GEOG 1102 - Footprints on a Fragile Planet
North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2014
General Course Information
Course Code GEOG 1102 Course Footprints on a Fragile Planet Coordinating Unit Geography, Environment and Population Term Semester 1 Level Undergraduate Location/s North Terrace Campus Units 3 Contact Up to 3 hours per week, plus a one-day field trip Incompatible GEST 1002 Course Description This course examines the heavy footprint humans have placed on Planet Earth. We address, in turn, the main components of the planet and examine the fundamental, natural processes within each. With this grounding we then document the impact of indigenous peoples, and then the excesses of modern humans, to reveal the consequences of the activities of contemporary society.
Firstly, we beiefly review the processes that have led to the configuration of the Planet's continents and the implications this has for present Australian environments. We then focus on how the unwise use of natural resources in both the developed and developing nations has resulted in loss of fertile soil. Then follows an examination of global climate processes and changes humans have made to climates and the atmosphere upon which we rely. Turning to the water cycle, we focus on how the crucial resource of water has been degraded. Finally, the complexities of natural biota and communities are examined with a focus on biodiversity, invasive species, fire and forest management, and the importance of wetlands.
Course Coordinator: Associate Professor John Tibby
Dr John Tibby
Geography, Environment and Population
University of Adelaide
Room G39, Napier Building
Adelaide, South Australia, 5005
Work phone: +61 (0)8 8313-5146
Fax: +61 (0)8 8313-4347
The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.
Course Learning Outcomes
1 Provide an understanding of The Earth’s major physical environmental systems 2 Provide an insight into the history of humankind and
its impact on the planet
3 Develop an understanding of key physical environmental processes at
local to global scales
4 Develop students’ interdisciplinary
5 Develop students’ literary, verbal and numerical
6 Enhance students’ ability to work effectively in a
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) Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1, 2, 3 The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 4, 5 An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 2, 3 Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 4, 5, 6 A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 5 A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 2 A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 4, 5, 6 An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 1, 2, 3,
Required ResourcesThere is no text book “Footprints”, rather a list of readings relevant to each lecture, the tutorials and assessment will be available on MyUni.
Recommended ResourcesOverall course reading
As mentioned above, there is no text book for the course. However, the following text provides a useful introduction:
Miller, G.T. and Spoolman, S.E. (2009 or later editions). Living in the environment: concepts, connections, and solutions. Brooks/Cole, Belmont, California.
You do not need to purchase this text, although some students find it useful to do so. This book is available in the reserve section of the library
In addition to Miller and Spoolman (2009), the following two books provide good grounding in many of the topics covered. However, it is not recommended you purchase these books.
Lindenmayer, D.B. and Burgman, M.A. (2005). Practical conservation biology. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood.
Available online through the library catalogue
Attiwill, P. and Wilson, B. (eds) (2006) Ecology: an Australian perspective. Oxford University Press, South Melbourne.
A useful text for developing writing and speaking skills
Hay, I. (2012) Communicating in geography and the environmental sciences. Oxford University Press, South Melbourne.
Ecos and Australasian Science (both provide useful introductions to complex issues, but should not be used in isolation) Science and Nature (General science journal of the highest quality and complexity) Specialised journals: Environmental Conservation, Biological Conservation, Environmental Restoration and Management, Australian Geographer, Ecological Management and Restoration, Geophysical Research Letters, Journal of Climate and Climatic Change, Austral Ecology, Marine and Freshwater Research, Journal of Applied Ecology, Sustainable Development. This list is by no means exhaustive.
(**these are provided to enhance your understanding but should not be used in written work**)
Podcasts from the journals Nature and Science and the ABC’s Science show:
· http://theconversation.edu.au/. University academics writing in “journalistic style” for non-secialists. It is excellent
· www.skepticalscience.com. Does an excellent job of dispelling many myths about climate change
· conservationbytes.com. From The University of Adelaide’s Professor Corey Bradshaw
o At times focus is personal but still very useful perspectives
· www.bravenewclimate.com From The University of Adelaide’s Professor Barry Brook
o Useful in particular for one side of the nuclear power debate
· www.twitter.com/john_tibby. Infrequent tweets
· www.twitter.com/guardianeco. Excellent, but an obvious UK bias.
· www.https://twitter.com/#!/ConservationSA. The South Australian conservation council. Good local focus
· The above blogs also have good twitter feeds.
Online LearningMYUNI is the platform for aspects of the course that will be delivered online. All lectures will be recorded and made available online. Lecture slides will also be made available online. Revisions materials and practice assessment questions will be placed online.
Learning & Teaching Activities
Learning & Teaching ModesThe course lectures provide basic factual information and conceptual understanding of the physical environment and human impact upon it. The tutorials provide an opportunity to consolidate understanding from lectures and, particularly, to debate key issues. The workshops provide “hands on” experience in data manipulation. Quizzes provide an opportunity to assess student knowledge approximately half way through the course. The field trip and report provides students with an opportunity to apply their understanding of the course to natural resource management issues in the River Torrens catchment. Finally, the exam will assess students understanding of the course content.
The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.
1. Structured learning (lectures and tutorials or workshops): 3 hours per week
2. Background reading and reading for specific tutorials: 4 hours per week
3. Field report research and preparation: 2 hours per week (average)
4. Exam and quiz revision: 3 hours per week (average)
Learning Activities SummaryLearning activies will include guest lectures, online revision, computer-based workshops and student presentations.
An extensive week-by-week guide to the course will be provided upon enrolment. However, the basic structure is outlined below.
Weeks 1-3: Introduction and threats posed by mining and soil degradation
Weeks 4-6: The atmosphere and climate change
Weeks 7-10: Managing freshwater on the "blue planet"
Weeks 11-12: The oceans, coasts and summary
Specific Course RequirementsThere will be a compulsory one day field trip focussed on the upper reaches of the River Torrens to be held around the mid-semester break. More details will be provided during the first week of classes
Small Group Discovery ExperienceThere is no specific Small Group Discovery Experience in Footprints on a Fragile Planet.
The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:
- Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
- Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
- Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
- Assessment must maintain academic standards.
Assessment Task Due Late Penalty Weighting % Learning Objectives Addressed Participation and debate n/a n/a 10% (1/2 allocated to tute presentation) All In class quiz week 6 n/a 20% 2.1.1 to 2.1.5 Fieldwork report (1800 words)
(Thurs end week 10)
2% per day (including weekends) 30% All Exam n/a 40% 2.1.1 to 2.1.5
Assessment Related RequirementsSee elsewhere
Assessment DetailDetails of the first essay topics will be posted on MyUni
The field report assignment will be posted on MyUni
The exam will be two hours long.
Workshop exercises (including the required data) will be posted on MyUni in due course. These exercises are not separately assessed but can contribute to your field report and exam responses.
SubmissionAssignments must be submitted as TURNITIN. Instructions for TURNITIN submission are available on MyUni.
Assignments will be marked within four weeks of submission.
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.
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.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 CEQ surveys and Program
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 least once every 2 years. 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.
More than 3/4 of students surveyed provided positive assessments of this course in all categories.
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