PLANT SC 3515WT - Plant Biotechnology III

Waite Campus - Semester 2 - 2018

This course explores the use of biotechnology to both generate genetic variation in plants and to understand how factors at the cellular level contribute to the expression of genotypes and hence to phenotypic variation. There is an emphasis on the molecular mechanisms directing plant gene expression under diverse environmental and developmental stimuli. This knowledge is central to our ability to modify plant responses and properties for global food security and commercial gains in biotechnology and agriculture. A problem-based learning approach is employed to demonstrate the use of various omics technologies (such as genomics, proteomics and metabolomics) to gain this knowledge. In the laboratory classes, students will perform some of the techniques currently used to generate information and detect genetic variation. The key concepts of the course will be integrated in a series of case studies, and students will enhance their ability to apply them to novel situations in problem-solving sessions and their own research planning project.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PLANT SC 3515WT
    Course Plant Biotechnology III
    Coordinating Unit School of Agriculture, Food and Wine
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s Waite Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 7 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assumed Knowledge BIOLOGY 1101, BIOLOGY 1202 & ANIML SC 2501WT or GENETICS 2510
    Course Description This course explores the use of biotechnology to both generate genetic variation in plants and to understand how factors at the cellular level contribute to the expression of genotypes and hence to phenotypic variation. There is an emphasis on the molecular mechanisms directing plant gene expression under diverse environmental and developmental stimuli. This knowledge is central to our ability to modify plant responses and properties for global food security and commercial gains in biotechnology and agriculture. A problem-based learning approach is employed to demonstrate the use of various omics technologies (such as genomics, proteomics and metabolomics) to gain this knowledge. In the laboratory classes, students will perform some of the techniques currently used to generate information and detect genetic variation. The key concepts of the course will be integrated in a series of case studies, and students will enhance their ability to apply them to novel situations in problem-solving sessions and their own research planning project.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Amanda Able

    Course staff include Professor Amanda Able and Dr Jason Able. Guest lecturers who are active researchers in plant biotechnology on the Waite Campus also provide case studies.
    Course Timetable

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

    Students will be given details of each session at the start of classes.
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    Successful students will be able to:
    1. explain the basics of the physiological and molecular processes that occur during plant growth and development and during environmental adaptations
    2. understand how biotechnology has been used to develop knowledge of complex processes that occur in the plant
    3. use basic biotechnological techniques to explore molecular biology of plants
    4. understand the processes involved in the planning, conduct and execution of plant biotechnology experiments
    5. explain how biotechnology is used for plant improvement and discuss the ethical implications of that use
    6. communicate effectively using oral and written means for both scientific and non-technical audiences
    7. cooperate and work effectively as a member of a team to solve problems
    8. critically evaluate scientific research papers and develop research proposals to address identified gaps.
    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)
    1,2,3,4,8
    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
    2,3,4,7,8
    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
    7
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    2,3
    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
    5,8
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Laboratory coats and closed-in shoes must be worn in practical sessions.
    Recommended Resources
    The lecturers use textbooks as a guide but rely heavily on scientific journals and bioinformatics databases/websites for their lectures. Details will be provided in class. 
    Online Learning
    Teaching materials, interactive exercises and course documentation will be posted on the MyUni website. 
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course combines elements of bioinformatics and professional development skills with scientific learning by using problem-based learning. Traditional practical and lecture exercises are also used. Full details will be provided at the start of the course.
    Workload

    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
    The lecture and theoretical content on-line will cover the following aspects:
    • Molecular biology techniques and their application to molecular mapping, molecular markers, plant breeding and plant biotechnology
    • Functional analysis and gene discovery in plant biotechnology
    • Regulation of gene and protein expression in plants
    • Molecular control of plant development
    • Molecular biology and electron transport in photosynthesis and respiration in plants
    • Transport of plant compounds
    • Molecular regulation of abiotic stress responses
    • Molecular recognition and regulation during biotic interactions
    Practicals will introduce students to a range of bioinformatic and in silico techniques, measurement of gene expression and protein activity. Tutorials will provide students with guidance during their research planning project as well as study construct design, using biotechnology to change photosynthetic ability, evaluating sequence data quality, and making molecular marker maps. A mini-conference of case studies will provide examples of how what was learnt in lectures is applied. Full details of each learning activity will be provided in the course handbook and/or by the Lecturer prior to class.
    Specific Course Requirements
    N/A
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    N/A
  • 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 will be by written examination, project work and practical report. There are no hurdles on assessment tasks in this course. 

    Assessment tasks include:

    Assessment task Type of assessment % of total assessment Outcomes being assessed Approximate timing
    Practical project Formative/Summative 30% 1,2,3,4,6,7 Week 5 & 12
    Research review and planning project Formative/Summative 30% 3,4,5,6,8 Across whole semester
    Exam Summative 40% 1,2,3,4,5 Exam period
    Assessment Related Requirements
    N/A
    Assessment Detail
    Practical Project (30% in total) – Practical Report/Exercise (written as students go)
    This project will enable students to characterise a plant-unique gene using a number of techniques over the course. Students will analyse and interpret their results ‘as they go’ online between pracs. This will ensure that at each stage of the practical project, students can move to the next step with the necessary understanding and implement design decisions based on the previous prac’s results (in much the same way, a researcher would).
    • Bioinformatics Component due Week 5
    • Practical interpretation – question format - due Week 12

    Research review (planning) project (30% in total)

    This project uses a patchwork assessment approach to guide students through the development of a research proposal, its presentation to a mock funding body and a rejoinder to referee’s reports over the entire course. Each student will also act as a referee of 2 other proposals. Students receive tutorials that guide them through the process also.
    • Grant proposal – due Week 8
    • Oral Presentation – due Week 9 in class
    • Referee Reports – due Week 9
    • Rejoinder – due Week 11

    Final Exam (40%)
    The final exam is held in the University’s scheduled examination period and is scheduled for 180 minutes. Questions are of essay, short answer or interpretative style.
    Submission
    Submission is usually via email to the course coordinator or online using MyUni. 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 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 or more late without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the mark.
    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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