• Class Number 4269
  • Term Code 3250
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Saul Cunningham
    • Dr Cara Moore
    • Prof Saul Cunningham
    • Shoshana Rapley
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 05/09/2022
  • Class End Date 11/10/2022
  • Census Date 16/09/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 16/09/2022
SELT Survey Results

To work effectively as a professional in environmental science and environmental management you need to apply a range of knowledge and skills in a practical context. This course provides hands-on opportunities for you to apply your theoretical understanding to critical observation and measurement of biodiversity, biogeography, landscape ecology, soil-vegetation processes and sustainable land management. You will develop skills in describing soils and landforms, measuring vegetation patterns, identifying habitat features and detecting faunal associations. You will learn to appreciate how soils, landforms, vegetation and fauna should be considered holistically in research and decision-making. 

The course is based at the ANU Kioloa coastal campus for four nights during the second week of the mid-semester break, as well as day long field trips from the ANU Canberra campus during the first week.  You will be contributing to long-term field research informing management decisions across a range of biomes (farmland, forests, coastal and intertidal). The field work is complemented by pre-field trip workshops. 

This course develops a diversity of field skills for graduates seeking careers in all fields of natural resource management.  It provides mandatory field training for those students concurrently enrolled in ENVS2001 Biodiversity Science: Wildlife, Vegetation and Landscape Ecology. Students enrolled in ENVS2023 Sustainable Agricultural Systems are strongly encouraged to consider enrolling in this course.


Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Collect a diversity of data that describe the biophysical attributes and processes of ecosystems.
  2. Recognise and understand strengths and weaknesses of a range of field sampling techniques and survey designs.
  3. Demonstrate a capacity to choose appropriate data collection methodology, design appropriate sampling strategies and communicate findings about ecosystem patterns, processes and resource management impacts.

Research-Led Teaching

In this course you will participate fully in the ecological research process beginning with developing research questions and posing testable hypotheses in the context of the impact of landscape processes on biodiversity function, structure and composition. You will be involved in applying and analysing appropriate field methods within the constraints of the survey designs and available resources. You will be collecting data appropriate for testing a range of hypotheses. We expect the data to be suitable for eventual publication in peer reviewed scientific journal(s).

We will not have time to rigorously analyse the collected data during the Field Course itself. Though you are asked to reflect on some simple summaries of the results (Tables and Figures). The primary focus for the Field School is to experience and reflect deeply upon the ecological research process, rather than the actual results.

Field Trips

This intensive course is structured around field trips. The class will be split into two cohorts. One cohort will spend the first week doing field trips in the Canberra region, focusing on landscapes and soils. Their second week will be spent at the Kioloa Coastal Campus (staying for 4 nights), focusing on assessing biodiversity. The groups will then rotate for the second half of the intensive course. There are additional field trip fees of $420 applicable to participation in this course (payment to ANU Science Shop).

Please see the Fenner School Day Field Trip page and the Environmental Science Field School for more information.

All field trips are compulsory, absence from a field trip without a medical certificate will result in a Incomplete Fail (NCN) result.

Additional Course Costs

There are additional field trip fees of $420 applicable to participation in this course (payment to ANU Science Shop).

Examination Material or equipment

There is no final (formal) exam, but rather a range of assessments described in detail on Wattle.

Required Resources

Personal Protective Equipment:

  • Students need to provide sturdy shoes, rain pants and jacket, hat.
  • The School will provide High visibility vests.

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.

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:

You will be provided written feedback on your learning journal and research design and oral feedback throughout the field school. Your field work will be under the supervision of experienced field researchers as all times.

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 This is an intensive course delivered in two sessions: Week 1: 5-9 September Week 2: 12-16 September The class will be split into two cohorts. One cohort will spend the first week doing field trips in the Canberra region, focusing on landscapes and soils. Their second week will be spent at the Kioloa Coastal Campus (staying for 4 nights), focusing on assessing biodiversity. The other cohort will experience the same course content, but with week 1 in Kioloa and week two in the Canberra region.

Tutorial Registration


Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Quiz on pre-course reading 20 % 05/09/2022 07/09/2022 2,3
Reflective learning journal 30 % 02/10/2022 16/10/2022 2, 3
Group data analysis and reflections 20 % 16/09/2022 16/10/2022 1,2,3
Group data management 10 % 16/09/2022 16/10/2022 1,2,3
Research reports 20 % 02/10/2022 16/10/2022 1,2,3

* 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 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.


All field trips are compulsory. Absences require a medical certificate. Attendance is taken at each field location.


No formal exam.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 05/09/2022
Return of Assessment: 07/09/2022
Learning Outcomes: 2,3

Quiz on pre-course reading

The quiz (multiple choice or short answers) is based on material provided on Wattle

Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 02/10/2022
Return of Assessment: 16/10/2022
Learning Outcomes: 2, 3

Reflective learning journal

Word Count: Maximum = 3000

Provide reflections on what you saw, heard and learned during the two weeks in the field. Feel free to include photos and/or sketches – be creative. This is NOT a day to day diary of what you did, but we suggest you keep daily ‘field notes’ and use them to help inform and develop your key learnings and reflections. We encourage you to reflect upon your experience of the research process we’ve dropped you into. We also expect you to reflect on how the issues we addressed in our field research are relevant to people and to solving practical problems.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 16/09/2022
Return of Assessment: 16/10/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Group data analysis and reflections

You will be assigned to teams at the beginning of the course. Each team will deliver a 15 minute presentation focusing on one of the research questions examined during the field work. Presentations will be 15 minutes long and delivered on the final day of the course.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 16/09/2022
Return of Assessment: 16/10/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Group data management

You will be assigned to teams at the beginning of the course. In your team you will be required to manage the data for one of the research questions examined during the field work.

Your data will be used by others in the course and contribute to long-term monitoring.Your group will be assessed on the rigour and completeness of your data management.

Assessment Task 5

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 02/10/2022
Return of Assessment: 16/10/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Research reports

Prepare and submit two technical reports, one for each week/theme (ie landscapes and biodiversity). Each report should focus on one of the research questions examined during the field work. The report must present an examination of field collected data. You will be required to compile (summarise) this data and reflect on what it means ecologically. Technical reports are a common format in many environmental science jobs. You will be provided with model report that indicates typical format and style.

Academic Integrity

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.

Online Submission

Online Submission: The written assignments (Research Design and Learning Journal) must be 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.

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

My written comments will be shown on your document submitted through Turnitin, remember to click on ‘GradeMark’ to see the comments. Marks for other assignments will be shown on the Wattle Grade book.

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

Due to time constraints, there is no capacity to resubmit assignments.

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).

Prof Saul Cunningham

Research Interests

Ecology, conservation, biodiversity

Prof Saul Cunningham

By Appointment
By Appointment
Dr Cara Moore

Research Interests

Dr Cara Moore

Prof Saul Cunningham

Research Interests

Prof Saul Cunningham

By Appointment
By Appointment
Shoshana Rapley

Research Interests

Shoshana Rapley

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