SOIL&WAT 3017WT - Soil & Water: Management & Conservation III

Waite Campus - Semester 1 - 2017

This course covers topics in soil and water management and conservation important to students of agricultural, viticultural, and environmental sciences. Processes that degrade the soil- and water-resources of Australia (e.g. erosion, salinity, alkalinity and sodicity, as well as acidification, water repellence, and degradation of soil structure) are examined, and their measurement, avoidance and management discussed. There is a strong focus on quantitative theory and practice of measuring and managing soil water using commercially available technology, particularly in relation to interception, storage and movement of water in dryland and irrigated agro-ecosystems. Broader issues in soil and water conservation (e.g. State and Commonwealth legislation) are also covered. Practical classes consist of laboratory, computer and field exercises designed to illustrate the concepts covered in lectures.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code SOIL&WAT 3017WT
    Course Soil & Water: Management & Conservation III
    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
    Prerequisites SOIL&WAT 2500 or SOIL&WAT 2500WT
    Assessment Practical reports, quizzes, exam
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Ron Smernik

    Dr Ron Smernik
    Phone: 8313 7436
    Waite - CSIRO
    Prescot Building
    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    Successful students will learn:
    1. Theory & measurement of soil water content, movement, storage & plant availability.
    2. How to manage and measure salinity and sodicity in irrigated agricultural systems.
    3. How to solve quantitative problems in soil water management, specifically how to:
      * conduct simple calculations of water content, porosity, density and hydraulic conductivity.
      * analyse and interpret data on infiltration, available water, and storage of water.
    4. How to work effectively in small groups in the lab and in the field.

      Successful students will be able to understand:
    5. The primary causes and consequences of a wide range of soil degradation problems, including soil acidity and alkalinity, erosion, salinity and sodicity, and nutrient loss.
    6. The impact of soil management on soil organic matter, soil structural stability, water quality and other important soil properties.
    7. Where soil conservation and management fit into the broader context of the South Australian Natural Resource Management Act.

      and to:
    8. Develop an ability to collect and evaluate data in practical classes.
    9. Develop writing skills through essay and report writing.
    10. Learn how to provide and respond to “peer-review” feedback on a draft essay.
    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)
    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
    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
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    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
    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
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    This course will be delivered by the following means:

    2 x 1 hour lectures consecutively on the same day in weeks 1-12

    2 x 1 hour tutorial sessions in week 1 to introduce the essay exercise, including assessment and system of peer feedback

    6 x 4 hour practical sessions

    3 x 1 hour tutorial session in which quizzes will be held in week 6, 9 and 12, each followed by 1 hour tutorial session for feedback on quiz

    4 x 1 hour tutorial sessions in same week as quizzes related to the essay (discussing progress, review and feedback)

    2 x 1 hour tutorial sessions in week 12 on exam review

    Lectures include the opportunity for open discussion, questions and problem solving activities with support materials provided online.

    Practicals will be used to develop and support material covered in lectures as well as providing a forum for acquiring skills and knowledge necessary to complete assessment tasks. Practicals particularly provide an opportunity to acquire hands-on skills, to develop teamwork skills, to integrate information from different modules in the course and to increase understanding of concepts.

    Quizzes will test student understanding of material from lectures and practicals held during the semester. Each quiz will deal with material covered in the preceding weeks.

    Workshops sessions will directly follow the quiz. During these sessions feedback will be specifically provided on the quiz questions. Further, these sessions will provide an opportunity for students in groups or individually to follow up specific issues regarding practical assignments.

    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

    Lectures will focus on: (i) the theory behind and measurement of soil water content, potential and movement; (ii) causes of and management of the key soil limiting chemical conditions of sodicity, alkalinity and acidity; (iii) the importance and management of soil structure and structural stability, including the influence of soil carbon and sodicity; (iv) the importance and management of water repellence; (v) management of soils and water on the landscape scale; and (vi) soil and water conservation in relation to the SA Natural Resources Management Act.

    Practicals will focus on the measurement (both in the laboratory and in the field) of soil properties directly related to the management issues covered in the lectures, including: (i) rates of water infiltration and how they relate to properties such as texture and structure; (ii) measurement of rates of water infiltration in the field; (iii) soil pH and pH buffering capacity; (iv) the influence of slope and cover on water erosion; and (v) the effect of management on soil structural stability

    Tutorial sessions in the afternoon timeslot will be related to either feedback on quizzes or the essay assessment exercise, which includes peer review and feedback.
    Specific Course Requirements
  • 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 assessment for grading purposes Hurdle: Yes or No Outcomes being assessed/achieved Approximate Timing of Assessment
    Practical exercise X 5 Formative & Summative 30% No 1-9 Wks 4,6,8,10,12
    Quizzes X 3 Formative & Summate 20% No 1-3,5-7 Wks 4,8,12
    Essay Formative & Summative 20% No 9,10 Wks 3,7,10
    Examination Summative 30% No 1-3,5-7 Examination period
    Assessment Detail

    Practicals (30% total assessment):

    Five practical exercises (field or laboratory) will be completed during class time over six weeks. Each exercise will be undertaken in small groups (2-3 students) and will be written up individually as a short report (approximately 2 pages) outside of class time. Each practical exercise will be equally weighted (6% of total assessment). Prompt feedback (within 1-2 weeks) will enable early identification of any problems a student may be encountering in the area of practical skills for soil assessment or the reporting of these tasks, and give an opportunity to address these.

    Quizzes (20%)

    Three 1 hour quizzes (6.7% total assessment each) will occur during the semester. These will consist of a series of multiple choice questions to be answered online with feedback for students provided immediately after the quiz. These quizzes will allow students to continuously monitor their retention of important course material and highlight problem areas that can be addressed in the tutorial sessions following the quizzes.

    Essay (20%)

    The essay will require students to explain the importance of one key scientific law (i.e. one that can be expressed as a simple equation) to soil management and conservation in 500-600 words. Draft essays will be required by Week 4 and these will undergo review by both peers (double-blind review by other class members) and staff. Students will have an opportunity to revise their essay before it is marked by staff.

    Final Exam (30%)
    The final exam is a summative assessment and allows the student to demonstrate retention of basic information taught during the semester as well as the ability to integrate the information obtained throughout the course. Exam questions will include a series of short and long written answers, calculations based on real life examples, multiple choice, and true/false answers.
    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
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