• Class Number 6121
  • Term Code 3160
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • AsPr Barry Croke
    • AsPr Barry Croke
    • Dr Joseph Guillaume
    • Prof Anthony Jakeman
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 26/07/2021
  • Class End Date 29/10/2021
  • Census Date 14/09/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/08/2021
SELT Survey Results

Offered in association with Fenner School.

In this course the major model types used to represent environmental systems are studied. Mathematical emphasis on how they are constructed will use the theory of inverse problems while the practical emphasis uses systems methodology. The focus will be on hydrological systems and their basic processes, combined with the constraints imposed by the limitations of real observational data.

It will be assumed that students have a reasonable grasp of different model types (time series, PDE/ODE-based models, frequency domain models) as well as understanding of the issue of uncertainty in model inputs, structure and observed outputs.

The assessment of the course will be based on written reports on selected papers, as well as a project exploring a particular paper/model in more detail. The key component of the project will be proposing potential improvements in the work done, and doing at least some initial work on evaluating these improvements. This will include components of:

  • analytical evaluation of model behaviour

  • coding the original and improved versions of the model and conducting sensitivity analysis

  • exploration of structure of uncertainty in model inputs.

  • Propagating uncertainty in inputs through the model

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:

  1. Describe the basic processes and behaviour of different environmental systems and the major methods of modelling these (e.g. model family selection, model structure identification, parameter estimation, sensitivity assessment, optimisation).
  2. Be able to apply the concept of tradeoffs and uncertainty sources in decision-making and optimisation through critical evaluation of case studies referring to hydrology, ecology, water quality and socioeconomics.
  3. Evaluate the issues in building and evaluating models; formulate treatment of complex real-world problems (not just environmental problems); and select appropriate frameworks and methods to solve these, including using computer platforms and the statistical R package.
  4. Communicate and engage with interest groups involved in a problem; and appreciate how integrated assessment can be used for managing our environment more sustainably, and the valuable role played by modelling.
  5. Build a model of a system, drawing on an existing understanding of the typical behaviour of the system and available data.
  6. Be able to critically evaluate the limitations of a model, and identify and conduct research that will enable improvements in the model.

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

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 Introduction to environmental modelling and modelling practices
2 statistics and modelling: measuring model performance, interpolation, correlation
3 Hydrological modelling
4 Hydromad prac and pathogen modelling Report on hydrological modelling computer lab (due week 5) Scoping document for project due
5 Numerical issues, sensitivity analysis methods
6 Sampling methods (Monte Carlo, Latin hypercube, quasi MC) + discussion on projects/course so far
7 Bayesian networks and assignment 1 presentations report and presentation for assignment 1
8 Data assimilation and uncertainty [Data assimilation presented by Luigi Renzullo (FSES, ANU)
9 Uncertainty (numerical approximations) report of Assignment 2
10 Regional Climate modelling and forecasting [Regional climate modelling presented by Fei Ji (NSW DPIE); forecasting by Julien Lerat (Bureau of Meteorology)]
11 Project presentations
12 flood plan inundation and ecology, example application (assessing Bradfield schemes) [flood plain inundation and ecology presented by Jin Teng (CSIRO)] Project reports due

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
project scoping document 5 % 16/08/2021 25/09/2021 4
Hydromad lab report 5 % 23/08/2021 27/09/2021 3,5
Assignment 1 report 15 % 20/09/2021 11/10/2021 1,2,4,6
presentation for assignment 1 5 % 20/09/2021 01/11/2021 4
Assignment 2 report 15 % 07/10/2021 01/11/2021 1,2,4,6
Presentation of project work 5 % 21/10/2021 15/11/2021 4
Project report 50 % 29/10/2021 22/11/2021 1,2,3,4,5,6

* 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.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 5 %
Due Date: 16/08/2021
Return of Assessment: 25/09/2021
Learning Outcomes: 4

project scoping document

You are required to provide an outline of project being undertaken, what literature has been identified as being relevant, list of any data that will be used in this work. Assessment will be based on demonstrated understanding of the issue being explored, and writing style.

Word limit: 500

value: 5%

Assessment Task 2

Value: 5 %
Due Date: 23/08/2021
Return of Assessment: 27/09/2021
Learning Outcomes: 3,5

Hydromad lab report

You will be required to demonstrate ability to use the Hydromad R package, showing results obtained for the selected dataset through plots and tables generated within R, or using the results obtained from the Hydromad package.

value: 5%

Assessment Task 3

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 20/09/2021
Return of Assessment: 11/10/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4,6

Assignment 1 report

You are required to provide your personal impression of the selected paper. Your essay will be marked on the basis of your demonstrated understanding and coverage of issues. This will include justification of your impressions, using either supporting material (e.g. other published papers), mathematics or logical arguments.

Word limit: 1000

Value: 15%

Assessment Task 4

Value: 5 %
Due Date: 20/09/2021
Return of Assessment: 01/11/2021
Learning Outcomes: 4

presentation for assignment 1

You will be assessed on your presentation style. This includes use of visual aids, and ability to engage the audience.

value: 5%

Assessment Task 5

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 07/10/2021
Return of Assessment: 01/11/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4,6

Assignment 2 report

You are required to provide your personal impression of the paper. Your essay will be marked on the basis of your demonstrated understanding and coverage of issues. This will include justification of your impressions, using either supporting material (e.g. other published papers), mathematics or logical arguments.

Word limit: 1000

Value: 15%

Assessment Task 6

Value: 5 %
Due Date: 21/10/2021
Return of Assessment: 15/11/2021
Learning Outcomes: 4

Presentation of project work

This presentation will summarise the project, focusing on communicating to the class the key outputs. The presentation will be assessed in terms of the presentation style, use of visual aids, and engaging the audience.

value: 5%

Assessment Task 7

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 29/10/2021
Return of Assessment: 22/11/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6

Project report

You will be required to develop a model as part of your project, making use of the methods taught in the course.

Assessment will be based on the review of the available literature, the mathematical basis of the work, the logic of the argument presented, the use of graphical aids where appropriate and the overall writing style.

Word limit: 4000

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

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.

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

Returning assessed items will depend on the submission method (electronic or hardcopy). Feedback on most assessment items will normally be provided to the student within two weeks of submission.

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.

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 Barry Croke

Research Interests

AsPr Barry Croke

Monday 11:00 12:00
Monday 11:00 12:00
AsPr Barry Croke

Research Interests

AsPr Barry Croke

Monday 11:00 12:00
Monday 11:00 12:00
Dr Joseph Guillaume

Research Interests

Dr Joseph Guillaume

Prof Anthony Jakeman

Research Interests

Prof Anthony Jakeman

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