SOIL&WAT 2500WT - Soil and Water Resources II

Waite Campus - Semester 1 - 2016

Soil and water are fundamental resources in the environment. This course aims to provide an understanding of important soil physical, chemical and biological properties and of water quality. Topics include: soil water retention, storage and movement, salinity, chemical fertility, the role of biology in soil processes, soil conservation and management, water quality factors and the impact of land management on these factors.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code SOIL&WAT 2500WT
    Course Soil and Water Resources II
    Coordinating Unit School of Agriculture, Food and Wine
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s Waite Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 6 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assumed Knowledge SOIL&WAT 1000WT or GEOLOGY 1200 or GEOLOGY 1103
    Assessment Practicals, quizzes, essay, theory exam
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Petra Marschner

    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course students should be able to:
    1. Understand and answer written questions about physical, chemical and biological soil properties, nutrient cycles and the role of soil organisms in these, and important water quality indicators.
    2. Conduct basic measurements & observations of soil properties / behaviour, describe the nature and extent of soil degradation in Australia and suggest approaches to manage and conserve soils.
    3. Improve their quantitative problem-solving skills, including data handling
    4. Work effectively in small groups
    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, 4
    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
    1, 2, 3
    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
    2, 4
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    2, 3, 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
    3, 4
    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
    2, 4
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Course guide
    Lecture slides
    Practical manual
    Recommended Resources
    Reading list available through the University Libraries
    Brady NC, Weil RR 2000. The nature and properties of soils. Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle, NJ.

    McLaren RG, Cameron KC 1996. Soil Science: sustainable production & environmental protection. Oxford University Press. Auckland, NZ.

    Morgan RPC 1995. Soil erosion & conservation 2nd edition Longman Scientific & Technical Publications. New York.

    Troeh FR, Hobbs JA, Donahue RL 1980. Soil and water conservation for productivity and environmental protection Prentice-Hall, New Jersey.

    White RE 1997. Principles & practice of soil science: the soil as a natural resource. Oxford University Press. New York. Wild A (ed) 1988.

    Russell's soil conditions and plant growth 11th edition. Longman Scientific & Technical Publications. New York.
    Online Learning
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    Lectures are supported by on-line access to lecture slides, recordings and tutorials.

    Action-based in-class tutorials help acquire knowledge and understanding within a wider context.

    Practicals are designed to learn fundamental principles in soil and water processes and their measurement as well as the practical application of this knowledge in the field.

    Quizzes allow focussed learning of particular topics and supported by in-class tutorials that are arranged in the previous weeks.

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

    A student enrolled in a 3 unit course, such as this, should expect to spend, on average 12 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

    In this course, students will learn about properties of soil which are important to understand soil functions and the impact of management strategies. Topics covered include general soil properties, soil water (potential, movement, and quality), soil chemistry and fertility, organic matter and nutrient cycling and soil management and conservation. Concepts and principles are explained in lectures and practicals provide hands-on experience. In-class tutorials and quizzes further help students to understand the material covered in the course.
    Specific Course Requirements

    Closed shoes must be worn during the practicals.

    Lab coats are highly recommended for practicals.
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    This course does not contain SGDE, but students learn in small groups during the practicals.
  • 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 Percentage of total mark Hurdle Yes or No? Outcomes being assessed/achieved Approximate Timing of Assessment
    Practical reports Formative & Summative 30 No 1,2,3,4 Weeks 2,5,6,8,11
    Quizzes Formative & Summative 20 No 1,2,3 Weeks 4,10
    Final exam Summative 50 Yes 1,2,3 Exam week

    Assessment Related Requirements
    Assessment Item with hurdle % needed or requirement to meet hurdle Is additional assessment available if student does not meet hurdle requirement? Yes or No Details of additional assessment, if available
    Final exam 40% Yes Additional Examination
    Assessment Detail

    Practical reports

    There are 5 short practical reports (1-2 pages). The reports include data of results of practicals, calculations and, in some cases, short answer questions about background to the practical or management strategies. Practical reports are completed in pairs and both students receive the same mark.


    The two 2-hour quizzes (weeks 4 and 10) cover material from lectures and practicals on soil water and soil management and conservation. The quizzes follow tutorials during which the students learn about the topics in-depth. The quizzes cover theoretical and practical aspects.

    They will consist of multiple choice, short answer and long answer questions.

    Final exam

    The three hour final exam includes questions covering the various topics of the course. For most topics, students have access to potential exam questions and can therefore prepare well for them.

    It will consist of multiple choice, short answer and long answer questions.
    Late Submission:

    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 the assignment 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 late or more without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the marks available for that assignment.
    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 ( 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.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

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