ENV BIOL 4015A - Advanced Environmental Biology (Hons) Pt 1
North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2015
General Course Information
Course Code ENV BIOL 4015A Course Advanced Environmental Biology (Hons) Pt 1 Coordinating Unit School of Biological Sciences Term Semester 2 Level Undergraduate Location/s North Terrace Campus Contact Mixed mode - flexible and/or intensive Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N Incompatible ENV BIOL 4000A/B Restrictions Available only to students admitted to the relevant Honours program Course Description The course consists of three tasks that are performed across the full academic year and focuses on building research and (written) communication skills. There are three components or assessed tasks: a literature review and research proposal (40%) which includes a short seminar (not assessed); a broadening essay (40%) and a short essay (20%). The intention of the course is to introduce areas of plant, animal or environmental biology which are presently unfamiliar to the student by way of a technical literature review or essays. In carrying out these tasks students develop an ability to collect and evaluate information, dissect complex ideas, gain an understanding of the present state of knowledge, identify gaps, develop an interesting viewpoint, assemble a persuasive argument and draw valid conclusions. An important component is the development of a research proposal that will be implemented and executed in the course ENV BIOL 4020A/B (Honours Environmental Biology Project 1 & 2) which runs parallel with this course.
Course Coordinator: Associate Professor David Paton
The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.
Course Learning OutcomesA successful student in this course should be able to:
1 Obtain scientific information in Environmental Biology from library research 2 Organise scientific information and present it in a logical and structured manner; 3 Evaluate and synthesise information and develop original ideas; 4 Dissect complex ideas; 5 Summarise the information gained (in 1-4 above) in written form (literature review, essay); 6 Prepare a clear and compelling research proposal;
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. 1-6 The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 1-6 An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 4,5,6 Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 5,6 A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 1,6 A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 1-6 A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 1-6 An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 1-6
Learning & Teaching Activities
Learning & Teaching ModesThe course commences with several tutorials on techniques for searching on-line library data bases and building proficiency in finding and managing literature (using EndNote). Other tutorials are provided on writing skills and oral presentations early in the course. These expose the students to the techniques and strategies used to be able to assemble information, review this information and deliver it succinctly in written and oral form.
The primary method of teaching involves students learning by doing the assessed tasks, under the guidance of an academic supervisor(s). Students are expected to meet with the academic supervisor (different supervisors for the different tasks) several times during the development of the literature review, research proposal, and the broadening essay. These sessions should be student led.
Where possible the course includes a field camp to Kangaroo Island (not compulsory) where workshops on writing, oral presentations research planning and experimental design are run.
The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.A student enrolled in this course should expect to spend, on average 18 hours per week on the studies required. This includes both the formal contact time required (tutorials, workshops, meetings with academic supervisors), as well as non-contact time (e.g., reading, discussing, writing and presenting).
Learning Activities SummaryThe course consists of a series of short tutorials and workshops that provide:
(1) skills for locating, summarising, critically assessing and managing scientific literature;
(2) arranging information into a logical order and developing syntheses of this information;
(3) writing reviews and essays that summarise findings and highlight deficiencies in knowledge that lead to
(4) developing a research proposal.
These tutorials largely provide tools that allow students to produce
(1) a literature review and research proposal; and then
(2) build on and improve those skills with two other written products (essays) on other biological topics and or different purpose to help broaden communication skills for modern society.
Importantly this course provides opportunities for students to learn by doing and much of the intensive and or specific training is done through informal interactions and discussions with academic staff and peers.
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 must maintain academic standards.
Assessment Task Task Type Due Weighting Learning Outcome Literature review & Research Proposal Formative & Summative
40% 1-6 Broadening Essay Formative & Summative Early August 40% 1-6 Short Essay Formative & Summative Arranged with Honours Coordinator 20% 1-6
Assessment DetailLiterature review and research proposal (40 %)
The literature review and research proposal are completed early on in the Honours year to develop the background for the research project, formulate questions and plan approaches to doing research. The literature review should be 3000-4000 words and is fully referenced. The length of the proposal should be 1000-2000 words
Initial seminar based on review and research proposal (15 minutes, including questions). The initial seminar is not assessed.
Broadening essay (3000 - 4000 words; 40 %)
This essay is a review essay that is on a topic unrelated to the research projects. It should take the equivalent of about 6 full weeks of time.
Short essay (2000 words, 20 %)
This is also a broadening essay that covers material away from the intended area of research. Students arrange a time to receive a topic from the Honours Coordinator and then have exactly one week to research, write and submit the essay. This essay can be done at any time during the year after students have received feedback from their literature review.
SubmissionIf 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 the assignment 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 late or more without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the marks available for that assignment.
Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:
NOG (No Grade Associated) Grade Description CN Continuing
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.
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