C&ENVENG 4108 - Environmental Engineering & Design IVA

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2014

Natural environments are complex systems involving many different drivers and interacting components. Such components include the ecological processes of species interaction, the physical processes of contaminant transport, and the human processes driven by social values, policy and economics. This course presents a system dynamics approach towards understanding and modelling environmental systems. The emphasis will be on the development and analysis of models that describe the material flows and feedback processes within environmental systems, and the influence of environmental management. In the assignments and the projects, the system dynamics framework will be applied to some of the following systems: capacity constrained population growth and decay; predator-prey systems; coupled hydrology and wildlife systems; species migration; and matter cycling in ecosystems.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code C&ENVENG 4108
    Course Environmental Engineering & Design IVA
    Coordinating Unit School of Civil, Environmental & Mining Eng
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 4 hrs per week
    Assumed Knowledge C&ENVENG 4087, C&ENVENG 3079, C&ENVENG 3077, ECON 3500 & ENV BIOL 2005
    Course Description Natural environments are complex systems involving many different drivers and interacting components. Such components include the ecological processes of species interaction, the physical processes of contaminant transport, and the human processes driven by social values, policy and economics. This course presents a system dynamics approach towards understanding and modelling environmental systems. The emphasis will be on the development and analysis of models that describe the material flows and feedback processes within environmental systems, and the influence of environmental management. In the assignments and the projects, the system dynamics framework will be applied to some of the following systems: capacity constrained population growth and decay; predator-prey systems; coupled hydrology and wildlife systems; species migration; and matter cycling in ecosystems.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Aaron Zecchin

    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    No information currently available.

    University Graduate Attributes

    No information currently available.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    The course is largely built around the following book by Andrew Ford. I strongly urge all students to purchase this book as it will prove to be essential.

    Ford, A., (2010). Modelling the Environment, 2nd Ed, Island Press, Washington, US
    Recommended Resources
    The following book by Michael Deaton and James Winebrake will be extremely useful. It provides more of a mathematical basis to the stock and flow models used within the course.

    Deaton, M.L., and Winebrake, J.J., (2000). Dynamic Modelling of Environmental Systems, Springer  Science + Business Media, LLC, New York, US

    The following texts will provide informative background reading.

    Wainwright J, and Mulligan, M., (Eds), (2004). Environmental Modelling: Finding Simplicity in  Complexity, John Wiley and Sons Ltd, West Sussex, England

    Haefner, J.W., (2004). Modelling Biological Systems: Principals and Applications, 2nd Edition, Springer Science + Business Media Inc, New York, US (available as an e-book)

    Seppelt, R., (2003). Computer-Based Environmental Management, Wiley-VCH (available as an e-book)

    In addition to these texts, further material will be recommended throughout the duration of the course.
    Online Learning
    Most handouts, course material and lecture slides will be made available on MyUni. The use of the discussion board on MyUni is also strongly recommended. Complementary material for the text Ford (2010) is available on the books website: http://www.wsu.edu/~forda/AA2nd.html

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The course will involve two one hour lectures, and one two hour CATS practical session weekly.
    Workload

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

    In line with University guidelines, it is expected that the average student should spend 12 hours per week on this course. In addition to the lectures (2 hours) and the practical session (2 hours), students are expected to spend an additional 8 hours per week reviewing lecture material and working on the
    modelling projects.
    Learning Activities Summary
    The course will be involve 38 contact hours in total. Sixteen hours for lectures, and 22 hours of design sessions. A break down of the activities is outlined below. Note that this may be subject to change.
    Week Number Week Start Lecture (1) Lecture (2) Practical session
    3 12-3 Introduction Stock and Flow Models Vensim Tutorial
    4 19-3 Mathematics of Stock and Flow Models Dynamic Behaviour and Growth Patterns Assignment
    5 26-3 Predator/Prey systems Kaibab Deer Population Assignment
    Mid-semester break
    6 16-4 Mono Lake: Hydrology Mono Lake: Wildlife Project 1
    7 23-4 Feedback (1) Modelling Process, and Model analysis Project 1
    8 30-4 Feedback (2) Feedback (3) Project 1
    9 7-5 Integrated Modelling MediAction Project 1
    10 14-5 Pacific Salmon (1) Pacific Salmon (2) Project 2
    11 - - Project 2
    12 - - Project 2
    13 - - Project 2
  • 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
    The assessment is comprised of an individual assignment, two group projects, and an individual essay. The assignment and projects will be modelling-based exercises that the students will undertake using the modelling software VENSIM PLE.
    Assessment Related Requirements
    It is expected that students will participate in all practical sessions. Students must achieve at least a 30% mark for all assessment components. If this requirement is not met, the student will receive a zero (fail) mark for the course.
    Assessment Detail
    The assessment items are detailed below. Note that these details may be subject to minor changes.

    Assessment Item Brief Outline Approximate Weighting
    Assignment This individual assignment will expose the students to modelling  dynamic systems of differential equations using the Vensim PLE  software (this software will be used for projects 1 and 2). The dynamic system of interest will be the classical predator-prey system. ~ 10 %
    Project 1 In groups of 2, the students are to investigate and analyse the Mono Lakes Water Export Policy developing both a hydrological model and a wildlife model. The assessment will be based on the final report. ~ 35 %
    Project 2 In groups of 2, the students are to investigate and analyse the Migration Behaviour of the Pacific Salmon in north-west US. The assessment will be based on the final report. ~ 35 %
    Essay This assignment will be undertaken on an individual basis. The students are to write a short essay (approximately 1000-1500 words) comparing the land use modelling framework MedAction to another socio-economic-environmental land use model ~ 20 %
    Submission
    All submissions will be in hard copy form and submitted to the relevant submission box outside the school office. The projects are expected to be formally structured reports. The essay is expected to be a formal academic essay with correct use of referencing.

    In addition to hard copy submissions, students will be required to submit electronic versions of their reports, and their Vensim project files.

    A penalty of 10% per day will apply to all late submissions.
    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.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
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