GEOG 5003 - Environmental Impact Assessment

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2017

This course introduces the methodology of environmental impact assessment (EIA) as a vital tool for sound environmental management and decision-making. The course provides an overview of the concepts, methods, issues and various forms and stages of the EIA process.It examines the development of EIA overseas and in Australia. It mainly draws on case studies of EIA in South Australia but also focuses on the EIA process in other countries, including developing countries. Different levels and systems of EIA are examined to highlight the diversity of approach and impact of the EIA process.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code GEOG 5003
    Course Environmental Impact Assessment
    Coordinating Unit Geography, Environment and Population
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 6
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Incompatible GEST 5003
    Restrictions Available to ProCertEnvPolicy&Mgt, GradCertEnvPolicy&Mgt, GradDipEnvPolicy&Mgt, MEnvPolicy&Mgtm, MEnvPolicy&Mgt(App), MPlanning, MPlan(UrbDes), MSustain & MSustain(Adv) MA students only
    Course Description This course introduces the methodology of environmental impact assessment (EIA) as a vital tool for sound environmental management and decision-making. The course provides an overview of the concepts, methods, issues and various forms and stages of the EIA process.It examines the development of EIA overseas and in Australia. It mainly draws on case studies of EIA in South Australia but also focuses on the EIA process in other countries, including developing countries. Different levels and systems of EIA are examined to highlight the diversity of approach and impact of the EIA process.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Yan Tan

    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Explain the major principles of environmental impact assessment in Australia
    2 Understand the different steps within environmental impact assessment
    3 Discuss the implications of current jurisdictional and institutional arrangements in relation to environmental impact assessment
    4 Communicate both orally and in written form the key aspects of environmental impact assessment
    5 Understand how to liaise with and the importance of stakeholders in the EIA process
    6 Be able to access different case studies/examples of EIA in practice
    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, 3, 5
    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, 4, 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
    3, 4,
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    1, 2, 6
    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
    1, 4, 5, 6
    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
    3, 5,6
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    The core text for this course is:

    Harvey, N and Clarke, B 2012 Environmental Impact Assessment, Oxford Press.
    Recommended Resources
    Other suggested readings:

    Elliot, M. and Thomas, I. 2009. Environmental Impact Assessment in Australia, The Federation Press

    Wood, C. 2003. Environmental Impact Assessment: A Comparative Review, Pearson Hall press.

    The journal called Environmental Impact Assessment Review is an excellent resource. 
    Online Learning
    There will be online activities, which will be required and which will be aligned with learning/revision for the exam
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course is delivered via mixed methods which include face to face information sessions, workshops, online activities and if possible a field trip. Authentic and constructive alignment of assessment is used so as to give students a tatse of what they might do if they really were undertaking EIA. The course is designed to facilitate inter-disciplinary and active learning, and uses problem based solving techniques using current real life examples to ensure students also develop practical skills to support the theory of the practice of EIA. 

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

    Workload summary

    2 X 1 hour lectures per week:                      48 hours per semester
    1 x 1 hours seminar per week:                    12 hours per semester
    6 hours reading per week:                          72 hours per semester
    2 hours research a week:                            48 hours per semester
    2 hours assignment preparation a week:      48 hours a semester
    10 hours exam preparation:                        16 hours per semester

    Total:  244 hours
    Learning Activities Summary
    Week 1: Introduction to course, definitions and history (no tutes)

    Week 2:EIA process - generic

    Week 3:EIA process – Australia

    Week 4:EIA process - states and territories

    Week 5:EIA Techniques 

    Week 5: EIA Techniques/Possible field trip

    Week 6:Involving stakeholders

    Week 7:Evaluating EIA

    Week 8:Other types of assessment and SEA

    Week 9:Case studies in practice

    Week 10:Case studies in practice

    Week 11: Revision for exam

    Specific Course Requirements
      There are no specific course requirements for this course
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    The seminars for this course will be constructed to enable a small group discovery experience.
  • 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
    TASK                                                WEIGHTING                                         LEARNING OUTCOMES

    1. Attendance and participation:           10%                                                  1, 2, 3,5

    2. Essay:                                            30%                                                  1, 2,

    3. Seminar presentation:                     30%                                                  3, 4, 5

    4. Take home exam:                           30%                                                  1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Students must be prepared to do the pre-reading, attend relevant information sessions and complete online activities, all of which will support their learning and assessment.
    Assessment Detail
    Essay: Students are required to write an essay on the EIA process and the exact type of question may change depenidng on the time but a typical essay question would be:
    Choose two case studies – one national/state based (Australian) and one international.
    In your essay, undertake the following:

    (i) Describe each case study and discuss the key issues that are raised
    (ii) Describe/evaluate the extent to which the case studies apply generic EIA principles in practice
    (iii) Compare the similarities and differences between the two case studies
    (iv) Discuss whether or not you think the EIA was successful in each case and why you think this

    Attendance and participation: 10%

    Seminar report: 

    Students will be required to write a report which will be based on exercises given in class and lectures throughout the semester. Exercises will include case study , article review, quizzes. All exercises will be designed to support exam work. 

    Take home exam:

    Based on lecture materials and tutorial activities students will be asked to complete a take home exam.
    Submission will be advised on an ongoing basis and in class as times change with each semester and year.
    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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