AGRIC 1510WT - Agricultural Systems I
Waite Campus - Semester 1 - 2021
General Course Information
Course Code AGRIC 1510WT Course Agricultural Systems I 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 Course Description The need to develop sustainable and profitable agricultural systems to meet the demands of a burgeoning global population at a time of major changes in the environment is an important challenge for agricultural science. This course provides a general introduction to Australian agriculture. It examines some of the physical, biological and economic characteristics of Australian agricultural systems and how technology is used to manage these systems. Topics include climatology and meteorology, genetic resources and the importance of genetic improvement, water use efficiency and the application of current and emerging technologies in agricultural production. Practical and tutorial classes will help develop skills in data handling and presentation, written communication, plant identification and animal handling.
Course Coordinator: Dr Glenn McDonald
The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.The course is timetabled for Thursdays in Semester 1. The course is based at the Waite Campus but there are a number of full-day sessions at Roseworthy. On those days at Waite, there will be a combination of lectures, tutorials and practical sessions. The classes at Roseworthy will present lectures in animal production as well as include practical activities and demonstrations in animal and plant production. Each day will have 6 contact hours.
Course Learning OutcomesOn successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
understand the biophysical and socioeconomic factors underpinning the major agricultural industries in southern Australia and how they inter-relate with one another 2 understand the essential features of sustainable agricultural systems and the importance of physical and biological resource base as the foundation of sustainable production systems. 3 develop a systems approach to agricultural science, where knowledge from different disciplines is integrated to develop an improved understanding of the operation of production practices in agriculture. 4 know and understand essential key concepts and terms used in professional practice 5 find, collate and critically evaluate information from different sources as an individual or as part of a team; and; perform basic calculations related to specific topics in the course
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, 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
3,5 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
5 Career and leadership readiness
- technology savvy
- professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
- forward thinking and well informed
- tested and validated by work based experiences
Required ResourcesThe course requires access to shared facilities at the Roseworthy farm, in particular access to animals and stockyards on the days students are designated to be at Roseworthy.
Glasshouse space to grow plants for practical classes
Additional bus transport between North Terrace and Roseworthy for ~35 students is required for those days when students need to travel to Roseworthy.
Recommended ResourcesThere is no standard text book for the course, but recommended references are:
(a) Malcolm, B, Sale, P., and Egan, A. (2009). Agriculture in Australia: an Introduction (2nd edition) (Oxford University Press).
(b) Tow, P, Cooper, I, Partridge, I and Birch C (eds) (2011) Rainfed Farming Systems
(Springer) – this is an e-book available from the library. A link to the book is provided in MyUni
The booklet “Written Communication in the Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences” by M Cargill and M Bellotti is used as a guide to writing and a copy is also provided on MyUni.
TURNITIN will be used as part of the assessment of the essay
Online LearningThe lectures and practicals are posted on MyUni. Other material that support student learning, but which is not a core component of the lectures and practicals, will also be made available. These include links to on-line glossaries, YouTube videos of farming practices in Australia and overseas and links to websites that provide additional information supporting lectures and practicals. There are students in the course that have little or no experience with agriculture and the purpose of these resources is to provide additional support for their learning.
Articulate Storyline has been used to develop seedling identification keys and these have been supplemented with multiple choice tests to assist with revision.
Learning & Teaching Activities
Learning & Teaching ModesLectures are used to provide basic information about key concepts and important characteristics of agricultural systems.
Tutorials serve to reinforce and extend some of the ideas raised in the lectures and practicals. They are also designed to require students to find information and interpret it.
Practical demonstrations are used to illustrate some of the production practices described in the lectures and to intoduce students to some of the terminology used in agriculture. The students work as a group and many of the demonstrations also help to build teamwork and to foster the relationships between students. Aspects of these demonstrations are assessed in a practical exam.
The formal practical classes are used to (a) introduce students to terms commonly used in agricultural science (‘the language of the discipline’), The practicals are interactive with periods of discussion interspersed during the practical exercises. The activities of the practical exercises are assessed in a practical exam at the end o the semester as well as a short report on two practicals.
The essay is used to develop written communication skills and to encourage critical evaluation if information. Students have the choice to resubmit the essay after it is marked after responding to the comments on the essay from the marker. Students are also required to find primary sources of information and are encouraged to use the library data bases to find relevant information.
The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.The work load is 6 contact hours per week, which will be based on 2-3 hours of lectures, a 1-hour tutorial and 2-3 hours of practical work or practical demonstrations. The amount of contact time will vary from week to week depending on the nature of the practicals. For example, in a number of weeks at Roseworthy there will not be any lectures but there will be demonstrations and practical exercises in the morning and afternoon.
It is expected that students will spend an average of approximately 5 hours per week in addition to the formal contact time on assignments, reports and essays
Learning Activities SummaryClasses will be devoted to group and open discussion of what applied biology is and how it works. This will include introducing and developing scientific literacy skills, basic experimental design and presentation skills, consideration of key elements of scientific practice and utilisation of the students’ developing scientific literacy skills. Numerous sites on the Waite Campus will be used as the basis for the demonstration of applied biology in real world situations, selected from but not limited to The Plant Accelerator, The Hickinbotham Wine Science Laboratories, The Australian Wine Research Institute, Adelaide Glycomics, Australian Genome Research Facility, and the Waite Arboretum. Students will be introduced to basic experimental design through practicals.
Small Group Discovery ExperienceStudents in Agricultural Systems 1A and 1B run a field experiment that runs over Semester 1 and Semester 2. The aim of the experiment is for students to produce the most profitable crop. This integrates aspects of the technology associated with crop production with an economic evaluation of the selected treatments and the marketing of the final product.
In Semester 1 students are introduced to the concept, do measurements that help characterise the site where the experiment is run, and are formed into groups in which they select appropriate treatments. Each group is expected to do some research to allow them to make desision on appropriate treatments to use.
The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:
- Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
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- Assessment must maintain academic standards.
Assessment SummaryDue to the current COVID-19 situation modified arrangements have been made to assessments to facilitate remote learning and teaching.
Assessment Task Task Type Weighting Hurdle Learning Outcome Due
Tutorial exercises (reports):
Finding information and preparing a figureAnalysis of agricultural production in relation to climate
15% No 5
Analysis of production
data in agriculture
Analysis of changes in plant type with breeding
Essay: A 1500 word essay on a contemporary topic Summative 20% No 1,2,3,5 Practical exam Summative 15% No 4 Week 12 Final (Theory) exam Summative 35% No 1,2,3 Exam period
Assessment DetailTutorials (15%)
Tutorial work is assessed by written reports and a quiz.
(a) Tutorial reports. Two tutorial reports of will be submitted, one on the presentation of data and one on an analysis of beef production systems in northern and southern Australia. In both reports students are required to find data and information on the topic. The first report is to assess their ability to collate and present data in a figure and the second report requires students to integrate information on climate, agronomy and animal production to interpret and explain differences in the production systems in two regions.
(b) Quiz. This short quiz of 15 minutes is based on commonly-used terms related to agricultural production that have been used in lectures and practicals or which are widely used in agricultural practice. The definitions of these terms is provided in a glossary for the course as well as in individual tutorials and practicals. The quiz consists of multiple choice questions. The aim of the quiz is to allow students to become familiar with the terms that are commonly encountered in agriculture and can be considered as professional literacy.
Practical reports (15%)
Students will submit short reports on two of the practicals, one based on an analysis of production trends in Australia and one other country and the other on data collected that examines changes in plant characteristics in a collection of wheat varieties that span >100 years of breeding. The first report requires them to find information related to production in another country and compare that with Australia and to present the information clearly. It reinforces the concepts that are covered in the first tutorial class and tutorial assignment. An aim is also to prompt students to assess production within a global context. The second report requires the students to collate information gathered in the class, present it clearly and interpret the information
Practical exam (15%)
A number of the practicals are based on practical skills that are introduced in the class. The practical exam assesses these skills. There are three components: (a) identification of seeds and seedling of common crop and pasture species; (b) calculations and short answer questions on topics covered in the practicals and (c) correct animal handling.
Students submit a 1500 word essay on a topical issue related to agricultural production, food or the environment. Students will generally be given a choice of topics, and the topics changes each year. Tutorials on essay writing and the use of references are held to support the students. The essay assesses their ability to write clearly and to present ideas in a logical and clear manner.
Final (Theory) Exam (35%)
The final theory exam will examine all components of the course. It will consist of multiple choice, short answer and long answer questions.
SubmissionEssays are handed in through TURNITIN, and practical and tutorial reports are submitted electronically through MyUni or emailed to tutors.
Late submission of assessed work will be penalised.
Depending on the nature of the assessment, the aim is provide feedback and marks on the assessment within 2 weeks after submission. Rubrics and mark sheets as well as additional comments on the work are used to provide feedback to students.
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.
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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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