- Class Number 3430
- Term Code 3130
- Class Info
- Unit Value 6 units
- Mode of Delivery In Person
- Prof Peter Kanowski
- 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
- Claudia Munera
This interdisciplinary course draws on contemporary perspectives on current issues in the environmental sciences to explore evidence-based decision-making in the environmental sector. Researchers across the biophysical and ecological sciences provide exposure to contemporary theory, field methods and cutting-edge research and analytical techniques relevant to environmental decision-making. Frameworks for assessing environmental priorities, such as managing within planetary boundaries and the UNEP Global Environment Outlook, are used to explore key issues including
- freshwater systems
- sustainable land use (e.g. agriculture, forestry, soils, fire)
- climate variability and change
The course is structured as a series of intensive, small-group discussions based on preparatory reading. These intensive discussions are led by experts in the field and focus on exploring the most up-to-date research and thinking on each theme from a variety of perspectives, with particular emphasis on relevance to your experience and professional interests. Students are also expected to draw on the extensive and varied opportunities to learn from world-leading experts available at the Australian National University and across Canberra, by attending and reporting on relevant seminars, workshops and other forms of research communication external to the course.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Understand key current environmental issues and their implications across Australia and globally.
- Explain and apply contemporary theory and research methods employed in the environmental sciences.
- Source reliable contemporary scientific research findings across the environmental sector.
- Analyse and critique the scientific evidence base used for decision-making.
- Interpret and communicate research findings and their implications across the environmental sector for decision-makers.
The course comprises:
- an introduction that frames ways of thinking about contemporary issues in environmental science;
- case study and topic issue seminars delivered by panels of leading researchers, on a range of contemporary environmental science topics;
- a world cafe activity to share learning on case study topics;
- skills development workshops (week 1 - for all students; subsequent weeks - open to all, required for those new to graduate study)
- your participation in six 'complementary' activities (seminars, workshops, events), and reporting on those to the class.
Additional Course Costs
Examination Material or equipment
Linked from the course Wattle site
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:
- written comments
- verbal comments
- feedback to whole class, co-facilitators, or individuals, depending on the issue or assessment item.
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.
Where an assignment is formed of a number of activities, the date range indicates the due date for the first component and the return date of the final component. Further information is provided in the assessment section of the class summary, and details are provided on the course wattle site.
Students who are undertaking this course remotely will do so through a mix of live online streaming and participation within the class timetable, accessing recorded resources, and dedicated sessions for remote students (to be scheduled based on class membership).
|Week/Session||Summary of Activities||Assessment|
|1||Introduction (week 1) and workshop||Weekly learning journal entries commence; workshops commence|
|2||Weeks 2-5 Case studies, focal topics and workshops||Weekly learning journal entries; workshops continue|
|3||Week 6 World Cafe activity||World Cafe activity|
|4||Weeks 7-10 Case studies, and workshops||Weekly learning journal entries; wworkshops continue|
|5||Weeks 11-12 "Conference" presentations||"Conference" presentations|
|Assessment task||Value||Learning Outcomes|
|Learning journal||35 %||1,2,3,4,5|
|World café preparatory notes||15 %||1,2,3,4|
|“Conference” presentation||10 %||1,3,5|
|Literature ('state of knowledege') review||40 %||1,2,3,4,5|
|Skills development workshops||0 %||1,2,3,4,5|
* 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.
You are required to participate in classes for Assessment Tasks 2 & 3 (Task 2 - 30 March; Task 3 - 18 or 25 May)
You are required to participate in Workshop 1 (week 1) 1 for Assessment Task 5; international students in their first semester of graduate study at ANU are required to participate in Workshops 2-5 (weeks 2, 4, 7 ,9). All students are welcome at Workshops 2-5.
Assessment Task 1
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5
Detail: The learning journal task is designed to help you connect your existing knowledge with information, concepts, ideas and issues associated with the course. The learning journal will help you to maximise your learning from the course by drawing upon what you have already learned through life and professional experience, other courses, and the classes and complementary activities of this course, by providing you with a structured way of recording and connecting your learning.
The learning journal is primarily a vehicle for reflection. In this context, 'reflection' means thinking critically, in the context of your experience and knowledge, about the ideas and information presented in the readings, presentations and discussion, and expressing your thoughts logically and concisely. Your reflections should demonstrate your engagement with the course material and your wider interests and goals. Reflections need to be analytical, not simply descriptive. Your journal entries need to demonstrate reflection to achieve more than a pass mark.
Your weekly entry should average 300 words, excluding a list of sources.
Your learning journal for the course concludes with a section of around 500 words in which you reflect on your learnings for the course as a whole, and their implications for your future work.
You can annex relevant material to each week’s entry if you wish; annexes are not part of the word count.
Value: 35% (15% for each of weeks 2-5 and 7-10, 5% for Conclusions). For week 1, submission of your Learning Journal entry is a course requirement; you will receive an indicative mark and feedback. This indicative week 1 mark will not be counted towards the total for this assessment item.
Please note there are multiple activities associated with this task with individual due dates:
Due: for weeks 1-5 and 7-10: the Monday evening following class; for Conclusions, 3 June.
Returned: week 1 - by 5 March; others - within 10 days of submission.
The marking rubric for each learning journal entry is:
- only reports facts and/ or does not show evidence of reflection or reading: 50-59%
- mostly reports facts and/ or show limited evidence of reflection and reading: 60-69%
- some evidence of reflection/ critical thinking drawing from a range of sources and experience: 70-79%
- insightful reflections/ critical thinking drawing from a range of sources and experience: 80-89%
- outstanding reflections/ critical thinking drawing deeply from a range of sources and experience: 90-100%
Assessment Task 2
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4
World café preparatory notes
Detail: A “World Café” is a style of small group discussions for a large group. Co-convenors host discussions on different topics at ‘café’ tables, for groups of 4-6; groups rotate among tables at specified intervals. We will use the World Café format to discuss a range of contemporary environmental science topics, drawing on material and reading covered in weeks 1-5. The number of topics (& “café tables”) and co-convenor groups, and structure and timing of the session, will depend on the numbers in the class. These details will be advised by 23 March.
You will prepare two individual sets of preparatory notes (Content and Facilitation) for the café topic that you co-convene, ahead of discussion and agreement with your co-convenor(s) about the content and conduct of discussions at your table.
You can think of the Content notes as being similar to the Abstract in an academic journal paper, although much of them can be in dot point format. These notes should comprise:
- a paragraph summarising the background to the topic area;
- 7-10 dot points identifying the key points for discussion, with brief explanatory notes.
The Facilitation notes outline your thinking about how to conduct the café table discussion. They should outline the roles of the facilitators; how you will structure the discussion; what you will expect of participants; what graphics, reading or watching you are going to assign during the session. These notes should comprise:
a paragraph summarising the background to the topic area;
7-10 dot points identifying the key points for discussion, with brief explanatory notes.
Value: 15% for notes (7.5% each); CRS for co-facilitation on 30 March
Please note there are multiple activities associated with this task with individual due dates:
Due: notes - 29 March; co-facilitation 30 March
Returned: within 10 days
Assessment Task 3
Learning Outcomes: 1,3,5
Detail: This assessment item is a means for you to communicate the learnings from your participation in events complementary to the class. These complementary events may be academic or community-based lectures, seminars or workshops. You are required to participate in a minimum of 6 such events, or equivalent, during semester.
This assessment item requires you to report on 3 of these ‘complementary events’ in a single 10 minute presentation in the last fortnight of the course.
The item is called a “conference” presentation because it’s similar to many that you might give at a conference; it’s also similar to the report back you might provide to colleagues in a workplace after attending a conference at which you attended multiple presentations.
Like the Learning Journal, the task is not to repeat detail, but to synthesise the key points and learning across your choice of 3 of the 6 events. Those who provide a more coherent synthesis across the events will be marked more highly than those whose narrative is disjointed. You will be provided with an example.
You should speak to visuals (Powerpoint, Prezi, or something else of your choice), but the visuals should support and highlight your points and narrative rather than simply being a ‘dot point’ version of what you say. The general rule is to have no more slides than the number of minutes available for your presentation.
Due: either 18 or 25 May (an additional session may be scheduled for 20 May if necessary)
Returned: within 10 days
5 marks for content (including coherent linking of different seminars); 5 marks for presentation and delivery
Assessment Task 4
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5
Literature ('state of knowledege') review
Detail: A ‘state of knowledge’ review is a thorough literature review that provides an overview of a particular topic area; it focuses on assessing the current state of knowledge, but with reference to earlier foundational work as appropriate. You are required to research and submit a review of 3000 words. The word count excludes the reference list, but includes in text referencing. You must use the Harvard Referencing style.
Your review must include a minimum of 15 peer reviewed journal articles or the equivalent, such as edited book chapters, although you are encouraged to have more. The articles will normally have been published in English; at least 10 of these articles must have been published in English in the last four years. You can also include less authoritative sources such as websites and media articles, where relevant, but these are additional to the peer review articles. 5% of the assessment weight is assigned to submission of a list of these articles, a first draft of which must be submitted by 29 April (CRS requirement for the draft).
Your review should follow the format of a typical ‘state of knowledge’ review article (you will be referred to examples), with a clear and logical structure that includes an Abstract, begins with an Introduction, and ends with a Concluding section that discusses the broader implications of your review findings.
Value: 40% (5% of which is for a list of 15 papers complying with the requirements outlined above)
Please note there are two activities associated with this task with individual due dates.
- List of papers due: 29 April (CRS);
- Review due: 14 June.
Returned: Within 2 weeks
Structure & logic /10
Scope & content/20
Quality of writing/5
Assessment Task 5
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5
Skills development workshops
Detail: The Skills Development Workshops assist students to develop their skills relevant to the assessment tasks.
All students are required to participate in Workshop 1 (week 1) and welcome at all workshops; all international students new to graduate study at ANU are required to participate in Skills Workshops 2-5 (weeks 2, 4, 7, 9).
Workshop 1 overviews the assessment in the course and how we expect ANU graduate students to approach learning and assessment.
Workshops 2-5 address each of Assessment Tasks 1-4, respectively.
Value: Course Requirement Satisfied.
Due: Weeks 1, 2, 4, 8, 9
Returned: Not applicable
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.
Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:
- Late submission is not permitted for assessment tasks 2, 3 and 5. A mark of 0 will be awarded.
- Late submission is permitted for assessment tasks 1 and 4. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per 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.
Assignments will be returned through Wattle and/or email to your ANU email address.
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
There is no provision for 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