• Class Number 3104
  • Term Code 3130
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Brett Parker
    • Dr Brett Parker
    • Dr Marcin Adamski
  • 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
SELT Survey Results

This course equips biology students with skills in basic mathematics, statistics and computing in preparation for areas of biology which require quantitative data analysis. Such skills are important for experimental design and for analysing and interpreting quantitative datasets arising from modern bioinformatics and biological modelling. Topics covered include introductory calculus, linear algebra, probability and statistics, and elementary computer programming. Examples will be given of quantitative problems arising in biological contexts. Laboratory and/or field practicals may be used for data gathering.

Note: Graduate students attend joint classes with undergraduates but will be assessed separately

Learning Outcomes

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

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
  1. Demonstrate a deep understanding of the mathematical reasoning underlying specific biological techniques.
  2. Demonstrate accurate and efficient use of specific mathematical tools in the analysis of biological data.
  3. Demonstrate capacity for original mathematical reasoning in a broader biological context.
  4. Effectively communicate complex quantitative biology concepts to their peers and academic staff, through carefully written technical reports.

Research-Led Teaching

Mathematics and statistics are disciplines which inform many other disciplines, including biology and ecology. The content and skills gained through this course are natural companions to research-led teaching: the fundamental concepts learnt in calculus, linear algebra, probability, and statistics form basic building blocks for studying virtually all natural biological phenomenon. Furthermore, by learning elementary coding skills in R, we will investigate how these concepts are applied to real data sets that address real research problems in biology and ecology.

Examination Material or equipment

Only the following material/equipment are permitted to mid-semester examinations related to this course: Unmarked English-to-foreign-language dictionary (no approval required); Calculator (non-programmable); One A4 page with handwritten notes on both sides.

Required Resources

All course materials will be made available on the Wattle site https://wattle.anu.edu.au. Students are free to use and modify the R code made available in the lecture notes when conducting your own analyses.

To log on to Wattle, you need to have an ANU ID (your student number) and a password (the same as for obtaining your e-mail). In order to access the class web page within Wattle, you will need to be formally enrolled in the course. The class web page will be updated with new information on a regular basis. Students are expected to regularly check the Wattle site for announcements and updates regarding the course.

Students with their own computers and who plan to use it as part of the course e.g., bringing it to the computer labs, are strongly recommended to install R (https://cran.r-project.org/) and Rstudio (https://rstudio.com/) at some point prior to commencement of the computer labs. Both are free to download and use.

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.
  • Webcam
  • 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

Staff Feedback

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

  • Written comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

In addition to feedback provided by staff, you will receive valuable feedback and help from your fellow students. Many of the class activities have been designed to maximise this kind of feedback.

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.

Other Information

Please note all information on this outline is tentative e.g., consultation hours, due and return dates of assessments etc...More final and update information will be available on the associated Wattle page when the course commences.

Note also the section on mark moderation, in particular, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Lectorials - Weeks 1-6 ?2 hours per week, delivered live over zoom. To prepare for these lectorials, you will also need to read notes and watch videos posted on Moodle. Please see Assessment Tasks.
2 Workshops - Weeks 1-6 2 hours per week, to review, implement, and extrapolate based on material learnt. Please see Assessment Tasks.
3 Computer Labs - Weeks 7-12 Computer Labs - 3 hours per week, implementing and practising coding in R. Please see Assessment Tasks.
4 Lectures Weeks 7-12 2 hours per week, prerecorded and posted on Wattle.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Assigments in Part I (Calculus and Linear Algebra) 15 % * * 1,4
Mid-semester exam in Part I (Calculus and Linear Algebra) 20 % 29/03/2021 23/04/2021 1,4
In-class practical tests in Parts II and III (R programming & Probability and Statistics) 36 % * * 1,2,3,4
Assignment in Parts II and III (R programming & Probability and Statistics) 7 % 24/05/2021 * 1,2,3,4
Presentations during workshops weeks 1-6 6 % * * 1,4
Activities during Lectorials weeks 1-6 6 % * * 1,4
Online quizzes weeks 1-6 3 % * * 1,4
Online quiz 7 % * * 1,2,3,4

* 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.


You are expected to participate either in person or live over zoom during the lectorials, workshops and computer labs, and marks will be awarded for some activities during these times. If you are participating over zoom, we expect you to have your video on and to communicate with other students during activities.


Please see Assessment Task 2 for the mid-semester exam, which will be centrally administered.

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 time frame in which the exam will be held; the due and return date for end of semester exams indicate the approximate time frame 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

Value: 15 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,4

Assigments in Part I (Calculus and Linear Algebra)

3 written assignments worth 5% each.

Assignment 1

Due: 2pm Wednesday, Week 3 of semester

Returned: Around Week 5 of semester

Assignment 2

Due: 2pm Wednesday, Week 5 of semester

Returned: Around Week 7 of semester

Assignment 3

Due: 2pm Wednesday, Week 7 of semester

Returned: Around Week 9 of semester

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 29/03/2021
Return of Assessment: 23/04/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,4

Mid-semester exam in Part I (Calculus and Linear Algebra)

1 mid-semester exam worth 20%.

As this will be a centrally administered exam, please check the course Wattle site and the ANU Examination Timetable to confirm the date, time and location of the exam (likely between weeks 7 to 9). The exam will be available for viewing by the end of the semester.

The date range is an general indication of when the mid-semester exam will be held. Please check the course Wattle site and the ANU Examination Timetable to confirm the date, time and location of the end of semester exam.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 36 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

In-class practical tests in Parts II and III (R programming & Probability and Statistics)

4 in-class tests worth 9% each, occurring in computer labs for Weeks 8, 9, 11, and 12 of the semester.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 7 %
Due Date: 24/05/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Assignment in Parts II and III (R programming & Probability and Statistics)

One computer-based assignment worth 7%.

Assignment 1

Due: Monday, May 24

Returned: Around Week 12 of semester

Assessment Task 5

Value: 6 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,4

Presentations during workshops weeks 1-6

During each of the workshops in weeks 1-6, you will be working in a small group (either in person or participating remotely). Each week, you will be in charge of leading your peers through at least one problem. This presentation is worth 1% each week. You are expected to prepare for this before class, but it is OK to make mistakes.

Assessment Task 6

Value: 6 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,4

Activities during Lectorials weeks 1-6

During the lectorials, there will be activities such as quizzes or questions to answer. These lectorial activities will be worth a total of 6%, with some marks for participating in activities, and some marks for correct answers in quizzes

Assessment Task 7

Value: 3 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,4

Online quizzes weeks 1-6

As part of your preparation for lectorial on weeks 1-6, you will need to complete a small online quiz on Moodle. This quiz will close before the lectorial starts.

Assessment Task 8

Value: 7 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Online quiz

An online quiz worth 7%, and open after the last computer lab of semester. The final quiz opens 3pm Fri. 28 May (right after end of last workshop) and closes 5pm Tue 1 Jun. Students will have 90 minutes and 1 attempt. Students can take the quiz anytime when it's open, but once they start they have the 90 mins.

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.

Given the largely quantitative and computational nature of this course, then when assessments need to be submitted online we will likely make use of the standard online submission tool and not Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

While as many assessments as possible will be submitted online, we recommend students keep a hard copy of all assessments as appropriate e.g., if you hand write your answers to an assignment and then scan it for online submission, for record keeping purposes.

Late Submission

Late submission 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 working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 5 working days after the due date. Late submission is not available for live activities, in-class tests, online quizzes, and the midterm exam, so late submission of assessment tasks 2,3,5,6 and 7 is not permitted.

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

Feedback will be returned via the Wattle Assignment box.

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

Assignments are not permitted to be resubmitted.

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 Brett Parker

Research Interests

Dr Brett Parker

Monday 11:00 12:00
Dr Brett Parker

Research Interests

Dr Brett Parker

Monday 11:00 12:00
Dr Marcin Adamski

Research Interests

Dr Marcin Adamski

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