- Class Number 8703
- Term Code 3060
- Class Info
- Unit Value 6 units
- Mode of Delivery In Person
- Prof Lindell Bromham
- Prof Lindell Bromham
- Prof Marcel Cardillo
- Class Dates
- Class Start Date 27/07/2020
- Class End Date 30/10/2020
- Census Date 31/08/2020
- Last Date to Enrol 03/08/2020
This course deals with patterns of biodiversity at large spatial and temporal scales, and the processes that have generated these patterns. Surprisingly, there are many fundamental questions about biodiversity that remain a matter of debate. For example, why are there so many species in the tropics? Did the extinction of dinosaurs pave the way for the rise of mammals? What causes one species to diverge into two? Equally surprisingly to many people, it is possible to test “big-picture” questions like these using a set of basic logical principles and analytical tools, and an ever-expanding database of molecular, geographic and ecological information on the world's species. The aim of this course is not to present you with facts to memorize, but to equip you with the skills to ask interesting questions about biodiversity, and develop creative and elegant ways to answer them. This is a challenging and rewarding course that requires students to think creatively, take charge of framing, investigating and answering questions, consider different viewpoints and come to their own opinions. The course is taught through workshops which give students a chance to explore and discuss ideas, so attendance of all face-to-face classes is an essential component of this course. The course emphasizes individual study and critical thinking.
This course is co-taught with undergraduate students but assessed separately.
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:
- Formulate explanations of observed patterns of biodiversity and species distributions in terms of key ecological and evolutionary processes;
- Critically evaluate topics in biodiversity by searching, assessing and synthesizing relevant literature;
- Recognize the features of a statistically rigorous and effective test of a question or hypothesis in biodiversity;
- Analyze and interpret biodiversity patterns using specialist computer software and widely-used analytical methods;
- Critically assess the contribution of a scientific paper to our understanding of evolution or ecology.
Access to textbook "Origins of Biodiversity: an introduction to macroevolution and macroecology"
Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
- written comments
- verbal comments
- feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc
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.
Please note that while class attendance is not compulsory, workshops and discussions will not be recorded, so you need to be able to attend scheduled classes in order to do well in this course
|Week/Session||Summary of Activities||Assessment|
|1||Weeks 1-12 Three discussion-based workshops per week||Participation in all scheduled classes is an expectation of this course|
|Assessment task||Value||Learning Outcomes|
|Online quizzes||12 %||1|
|Computer-based workshops with accompanying written report||12 %||3,4|
|Three in-class tests||30 %||1,2,3|
|Explainer of a key idea in macroevolution and macroecology and participation in peer feedback||26 %||2|
|Critical review||20 %||5|
* 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:
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 Academic Integrity . 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 for mid-semester exams indicate the approximate timeframe in which the exam will be held; the due and return date for end of semester exams indicate the approximate timeframe in which the exam will be held and the date official end of Semester results are 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
Learning Outcomes: 1
Weekly online quizzes of four multiple choice questions encourage students to keep up with the course material and provide regular checks on your understanding. Quizzes in Weeks 1 and 2 do not contribute to the course mark, all other quizzes are compulsory and contribute. 4 questions per week, 0.5 for each correct answer, 0 for any incorrect answer, 0 for uncompleted questions - scores as assessed automatically in Wattle and added to grade book, correct answers will be released after the quiz closes. Assessable quizzes will be made available on Wattle for a limited period on scheduled days. Details will be given at the beginning of semester.
Assessment Task 2
Learning Outcomes: 3,4
Computer-based workshops with accompanying written report
These activities will give you a useful introduction to the free, open-source, and widely-used statistical programming language R, and some of the tools it includes for handling and analyzing phylogenies and biodiversity data. You can complete the activities on your own computer in the regular class time, with support from teaching staff, or you can complete these activities in your own time. You will then submit your practical reports via Wattle at the end of Semester (for due date see Wattle).
Assessment Task 3
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3
Three in-class tests
The tests are scheduled in class times, see Wattle for details on dates and times. Each test covers 4 weeks of the course, and will include all the material covered in that period, including ideas discussed in classes and concepts from the background reading.
Assessment Task 4
Learning Outcomes: 2
Explainer of a key idea in macroevolution and macroecology and participation in peer feedback
Choose a tricky idea or interesting debate in macroevolution and macroecology and explain the key points, using any medium you like – e.g. magazine article, video, graphic novel, animation, seminar presentation, picture book, song, synchronized swimming routine, anything. The explainer will be judged entirely on how well it explains the concept or debate, not on the presentation medium. The explainer will be presented to the class on Wattle. Peer and teacher feedback will help you refine your explainer before you submit it for grading. Students are expected to work in groups of up to five people but individuals can seek permission to complete an individual project instead. You are free to choose the format (e.g. written, electronic media, presentation, graphical) but all explainers will be judged by the same criteria, focussing on how well they explain an important concept in macroevolution and macroecology. You will submit a draft of your explainer to the wattle site where it can be viewed by the rest of the class. All class members will then give detailed and constructive feedback on the explainer. The explainers are considered a core part of the class material and your contributions to feedback are an assessable activity.
Details of assessment of explainer feedback will be posted on the Wattle page.
Due date: will be provided on the wattle site
Individual Assessment in Group Tasks (where applicable): All students will share the same mark, and the output must be commensurate with the number of students involved
Assessment Task 5
Learning Outcomes: 5
You will select (with approval from the convener) a recent research paper that uses modern methods for testing a macroevolutionary or macroecological hypotheses, then write a critical review of that paper in the context of other research in that area that has been published in primary scientific literature. Your appraisal should make use of the research literature to support your arguments, claims, or comparisons. Within the broad framework of macroevolution and macroecology, you have freedom to choose a topic that matches your own interests and that you will really enjoy finding out more about. See handbook or Wattle for more details of this assessment item.
Due date: end of semester (details will be provided on Wattle).
Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.
The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to 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 be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, 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 Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.
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.
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.
Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:
- Late submission permitted. 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.
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.
Assignments will be submitted via Wattle
Extensions and Penalties
Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted 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
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).
- ANU Health, safety & wellbeing for medical services, counselling, mental health and spiritual support
- ANU Diversity and inclusion for students with a disability or ongoing or chronic illness
- ANU Dean of Students for confidential, impartial advice and help to resolve problems between students and the academic or administrative areas of the University
- ANU Academic Skills and Learning Centre supports you make your own decisions about how you learn and manage your workload.
- ANU Counselling Centre promotes, supports and enhances mental health and wellbeing within the University student community.
- ANUSA supports and represents undergraduate and ANU College students
- PARSA supports and represents postgraduate and research students
Prof Lindell Bromham
Prof Lindell Bromham