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ENVS340 – Environmental Change

2017 – S1 Day

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit Convenor
Kira Westaway
Contact via 02 9850 8429
12 Wally's Walk Room 4.29
Office hours - send an email to book
Lecturer
Paul Hesse
Contact via 02 9850 8384
12 Wally's Walk Room 4.30
Office hours - send an email to book
Credit points Credit points
3
Prerequisites Prerequisites
(39cp at 100 level or above) including (ENVS214(Cr) or ENVS266 or ENVE214(Cr) or ENVE266 or GEOS214(Cr) or GEOS266)
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description
This unit requires you to piece together lines of evidence to reconstruct the climatic and environmental changes over the last 2.6 million years. This period saw dramatic changes as the environment swung in and out of huge glacials, where large sections of the planet were covered in ice, to interglacials, where the climate recovered and the environment flourished. We will use different lines of evidence such as cave and fluvial sediment, tree rings, pollen, ice cores, marine cores and landforms as proxies to reconstruct past environments, to establish a benchmark for environmental change and to define the normal range of variability. We can then use this benchmark as a context for present day changes to predict how the environment will change in the future and how landscapes, vegetation, fauna and humans will respond. This understanding is then related to evidence of environmental change seen in the local Australian landscape, and investigated during field excursions, including a week-long field trip during the mid-semester break. Case studies include: rapid environmental change in Indonesia; reconstructing the last glacial maximum in NSW; how environmental change in Africa and Asia shaped the evolution of early humans; human-environmental interactions in Australia such as the mega fauna debate; and how forest fires and deforestation have affected our present day climate.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at http://students.mq.edu.au/student_admin/enrolmentguide/academicdates/

Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate field skills including: a) make clear, accurate field descriptions of geomorphology, soil profiles, sediment sections b) interpret landforms and make a geomorphic map from your interpretation of air photographs, maps or other sources c) survey topography (tape and clino), compute and plot data d) describe and sketch soil and sediment sections in the field using standard methods e) draw and interpret stratigraphic sections, correlate profiles and interpret temporal and process relationships
  2. Demonstrate critical thinking in your reading of the literature and interpretation of your own data
  3. Design a field research project including data gathering and interpret your own data
  4. Demonstrate your ability to 'Read the landscape' through morphodynamic description and analyses
  5. Data collection is to be undertaken in a manner that is rigorous, reliable and replicable. Data collection should be structured in a manner to address a clearly-specified question. The data themselves should be irrefutable, whereas our interpretations are not.
  6. Understand how to apply a range of dating techniques to constrain the timing of geomorphic events
  7. Communicate scientific information and concepts through oral, visual and written formats
  8. Demonstrate your ability to apply your knowledge and understanding to problems in Quaternary Science

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Hurdle Due
Assessment 1 10% 12 pm 17/3/17
Assessment 2 25% 10 am 17/5/17
Assessment 3 25% 1 pm 9/6/17
Assessment 4 40% Semester 1 exam period
Skills Mastery 0% End of week 13

Assessment 1

Due: 12 pm 17/3/17
Weighting: 10%

Conduct the proxies practical and then submit a handout with the final interpretation (4%)

Then argue in 500 words that a chosen proxy provides the best evidence for reconstructing GLOBAL environmental change compared to other proxies (5%). A further 1% can be gained from peer review scores - see your prac book for further details. This assessment is submitted electronically via the Turnitin link and the Workshop link both in ilearn and marked using Grademark (further details in Delivery and Resources)


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Demonstrate critical thinking in your reading of the literature and interpretation of your own data
  • Communicate scientific information and concepts through oral, visual and written formats
  • Demonstrate your ability to apply your knowledge and understanding to problems in Quaternary Science

Assessment 2

Due: 10 am 17/5/17
Weighting: 25%

Write a 2000 word field report (plus figures and references) on your research conducted at Nerrandera

You will be required to develop your own question which you must address in your report, tailoring the presentation and discussion of your results to answer the question and placing them within a context revealed by your readings and the work conducted in the field.  The research and thought which go into each report are an important part of your learning in this unit.  We expect that you will deepen your understanding of the topic and your field experience by discovering the links between your observations and previous published research in the scientific literature.  It should be presented in the format of scientific reports, with a high standard of presentation (clarity and accuracy, not necessarily ‘pretty’), with diagrams, maps, graphs and tables (as appropriate) and standard scientific citation and referencing.  You will be provided with some essential and useful readings for these reports but you should also undertake your own research of the primary scientific literature.  

This assessment must be submitted electronically via Turnitin (follow links in ilearn) and will be marked using Grademark


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Demonstrate field skills including: a) make clear, accurate field descriptions of geomorphology, soil profiles, sediment sections b) interpret landforms and make a geomorphic map from your interpretation of air photographs, maps or other sources c) survey topography (tape and clino), compute and plot data d) describe and sketch soil and sediment sections in the field using standard methods e) draw and interpret stratigraphic sections, correlate profiles and interpret temporal and process relationships
  • Demonstrate critical thinking in your reading of the literature and interpretation of your own data
  • Design a field research project including data gathering and interpret your own data
  • Demonstrate your ability to 'Read the landscape' through morphodynamic description and analyses
  • Data collection is to be undertaken in a manner that is rigorous, reliable and replicable. Data collection should be structured in a manner to address a clearly-specified question. The data themselves should be irrefutable, whereas our interpretations are not.
  • Understand how to apply a range of dating techniques to constrain the timing of geomorphic events
  • Demonstrate your ability to apply your knowledge and understanding to problems in Quaternary Science

Assessment 3

Due: 1 pm 9/6/17
Weighting: 25%

A group presentation on the results of your field research including your fieldwork and subsequent laboratory analysis (weeks 8-12). This can take the form of a live presentation or a video, and will be presented in groups in the prac during week 13 (23%) - every student will be given 5 mins presentation time. A further 2% can be gained from peer assessment of your presentations 


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Demonstrate critical thinking in your reading of the literature and interpretation of your own data
  • Design a field research project including data gathering and interpret your own data
  • Demonstrate your ability to 'Read the landscape' through morphodynamic description and analyses
  • Data collection is to be undertaken in a manner that is rigorous, reliable and replicable. Data collection should be structured in a manner to address a clearly-specified question. The data themselves should be irrefutable, whereas our interpretations are not.
  • Understand how to apply a range of dating techniques to constrain the timing of geomorphic events
  • Communicate scientific information and concepts through oral, visual and written formats
  • Demonstrate your ability to apply your knowledge and understanding to problems in Quaternary Science

Assessment 4

Due: Semester 1 exam period
Weighting: 40%

Mid year exam based on lecture and practical content

The EXAM will be scheduled in the regular University examination period.  The exam is 3 hours in length and will cover all subjects covered in the lectures, practicals and fieldtrips.  There is a combination of short answer and longer (short essay) style questions.  Past exam papers for this unit are available, but we will also provide a few example questions in the final lecture.

 The University examination period in First Semester 2016 is from 14/6/16-1/7/16.  You are expected to present yourself for examination at the time and place designated in the University Examination Timetable.  The timetable will be available in draft form approximately eight weeks before the commencement of the examinations and in final form approximately four weeks before the commencement of the examinations.  (http://www.reg.mq.edu.au/Forms/APSCon.pdf)

The only exception to not sitting an examination at the designated time is because of documented illness or unavoidable disruption.  In these circumstances you may wish to consider applying for Special Consideration. Information about unavoidable disruption and the special consideration process is available at (http://www.reg.mq.edu.au/Forms/APSCon.pdf)

If a supplementary examination is granted as a result of the Special Consideration process the examination will be scheduled after the conclusion of the official examination period.  You are advised that it is Macquarie University policy not to set early examinations for individuals or groups of students.  All students are expected to ensure that they are available until the end of the teaching semester, that is the final day of the official examination period.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Demonstrate critical thinking in your reading of the literature and interpretation of your own data
  • Communicate scientific information and concepts through oral, visual and written formats
  • Demonstrate your ability to apply your knowledge and understanding to problems in Quaternary Science

Skills Mastery

Due: End of week 13
Weighting: 0%
This is a hurdle assessment task (see assessment policy for more information on hurdle assessment tasks)

You will be asked to demonstrate that you mastered a set of skills that are required in the modern force. You will be given ample opportunity to learn, practice and master these skills throughout the semester and will record your progress via Pebble Pad (an eportfolio) that can then be used for job interviews


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Demonstrate field skills including: a) make clear, accurate field descriptions of geomorphology, soil profiles, sediment sections b) interpret landforms and make a geomorphic map from your interpretation of air photographs, maps or other sources c) survey topography (tape and clino), compute and plot data d) describe and sketch soil and sediment sections in the field using standard methods e) draw and interpret stratigraphic sections, correlate profiles and interpret temporal and process relationships
  • Demonstrate critical thinking in your reading of the literature and interpretation of your own data
  • Design a field research project including data gathering and interpret your own data
  • Demonstrate your ability to 'Read the landscape' through morphodynamic description and analyses
  • Communicate scientific information and concepts through oral, visual and written formats
  • Demonstrate your ability to apply your knowledge and understanding to problems in Quaternary Science

Delivery and Resources

LECTURES

Two one hour lectures are held on most Wednesday from 12-2 pm. Lectures are designed to provide you with a framework with which to focus your study of the subject and are an essential and important component of the unit. They are by no means exhaustive on each and every topic, and you are expected to supplement them by reading especially from the textbook but also from the current journals, where the most up-to-date information can be found. There is a reading list for you to use as a starting point later in this document, and additional material will be referred to during the lecture program. Lecture slides are available on-line through https://ilearn.mq.edu.au/ login/MQ for viewing and/or printing. Ilectures are not available for this course, audio will not be recorded. It is your responsibility to keep up to date with lecture content. DO NOT MISS LECTURES!! For the first time in this unit we will be conducting some semi-flipped classroom activities so that some of your learning is conducted at home and some of your understanding conducted in its place in the lecture time. This makes it even more important that lectures and pracs are not missed. 

PRACTICALS

Practicals are held most weeks on Fridays at 2 pm for 3-4 hours. Each student must attend all practical sessions, held in E5A240. Most practicals will have no take-home component but students must demonstrate understanding of the topics and mastery of the skills introduced before being allowed to leave. Practical classes comprise a practical exercise, including numerical analysis, examination of rocks and sediments or local fieldwork. Practicals provide greater depth to the related lecture materials and are designed to assist learning by encouraging your active participation. The venue of the practical classes varies (see Unit schedule). Important material for the practical classes is included in the practical book. Additional material may be posted on ilearn for download. Each student must bring the appropriate equipment to the practical session and pre-read the practical description. Equipment may include; overhead transparencies, permanent FINE overhead pen (red or green preferably), drawing pencils (2B, HB, 2H), coloured pencils, ruler, sharpener, eraser, protractor, calculator, field note book. You should also wear appropriate clothes for the laboratory and field: closed shoes, sun protection etc.

FIELDWORK

There are two compulsory fieldtrips for all students: 17th March and 24-29th April. Fieldwork forms an essential component of this unit and therefore all students must attend. These trips include one day/half day long field trip to Narrabeen Lagoon in Week 3, and a mid-semester field trip from 24-29th April to Nerrandera. The assignments and fieldtrips are described in detail elsewhere in this unit guide. Equipment and safety issues for field work are described in the fieldwork section.

ASSESSMENTS

There are 4 assessments overall with different percentage weightings. The first two assessments (Proxies and Field report) must be submitted electronically using Turnitin (follow links in ilearn for submission) - there will be no hard copy submissions - see assessments section for further details

PROBLEM SOLVING QUEST

A private or team study quest to practice problem solving skills and create environmental detectives. At the end of each lecture series an environmental problem will be presented that needs to be solved, the answers can be entered into ilearn at home producing a clue - these clues can be combined to form the location of the quest - further details will be provided in the first lecture.

LIGHTENING PRESENTATIONS

Each student will be expected to present a 1 minute presentation (with no notes) to their peers on an important topic in Quaternary Science. The presentations will not be graded but will be helpful for developing essential communication skills and understanding of the topic areas. They will be conducted on the week-long fieldtrip

PEER REVIEW

All students will be given the opportunity to mark fellow student assignments (for assignment 1), and assess the final presentations (assignment 3) this will contribute a small proportion to the final grades. You will be assessed on your scores provided by your peers.

60 SECOND SCIENCE

A short 60 s video to be watched before each lecture (preferably just before the lecture starts) - designed to stimulate provoke and engage you on the chosen topic or concept to aid understanding in the lecture.

VODCAST CHALLENGE

You will be expected to produce a short 1-2 min video on your site using basic editing software. Videos will be presented on the last day of the fieldtrip

 

ESSENTIAL READINGS

There is no specific essential reading for this topic – but you will need to read widely in order to have the background necessary to achieve a good understanding of the topic. However, the following texts are suggested as being valuable reading and will be referred to during lectures. You are not required to purchase them, but may find them useful.  There are some copies in the library, which have been placed in special reserve so everyone can have access:

  • Global Environments through the Quaternary, Anderson, D., Goudie A.S., Parker, A.G., 2007. Oxford University Press
  • Reconstructing Quaternary Environments, JJ Lowe Walker, MJC.  2nd Edition.
  • Quaternary Environments. Martin Williams, David Dunkerley, Patrick De Deckker, Peter Kershaw, John Chappell. 1998. Arnold.
  • Quaternary Geochronology, Noller, JS., Sowers JS Lettis WR 2000. American Geophysical Union, Washington DC
  • Encyclopaedia of Quaternary Science, Elias, S.A. (Ed.), 2007. Elsevier, London (Electronic resources in MQ library – each article can be downloaded)
  • Tectonic Geomorphology Burbank DW, Anderson RS. 2001. Blackwell Scientific: Oxford

 If you have not already done so, you should invest in a Dictionary of Physical Geography, available in the bookshop.

To keep up with lecture materials and also some of the practical classes and the fieldtrips you should read all ‘essential text BEFORE the lectures each week. Start with these chapters as a foundation then supplement your reading with the listed journal references when you have some spare time. MORE READING = BETTER UNDERSTANDING. Key journals for this course include:

 Quaternary Science Reviews

Journal of Quaternary Science

Quaternary International

Quaternary Research

Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology

Nature Geoscience

Journal of Human Evolution

TECHNOLOGY USED AND REQUIRED - iLearn and ON-LINE MATERIALS

You will require access to a computer for parts of this unit. The university has now changed its online system to iLearn – you will need to make yourself familiar with this system – student guides can be found at http://mq.edu.au/iLearn/studentinfo.htm. You can gain access to the Powerpoint slides used for each lecture by visiting the iLearn page for ENVS340 (https://ilearn.mq.edu.au/login/MQ/ - login with your Macquarie OneID username and password).  Please note: Audio lecture recordings in ilecture will not be available for this unit – it is your responsibility to come to the lectures or catch up on material missed. This iLearn site will be used by staff to outline course content week by week, to post video clips, to send reminders and notices concerning fieldtrips, practical classes and lectures, and to keep in contact with students. You should check the site regularly, especially the day before lectures/pracs. There is also capacity for discussion between students; please feel free to use this to discuss issues relating to any aspect of the unit and environmental change in general.  For specific questions on the lecturers, either post them on iLearn or email them directly (see front cover).

 In addition to iLearn we will be trialling a new student and teacher ‘clicker’ (Socrative – m.socrative.com) to facilitate rapid student responses during the lecture. Everyone is encouraged to participate – all it requires is a SMART phone, laptop, tablet or ipad with a connection to the internet (all web enabled devices can be used) – if everyone has a device then a short ‘exit’ quiz will used at the end of most lectures to test understanding.

 The first assessment will be submitted through Turnitin that can be accessed through a link in iLearn.Turnitin is a paperless grading system whereby your assignments will be submitted online and marked by staff online, and feedback will be given online via electronic comments, custom marks and even by voice comments. The staff marking will be provided with the exact time and date of submission, an overlay of the assignment, and access to the originality checker (via the Turnitin software – please read notes on plagiarism very carefully). Your resulting grades and feedback can be found at the Turnitin site (linked to ilearn).

 

WORKLOAD

ENVS340 is a 3 credit point unit and, according to University guidelines, you should spend at least 9 hours on the unit each week, or 135 hours over the 15 week semester.  The following is a guideline as to how that time should be spent:                                               

22 Lectures          

22 hours

7 days of excursions

49 hours

8 Practicals

24 hours*

Assignment 1

4 hours

Field trip report

10 hours

Presentation preparation

6 hours

 * Although the online University Timetable indicates the practical will run for 4 hours, the average will be ~3 hours

Your own study time for ENVS340 should therefore be a minimum of an additional 1.5 hours per week (for 13 weeks).  Simply attending lectures and practical classes is not enough to guarantee a good grade.

 

LIBRARY RESEARCH RESOURCES

The Library provides a range of learning opportunities aimed at developing student capabilities in research and information technology.  Topics covered include:

computer essentials

navigating the Macquarie University website

getting started in your online unit

using the library catalogue and e-readings to locate key references

using research databases to find journal articles

locating scholarly information on the Internet

effective searching of the Internet

You can choose to learn online or at face-to-face session in the library.

More information is available at:  (http://www.lib.mq.edu.au/training/).   Follow the links to Training

 

FINDING RELEVANT SCIENTIFIC JOURNALS

While you should begin with the readings listed below, wander through the GB, S590 and QE sections of the library (in particular).  You are especially encouraged to keep an eye on the current journals, where the most up-to-date information can be found.  Particular attention should be placed on the journals Earth Surface Processes and Landforms and Geomorphology.  Don’t be scared to bring journal articles to our attention – we are always ready to chat about such things!

 Additional journals that you are encouraged to 'keep your eye on' are listed below.  Recent years of many of these titles are available on-line.  Go to ‘Journal Search’ on the Library web page and follow directions.  Usually, papers can be downloaded and printed freely.

American Journal of Science. 

Q1.A5

Journal of Sedimentary Research. 

QE420.J84

Annals of the Association of American Geographers

G3.A7

Nature. 

Q1.N202

Applied Geography. 

G1.A7

Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 

QE500.P25

Australian Geographer. 

G1.A9

Progress in Physical Geography. 

G1.P685

Australian Geographical Studies. 

G51.A9

Quaternary Research. 

QE696.Q33

Australian Journal of Earth Science. 

QE1.G3

Science. 

Q1.S35

Australian Journal of Soil Research.

S590.A78

Sedimentary Geology. 

QE581.A1.S42

Catena. 

S590.C3

Sedimentology. 

QE581.A1.S4

Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 

QE1.E12

Zeitschrift fur Geomorphologie.

G1.Z472

Earth Surface Processes & Landforms. 

GB400.E3

 

 

FINDING RELEVANT SCIENTIFIC PAPERS

In addition to the journal papers we have listed below, there are many more papers, especially recent and overseas papers, which you may find have valuable information for your reports. To find relevant papers you should become familiar with the searchable databases available through the library web page.  From the main Library page, go to ‘Databases’ and try these:

  • Science Direct
  • Web of Science (also called ISI Web of Science)
  • SCOPUS
  • INGENTA
  • GEORef

And enter search terms (e.g. ice cores, speleothems). There are many other environmental and biological databases as well.  For example, Google Scholar (see the Google search page) is also a good search engine for scientific papers.

 All databases are slightly different and it’s often worth trying more than one.  Once you have found the details (often including the abstract) you will probably need to go back to the journal (use ‘journal search’ on the library page) to find and download the paper.

 Note: Many of the readings (scientific papers) are available online from the library’s e-reserve page for ENVS340 (http://www.lib.mq.edu/borrowing/ereserve.php)

Unit Schedule

Week

Date

Lecture Title

Practical Class

Essential reading

1

 

 

 

KW

1/3

 

Module 1: Evidence

1 – Lecture -Introduction to global environmental change, course overview and expectations

* Activity –  Orbit

2 - Flipped: Sources of evidence and methods for reconstructing past environmental change

No prac class this week

Lowe, JJ Walker MJC – Ch1 and 2-6 (skim)

Williams et al., 1998 – Ch 1,2,5

Anderson et al., 2007 – Ch 1, 9

Noller et al., 2000 p1-10

Lowe et al., 2007

2

 

 

 

KW

8/3

 

 

3 – Lecture -Proxies for global environmental change: ice cores, marine sediments and speleothems

* Activity  Isotopes

4 - Flipped; Sedimentology and stratigraphy: field trip prep

 

10/3 Correlating between proxies for global environmental change (Assessment 1). E5A 240.

Lowe, JJ Walker MJC – Ch 3 (p85-86, 127-135, 148-158), 6

Williams et al., 1998 – Ch 3, 7

Anderson et al., 2007 – Ch 2

Noller et al., 2000 – p 427

3

KW

PH

15/3

 

5 Lecture -Caves – natural sediment and fossil traps

* ActivityEvidence in environments

6 - Flipped: Rapid environmental change: case study Flores, Indonesia

17/3 FIELD DAY: Deep Creek Delta, Narrabeen Lagoon

Roy et al., 1980

Flack and Erskine, 1996

Westaway, et al 2010.

Summerfield 1991 Ch 1

4

 

KW

22/3

 

6 – Lecture -Reconstructing the ‘Ice age’

* Activity – when is the next ice age?

 

7 - Flipped; Dating the Australian landscape

24/3 Analysis of sediment cores from Narrabeen Lagoon. E5A 240.

Burbank and Anderson, 2001

Williams et al. – Ch 4

Lowe and Walker – Ch 7

Turney et al., 2001

5

 

KW

29/3

 

 

Module 2: Dating

7 – Lecture Luminescence as a tool for reconstructing environmental change

* Activity – OSL  game

8 - Flipped – Field area

31/3 Luminescence dating & archaeology.  E5A 240.

 

Lowe and Walker – Ch 5

Anderson et al., 2007 – Ch 2

Noller et al., 2000 p157-176

Sloss et al., 2010?

 

6

KW

PH

5/4

Module 3: Human-landscape interactions

9 – Lecture -Pre-European human-landscape interactions in Australia

* Activity - Megafauna argument

 

7/4 Preparation for field trip. E5A 240.

Roberts et al., 2001

Roberts and Brook, 2010

Wroe et al., 2012

Cohen et al., 2015

Salze et al., 2016

7

KW

12/4

10- Lecture;  The influence of environmental change on human dispersal - Part 1: from Africa to Asia - Part 2: from Asia to Australia

* Activity – Barriers and bridges; exploring environmental challenges

 

14/4  no prac (public holiday)

 

Anderson et al., 2007 – Ch 8

Elias, 2007 Humans in the Quaternary

Williams et al., Ch 11

Dennell, 2004, Petraglia and Dennell, 2012

 

MID SEMESTER BREAK (2 weeks) 

MAJOR FIELD TRIP 24-29th  APRIL Narrandera

8

PH

4/5

 

Module 4: Palaeoenvironments

 

11 – Lecture; Palaeoenvironments and Palaeoclimates:

 

12 – Lecture; Palaeohydrology - Rivers

5/5 Post fieldtrip data processing – field report discussion.  Hypothesis testing and experimental design. Initial sample preparation

 

 

Petherick et al., 2013

 

Page et al., 2009

 

 

9

 

PH

10/5

* Activity: - palaeohydrology

 

13 – Lecture; Palaeohydrology - Lakes

12/5 Laboratory project I –E5A 240. Particle size analysis methods.

Lowe, JJ Walker MJC – Ch2

Williams et al., 1998 – Ch 3, 4, 5, 6, 12

10

 

PH

17/5

Field report due (Assessment 2)

14 – Lecture: Dunes and dust: records from the deserts

15 - Lecture: Past and future desertification: natural and anthropogenic

19/5 Lab Project II. E5A 240.

Fitzsimmons et al., 2013

 

Lowe, JJ Walker MJC – Ch3

11

 

PH

24/5

16 - Lecture:  How did Australian ecosystems respond to climate change?

* Activity: Australian palaeoecology

17 – Flipped:  Biological indicators of past climates: palaeoecology

26/5 Lab Project III. E5A 240.

Lowe, JJ Walker MJC – Ch4

Williams et al., 1998 – Ch 7, 10

 

Rule et al, 2012

12

 

 

PH

31/5

Module 5: Human impacts

18 – Lecture: Fire in the Australian landscape: people v climate

* Activity: The Anthropocene and the Australian environment

1/6 Lab Project IV E5A 240 – Data analysis

 

Mooney et al., 2011

 

Lewis and Maslin, 2011

 

13

KW

 

 

7/6

Module 6: Summary

21 Lecture; Unit summary: The missing pieces of the past – what do we still need to understand and how do past changes inform future management?

* Activity; Exam preparation

9/6 ENVS 340 conference – presentation of lab data. E5A 240. (Assessment 3)

 

Learning and Teaching Activities

Lectures

Two one hour lectures are held on most Wednesdays from 12-2 pm.

Practicals

Practicals are held most weeks on Fridays from 2 pm for 3-4 hours.

Fieldwork

Two compulsory fieldtrips for all students: 17th March and 24-29th April.

Problem-solving quest

A private or team quest to practice problem solving skills and become environmental detectives.

Lightening presentations

1 minute presentation to peers on a topic in Quaternary Science.

Peer Review and Assessment

Students will mark fellow student assignments to develop a greater understanding of scientific writing

Vodcast challenge

A 1-2 min edited video on your fieldsite - to be filmed and presented during the fieldtrip

Quizzes

A weekly quiz to test your understanding of the topics

Skills mastery

A student self-assessment of skills mastered throughout unit to be approved by convenor

60 Second Science

A 60 s video on a main topic or concept in Environmental Change that should be watched prior to each lecture to stimulate provoke and engage

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central. Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Academic Honesty Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/academic_honesty/policy.html

Assessment Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/assessment/policy_2016.html

Grade Appeal Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/gradeappeal/policy.html

Complaint Management Procedure for Students and Members of the Public http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/complaint_management/procedure.html​

Disruption to Studies Policy (in effect until Dec 4th, 2017): http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/disruption_studies/policy.html

Special Consideration Policy (in effect from Dec 4th, 2017): https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policies/special-consideration

In addition, a number of other policies can be found in the Learning and Teaching Category of Policy Central.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/support/student_conduct/

Results

Results shown in iLearn, or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au.

PENALTY FOR LATE ASSIGNMENTS & PLAGIARISM

 Overdue assignments attract a penalty of 10 % per day i.e. the mark out of which they are assessed will be reduced by 10% for every day that they are late!  ALL assignments must be submitted, however late, otherwise you will be excluded from the unit.  Late assignments must be submitted online via the Grademark system.

If you wish to seek an extension on the grounds of illness or misadventure, you MUST submit a copy of the UNIVERSITY’S form as well as a medical certificate or other appropriate proof which shows you were incapacitated.  These must be submitted through the Student Office, not directly to unit staff, however you should advise us of your situation as early as possible.  Regular work commitments are not a reasonable excuse for lateness; plan your time.  However, having said that, please DO NOT hesitate to discuss with the unit staff any circumstances which may be preventing you from completing assignments on time or hindering your study in any other way.  From experience, we know that early action is best!

 Plagarism will not be tolerated and will be checked via the Turnitin software. Quotations should be avoided and only really used if the point being made is vital to your argument and if you could not express it better yourself.  If you paraphrase, you must acknowledge your authority as you would when quoting directly - after the paraphrased section or quotation, i.e., (Merali and Skinner, 2009, p. 293). Make sure you document this reference in your list of References.  Remember, if you copy any sections of text word-for-word without denoting a quote this is plagiarism – even if you include a reference - PLAGIARISM  IS CHEATING! Therefore you either directly quote or paraphrase both with references.

 An example of a direct quote: Brown et al. (1990 p. 12) conclude that ‘the depth to the Moho under the oceans is less than under the continents’.  Note that for a direct quote the page must be cited.

 An example of a general acknowledgement of the source of information: As explained by Laing (1991) the mid ocean ridges are etc.

 An example of a more specific reference but not a direct quote: The distribution of Tertiary volcanism in eastern Australia (Johnson 1990) can be used to infer etc.  From this the reader would conclude that Johnson (1990) provided information on the distribution of...

 An example of a more general reference to sources: Most older textbooks in geology (e.g. Rastal 1941; Stamp 1938) either ignored the deep ocean basin deposition or etc.

Only those sources referred to in the text of the essay should be listed in the reference list at the end of the essay. 

 This is always a difficult topic when conducting group assignments, and data sharing is required. Unless otherwise stated, the results of group work are group contributions and can be disseminated amongst the group members. However, each student is required to produce their own interpretations of this data. Drawing up your own diagrams is an important skill, so we require that each group member present their own diagrams, graphs etc. The only exception to this is data that is collected as part of a group effort – e.g. an airphoto interpretation that is collectively drawn. In this case ensure that when you present this piece of work that each author is acknowledged, and if possible define who completed which part of the output. If uncertain, ask before submission!

 APPEALS

Students have the right to appeal their final grade in this unit. Prior to initiating a formal appeal the student is required by the Division of Environmental and Life Science to have preliminary discussions with the staff member responsible for the unit.  This discussion is to be undertaken in the context of unit requirements as set out in the unit outline.  A full statement on appeals procedure is available in the Division Office or in the student centre.

 FEEDBACK

 At all stages in this unit we will try to give you critical feedback on your understanding and performance.  The unit has been structured so that assessable practicals and field reports allow us to monitor your progress and understanding throughout the unit.  This includes both conceptual and practical (such as field skills) components.

 We will do our best to return assessment items to you within 2 weeks of submission (sometimes faster).  Feedback will be given you as individual comments on each piece of work and also some comments delivered to the group in class.  The assessed practicals concentrate on specific practical skills where feedback is detailed but usually short.  The field reports will normally carry longer comments addressing both specific skills and generic skills. 

 If at any stage you wish to receive guidance on the content of the unit or your performance then we encourage you to approach one of the staff and arrange a meeting.  Likewise, if you would like more detailed feedback or explanation of the feedback you have received then please approach the staff member who gave this feedback to arrange a meeting.

 Finally, we appreciate your (constructive) feedback too. This is especially the case given that this is only the fourth time we are running this unit.  Our goal is to improve our teaching (and your learning) continuously.  We ask for your feedback at the end of semester and value your specific comments via the TEDS survey (please attend the final lecture so that you can contribute).  We are also happy to receive your comments throughout the semester.

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to improve your marks and take control of your study.

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Graduate Capabilities

Discipline Specific Knowledge and Skills

Our graduates will take with them the intellectual development, depth and breadth of knowledge, scholarly understanding, and specific subject content in their chosen fields to make them competent and confident in their subject or profession. They will be able to demonstrate, where relevant, professional technical competence and meet professional standards. They will be able to articulate the structure of knowledge of their discipline, be able to adapt discipline-specific knowledge to novel situations, and be able to contribute from their discipline to inter-disciplinary solutions to problems.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate field skills including: a) make clear, accurate field descriptions of geomorphology, soil profiles, sediment sections b) interpret landforms and make a geomorphic map from your interpretation of air photographs, maps or other sources c) survey topography (tape and clino), compute and plot data d) describe and sketch soil and sediment sections in the field using standard methods e) draw and interpret stratigraphic sections, correlate profiles and interpret temporal and process relationships
  • Design a field research project including data gathering and interpret your own data
  • Demonstrate your ability to 'Read the landscape' through morphodynamic description and analyses
  • Understand how to apply a range of dating techniques to constrain the timing of geomorphic events

Assessment tasks

  • Assessment 1
  • Assessment 2
  • Assessment 4
  • Skills Mastery

Learning and teaching activities

  • Two one hour lectures are held on most Wednesdays from 12-2 pm.
  • Practicals are held most weeks on Fridays from 2 pm for 3-4 hours.
  • Two compulsory fieldtrips for all students: 17th March and 24-29th April.
  • A private or team quest to practice problem solving skills and become environmental detectives.
  • 1 minute presentation to peers on a topic in Quaternary Science.
  • A weekly quiz to test your understanding of the topics
  • A 60 s video on a main topic or concept in Environmental Change that should be watched prior to each lecture to stimulate provoke and engage

Critical, Analytical and Integrative Thinking

We want our graduates to be capable of reasoning, questioning and analysing, and to integrate and synthesise learning and knowledge from a range of sources and environments; to be able to critique constraints, assumptions and limitations; to be able to think independently and systemically in relation to scholarly activity, in the workplace, and in the world. We want them to have a level of scientific and information technology literacy.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate field skills including: a) make clear, accurate field descriptions of geomorphology, soil profiles, sediment sections b) interpret landforms and make a geomorphic map from your interpretation of air photographs, maps or other sources c) survey topography (tape and clino), compute and plot data d) describe and sketch soil and sediment sections in the field using standard methods e) draw and interpret stratigraphic sections, correlate profiles and interpret temporal and process relationships
  • Demonstrate critical thinking in your reading of the literature and interpretation of your own data
  • Design a field research project including data gathering and interpret your own data
  • Demonstrate your ability to 'Read the landscape' through morphodynamic description and analyses
  • Data collection is to be undertaken in a manner that is rigorous, reliable and replicable. Data collection should be structured in a manner to address a clearly-specified question. The data themselves should be irrefutable, whereas our interpretations are not.
  • Understand how to apply a range of dating techniques to constrain the timing of geomorphic events
  • Demonstrate your ability to apply your knowledge and understanding to problems in Quaternary Science

Assessment tasks

  • Assessment 1
  • Assessment 2
  • Assessment 3

Learning and teaching activities

  • Two one hour lectures are held on most Wednesdays from 12-2 pm.
  • Practicals are held most weeks on Fridays from 2 pm for 3-4 hours.
  • Two compulsory fieldtrips for all students: 17th March and 24-29th April.
  • A private or team quest to practice problem solving skills and become environmental detectives.
  • 1 minute presentation to peers on a topic in Quaternary Science.
  • Students will mark fellow student assignments to develop a greater understanding of scientific writing
  • A student self-assessment of skills mastered throughout unit to be approved by convenor
  • A 60 s video on a main topic or concept in Environmental Change that should be watched prior to each lecture to stimulate provoke and engage

Problem Solving and Research Capability

Our graduates should be capable of researching; of analysing, and interpreting and assessing data and information in various forms; of drawing connections across fields of knowledge; and they should be able to relate their knowledge to complex situations at work or in the world, in order to diagnose and solve problems. We want them to have the confidence to take the initiative in doing so, within an awareness of their own limitations.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate field skills including: a) make clear, accurate field descriptions of geomorphology, soil profiles, sediment sections b) interpret landforms and make a geomorphic map from your interpretation of air photographs, maps or other sources c) survey topography (tape and clino), compute and plot data d) describe and sketch soil and sediment sections in the field using standard methods e) draw and interpret stratigraphic sections, correlate profiles and interpret temporal and process relationships
  • Demonstrate critical thinking in your reading of the literature and interpretation of your own data
  • Design a field research project including data gathering and interpret your own data
  • Demonstrate your ability to 'Read the landscape' through morphodynamic description and analyses
  • Data collection is to be undertaken in a manner that is rigorous, reliable and replicable. Data collection should be structured in a manner to address a clearly-specified question. The data themselves should be irrefutable, whereas our interpretations are not.
  • Understand how to apply a range of dating techniques to constrain the timing of geomorphic events
  • Demonstrate your ability to apply your knowledge and understanding to problems in Quaternary Science

Assessment tasks

  • Assessment 2
  • Assessment 3
  • Skills Mastery

Learning and teaching activities

  • Two one hour lectures are held on most Wednesdays from 12-2 pm.
  • Practicals are held most weeks on Fridays from 2 pm for 3-4 hours.
  • Two compulsory fieldtrips for all students: 17th March and 24-29th April.
  • A private or team quest to practice problem solving skills and become environmental detectives.
  • A student self-assessment of skills mastered throughout unit to be approved by convenor

Creative and Innovative

Our graduates will also be capable of creative thinking and of creating knowledge. They will be imaginative and open to experience and capable of innovation at work and in the community. We want them to be engaged in applying their critical, creative thinking.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate critical thinking in your reading of the literature and interpretation of your own data
  • Design a field research project including data gathering and interpret your own data
  • Data collection is to be undertaken in a manner that is rigorous, reliable and replicable. Data collection should be structured in a manner to address a clearly-specified question. The data themselves should be irrefutable, whereas our interpretations are not.
  • Understand how to apply a range of dating techniques to constrain the timing of geomorphic events
  • Demonstrate your ability to apply your knowledge and understanding to problems in Quaternary Science

Assessment tasks

  • Assessment 2
  • Assessment 3

Learning and teaching activities

  • Practicals are held most weeks on Fridays from 2 pm for 3-4 hours.
  • Two compulsory fieldtrips for all students: 17th March and 24-29th April.
  • A private or team quest to practice problem solving skills and become environmental detectives.
  • A 1-2 min edited video on your fieldsite - to be filmed and presented during the fieldtrip
  • A student self-assessment of skills mastered throughout unit to be approved by convenor

Effective Communication

We want to develop in our students the ability to communicate and convey their views in forms effective with different audiences. We want our graduates to take with them the capability to read, listen, question, gather and evaluate information resources in a variety of formats, assess, write clearly, speak effectively, and to use visual communication and communication technologies as appropriate.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Data collection is to be undertaken in a manner that is rigorous, reliable and replicable. Data collection should be structured in a manner to address a clearly-specified question. The data themselves should be irrefutable, whereas our interpretations are not.
  • Communicate scientific information and concepts through oral, visual and written formats

Assessment tasks

  • Assessment 1
  • Assessment 2
  • Assessment 3
  • Assessment 4
  • Skills Mastery

Learning and teaching activities

  • Practicals are held most weeks on Fridays from 2 pm for 3-4 hours.
  • Two compulsory fieldtrips for all students: 17th March and 24-29th April.
  • A private or team quest to practice problem solving skills and become environmental detectives.
  • 1 minute presentation to peers on a topic in Quaternary Science.
  • Students will mark fellow student assignments to develop a greater understanding of scientific writing
  • A 1-2 min edited video on your fieldsite - to be filmed and presented during the fieldtrip
  • A student self-assessment of skills mastered throughout unit to be approved by convenor

Engaged and Ethical Local and Global citizens

As local citizens our graduates will be aware of indigenous perspectives and of the nation's historical context. They will be engaged with the challenges of contemporary society and with knowledge and ideas. We want our graduates to have respect for diversity, to be open-minded, sensitive to others and inclusive, and to be open to other cultures and perspectives: they should have a level of cultural literacy. Our graduates should be aware of disadvantage and social justice, and be willing to participate to help create a wiser and better society.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Data collection is to be undertaken in a manner that is rigorous, reliable and replicable. Data collection should be structured in a manner to address a clearly-specified question. The data themselves should be irrefutable, whereas our interpretations are not.
  • Understand how to apply a range of dating techniques to constrain the timing of geomorphic events
  • Communicate scientific information and concepts through oral, visual and written formats

Assessment tasks

  • Assessment 1
  • Assessment 2
  • Assessment 3

Learning and teaching activities

  • Two one hour lectures are held on most Wednesdays from 12-2 pm.

Socially and Environmentally Active and Responsible

We want our graduates to be aware of and have respect for self and others; to be able to work with others as a leader and a team player; to have a sense of connectedness with others and country; and to have a sense of mutual obligation. Our graduates should be informed and active participants in moving society towards sustainability.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate field skills including: a) make clear, accurate field descriptions of geomorphology, soil profiles, sediment sections b) interpret landforms and make a geomorphic map from your interpretation of air photographs, maps or other sources c) survey topography (tape and clino), compute and plot data d) describe and sketch soil and sediment sections in the field using standard methods e) draw and interpret stratigraphic sections, correlate profiles and interpret temporal and process relationships
  • Design a field research project including data gathering and interpret your own data

Assessment task

  • Assessment 2

Learning and teaching activity

  • Two one hour lectures are held on most Wednesdays from 12-2 pm.
  • Two compulsory fieldtrips for all students: 17th March and 24-29th April.
  • A 1-2 min edited video on your fieldsite - to be filmed and presented during the fieldtrip

Capable of Professional and Personal Judgement and Initiative

We want our graduates to have emotional intelligence and sound interpersonal skills and to demonstrate discernment and common sense in their professional and personal judgement. They will exercise initiative as needed. They will be capable of risk assessment, and be able to handle ambiguity and complexity, enabling them to be adaptable in diverse and changing environments.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate field skills including: a) make clear, accurate field descriptions of geomorphology, soil profiles, sediment sections b) interpret landforms and make a geomorphic map from your interpretation of air photographs, maps or other sources c) survey topography (tape and clino), compute and plot data d) describe and sketch soil and sediment sections in the field using standard methods e) draw and interpret stratigraphic sections, correlate profiles and interpret temporal and process relationships
  • Design a field research project including data gathering and interpret your own data
  • Demonstrate your ability to 'Read the landscape' through morphodynamic description and analyses
  • Data collection is to be undertaken in a manner that is rigorous, reliable and replicable. Data collection should be structured in a manner to address a clearly-specified question. The data themselves should be irrefutable, whereas our interpretations are not.
  • Understand how to apply a range of dating techniques to constrain the timing of geomorphic events
  • Communicate scientific information and concepts through oral, visual and written formats

Assessment tasks

  • Assessment 2
  • Assessment 3
  • Skills Mastery

Learning and teaching activities

  • Two compulsory fieldtrips for all students: 17th March and 24-29th April.
  • Students will mark fellow student assignments to develop a greater understanding of scientific writing

Commitment to Continuous Learning

Our graduates will have enquiring minds and a literate curiosity which will lead them to pursue knowledge for its own sake. They will continue to pursue learning in their careers and as they participate in the world. They will be capable of reflecting on their experiences and relationships with others and the environment, learning from them, and growing - personally, professionally and socially.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate critical thinking in your reading of the literature and interpretation of your own data
  • Design a field research project including data gathering and interpret your own data
  • Demonstrate your ability to 'Read the landscape' through morphodynamic description and analyses
  • Data collection is to be undertaken in a manner that is rigorous, reliable and replicable. Data collection should be structured in a manner to address a clearly-specified question. The data themselves should be irrefutable, whereas our interpretations are not.
  • Understand how to apply a range of dating techniques to constrain the timing of geomorphic events
  • Demonstrate your ability to apply your knowledge and understanding to problems in Quaternary Science

Assessment tasks

  • Assessment 1
  • Assessment 2
  • Assessment 3
  • Assessment 4
  • Skills Mastery

Learning and teaching activities

  • Two one hour lectures are held on most Wednesdays from 12-2 pm.
  • Practicals are held most weeks on Fridays from 2 pm for 3-4 hours.
  • Two compulsory fieldtrips for all students: 17th March and 24-29th April.
  • A private or team quest to practice problem solving skills and become environmental detectives.
  • 1 minute presentation to peers on a topic in Quaternary Science.
  • Students will mark fellow student assignments to develop a greater understanding of scientific writing
  • A student self-assessment of skills mastered throughout unit to be approved by convenor

Background to the unit

ENVS340 AND THE EARTH SURFACE SCIENCE PROGRAM AT MACQUARIE

ENVS340 -formely ENVE340 is one of the core 300-level unit in Earth Surface Science (formerly Geoecology), and alongside ENVS 339 (Fluvial Geomorphology and River Management), ENVS 338 (Environmental Quality, capstone), ENVS 341 (Advanced Environmental Earth Science) make up the requirements for a major in Environmental Earth Science. Other units that are suggested as part of an Environmental Earth Science program include ENVS 361 (Environmental Management) and ENVS 382 (Environmental Analysis Using GIS), and ENVE 389 (Special interest seminar).

Earth Surface Science aims to describe the diverse physical processes found at the earth’s surface and the connections between them. This area lies at the nexus between earth systems and biological systems – it is often concerned with landscapes and the landforms, sediments and soils within them but also, and crucially, the interaction of plants and animals in directing processes and shaping habitat.  Earth Surface Science combines aspects of Geomorphology, Soil Science, Natural Hazards, Environmental Management and Ecology. As a consequence, graduates gain skills essential for management of natural resources, including rural rivers and lands, and highly altered landscapes, including urban environments and mining areas.

Graduates of the Earth Surface Science major are in a wide range of workplaces including: environmental and geotechnical consultancies, local government (environmental officers), state government departments (Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources; Environment and Conservation), National Parks and Wildlife Service, Sydney Water, mining companies (environmental officers), teaching (primary and secondary) and research.

 This major is offered within the Bachelor programs of Science and Environment.  It is highly compatible with a double major in Environmental Management, SIS, Climate Science, Ecology, Environmental Geology, Marine Science and Museum Studies.  Depending on your own goals you may decide to combine EES units with other fields e.g. geology, atmospheric science, biology, Geographic Information Science (GIS).  

CHANGES TO THIS UNIT IN 2016

 In 2010 this unit changed from a 4cp to a 3cp, as well as changing code from GEOS337 to ENVE377 and in 2011 changed to ENVE340 due to curriculum changes. In order to meet the workload requirements of the reduced credit point load, we have changed the unit by reducing the number of lectures, the number of practical classes and the time demands of the field trip assignment. However we feel that we are still trying to get the balance right – and that is partly because we need to get more information on how long each of the assessment tasks takes to complete. We will seek your feedback to try and make sure this is manageable. In response to feedback last year the first assignment has reduced percentages for peer review assessment. In addition the practicals are now completed in class rather than requiring extra work at home, but the hand-in sheet allows you to still be assessed for this work.

Fieldwork

 

FIELDWORK

Weather: We never cancel fieldtrips for bad weather!  You must be prepared to work in the rain with the appropriate clothing and waterproof notebooks.  Likewise you should always protect yourself from the sun and dehydration.

Transport: You will need to arrange your own transport for the Narrabeen field day in Week 3. Ideally you should arrange to drive to each site with several other students from your practical class. We will provide a bus for the mid-semester field trip.

Arrival: Narrabeen day trip: We will meet at the parking area at a time to be announced on the northern side of the Wakehurst Parkway, to the east of the bridge across Deep Creek.

Nerrandera: We will meet in the compound behind E5A, at 7 am on the 24th of April. We will arrange accommodation bookings.

Cost: You must cover your own food and accommodation, the University will cover the transport costs.  We have booked accommodation on behalf of the group, and you will need to use the payment slips at the rear of the book before the trip – amount is to be advised.

Accommodation: Field accommodation is in a caravan Park in Nerrandera. There will be communal kitchens, dining, bathroom/toilet and work areas with limited power.  You should bring (apart from the gear listed below) a sleeping bag, pillow and towel. The cost is the same no matter what accommodation option you choose (amount to be advised).

Departure: Narrabeen day trip: we aim to depart Narrabeen lakes no later than 4pm.

Mid semester field trip: we will aim to depart in time to return to the University by 6 pm on Sunday night. However, given the distance involved this time should be considered an aim rather than an absolute.

 

PERSONAL FIELD EQUIPMENT

We will be working in a remote environment – both remote from help and in a regional part of Australia, so you will not be able to buy any equipment after departing Sydney.

 What we will provide:

  • tape measures, augers, spades, soil kits, GPS, geological hammer, grain size card, safety equipment.

 Personal field equipment required (i.e. you will need to buy and bring it)

  • sturdy shoes (‘no visible skin below the ankles’)- sandals, thongs, or high heels are for après-field activities
  • water bottle (full, of course!)
  • wet weather gear - we go whatever the weather! If it rains at Kosi it will get very, very muddy, so at least two sets of old clothes are recommended.
  • hat (with a wide brim, front and back) and sunscreen
  • field note book and pencils (see note below)
  • calculator, hand lens
  • camera
  • your lunch, drinks & snacks for the day - we do not stop at shops!!!
  • a back pack to store it all in

 If you have a laptop computer you may find it useful for compiling data while in the field. It is not essential that everyone bring a laptop, but at least one per group is suggested. At least two will be available for loan from Environmental Science (but competition for them might be high).

Other personal items for the mid-semester field trip

sleeping bag and sheet – may be necessary for the shearers quarters – we will inform you closer to the departure date.

cooking/eating – no utensils necessary; but we will cook in the cabins.

towel/toiletries – bring these

food – there will be limited opportunities to purchase food, but the accommodation should have fridges. Expect to stock up on the drive to Wirroona. However, it is feasible that the local supermarket at Dubbo might not have the exact brand of exotic spice/unusual vegetable/vegan expresso chocolate that you covet, so if you can’t go without for the week bring it along with you. Be a bit sensible here though as it’s a long drive in a small minibus… 

FIELD NOTE BOOK:  Each student MUST purchase a small hardcover notebook for use in the field.  It should be bound down the spine on the left side, or across the top (but NOT spiral bound).  Use only ball-point pen, felt tip pen will run in wet weather and pencil will smudge or rip wet paper.  The best, and most expensive, option is a waterproof ‘rite-in-the-rain’ notebook. Write your personal details on the first page, and a table of contents inside the front cover.  On each field day, write the date and project title, the site details, and all observations and measurements, including details of methodology. 

 It is important that you get into the habit of writing thorough, accurate and legible notes at the outset - after all, if you are an expert witness for some environmental issue, your notebook can be tendered as evidence in legal proceedings, either in the Land and Environment court or at a Commission of Inquiry. Get into the practice of structuring your notebook at the start of each exercise and continually taking notes.  Do not depend on others, unless prescribed roles are allocated and this is one of the designated tasks.

 

SAFETY IN THE FIELD AND LABORATORY

 Any student who has a disability that may limit their participation in field work or that could result in a medical emergency in the field should notify the unit convenor immediately.  As a general guide to the level of physical fitness required, you should be able to walk 10 km over open undulating terrain in 3 hours.

 Each student must ensure his/her own safety at all times during field excursions.

•Do not undertake fieldwork alone.  You must work with at least one other person.

•You must be adequately equipped to undertake fieldwork, including wet weather clothing, warm clothing, hat and sun protection, protective footware (closed toe boots or shoes).

•You should bring a first aid kit if you have one (they will be provided to each group).

•Do not undertake any activity you feel to be unsafe.  Discuss with the fieldtrip leader any concerns you have about particular tasks.

•Be watchful of the safety of your fellow students, if they become separated from the group or are at some other risk.  Tell the fieldtrip leader as soon as you notice a potentially dangerous situation.

Laboratory work in this unit does not involve hazardous chemicals.  Nevertheless, in the laboratory you must wear safe (closed) footwear and generally follow safe practice.  Where items of equipment are to be used, do not use them until you have received adequate training.

 

Grading of assessed tasks

All assessment tasks will be assessed according to the following criteria:

  • level of accuracy and detail in description.
  • use of terminology
  • presentation
  • use of resources
  • use of theoretical concepts to support your evaluation

 Other specific criteria are given with each Practical and Assignment description elsewhere in this book.

Each assessment item will be returned to you with a letter grade (HD, D, Cr, P, PC, F) determined by the marker according to the University’s guidelines.

 Academic Senate has a set of guidelines on the distribution of grades across the range from fail to high distinction.  Your final result will include one of these grades plus a standardised numerical grade (SNG). On occasion your raw mark for a unit (i.e. the total of your marks for each assessment item) may not be the same as the SNG which you receive.  Under the Senate guidelines, results may be scaled to ensure that there is a degree of comparability across the university, so that units with the same past performances of their students should achieve similar results. It is important that you realise that the policy does not require that a minimum number of students are to be failed in any unit.  In fact it does something like the opposite, in requiring examiners to explain their actions if more than 20% of students fail in a unit. The process of scaling does not change the order of marks among students.  A student who receives a higher raw mark than another will also receive a higher final scaled mark. For an explanation of the policy see: http://www.mq.edu.au/senate/MQUonly/Issues/Guidelines2003.doc or http://www.mq.edu.au/senate/MQUonly/Issues/detailedguidelines.doc

 Grades for each assessment item and for the unit as a whole will be awarded according to the following general criteria:

 

Developing

Functional

Proficient

Advanced

General description of the level of attainment

Has not yet reached the desired standard. Limited understanding of required concepts and knowledge.

A fail grade (or under some circumstances, a conceded pass) would be given.

Has reached basic academic standards.  Work has limited translation of concepts and procedures to new contexts unless aided.

A pass grade would be awarded.

Has completely reached the standards expected. Can work independently in new contexts, adapting procedures to meet the context.  Demonstrates awareness of own limitations.  A credit grade would be awarded.

Has gone beyond the expected standards. Exhibits high levels of independence and can use concepts to generate new ways of completing procedures. Can engage in productive critical reflection.

A grade of distinction or high distinction would be awarded.

Penalty for Late Submission. There is no room for lateness! However, if you should hand in some component late you will be penalised 10% each day. Come and see us before handing in late to discuss options

Extensions. There is no room for extensions either.  However, if something comes up you must discuss an extension with a staff member before the deadline.

What is required to complete this unit satisfactorily?

·         Attendance: make the most of the opportunities available to you: attend lectures and practicals and the two fieldtrips.  You may only submit assessment items based on practicals and fieldwork if you attended those sessions.

·         Assignments: you must hand in/complete ALL the assessment tasks to complete the unit

·         Attitude: look, read, ask, discuss, debate, enjoy

·         Quality: your assessment items will be graded according to your achievement of the learning outcomes.  We are looking for deep understanding as well as competence in particular skills of data collection, analysis, interpretation and presentation.

·         Honesty and sharing: you will often work in groups in the field and the laboratory but all the assessment tasks are individual.  Group data must be shared freely but presentation, writing up and interpretation are to be the efforts of each individual. Macquarie's procedures relating to plagiarism can be found at http://www.student.mq.edu.au/plagiarism/

·         Macquarie University has a range of policies that relate to learning and teaching, including

o    - assessment

o    - unit guide

o    - special consideration

o    They can be found at Policy Central (http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/).

 1. Assessment: 1 (10%)

  • During the practical in week 2 you will be provided with three data sets; a terrestrial, an ice record and a marine record.

Further information on this assessment is provided in the practical

 Assessment rubric

Developing

Functional

Proficient

Advanced

Results are poorly organised and displayed do not address the main point; are not supported by suitable illustrations/data/references; rely on a single and/or outdated source.

A clear description and explanation giving the important points with supporting illustrations, data and/or references.  Demonstrates research effort by use of suitable, current literature.

A very clear description and explanation giving the critical points with well chosen supporting illustrations, data and references.  Demonstrates research effort by use of suitable, current literature.

Insightful description and explanation showing original interpretation of the critical points, including uncertainties and gaps.  Well chosen supporting illustrations, data and references. Use of several sources of suitable, current literature.

2. Field Report (25%)

 This report is based on the mid-semester fieldtrip, the preparatory practical sessions, post-fieldwork data analysis and your own reading and research on the topic.  You will develop your own question that you must address in your report, tailoring the presentation and discussion of your results to answer the question and placing them within a context revealed by your readings.  The report should be presented in the format of scientific report, with a high standard of presentation (clarity and accuracy, not necessarily ‘pretty’), with diagrams, maps, graphs and tables (as appropriate) and standard scientific citation and referencing.  You will be provided with some essential and useful readings for these reports but you should also undertake your own research of the primary scientific literature. This report will be broken up into two parts: group results and individual interpretations. It is expected that you will share results between members of your group (and others where applicable). However, you should produce your own interpretations based on this data. This includes generating your own diagrams, graphs etc. Further details on how to prepare this field report will be provided during the field trip.

 

Developing

Functional

Proficient

Advanced

Lacks a clear explanation of research question, hypothesis or research strategy.  Results may not be presented completely or accurately and may not support interpretations.  May lack support from suitable literature.

able to explain the research question clearly; explain the hypothesis and show a clear and suitable research strategy; show appropriate results clearly and with accuracy; draw main conclusions from data and outstanding limitations.  Supported by reference to appropriate literature.

as for Functional level but with greater insight into question, results and interpretations. Includes acknowledgement and/or discussion of limitations of data/interpretations.

as for Proficient but with originality in approach and/or interpretation of results.

3. Oral Presentation (25%)

Each group will present oral presentation on their topic that compiles the results and that your group has gathered and the conclusions reached. You are welcome to use a variety of resources (e.g. props such as examples of sediments, powerpoint slides) to present your material. The primary emphasis of the presentations should be the laboratory examinations, but the presentation should refer to field sites and data to provide a context for these results, and to broaden their meaning and interpretation. Each group member is required to present for 5 minutes. The quality of your portion of the presentation – i.e. how well communicated the material delivered to your audience (coherence, audibility, use of resources, ability to answer questions) and your scientific insight into the material presented will form 50% of your grade for this presentation. A further 40% will be allocated for your group as a whole. This will be based on the accuracy and relevance of your group’s results and how well the talks from your group are integrated to tell the overall story. 10% will be awarded for the quality of questions you ask of the other groups.

Assessment Rubric (individual)

Developing

Functional

Proficient

Advanced

Jumbled or unclear explanation; may not be audible; resources may be poorly presented or irrelevant to your presentation; may not be well supported by resources. May struggle to answer questions.

A clear, coherent explanation which is audible and supported by your prepared resources. Prepared resources provide support your presentation. Able to answer questions.

A very clear, coherent explanation which is audible and supported by your prepared resources.  Prepared resources are accurate, legible and support your presentation. Able to answer questions, including acknowledging limitations of understanding.

Clear explanation, audible and well supported by resources; may show insightful interpretation or originality. Prepared resources are of excellent quality, and enhance the delivery of your presentation. Able to answer questions with additional detail and/or acknowledging limitations of understanding.

Assessment Rubric (group)

Developing

Functional

Proficient

Advanced

Results are poorly collected or irrelevant. Little or no connection and structure between the group presentation

Presentations explain the research question and hypothesis, show appropriate results clearly and with accuracy. Group presentation is structured so audience can follow from question -> data -> conclusions

As for functional level but with greater insight into question, results and interpretations. Includes acknowledgement and/or discussion of limitations of data/interpretations. Group presentation is highly coherent and well structured.

As for proficient but with originality in approach and/or interpretation of results. Group presentation may draw on the strengths of individual members to improve the quality of the overall result.

4. Examination (40%)

 The exam will be scheduled in the regular University examination period.  The exam is 3 hours in length and will cover all subjects covered in the lectures, practicals and fieldtrips.  There is a combination of short answer and longer (short essay) style questions.  As this is only the second time this unit has run, only last years exam papers are available but example questions will be discussed during the final lecture.

Developing

Functional

Proficient

Advanced

Unable to explain basic terms and concepts clearly or accurately.  Unable to illustrate terms and concepts with specific examples or conceptual diagrams.  Unable to extrapolate concepts to new situations.

able to explain terms and concepts clearly and accurately; can illustrate terms and concepts with specific examples and conceptual diagrams. Can apply knowledge to new situations with some competence.

as for Functional level but with greater critical insight. Includes acknowledgement and/or discussion of limitations or drawbacks of own knowledge.

as for Proficient but with originality in approach and/or interpretation.