- Class Number 3424
- Term Code 3130
- Class Info
- Unit Value 6 units
- Mode of Delivery In Person
- Dr Robert Dyball
- Dr Robert Dyball
- Class Dates
- Class Start Date 22/02/2021
- Class End Date 28/05/2021
- Census Date 31/03/2021
- Last Date to Enrol 01/03/2021
- Pele Cannon
The course applies the principles of ecosystem sciences to the study of the human environment. The emphasis is on the significance and function of ecosystems, how humans have affected these systems over time, and what are the opportunities of and barriers to making positive changes. Dynamical systems thinking and the concept of coupled social ecological system is introduced as a powerful means of comprehending the behaviour of these complex situations. Field trips allow students to experience first-hand the complexity of these human-ecological interactions and the challenges of managing them sustainably. In the latter half of the course, human-nature interactions over human history are critically reviewed, including hunter gatherer societies, early agricultural societies and modern globalised urban and industrial societies. Some key contemporary challenges facing humanity in the Anthropocene are presented for critical reflection. Students extend their understanding of one of these challenges in their final research report and presentation.
This course is co-taught with undergraduate students but assessed separately.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Demonstrate advanced understanding of Human Ecology, including knowledge of the history and background to the topic.
- Demonstrate advanced understanding of key linkages between ecosystem and social processes and how they relate to human-nature interactions, and to integrate this understanding with knowledge drawn from their own degree backgrounds.
- Use systems approach to ‘get at' an understanding of the complex, multi-scaled, interactions that characterize human-ecological situations, and their associated problems
- Apply this understanding in to a significant contemporary challenge facing humanity in the Anthropocene.
- Communicate human ecological systems approaches to social-environmental challenges to a range of audiences in effective written and oral form.
Through workshops and readings the course develops a systems based approach to interdisciplinary research into complex human-environmental problems. These concepts
are applied to analyse research being done to foster transitions to sustainable futures. The students then develop and undertake research into one of five topical areas of concern covered in later lectures, reading, and tutorial. These are recorded as short audio-visual presentations.
There is no field trip in 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions. There are resources provided for a virtual field trip. Assessment tasks are as they were for travelling students in previous years. The wording was:
There is a three-day field trip to the Snowy Mountains leaving on the morning of the Friday of week five of term, returning on the afternoon of the following Sunday. Details of the field trip will be given early in the course. The field trip is highly recommended, but not compulsory. Students choosing to not attend must devote an equivalent amount of time to an alternative desk-based study of the same topic.
Additional Course Costs
There are no fees in 2021 as the field trip is virtual for all students.
There are no additional resources required although the purchase of the textbook Understanding Human Ecology (Dyball and Newell, 2015) is recommended (an electronic copy is in the ANU library).
Recommended student system requirements
ANU courses commonly use a number of online resources and activities including:
- video material, similar to YouTube, for lectures and other instruction
- two-way video conferencing for interactive learning
- email and other messaging tools for communication
- interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities
- print and photo/scan for handwritten work
- home-based assessment.
To fully participate in ANU learning, students need:
- A computer or laptop. Mobile devices may work well but in some situations a computer/laptop may be more appropriate.
- Speakers and a microphone (e.g. headset)
- Reliable, stable internet connection. Broadband recommended. If using a mobile network or wi-fi then check performance is adequate.
- Suitable location with minimal interruptions and adequate privacy for classes and assessments.
- Printing, and photo/scanning equipment
For more information please see https://www.anu.edu.au/students/systems/recommended-student-system-requirements
Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
1. Written feedback will be given on all submitted assignments
2. Written comments will be made on systems diagrams, where used
3. Verbal comments will be made on tutorial contributions
4. Verbal comments to the whole class will be made on general issues in assignments
5. Individual feedback will be given upon request.
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.
|Week/Session||Summary of Activities||Assessment|
|1||Lecture 1A - Introduction: Lecture 1B - What is Human Ecology? Tutorial: Consultation on the course outline and assessment followed by an exercise on the need for collaborative teams in complex problem-solving.|
|2||Lecture 2A - Our Place in the Biosphere: Lecture 2B - Evolving approaches to Human Ecology Tutorial: Collaboration and coordination for collective action on shared problems|
|3||Lecture 3A - No Lecture: Canberra Day Lecture 3B - Fundamental Environmental Processes Tutorial: What is the Challenge?|
|4||Theme: The Snowy Mountains Field Trip Lecture 4A - Justice, Fairness, Wellbeing Lecture 4B - Unravelling Complexity Tutorial: Justice and fairness|
|5||Lecture 5A - It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: introducing the Snowy Case study Lecture 5B - It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: continuing the Snowy Case study Tutorial: Snowy Mountain stakeholder exercise|
|6||Lecture 6A - What Was That All About? Lecture 6B - Field Report Guide Tutorial: Clarification of issues around the Snowy Mountains report assignment||Systems-thinking modules must be complete by 5 April|
|7||Lecture 7A - Filling the Earth: Lecture 7B - The Joy of Cola: Profiling modern consumer society Tutorial: Technometabolism. Energy/emergy, material, and information flows in modern society||Snowy Report is due 12 April|
|8||Lecture 8A - ANZAC DAY (View Hong Kong Project video online) Lecture 8B - Material Stocks and Flows Analysis Tutorial: Estimating our impact on the biosphere|
|9||Lecture 9A - Future Scenarios Lecture 9B - Inclusion as an Ecological Imperative: Tutorial Inclusion and engagement for sustainability outcomes|
|10||Lecture 10A - Can We Consume Our Way to Sustainability? Lecture 10B - Cyclical Economies Tutorial: Shifting from a linear to a circular economy|
|11||Lecture 11A - Healthy People on a Healthy Planet Lecture 11B - Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants, Mostly Local Tutorial: Co-benefits|
|12||Lecture 12A - Stewards of a Full Earth Lecture 12B - Celebrating the Anthropocene: ?Tutorial: No readings. All students give a summary report of progress on their research report|
Tutorial registration via Wattle site
|Assessment task||Value||Due Date||Return of assessment||Learning Outcomes|
|Tutorial Participation||10 %||*||*||1,2|
|Complete Online Systems-Thinking Modules||10 %||05/04/2021||*||1,2|
|Field Trip Report||40 %||12/04/2021||27/04/2021||1,2,3,4|
|Research Essay||40 %||15/06/2021||01/07/2021||2,4,5|
* 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.
Active participation in, and contribution to, tutorials is required. Lectures can be attended live on campus and will be available recorded online. In-person and online tutorial options are offered. The systems thinking modules are online and to be completed at the student's discretion, but before April 5th. The field trip is 'virtual', with interactive video recordings of stakeholders available on Wattle, along with other materials. Students will need to augment this material with their own research.
There is no formal examination for this course.
Assessment Task 1
Learning Outcomes: 1,2
Active participation in, and contribution to, tutorials is required. Both in-person and online tutorial options are offered, but if you can attend in person it is recommended that you do. Each week’s readings will be accompanied by some ‘starter questions’. These are designed to initiate the conversation, but you are encouraged to expand with your own interests. If you just come to tutorials and do not contribute you will not get a high grade. Attendance at 10 out of 12 tutorial and workshop sessions is a course requirement.
Assessment Task 2
Learning Outcomes: 1,2
Complete Online Systems-Thinking Modules
There are ten short online learning modules designed to build and test your systems-thinking capabilities. The modules build on material given in lectures, readings, and tutorials across the first half of the semester. You are free to complete the modules at any time that you like, but you must complete them by 5 April. The modules reveal correct answers or provide model answers to most exercises and test questions after you have submitted responses. You get one grade point per module that you complete.
Assessment Task 3
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4
Field Trip Report
Although in 2021 the field trip is virtual for all students the assessment wording remains as it was for travelling students. It reads:
The three-day field trip to the Snowy Mountains will present you with a wide range of perspectives from different stakeholders. Your task is to select two stakeholders (from a range of current and historically active groups) who are or were in conflict because their activities both affect (or are affected by) the same ecosystem service, and set out how this conflict came about, what have been its social and ecological consequences, and what might now be done about it.
You must describe what aspect of the environment is bringing the two parties into conflict, assuming the same finite stock of environmental resources cannot equally satisfy the demands of both.
It is a requirement that your discussion shows at least two properly notated system diagrams, one for each stakeholder, and reveals the common element bringing the two into conflict. The variables that you discuss will be both quantifiable, in which case you should provide at least approximate figures or estimates, as well as qualitative elements which might not be ‘countable’ but which you still should include. For both, you should say how, meaning in which ‘direction’, the amount of the variable is changing over time.
You must as fairly and accurately as possible set out the values and beliefs of both parties, describe the main institutions or rules that are governing their behaviour, and say what social benefits they see (or saw) as arising from what they do (or did), including to whom these benefits are, or should be, flowing.
Finally, you should argue, with evidence, whether the current situation is just and sustainable and, if it is not, what might be plausibly done to improve it. The tools you need to complete this task will be extensively covered in the first weeks of the course, before the field trip.
Due date: 12th April.
Word limit: 2,500 words - inclusive of all table text. Only the bibliography is not included in the word count.
Presentation requirements: Submit via wattle.
Estimated return date: week commencing 26th April
Rubric: Please refer to course outline on Wattle
Individual Assessment in Group Tasks: This is an individual task. If you collaborate by sharing data gathered and observations made that is fine, but the submitted report must be your own. Reports containing material copied from each other will be treated as plagiarized and subject to the university’s rules on plagiarization.
Assessment Task 4
Learning Outcomes: 2,4,5
Final report. In a 2,500 word research report, explore one or more of the key ‘challenge’ concepts developed in the latter half of the course by application to a location-based case study of their own choosing (40) [LO 2,4,5]
Due date: 5pm Tuesday June 15th
Estimated return date: At the close of the course.
Word limit: 2500
Rubric: Please refer to course outline 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.
Assignments that can be are submitted using Turnitin in the course Wattle site. 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.
Submit across Wattle. If you submit in hard copy form you have include hard copies of all your referenced material. This is a university rule. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.
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 it 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.
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.
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.
Comments will be made online to assignments submitted across Wattle and return 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
Assignments submitted across Wattle can be resubmitted up until the due date. No resubmission is possible after that.
Distribution of grades policy
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Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.
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Human Ecology, Systems Thinking, Food Systems, Education for Sustainability
Dr Robert Dyball
Dr Robert Dyball