• Class Number 2393
  • Term Code 2930
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • AsPr David Jones
    • Prof Ulrike Mathesius
    • AsPr David Jones
    • Dr Liang Pin Ng
    • Dr Jean Finnegan
    • Dr Kai Chan
    • Dr Megan McDonald
    • Dr Simon Williams
    • AsPr Spencer Whitney
    • Dr Vivien Rolland
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/02/2019
  • Class End Date 31/05/2019
  • Census Date 31/03/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 04/03/2019
SELT Survey Results

The integration of molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics and cell biology has had an enormous impact on plant science in recent years. This course will present current understanding in several key areas and demonstrate how conceptual and technical advances provide new insights in plant biology and new approaches for crop improvement and agriculture. Two introductory lectures will be given on plant structure and function prior to the major topics, which will include plant growth and development, regulation of gene expression, nutrient acquisition, photosynthesis, and disease and defence. Each topic will be presented by a researcher from the Research School of Biology or CSIRO Plant Industry.

Note: Graduate students attend joint classes with undergraduates but are assessed separately.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

1. Understand and describe the problems being addressed and the advances achieved in molecular plant science
2. Understand and describe several advanced molecular techniques and how they are being used to achieve advances in molecular plant science
3. Search bibliographic databases to identify papers reporting recent advances in specific areas of molecular plant science and to distill, integrate, evaluate and discuss the important findings of these papers in writing
4. Analyse in depth, and critically evaluate, papers reporting recent advances in molecular plant science, and present orally the findings of the papers, placing them in context and providing critical commentary, using appropriate visual aids

Research-Led Teaching

Each lecture module is given by an ANU or CSIRO researcher undertaking leading internationally-recognised research in an area covered by their lecture topic.

Field Trips

Not applicable

Additional Course Costs

No additional fees are charged in association with this course

Examination Material or equipment


Required Resources

All reading material will be provided on Wattle or is accessible through the ANU library.

Plant science research and review journals available through the ANU library.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to individuals

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 General overview of topics/weeks: Plant Structure and Function (week 1) Redox Regulation (week 1/2) Plant Development (weeks 3/4) Photosynthesis (weeks 4/5) Nitrogen Fixation (weeks 5/6) Mid-Semester break (2 weeks) Epigenetics (weeks 7/8) Plant Disease Resistance (weeks 8/9) Next-Generation Tools (weeks 9/10) Structural Biology (weeks 11/12)

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Tutorial quizzes (eight quizzes) 10 % 08/03/2019 31/05/2019 1,2
Essay: Review of a research topic 25 % 29/04/2019 31/05/2019 1,2,3,4
Journal club presentation 15 % 21/05/2019 31/05/2019 1,2,4
Written Examination 50 % 06/06/2019 04/07/2019 1,2

* 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. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

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.


Please note, that where a date range is used in the Assessment Summary in relation to exams, the due date and return date indicate the approximate timeframe in which the exam will be held and results returned to the student (official end of Semester results released on ISIS). Students should consult the course wattle site and the ANU final examination timetable to confirm the date, time and venue of the exam.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 08/03/2019
Return of Assessment: 31/05/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Tutorial quizzes (eight quizzes)

The date range for these tasks indicates the date for the first quiz and the return date for the last quiz. There are eight quizzes over the semester. Completion of at least four of the eight tutorial quizzes is required to satisfy the tutorial quiz assessment requirement. It is intended that the marked quizzes will be returned within one week after submission. Further details can be found on the Course Wattle site.

Value: each quiz is worth 1.5% (total 10%)

Assessment Task 2

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 29/04/2019
Return of Assessment: 31/05/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Essay: Review of a research topic

The essay reviews recent advances made in an area of research related to one of the lecture modules. The review is approximately 2,000 words in length (plus or minus 10%). The essay will be based on one of four ‘seed papers’ proposed by lecturers in the course. Copies of the four ‘seed papers' are available on Wattle. Students should look at the papers and choose one for their essay. Written instructions on how to complete the essay are available on Wattle and will be explained in a lecture following the second lecture module. 

Value: 25%

Assessment Task 3

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 21/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 31/05/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4

Journal club presentation

Students select a paper from a list of recently published papers related to the course topics and give a talk that presents the background, main results and significance of the work reported in the paper. The oral presentation will be marked by the course conveners. The presentation should be 15 minutes in length followed by 5 minutes for questions and discussion. 

Value: 15%

Assessment Task 4

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 06/06/2019
Return of Assessment: 04/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Written Examination

Please check the course Wattle site and the ANU Examination Timetable to confirm the date, time and location of the end of semester exam.

Please note that students must achieve a mark of at least 40% in the exam to pass the course.

Value: 50%

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

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

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.

Returning Assignments

Marked tutorial quizzes will usually be returned by the following tutorial quiz. The marked tutorial quiz for the last quiz will be returned by Friday, May 31.

Marked essays with written feedback will be returned by Friday, May 31.

Journal club marks with written feedback will be returned by Friday, May 31. Verbal feedback may also be given at the time of the journal club presentation.

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.

Resubmission of Assignments

Resubmission of assignments is only permitted for the essay for the purposes of originality checking via Turnitin.

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).

AsPr David Jones

Research Interests

Molecular Plant Pathology

AsPr David Jones

Prof Ulrike Mathesius

Research Interests

Prof Ulrike Mathesius

AsPr David Jones

Research Interests

AsPr David Jones

Dr Liang Pin Ng

Research Interests

Dr Liang Pin Ng

Dr Jean Finnegan

Research Interests

Dr Jean Finnegan

Dr Kai Chan

Research Interests

Dr Kai Chan

Dr Megan McDonald

Research Interests

Dr Megan McDonald

Dr Simon Williams

Research Interests

Dr Simon Williams

AsPr Spencer Whitney

Research Interests

AsPr Spencer Whitney

Dr Vivien Rolland

Research Interests

Dr Vivien Rolland

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