PLANT SC 7225WT - Foundations of Plant Biotechnology

Waite Campus - Semester 1 - 2018

In this course, students will explore the basic concepts central to understanding how genotype contributes to phenotype in plants. The emphasis will be on how factors at the cellular level contribute to the expression of genotypes and hence to phenotypic variation, and how plant breeding can be used to exploit genetic variation to develop and/or select genotypes that are superior for specific purposes. The course will provide an introduction to plant physiology, molecular biology, basic genetics and plant breeding. Students will learn how biotechnology is used to study genotypic and phenotypic variation with particular reference to the impact of the environment on resource capture, growth, development and reproduction in plants. Case studies for plant breeding strategies, gene expression/regulation and post-translational modification will be provided. The course will also include an introduction to the basics of experimental design and the different forms of scientific communication available to present results to different target audiences.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PLANT SC 7225WT
    Course Foundations of Plant Biotechnology
    Coordinating Unit School of Agriculture, Food and Wine
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s Waite Campus
    Units 6
    Contact Up to 17 hours per week for 6 weeks
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Incompatible PLANT SC 7220WT
    Restrictions Available to Biotechnology (Plant Biotechnology) students only
    Course Description In this course, students will explore the basic concepts central to understanding how genotype contributes to phenotype in plants. The emphasis will be on how factors at the cellular level contribute to the expression of genotypes and hence to phenotypic variation, and how plant breeding can be used to exploit genetic variation to develop and/or select genotypes that are superior for specific purposes. The course will provide an introduction to plant physiology, molecular biology, basic genetics and plant breeding. Students will learn how biotechnology is used to study genotypic and phenotypic variation with particular reference to the impact of the environment on resource capture, growth, development and reproduction in plants. Case studies for plant breeding strategies, gene expression/regulation and post-translational modification will be provided. The course will also include an introduction to the basics of experimental design and the different forms of scientific communication available to present results to different target audiences.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Amanda Able

    Course staff include Professor Amanda Able and Professor Diane Mather. Guest lecturers who are active researchers in plant biotechnology on the Waite Campus provide case studies.
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    Students will be given details of each session at the start of classes.
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course students should be able to:
    1. explain the basics of the physiological and molecular processes that occur during plant growth and development
    2. understand and explain the structure of a gene and the role that genome structure plays in gene expression
    3. discuss the ability of genomes to evolve and the impact on phenotype
    4. use basic biotechnological techniques to explore the molecular biology of plants
    5. critically evaluate the outcomes of plant biotechnology research
    6. communicate effectively using oral and written means for both scientific and non-technical audiences
    7. cooperate and work effectively as a member of a team to solve problems.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1,2,3
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    5,7
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    6,7
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    4
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • Able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    6,7
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    7
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Lab coats and closed-in shoes are required for laboratory work.
    Recommended Resources
    The lecturers use various textbooks as a guide but rely heavily on scientific journals and bioinformatics databases/websites for their lectures. Details will be provided in class. TURNITIN is also used as an educational tool. 
    Online Learning
    Teaching materials and course documentation will be posted on the MyUni website. MyUni will also be used extensively by academic staff and students through the use of blogs, wikis and online discussion forums.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This short intensive course combines professional development skills with scientific learning by using problem-based learning, scaffolded with class exercises focusing upon particular required skills (such as communication skills, critical analysis, deconstruction). Traditional practical and lecture exercises are also used.
    Workload

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    A student enrolled in a 6 unit 6 week contact-time course, such as this, should expect to spend, on average 48 hours per week on the studies required. This includes both the formal contact time required to the course (e.g., lectures and practicals), as well as non-contact time (e.g., reading and revision).
    Learning Activities Summary
    Lectures: Plant resource capture; phenotypic variation, phenotypic variation in plants; plant reproduction and genetic variation; generation of genetic variation; genome structure and roles; ecological aspects of plant biotechnology; Gene structure, gene expression, protein expression and regulation; introduction to plant biotechnology techniques; Genome mapping; genetic improvement of plants; introduction to regulation and ethics; case studies of plant biotechnology

    Practicals: Plant anatomy and function; Phenotypic variation in plants; Introduction to bioinformatics; characterisation of gene and protein expression

    Class Exercises: Concordancing; Personal learning and leadership styles and groupwork; Deconstructing scientific text and argument mapping; Finding scientific information; Writing and critiquing a scientific paper; interpreting figures; presentation of a scientific poster; using endnote; effective oral communication; introduction to experimental design and the research process; how to do an exam
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary

    Assessment task Type of assessment % Hurdle? Outcomes assessed Approximate timing of assessment
    On-line quizzes for plant anatomy and molecular biology techniques Formative and Summative 10%    No 1,4 Weeks 2, 3
    Critical review Formative and Summative 25%    No 4, 5, 6 Week 3 and 5
    Group poster presentation Formative and Summative 15%    No 5, 6, 7 Week 5 and 6
    Practical project Formative and Summative 20%    No 4 Week 4, Week 7
    Final examination Summative 30%    No 1, 2, 3, 4 Week 7
    Assessment Detail
    On-line quizzes (10%)
    Students will complete two quizzes (worth 5% each) which test their knowledge of basic plant anatomy and molecular biology techniques. Questions will be a mixture of open-ended and multiple choice and will need to be answered within a 30-40 minute time period. Feedback will be provided instantly and more details provided within one week.

    Critical review (25%)
    A 2500 word essay on provided scientific papers in the field of plant biotechnology will be prepared by the students in conjunction with a number of professional development exercises to develop their skills. Formative feedback will be provided prior to the submission of the summative assessment.

    Group poster presentation (15%)
    Students will work in groups (3-4 students per group) to develop a scientific A0 poster that presents results from a scientific paper to a broader audience. Formative feedback will be provided prior to the submission of the summative assessment.

    Practical project (20%)
    This project will enable students to characterise a plant-unique gene using a number of techniques over the course. Students will analyse and interpret their results ‘as they go’ by answering a set of questions for two components:
    • Bioinformatics Component due Week 4-5 (10%)
    • Practical interpretation due Week 7 (10%)

    Final Exam (30%)
    A final examination (3 hours) will be used to summatively assess students’ knowledge and conceptual understanding via their answers to short questions, analysis of data and essay-style questions.
    Submission
    Submission is generally via TURNITIN or as a MyUni assignment.

    If an extension is not applied for, or not granted then a penalty for late submission will apply. A penalty of 10% of the value of the assignment for each calendar day that is late (i.e. weekends count as 2 days), up to a maximum of 50% of the available marks will be applied. This means that an assignment that is 5 days or more late without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the mark.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

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  • Policies & Guidelines
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