PLANT SC 7265WT - Research Concepts in Plant Biotechnology

Waite Campus - Semester 2 - 2016

This course will provide a foundation in the key elements of the research process, with a focus on the conceptualisation of research design and planning of independent studies in plant biotechnology. Tutorials, problem-based and project-based learning will allow students to enhance their critical analysis skills and develop insight into the practise of scientific investigation and research integrity using plant biotechnology research as the framework. The research planning project, scientific communication activities and interaction with active researchers will prepare students for research that applies biotechnology to find innovative solutions to problems in agriculture, horticulture, natural ecosystems and in basic understanding of plant molecular biology.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PLANT SC 7265WT
    Course Research Concepts in Plant Biotechnology
    Coordinating Unit School of Agriculture, Food and Wine
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s Waite Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 10 hours per week for 6 weeks
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Restrictions Available to Postgrad Biotech (Plant Biotech) students only
    Course Description This course will provide a foundation in the key elements of the research process, with a focus on the conceptualisation of research design and planning of independent studies in plant biotechnology. Tutorials, problem-based and project-based learning will allow students to enhance their critical analysis skills and develop insight into the practise of scientific investigation and research integrity using plant biotechnology research as the framework. The research planning project, scientific communication activities and interaction with active researchers will prepare students for research that applies biotechnology to find innovative solutions to problems in agriculture, horticulture, natural ecosystems and in basic understanding of plant molecular biology.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Amanda Able

    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 should be able to:
    1. understand the relationship between experimental design and experimental outcomes, particularly the effects of experimental design on the reliability of data generated;
    2. understand the processes involved in the planning, conduct and execution of plant biotechnology experiments;
    3. critically evaluate the research process, identify constraints and devise improvements to research strategies in plant biotechnology;
    4. communicate effectively using oral and written means for both scientific and non-technical audiences;
    5. cooperate and work effectively as a member of a team or individually to solve problems;and;
    6. critically evaluate scientific research papers to identify relevant research questions in plant biotechnology and synthesise 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)
    2,6
    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
    1,2,3,6
    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
    4,5
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    3,6
    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
    5
    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
  • Learning Resources
    Recommended Resources
    Materials relevant to learning in the course will be provided beforehand or during workshops.
    Online Learning
    Teaching materials and course documentation will be posted on the Canvas website. Canvas will also be used extensively by academic staff and students through the use of blogs, wikis and online discussion forums.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course provides a scaffolded approach to learning by enabling students to develop a research plan and participate in communication activities via a series of workshops/tutorials targeted at providing them with the necessary skills. Two workshops of 3 hours each and two tutorials of 2 hours each will be held every week 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 6 week-contact course, such as this, should expect to spend, on average 24 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
    Workshops and tutorials will cover the nature of research; types of research; the processes of developing a research project (planning and design; identifying the scope and range of a research project; research methods; formulating research questions; articulating research aims; the ethics of research); writing a research proposal: identification and articulation of theoretical frameworks and knowledge gaps; literature reviews, identification and articulation of methodology; articulating expected outcomes; timelines, time management and budget justification; considerations in data analysis as it relates to design; and; presenting your research to a non-scientific audience.
  • 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 Due Weighting Learning Outcome
    Research Planning Project Formative or Summative

    Weeks 3,5,6, and 7

    70% 2,3,4,5,6
    Reflection of research skill development Formative and summative Weeks 1 and 7 10% 1,2,3
    Group oral presentation Formative and summative Week 2 20% 2
    Assessment Detail
    Research planning project (70% in total)
    This project uses a patchwork assessment approach to guide students through the development of a research proposal, the description of a body of research to the general public, presentation of the proposal 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 two other proposals.
    • Media article – due Week 3 (10%). Students will provide a 400 word summary about the issues identified for their topic. The summary must be written as if for the popular media.
    • Grant proposal – due Week 5 (40%). Students must follow a set of provided guidelines to produce a grant proposal within the page limits (10 pages). Students will need to provide a background, indicate the aims and significance of the proposed research, and describe the proposed methodology and its impact.
    • Oral Presentation – due Week 5 (10%). Students present a 8-10 minute presentation of their proposal.
    • Referee Reports – due Week 6 (5%).
    • Rejoinder – due Week 7 (5%)

    Reflection of research skill development (10%)
    Students will write a short reflection (1-2 pages) at the start of the course which allows them to consider various research skills, their development thus far in their career and where they believe they need improvement. At the end of the course, a second reflection will be written to allow students to consider the impact of their learning in the course and what they would do differently in undertaking the research process into the future.

    Group oral presentation (20%)
    Students will work in groups of 3-4 to analyse a given set of plant biotechnology data and then present that data as a group to their class mates. Their presentations (up to 10 minutes) must discuss the reliability of the data presented as well as devise improvements to experimental design.
    Submission
    Submission will generally be via Canvas.

    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 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.
    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
  • 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.

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