GEOG 1102 - Footprints on a Fragile Planet

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2015

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 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.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code GEOG 1102
    Course Footprints on a Fragile Planet
    Coordinating Unit Geography, Environment and Population
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week, plus a one-day field trip
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    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 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 Staff

    Course Coordinator: Associate Professor John Tibby



    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 will be able to:
    1 Demonstrate an understanding of the Earth’s major physical environmental systems
    2 Get an insight into the history of humankind and its impact on the planet
    3 Demonstrate an understanding of key physical environmental processes at local to global scales
    4 Develop interdisciplinary problem-solving skills
    5 Develop literary, verbal and numerical proficiency
    6 Enhance their ability to work effectively in a team environment
    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. 1, 2, 3
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 1, 2, 3
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 4, 5
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    There is no text book “Footprints”, rather a list of readings relevant to each lecture, the tutorials and assessment will be available on MyUni.
    Recommended Resources
    Overall 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.

    Journals
    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.

    Electronic sources
    (**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:
    www.nature.com/nature/podcast
    http://www.sciencemag.org/rss/podcast.xml
    www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/scienceshowCached

    Blogs/websites
    · 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

    Twitter feeds
    · 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 Learning
    MYUNI 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 Modes

    No information currently available.

    Workload

    No information currently available.

    Learning Activities Summary

    No information currently available.

  • 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 Task Type Weighting Learning Outcome
    Participation and tutorial presentation Formative and Summative 10% 1-6
    1000 word tutorial paper Formative and Summative 20% 1-5
    1800 word fieldwork report Formative and Summative 30% 1-6
    In class quizzes Formative and Summative 40% 1-5
    Assessment Detail
    Participation and tutorial presentation (10%): students will be required to engage in interaction in class activities and sharing of materials and information.

    1000 word tutorial paper (20%): students will be required to write a research paper on a key issue.

    1800 word (inc references) fieldwork report (30%): based on a one-day field trip and incorporating work undertaken during computer-based workshops.

    In class quizzes (40%): 2 x 1-hour quizzes/exams.
    Submission

    No information currently available.

    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.

    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
    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 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.
  • 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.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.