• Class Number 6229
  • Term Code 3450
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Saul Cunningham
    • Dr Leah Moore
    • Prof Saul Cunningham
    • Shoshana Rapley
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 02/09/2024
  • Class End Date 11/10/2024
  • Census Date 13/09/2024
  • Last Date to Enrol 13/09/2024
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 and soil-vegetation processes. 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 in research and decision-making. 

The course is an in person intensive immersing students in field work throughout the mid-semester break. Week 1 involves day long field trips from the ANU Canberra campus and week 2 is based at the ANU Kioloa coastal campus for four nights. 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.

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 methods, 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 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. For week one we will do field trips in the Canberra region, focusing on landscapes and soils. Week two will be spent at the Kioloa Coastal Campus (staying for 4 nights), focusing on assessing biodiversity. There are additional field trip fees of $420 applicable to participation in this course (payment to ANU Science Shop).

Please see the CoS Field Trip page 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). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 This is an intensive course delivered in two sessions:Week 1: 2-6 SeptemberWeek 2: 9-13 SeptemberThe first week we will do field trips in the Canberra region, focusing on landscapes and soils. The second week will be spent at the Kioloa Coastal Campus (staying for 4 nights), focusing on assessing biodiversity.

Tutorial Registration


Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Online Quiz 10 % 02/09/2024 05/09/2024 2,3
Reflective learning journal 40 % 30/09/2024 01/11/2024 1,2, 3
Group work 30 % 13/09/2024 01/11/2024 1,2,3
Research report 20 % 08/10/2024 01/11/2024 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 Integrity 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 Skills website. 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: 10 %
Due Date: 02/09/2024
Return of Assessment: 05/09/2024
Learning Outcomes: 2,3

Online Quiz

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

Assessment Task 2

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 30/09/2024
Return of Assessment: 01/11/2024
Learning Outcomes: 1,2, 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: 30 %
Due Date: 13/09/2024
Return of Assessment: 01/11/2024
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Group work

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: 20 %
Due Date: 08/10/2024
Return of Assessment: 01/11/2024
Learning Outcomes: 3

Research report

Prepare and submit a technical report, exploring themes of the course (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. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

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

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material. Any use of artificial intelligence must be properly referenced. Failure to properly cite use of Generative AI will be considered a breach of academic integrity.

Returning Assignments

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).

  • ANU Health, safety & wellbeing for medical services, counselling, mental health and spiritual support
  • ANU Accessibility 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 supports you make your own decisions about how you learn and manage your workload.
  • ANU Counselling promotes, supports and enhances mental health and wellbeing within the University student community.
  • ANUSA supports and represents all ANU students
Prof Saul Cunningham

Research Interests

Ecology, conservation, biodiversity

Prof Saul Cunningham

By Appointment
By Appointment
Dr Leah Moore

Research Interests

Ecology, conservation, biodiversity

Dr Leah Moore

Prof Saul Cunningham

Research Interests

Ecology, conservation, biodiversity

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