekdays and 10:00am-1:00pm weekends and Tasmanian state wide public holidays) or 1300 304 903 (local call charge within Tasmania) or Email: service.desk@utas.edu.au.

What is an eCAF?

The eCAF (electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form) is a government form that is available online through eStudent. Completing the eCAF allows you to choose to defer the partial payment for this unit onto HECS-HELP. This form is required for all students, despite the preferred payment option for the partial cost of this unit. Instructions for how to complete the eCAF form will be included in the unit content. Also see eCAF Instruction Guide (PDF 531KB).

What is Census date?

Every unit offered by a university has a published census date. Census date is the last day a student can withdraw from a unit without receiving a financial penalty. Withdrawals after this date will incur a financial penalty for the 50% unit fee. Withdrawals after this date may also incur an academic penalty. For withdrawal enquiries, please contact us by email ASC.Contact@utas.edu.au, phone +61 3 6226 6365, or the Contact Us online form.

How do I pass the unit without having final exams?

There will be ongoing assessments throughout the semester. Assessments could include such items as online quizzes composed of multiple-choice and short answer questions (some of which may be time-limited), online discussion forums, e-tivities and/or presenting your genealogical work.

What does online learning look like?

Online learning may involve combining online lectures, tutorials, workshops, group work, problem-based learning or practical exercises with other approaches such as:

  • Video-conferencing
  • Resource-based learning (for example using print, video and audio)
  • Independent/group projects
  • Discussion forums

Flexible teaching and learning approaches are:

  • Learner-centred
  • About good teaching and learning practices for all students
  • Less time- and place-dependent than more traditional forms of teaching
  • Ones that increase the learner's responsibility for his or her own learning

Learning modules will be scheduled for release across the study period (often weekly or fortnightly).

When do I receive my unit outline?

Unit outlines will be available on the student unit website (MyLO) when study commences.

What will I be required to do when studying in this unit?

As a guide, you should expect to spend a minimum of 6-8 hours per week undertaking study in this unit. After completing the unit, you should have:

  1. Greater familiarity with a range of criminal justice and civil record groups relevant to convicts and their descendants.
  2. An understanding of record linkage techniques.
  3. The ability to apply a range of analytical skills to convict and related records.
  4. The ability to understand individual lives within their wider society.

When do I receive my free access to the Ancestry.com library?

You will receive details about your access to Ancestry.com on the MyLO page once you begin the unit. Students will be able to access this via the Library portal once they are enrolled.

I have started studying this unit and I am struggling to keep up. Where can I get help?

In the first instance, please contact us by email ASC.Contact@utas.edu.au, phone +61 3 6226 6365, or the Contact Us online form and we will be able to assist you with other options.

What happens if I begin the unit after the official start date?

The Convicts in Context unit is delivered fully online. For this reason, you can study flexibly to make up for any time that you may have missed. Please note however that there will be assessment tasks due on certain dates, so please contact us by email ASC.Contact@utas.edu.au, phone +61 3 6226 6365, or the Contact Us online form to discuss starting the unit late.

I have completed my unit. How do I obtain my results?

The official release of results will occur on the date specified in the UTAS calendar. These results will be accessible from 9am on the specified date and are accessible via your eStudent account.

Can I use my Convicts in Context unit result as credit towards a degree?

The Convicts in Context unit can be included as part of the formal requirements for the Diploma of Family History.

Credit into your degree on the basis of completing this unit will be assessed by the College of Arts and Law on a case by case basis.

Can I get a copy of my results?

You can access your eStudent account to obtain an informal statement of your results. Further information on academic records and transcripts may be found at Examinations & Results.

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