• Class Number 1278
  • Term Code 2920
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 0 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Daniel Connell
    • Dr David Salt
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 17/01/2019
  • Class End Date 22/02/2019
  • Census Date 15/02/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 15/02/2019
SELT Survey Results

The aim of the introductory science course is to revise basic scientific facts and concepts so as to prepare students for science-based courses, and to help understand the science that underpins environmental issues. The course is non-mathematical, and avoids unnecessary scientific jargon. Students in the Resources Environment and Development program (READ) are required to take the science-based course EMDV8026 Introduction to Environmental Science (unless they have already studied Environmental Science), and this science module helps prepare them for it. The Masters of Climate Change also requires that students take some science-based courses.

Students arrive in our program with many different backgrounds and levels of competence in science. Some students may already be familiar with the concepts in the science prep course, while others may be embarking for the first time on scientific study. The course ensures that all students are brought to the same level.

Environmental management is based on a scientific, evidence-based understanding of the natural environment and human interactions with it. For environmental problems, part of the solution always lies in objective and reliable knowledge about the way in which different management plans will affect the biophysical world. Understanding any environmental issues in the modern world requires some appreciation of science.

Science for the environment is primarily biological and chemical, with some contribution from simple physics and earth sciences. In addition, this module helps prepare students for the use of scientific language, and touches upon the nature and limitations

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Session 1: A safe operating space for humanity We begin with the current state of our planet by discussing the nine planetary boundaries framework and what these boundaries represent: climate change, loss of biodiversity, ozone depletion, ocean acidification, biogeochemical flows (the flow of nitrogen and phosphorus), land-system change (deforestation), fresh water use, atmospheric aerosol loading and chemical pollution. Class discussion
2 Session 2: A short history of sustainability What has been the international response to environmental degradation, and how the theme of ‘sustainability’ has evolved since the 1960s? This talk will cover the big international conventions and meetings, the key moments (eg, Silent Spring and the Club of Rome) and a discussion of different forms of sustainability (eg, strong vs weak). Class discussion
3 Session 3: Accounting for Nature A discussion on how government’s measure and respond to environmental issues. This session will examine some of the approaches government’s use to engage with environmental concerns including state of the environment reports, environmental accounts and the various organisations and institutions that have been set up to deal with environmental issues. There is also a discussion on biodiversity conservation and conservation triage. Class discussion
4 Session 4: Science and policy Will science save us from the many environmental challenges facing humanity? A discussion of the culture of science, its strengths and weaknesses, and how science is used in policy and management. Why is peer review the cornerstone of good science and what do scientists need to do to influence policy? Class discussion
5 Session 5: Resilience and understanding a complex world Making the connection between sustainability, resilience and adaptation. What’s the best way to cope with complexity and increasing uncertainty? An introduction to the world of resilience thinking. Class discussion
6 Session 6: Engaging with the Anthropocene The Anthropocene is the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment. When did it start? What does it mean? How do we engage with it? Class discussion
7 Session 7: Australia – the land of drought and flooding rain What does environmental science tell us about Australia and how we can achieve a sustainable future? Lessons from science on what happened when the ‘old world’ collided with the new (and how Australia manages its environmental resources). Class discussion
8 Session 8: Coral reefs and mangroves – the canaries in a global coalmine A sizeable portion of the world’s population depend on the health of our coastal ecosystems but these ecosystems are in trouble. This session discusses the many values of coral reefs and mangroves and presents the story of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, a place where climate change is now wreaking unprecedented damage. This story gives context to many of the themes discussed in this series of talks. Class discussion

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment
Class participation, discussions, class readings 0 % 15/02/2019 15/02/2019
Short written assignment on an environmental issue from their country of origin 0 % 31/01/2019 13/02/2019

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 0 %
Due Date: 15/02/2019
Return of Assessment: 15/02/2019
Learning Outcomes: 

Class participation, discussions, class readings

Class participation, engagement in discussions, class readings, answer questions on readings (as part of class dicussion).

Assessment Task 2

Value: 0 %
Due Date: 31/01/2019
Return of Assessment: 13/02/2019
Learning Outcomes: 

Short written assignment on an environmental issue from their country of origin

Students are given a small writing task (~250 words) describing an environmental issue of importance in their country of origin. The assignment will be given in session 2 and returned on session 7 (for their guidance) and form part of a class discussion.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information. In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service — including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy. If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
Dr Daniel Connell
6125 6413

Research Interests

Dr Daniel Connell

Dr David Salt
6125 9286

Research Interests

Dr David Salt

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions