ENV BIOL 3535 - Research Methods in Evolutionary Biology III
North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2021
General Course Information
Course Code ENV BIOL 3535 Course Research Methods in Evolutionary Biology III Coordinating Unit School of Biological Sciences Term Semester 1 Level Undergraduate Location/s North Terrace Campus Units 3 Contact Up to 7 hours per week Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y Incompatible ENV BIOL 3530 Assumed Knowledge 6 units of Level II Environmental Biology courses ENV BIOL 2501 & STATS 1000 or STATS 1004 or equivalent Course Description An introduction to systematic methods of basic experimental design, data collection, analysis and reporting of results in evolutionary biology. Lectures outline the analytical nature of evolutionary research and the value of robust experimental methods. Some knowledge of basic statistics is required. Experimental design will be emphasised and the elements of data analysis, particularly phylogenetics, will be considered in a variety of evolutionary contexts. Practical work involves use of computers and software and will complement methods introduced in lectures. Workshops will be used to integrate evolutionary data from a range of sources and provide specialised expertise in evolutionary analysis and interpretation techniques.
Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Jeremy Austin
The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.
Course Learning OutcomesOn successful completion of this course students should be able to:
1. Demonstrate experimental skills in evolutionary biology
2. Define logical observations, models and hypotheses to shape research questions in evolutionary biology, both orally and written
3. Demonstrate an understanding of different types of analytical techniques to real evolutionary data and interpret the outcomes correctly
4. Develop phylogenetic analysis protocols and apply them to real-world evolutionary problems Demonstrate appropriate conventions in technical writing and graphical methods for presenting data in evolutionary biology
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)
2-4 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
1,3,4 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
2-4 Career and leadership readiness
- technology savvy
- professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
- forward thinking and well informed
- tested and validated by work based experiences
2 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
3-4 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
Learning & Teaching Activities
Learning & Teaching ModesLectures are supported by online material. Some lecture material will seek to ‘flip the classroom’ where the lecture room is the forum for exploring ideas and creativity to problem solving, recognising alternate cultures have different perspectives of the generation of knowledge and the ethics of scientific discovery and quantitative analysis. The practicals and workshops will build student knowledge and experience in action-based leaning to develop the application of theoretical knowledge to practical problems that face evolutionary researchers. Tutorials support the lectures and workshops.
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 SummaryThis course will be delivered by the following means:
Teaching is through a combination of lectures (1 x 2 hours per week during semester), practicals (1 x 3 hours per week [8 weeks]), workshops (1 x 4 hours per week [4 weeks]) and tutorials (1 x 1 hour per week [8 weeks])
The course content may include the following:
Lectures will cover fundamentals of logic, experimental design and variation in evolutionary data; hypothesis testing; phylogenetic analyses and multivariate statistics as appropriate to morphological and molecular data, including parsimony, likelihood and Bayesian statistics, as well as tree-evaluation methods.
The practicals and workshops will support the lecture topics. Tutorials will support the lectures and workshops.
Specific Course RequirementsThe recommended texts assigned to this course are:
Wiley, EO, Seigel-Causey, D, Brooks, DR, Funk, VA (1991) The compleat cladist: a primer of phylogenetic procedures. (The University of Kansas Museum of Natural History: Lawrence, Kansas).
Other more advanced reading for the course will be provided as needed during the semester for various modules
Small Group Discovery ExperienceThe practicals and workshops will require individual interaction with individual based projects that are developed by interaction with lecturing staff that are participants in the area of evolutionary biology. Group size will vary, but generally involve small groups of 3–4
students solving generic issues, through to large groups of 10 students that need administrative support for issues such as learning Occupational Health and Safety procedures that are targeted to their project. Most types of interactions will involve verbal communication and pending the level of difficulty, some computational assistance using computer software.
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 Type of assessment Percentage of total assessment for grading purposes
Outcomes being assessed / achieved Approximate Timing of Assessment zzes Formative & Summative 30% No 1,4 Weeks 3, 5, 7, 9 Assignments Formative & Summative 40% No 1-5 Weeks 5 & 10 Final Exam Summative 30% No 1, 3-5 Exam Period
Assessment Related RequirementsNone
Assessment Detail1. Lab Quizzes (30%)
There will be four lab quizzes in practical sessions that will be worth 5% (x2) and 10% (x2) each. Quizzes will be short-answer written quizzes of 20 minutes in duration. Written feedback will be provided in the following practical.
2. Assignments (40%)
There will be two assignments worth 15% and 25% respectively. Each assignment will consist of several problem-based questions that will require some computing work for data analysis and short answer type responses (half to one page).
3. Final Exam (30%)
A 2-hour exam in the end of semester exam period that will draw on material from both lectures and practicals. It may require simple calculations, but it will not involve computing.
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:
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.
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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