• Class Number 3607
  • Term Code 3240
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 to 12 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • EmPr Guillaume Tcherkez
    • Illa Tea
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 02/05/2022
  • Class End Date 15/06/2022
  • Census Date 13/05/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/05/2022
SELT Survey Results

This course allows students to pursue a special topic of individual or small-group study in order to gain particular or additional knowledge in a science topic, usually not covered in courses taught elsewhere in the University. Depending on the topic, students may be required to develop and implement a research plan under the supervision of an academic member of staff; to pursue a guided reading program; to develop and implement a project with external stakeholders and/or practitioners under the supervision of an academic member of staff; and/or to take part in selected lectures, workshops, tutorials, seminars, discussion groups, field trips and other activities.

The details of the topic will be negotiated between the student and the supervisor/s and be approved by the relevant Associate Director(Education).

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Pursue a sustained, guided critical investigation and evaluation of the agreed topic/s.
  2. Systematically identify relevant theory and concepts and draw evidence-based conclusions using appropriate methodology, tools and/or analysis of data.
  3. Explain advanced concepts of the special topic in the relevant scientific discipline/s.
  4. Demonstrate accurate and efficient use of specific techniques relevant to the scientific discipline/s.
  5. Demonstrate capacity for scientific reasoning through analysing, proving and explaining concepts from the scientific discpline/s.

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.

Other Information

See https://www.anu.edu.au/covid-19-advice. In 2022, this course is delivered on campus with adjustments for remote participants. In particular, remote participants will have access to lectures and tutorials via videoconferencing and pracs will in the form of an on-line activity.

Special Topic Description:

This course deals with stable isotopes, across different areas, from biology to earth sciences, environmental studies and medicine. In this course, student will be taught the importance of isotopes in a variety of applications and how they can be used for basic science, environmental monitoring, etc. This course involves different universities (from France, Japan, Poland and Australia) in an international teaching initiative. There be will shared lectures and the course is recognized by partner universities. Students will be introduced to the broad area of of isotopics, which carries many job opportunities in different branches of a modern economy: authentication, detection of doping, food traceability, etc. This course is offered to undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Special Topic Structure:

The course will start from the definition and theory of isotopes and how their quantity can be measured to describe applications in key areas. The course is thus sub-divided into 5 themes arranged in an intensive 4-week course: definitions, biogeochemistry, biology, environment, and human health. This time-frame of 4 weeks is a consequence of the combination of lectures from different universities so that students in the different countries can follow the course at the same time.

Learning Outcomes:

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

1. Pursue a sustained, guided critical investigation and evaluation of topics related to stable isotopes.

2. Systematically identify relevant theory and concepts and draw evidence-based conclusions using appropriate methodology, tools and/or analysis of data.

3. Explain advanced concepts about isotopes in biogeochemistry, environment, medicine and authentication.

4. Demonstrate accurate and efficient understanding of specific techniques relevant to isotopes.

5. Demonstrate capacity for scientific reasoning through analysing, proving and explaining concepts associated with isotope effects and isotope fractionation.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction: This course is delivered intensively in April-May, via lectures given in person or via videoconference (lecturers from overseas). There are also teaching resources on-line (such as videos).
2 Session 1 Stable isotopes: definitions, isotope effects Prac report assignment, Literature review
3 Session 2 Stable isotopes in earth and ecosystem science Quizz (not marked)
4 Session 3 Stable isotopes in biological systems Prac report assignment
5 Session 4 Stable isotopes in pollutions and environmental science Quizz (not marked)
6 Session 5 Stable isotopes in medicine and health None
7 End of course Final exam

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Literature review 25 % 31/05/2022 02/07/2022 1,2,3
Prac reports (2) 25 % 31/05/2022 02/07/2022 3,4,5
Final exam 50 % 02/06/2022 18/06/2022 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:

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.


There are two pracs delivered during this course and thus students will have to provide two prac reports in assessment task 2. Absences must be notified (in advance, if possible) to the course convenor, and accompanied by an application justifying the absence. Only reasons entirely beyond the student’s control and unable to be anticipated and adjusted for at the beginning of the course will be accepted – reasons will be restricted to illness or significant personal crisis, and the accompanying documentation must be a medical certificate or other professional evidence of incapacity to attend. Exemption might be granted upon presentation of a valid medical certificate (or evidence for a clash with another course) prior to, or on the prac date. Requests received after the prac date will be declined and thus the penalty will be applied. Note that pracs can be converted to an activity online if there is a lockdown or if the situation caused by the pandemic does not allow to do pracs in person.


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

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 31/05/2022
Return of Assessment: 02/07/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Literature review

Student will have to complete a brief literature review in the form of an on-line MCQ test dealing with (2 to 6) papers given by the convener (made available on line on Extradoc [the common system chosen for this international course] at the beginning of the course). The objective of this assignment is for you to demonstrate (i) your understanding of principles and impacts of isotopic technologies used in articles, and (ii) your ability to handle information contained in several papers to articulate general conclusions.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 31/05/2022
Return of Assessment: 02/07/2022
Learning Outcomes: 3,4,5

Prac reports (2)

The objective of this assignment is for you to demonstrate your understanding of the techniques used in the two pracs. This assignment also aims to assess your ability in data analysis, and critical evaluation of your results in conjunction with the practical. This assignment will not be used to assess your ability in writing: prac reports will be as forms to fill in (lab document given at the beginning of the course) and to upload on extradoc. This will facilitate your work and save time.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 02/06/2022
Return of Assessment: 18/06/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Final exam

This exam consists of both multiple choice questions and short answer questions, to demonstrate your understanding of the content and general principles of the course lectures. 

Please check the course Wattle site and the ANU Examination Timetable to confirm the date, time and location of the final exam. Due to the pandemic, the final exam should in principle be organised online.

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

Due to the international organization of this course, submission of assignments will have to be done via the web site of the partner University (university of Nantes, France), Extradoc.

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

No submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date will be permitted. If an assessment task is not submitted by the due date, a mark of 0 will be awarded. As per ANU rules, any request for an extension MUST be sent before the due date, with supporting documents (such as a valid medical certificate). Extension requests received after the due date will be declined.

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

Assignments have to be returned on-line on the course website on Extradoc (which is the common platform for the different countries involved in this course), not via Turnitin nor Wattle.

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

Resubmission is not permitted.

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).
EmPr Guillaume Tcherkez
02 6125 0381

Research Interests

Plant physiology, Isotopes, Metabolomics, Fluxomics

EmPr Guillaume Tcherkez

Wednesday 14:30 16:30
Illa Tea

Research Interests

Illa Tea

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