ENVS8407 – Field Methods in Environmental Science

2021 – Session 3, Intensive attendance, Other

Session 2 Learning and Teaching Update

The decision has been made to conduct study online for the remainder of Session 2 for all units WITHOUT mandatory on-campus learning activities. Exams for Session 2 will also be online where possible to do so.

This is due to the extension of the lockdown orders and to provide certainty around arrangements for the remainder of Session 2. We hope to return to campus beyond Session 2 as soon as it is safe and appropriate to do so.

Some classes/teaching activities cannot be moved online and must be taught on campus. You should already know if you are in one of these classes/teaching activities and your unit convenor will provide you with more information via iLearn. If you want to confirm, see the list of units with mandatory on-campus classes/teaching activities.

Visit the MQ COVID-19 information page for more detail.

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Convenor
Kerrie Tomkins
By appointment
Scott Wilson
Rachael Dudaniec
Phil Redpath
Jessica O'Hare
Credit points Credit points
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Admission to MEnv or MSc or GradDipEnv or GradCertEnv or MEnvPlan or MPlan or MSusDev or GradDipSusDev or GradCertSusDev or MMarScMgt or MConsBiol or GradDipConsBiol or MEngEnvSafetyEng or MScInnovationEnvSc
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description

This unit is run over the first two weeks of Session 3 and features an eight-day field trip to Jervis Bay on the New South Wales south coast. The unit focuses on coastal zone management issues, covering a mix of themes relevant to environmental science, such as: water quality, geomorphology, aquatic ecology, terrestrial ecology, coastal impacts, hazards and community attitudes. Students work in small groups to design a field data collection program, and learn different data collection and analysis methods. At the end of the field trip, each group presents their results, conclusions and recommendations to the class. Members of the local council and community are also invited to the presentations. For many students, this unit is the highlight of their Masters degree because of the opportunity to gain practical skills and knowledge, and build valuable collaborative networks with other students.

Important info:

  • Check the university timetable for the dates of the field trip.
  • Students wishing to enroll in this unit should do so by the start of session 2 as enrolments are capped.
  • There is a separate cost of approximately $350-$380 to cover accommodation during the field trip.
  • Transport is not included, however, there will be a limited number of seats available in the mini-buses for a small additional cost.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • ULO1: Critically evaluate the connections between different environmental problems, stakeholders and key factors influencing environmental management
  • ULO2: Design a field data collection program to address an environmental issue or problem
  • ULO3: Select and describe appropriate field survey and data collection methods
  • ULO4: Collect, analyse and evaluate field data, and assess the implications of results with respect to environmental science and management
  • ULO5: Develop skills in effective teamwork and communication of results

General Assessment Information

Assessment Criteria

Assessment at Macquarie University is standards-based, as outlined in the Assessment Policy. This means that your work will be assessed against clear criteria, and these criteria (e.g. in a rubric) will be made available when the assessment tasks and instructions are released to you on iLearn. 

Submission of Assessments

All assessments must be submitted online through Turnitin unless otherwise indicated. Links for the submission of each assessment will be available on iLearn. 

You should always check that you have uploaded the correct file. If you have a problem, please email the Unit Convenor with your correct file. You must also keep a copy of your assessments until the end of semester in case there is a problem with your submission. It is your responsibility to ensure that you can provide a copy of your assessment if requested.

Marking of Assessments

Assessments will usually be marked through Turnitin with grades provided through Gradebook on iLearn. Please do not submit your assessments via email or in hard copy unless requested.

We aim to return your assessment grades and feedback within two weeks of the date that you submitted it. We appreciate your patience and will advise you through iLearn when your marked assessments and feedback are available for viewing.

Group Assessments

For Group assessments, all members of the group will initially receive the same mark, but the group mark will be converted to an individual mark based on the outcomes of peer review. This means that your mark may be moderated up or down depending on your contribution to the group assessment.

Penalties for Late Assessments

The penalty for late submission of assessments in this unit is ten percent (10 %) of the assessment value per day, calculated from the due time and date. This means that if the assignment is worth a total of 30 marks (or 30 % of the unit) you will lose 3 marks for each day it is late. This is a hefty penalty designed to make you aware of the importance of organising yourself around assessment due dates. The penalty will be applied over weekdays and weekends unless you have been granted an extension prior to the due date.

Extensions for Assessments

To obtain an extension for an assessment task, you will need to follow the formal process as outlined in the Special Consideration Policy, and you must provide appropriate supporting evidence (e.g. medical certificate - see advice for Special Consideration requests). The final decision regarding the granting of an extension lies with the unit convenor. Permission for extensions must be sought before the due date unless there are exceptional circumstances. Please let us know of problems in advance or as soon as possible, not after the event. We are likely to be much more sympathetic and able to accommodate your circumstance if you follow this advice.

Academic Honesty

In completing and submitting the Assessments, you must be aware of, and adhere to, the University policy on Academic Honesty, which can be accessed here:

The University implements the Academic Honesty Policy for all pieces of academic work by using a number of systems and checks, including:

  • Copy detection software such as Turnitin
  • Random sampling of assessment items to check for similarities
  • Comparing student performance across a number of tasks
  • Requiring students to defend submitted work e.g. oral exams or presentations

The penalties, where a person has been proven to have breached the policy (or any of its related procedures), are outlined here:

Each student is responsible for their own work and for reporting suspected breaches to the convenor or Head of Department together with all relevant materials or evidence of the basis of the allegation.

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Hurdle Due
Annotated mind-map 20% No 3rd Dec, 9 am
Field group participation 20% No Field trip
Knowledge of field methds 30% No Field trip
Data group presentation 30% No Field trip

Annotated mind-map

Assessment Type 1: Qualitative analysis task
Indicative Time on Task 2: 18 hours
Due: 3rd Dec, 9 am
Weighting: 20%


This assessment requires each student to create a detailed mind-map (or concept map) for their field theme based on the background readings and their own literature search.


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Critically evaluate the connections between different environmental problems, stakeholders and key factors influencing environmental management

Field group participation

Assessment Type 1: Participatory task
Indicative Time on Task 2: 0 hours
Due: Field trip
Weighting: 20%


This assessment evaluates the effectiveness of each Field Group in collecting the field data and the participation of each group member in completing the group tasks.


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Collect, analyse and evaluate field data, and assess the implications of results with respect to environmental science and management
  • Develop skills in effective teamwork and communication of results

Knowledge of field methds

Assessment Type 1: Quiz/Test
Indicative Time on Task 2: 0 hours
Due: Field trip
Weighting: 30%


This assessment is a written test of knowledge relating to the data collection methods and how to conduct field work more generally.


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Design a field data collection program to address an environmental issue or problem
  • Select and describe appropriate field survey and data collection methods

Data group presentation

Assessment Type 1: Presentation
Indicative Time on Task 2: 0 hours
Due: Field trip
Weighting: 30%


On the last day of the field trip, each Data Group will present the results and implications of their field projects.


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Design a field data collection program to address an environmental issue or problem
  • Collect, analyse and evaluate field data, and assess the implications of results with respect to environmental science and management
  • Develop skills in effective teamwork and communication of results

1 If you need help with your assignment, please contact:

  • the academic teaching staff in your unit for guidance in understanding or completing this type of assessment
  • the Writing Centre for academic skills support.

2 Indicative time-on-task is an estimate of the time required for completion of the assessment task and is subject to individual variation

Delivery and Resources

Unit iLearn

This unit has an iLearn page that can be accessed through It contains important information and other materials relating to the unit, including further details on the assessments, links for uploading assessment submissions, details on the field trip, and a discussion page. It will also be used to circulate data and other materials related to the field trip and assessments.


The unit iLearn is the primary way that we communicate with you. Please check it regularly for announcements and posts. You are encouraged to use the Discussion Board on iLearn to post questions and generate discussion with other students. Please only email the convenor with private matters – all other questions should be posted on iLearn.

Classes and Unit Schedule

This unit is delivered in intensive mode as a 2 week block commencing on the first day of Semester 3. It includes several workshops and a multi-day field trip which are compulsory - the dates for these can be found by searching for ENVS8407 in the Timetable portal. The unit schedule and more detailed information on the unit will be provided through iLearn. This is particularly important especially if changes need to be made due to COVID.


The expected workload for this 10-credit point unit is 150 hours of activity, comprising of workshops, group-based activities, the field trip, and independent study to complete the assessments. 

Requirements to complete this unit satisfactorily

In order to successfully complete this unit, you must:

  1. Attend and participate in all the workshops and group-based activities;
  2. Attend and participate in all days of the field trip;
  3. Submit all assessments;
  4. Achieve a pass grade or higher.

The descriptions for grades common to all coursework units offered by Macquarie University are outlined in Schedule 1 of the Assessment Policy. Non-attendance at the field trip for any reason other than those outlined in the Disruption to Studies Policy will result in an automatic fail. NOTE: If you cannot attend the field trip for any reason, you should inform the unit convenor and withdraw from the unit. 

Recommended Texts and/or Materials 

There is no specific textbook for this unit. You will be required to research information independently and consult a wide variety of information sources to aid your learning in this unit.


In this unit, the preferred style of referencing is Harvard (author, date). For further details on the Harvard style, go to:

Technology Used and Required

This unit will use iLearn. See the Instructions on how to log in to iLearn and the iLearn quick guides for students which will help you:

  • Getting started - Find out how to navigate and familiarise yourself with the iLearn environment
  • Activities - Learn how to effectively complete the activities required of you in iLearn
  • Assignments and Gradebook - Find out how to submit assessments and view your grades using iLearn
  • Online study tips - Studying online is a unique experience, learn how to navigate it here
  • Discussion forums - Explore the different types, and features of discussion forums in iLearn
  • Lecture recordings - Find out how to access lectures online, as well as the features available to you

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:

Students seeking more policy resources can visit Student Policies ( It is your one-stop-shop for the key policies you need to know about throughout your undergraduate student journey.

To find other policies relating to Teaching and Learning, visit Policy Central ( and use the search tool.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct:


Results published on platform other than eStudent, (eg. iLearn, Coursera etc.) 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 or if you are a Global MBA student contact

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit

Learning Skills

Learning Skills ( provides academic writing resources and study strategies to help you improve your marks and take control of your study.

The Library provides online and face to face support to help you find and use relevant information resources. 

Student Services and 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.

Student Enquiries

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at

If you are a Global MBA student contact

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit

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.

Field Trip Work, Heath and Safety

The safety of you and those around you is our highest priority. Consequently, ALL participants in fieldwork activities are obliged to work and behave appropriately in the field, and to take care to protect their own health, safety and welfare and that of fellow fieldwork participants. You are required to follow instructions from the Fieldwork Leader at all times.

Prior to the fieldwork, each student must complete the Field Friendly registration (link to be provided). In the registration, you must let the Fieldwork Leader know of any allergies, special dietary requirements or medical considerations that may affect your ability to participate in fieldwork. You will need to complete a declaration of a known medical condition form, outlining a treatment plan for your condition. Details of your responsible next of kin must also be provided in case of emergencies.

You are required to wear and carry clothing and footwear as appropriate to the fieldwork situation. Your Fieldwork Leader will advise you as to what these are prior to the fieldtrip. Irrespective of the activity, footwear must be worn. For terrestrial fieldwork, ankle to knee protection must be worn either in the form of either long trousers or gaiters. For marine fieldwork, appropriate clothing to protect against sunburn and exposure should be worn. For all fieldwork activities, a hat, sunscreen, insect repellent and items to protect against unexpected weather changes, such as rain & cold, are strongly recommended. The Fieldwork Leader reserves the right to exclude anyone that is ill-equipped from the activity.

If you are taking any medication, please ensure that you take sufficient supplies with you on the field trip. The University’s staff are unable, by law, to provide this to you. This includes pain relief, such as panadol or nurofen, cold and flu medication and anti-histamines for allergies.

If you need to leave the field location for any reason prior to completion of the scheduled activities, you must first inform the Fieldwork Leader. In the event of illness or injury, please let the Fieldwork Leader know immediately. All injury’s or incidents must be reported via the on-line reporting system:

Alcohol is a significant contributing factor in many incidents and acts of prejudicial conduct. Alcohol must not be consumed when undertaking fieldwork activities or when using a motor vehicle/machinery. After-hours consumption of alcohol is at the discretion of the Fieldwork Leader. Anyone acting irresponsibly or in any way deemed to be a danger to themselves or others by the Fieldwork Leader will be required to leave the field trip, return to Sydney at their own expense and report to the Head of Department. The consequences of this may include exclusion from the Unit of study or your Degree program.

For more information on field work health and safety, contact the Department Fieldwork Manager:

Mandatory COVID Requirements

Mandatory requirement to be double-vaccinated

This year, there is a mandatory requirement that everyone must be double vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend the on-campus workshops and the field trip, unless you have a medical exemption.

You must have your COVID vaccination certificate or medical contraindication certificate sighted by the FSE Student Services Centre before Mon 29 Nov. You can do this by visiting the centre in person or via Zoom. Further details on COVD-Safe Practices and how to have your COVID evidence sighted via Zoom will be communicated on iLearn. If there are any further changes, we will communicate these via iLearn.

If you are not double-vaccinated or do not have a medical contraindication certificate, you will need to withdraw from the unit

For further information on the University requirements, COVID-Safe Plan and the NSW Public Health Orders, see:



Unit information based on version 2021.02 of the Handbook