GEOG 5045 - Valuing the Environment

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2014

A number of economic valuation studies of environmental assets (e.g. wetlands, wildlife, scenic amenities) have been undertaken around the world to inform decision-making with regard to environmental planning and management. This course critically outlines economic approaches to valuing the non-market benefits and costs of environmental assets, policies or projects. The course first discusses the concept of non-market value and public disputation over the needs for and arguments against non-market valuation. The course then examines conventional methods of valuing the natural environment including the hedonic pricing method, the travel cost method and the contingent valuation method. The course addresses various issues (e.g. questionnaire design and sample selection) and limitations (biased responses) associated with these survey-based non-market valuation methods. The emphasis is placed on both the theoretical underpinnings of the non-market valuation methods and their practical applications in the sphere of environmental policy and management. A range of case studies are reviewed for this purpose. The course also looks into various environmental decision-support systems that integrate non-market environmental values, such as extended cost-benefit analysis and multi-criteria analysis.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code GEOG 5045
    Course Valuing the Environment
    Coordinating Unit Geography, Environment and Population
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 6
    Contact 3 hours per week
    Prerequisites Completed degree (72 units)
    Course Description A number of economic valuation studies of environmental assets (e.g. wetlands, wildlife, scenic amenities) have been undertaken around the world to inform decision-making with regard to environmental planning and management. This course critically outlines economic approaches to valuing the non-market benefits and costs of environmental assets, policies or projects. The course first discusses the concept of non-market value and public disputation over the needs for and arguments against non-market valuation. The course then examines conventional methods of valuing the natural environment including the hedonic pricing method, the travel cost method and the contingent valuation method. The course addresses various issues (e.g. questionnaire design and sample selection) and limitations (biased responses) associated with these survey-based non-market valuation methods. The emphasis is placed on both the theoretical underpinnings of the non-market valuation methods and their practical applications in the sphere of environmental policy and management. A range of case studies are reviewed for this purpose. The course also looks into various environmental decision-support systems that integrate non-market environmental values, such as extended cost-benefit analysis and multi-criteria analysis.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Jungho Suh

    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Demonstrate a sound understanding of the concept of non-market environmental costs and benefits.
    2 Demonstrate a sound understanding of the basic concepts and principles of conventional non-market valuation methods including the hedonic price method, the travel cost method and the contingent valuation method.
    3 Locate and use resources to evaluate the competing priorities between environmental protection and economic growth
    4 Identify the strengths and weaknesses of each of the major non-market valuation methods and be able to select an appropriate method.
    5 Develop a sound understanding of how to design non-market valuation survey questionnaires.
    6 Identify various environmental decision-support systems and make a general assessment as to which decision-support system is suitable for a particular research application.
    7 Present logical and coherent written arguments based on evidence.
    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, 4, 5, 6
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 3
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 3, 7
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 1
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    There is no prescribed textbook. Extensive lecture notes drawn from various sources are provided. The students are progressively guided to read and review a number of journal articles published to date in the field of non-market valuation.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Lecture slides will be posted, in pdf format, to the course webpages progressively after the respective lecture is delivered. That way, you are free from having to reproduce the material in the Powerpoint slides during lectures. However, much detail will be conveyed to the audience verbally. No video or audio recording service will be provided for this course. All material covered in lectures are examinable. Therefore, it is imperative for you attend lectures and take notes.

    Each lecture is followed by a workshop-style seminar. The seminars provide an opportunity to explore the ideas, perspectives and issues central to the course, through discussion, debate and collaboration amongst the students in your discussion group.
    Workload

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

    Lecture and seminar: 3 hours per week
    Lecture material reading: 8 hours per week
    Assignment preparation: 8 hours per week
    Exam preparation: 7 hours per week
    Learning Activities Summary
    Week 1 Valuing the environment: introduction
    Week 2 An overview of non-market valuation methods
    Week 3 Travel cost method
    Week 4 Hedonic pricing method
    Week 5 Contingent valuation method
    Week 6 Choice modelling
    Week 7 Extended cost-benefit analysis (I)
    Week 8 Extended cost-benefit analysis (II)
    Week 9 Multi-criteria analysis (I)
    Week 10 Multi-criteria analysis (II)
    Week 11 Group presentations
    Week 12 Course review and exam preparation
  • 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
    The assessment for the course is based on four components. Your grade will be determined by the aggregate mark that comprises of these components. The following table shows the percentage weightings of the graded work required by the course.

    Activity Proportion of mark (%)
    Seminar participation and presentation 20
    Academic essay 40
    End-of-semester exam 40
    Total 100
    Assessment Detail
    Seminar participation and presentation (20%)
    It is compulsory for the students to participate in seminars to be held after every lecture unless otherwise notified. You are expected to play an active role in the seminars. This will include taking part in discussions and making brief oral presentations.

    Written assignments (40%)
    The first and second assignments must be submitted in class; the third written assignment is optional in place of the end-of-semester exam.

    End-of-semester exam (40%)
    A closed-book written examination.
    Submission
    Information available on enrolment.
    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.

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  • Policies & Guidelines
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