ENVR11011 - Fundamentals of Environmental Science
Term 1 - 2017


All details in this unit profile for ENVR11011 have been officially approved by CQUniversity and represent a learning partnership between the University and you (our student). The information will not be changed unless absolutely necessary and any change will be clearly indicated by an approved correction included in the profile.

Overview

This unit aims to develop an awareness of the value of the application of scientific knowledge and methods to problems of environmental concern. This unit is designed to be of interest to both non-science and science majors. Topics covered are: The environment, human population, resources and pollution; ecosystems, community structure and genetic diversity; structure of the atmosphere and air pollution; energy - alternate sources and conservation; and nuclear power and environmental consequences and waste management.

Details

Career Level Undergraduate
Unit Level Level 1
Credit Points 6
Student Contribution Band 2
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load 0.125

Attendance Requirements

All on-campus students are expected to attend scheduled classes – in some units, these classes are identified as a mandatory (pass/fail) component and attendance is compulsory. International students, on a student visa, must maintain a full time study load and meet both attendance and academic progress requirements in each study period (satisfactory attendance for International students is defined as maintaining at least an 80% attendance record).

Offerings

Term 1 - 2017
  • Bundaberg
  • Distance
  • Rockhampton

Website

This unit has a website, within the Moodle system, which is available two weeks before the start of term. It is important that you visit your Moodle site throughout the term. Go to Moodle

Recommended Student Time Commitment

Each 6-credit Undergraduate unit at CQUniversity requires an overall time commitment of an average of 12.5 hours of study per week, making a total of 150 hours for the unit.

Class Timetable

Assessment Overview

Assessment Task Weighting
1. Group Discussion 20%
2. Practical and Written Assessment 20%
3. Presentation 20%
4. Online Test 40%

This is a graded unit: your overall grade will be calculated from the marks or grades for each assessment task, based on the relative weightings shown in the table above. You must obtain an overall mark for the unit of at least 50%, or an overall grade of ‘pass’ in order to pass the unit. If any ‘pass/fail’ tasks are shown in the table above they must also be completed successfully (‘pass’ grade). You must also meet any minimum mark requirements specified for a particular assessment task, as detailed in the ‘assessment task’ section (note that in some instances, the minimum mark for a task may be greater than 50%). Consult the University’s Grades and Results Procedures for more details of interim results and final grades.

All University policies are available on the IMPortal.

You may wish to view these policies:

  • Grades and Results Procedure
  • Assessment Policy and Procedure (Higher Education Coursework)
  • Review of Grade Procedure
  • Academic Misconduct Procedure
  • Monitoring Academic Progress (MAP) Policy and Procedure – Domestic Students
  • Monitoring Academic Progress (MAP) Policy and Procedure – International Students
  • Refund and Excess Payments (Credit Balances) Policy and Procedure
  • Student Feedback – Compliments and Complaints Policy and Procedure
  • Acceptable Use of Information and Communications Technology Facilities and Devices Policy and Procedure

This list is not an exhaustive list of all University policies. The full list of University policies are available on the IMPortal.

Feedback, Recommendations and Responses

Every unit is reviewed for enhancement each year. At the most recent review, the following staff and student feedback items were identified and recommendations were made.

Feedback Source Recommendation
Numerous comments received praised the many variations & innovations in content delivery, forums, assessment items, model answers, and high level of engagement; the learning, understanding, & practical application gained from assessments; the practical & applied perspective; and the lecturer's succinctness, support, attention to detail, promptness, helpfulness, openness, humour. Moodle site, evaluations, email, class (incl. Bb Coll sessions). To continue with these aspects, but also continue to refine and polish.
A couple of aspects were raised a couple of times in evaluation feedback as needing attention with a view to improvement: lecture length (a couple of comments re too long), and the final assessment online test (a couple of comments suggesting some aspects were inappropriate). Moodle evaluation These aspects will be reviewed. Regarding the online test, it will be important all course participants understand clearly the nature of the test, and the relevant instructions are clear; that participants continue to see weekly forums and tutorials as training, see the relevance of course content, and are aware of the likely input commitment required.
On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
  1. Apply scientific understanding to a discussion of environmental problems.
  2. Evaluate possible solutions to environmental problems.
  3. Communicate the scientific basis of environmental processes to general audiences.
  4. Use practical skills for the scientific study of the environment.
  5. Acquire, interpret, present and report basic experimental data.

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes

Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5
1 - Group Discussion          
2 - Practical and Written Assessment  
3 - Presentation    
4 - Online Test      

Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes

  • Introductory Level
  • Intermediate Level
  • Graduate Level
Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5
1. Communication      
2. Problem Solving        
3. Critical Thinking    
4. Information Literacy
5. Team Work        
6. Information Technology Competence    
7. Cross Cultural Competence          
8. Ethical practice    

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes

  • Introductory Level
  • Intermediate Level
  • Graduate Level
Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1 - Group Discussion          
2 - Practical and Written Assessment        
3 - Presentation    
4 - Online Test          

Prescribed Textbooks

Environment:the science behind the stories
Author/s: Withgott, J & Brennan, S. Year: 2014
Edition: 5th edn Publisher: Benjamin Cummings (imprint of Pearson)
City: San Francisco State: CA
Country: USA
View textbooks at the CQUniversity Bookshop
Note:

If you are reading this, you are contemplating joining us in ENVR11011 Fundamentals of Environmental Science - please do, and welcome!

This book is the prescribed text for this course, and you really will use it!

It covers many of our course topics well, and and is written in an easily read style.

For the same reasons, this text also is the prescribed text in the second term course ENVR11012 Applications of Environmental Science (the sibling course to ENVR11011).

Students are welcome to purchase the electronic textbook if they wish.

IT Resources

You will need access to the following IT resources:
  • CQUniversity Student Email
  • Recent computer/laptop with sufficient hard drive & memory size & processing speed, plus adequate Internet access and connection reliability to facilitate significant uploads/downloads/video streaming and sustained lengthy connections (e.g. lecture downloads, real time oral presentations conference), with microphone and speakers (built-in or external) OR microphone+speaker headset (approx. maximum cost $20 for adequate cheap set).
  • Internet
  • Unit Website (Moodle)
  • Recent (not necessarily latest) computer software including Microsoft Word, Excel, & PowerPoint; Adobe reader, Java or ability to download same and other required software to enable Blackboard Collaborate sessions (available free via course Moodle website).
  • A good brain willing to explore new and old concepts!
All submissions for this unit must use the Harvard (author-date) referencing style (details can be obtained here). For further information, see the Assessment Tasks below.
Unit CoordinatorBret Heath (b.heath@cqu.edu.au)
Note: Check the Term-Specific section for any additional contact information provided by the teaching team
Week Begin Date Module/Topic Chapter Events and Submissions
Week 1 06-03-2017

Unit welcome and introduction

Fundamentals I: concepts underpinning the discipline of environmental science.

Textbook Ch 1 (and our Week 1 study notes).

Introduce yourself in this week's 'Forum posts'.

Week 2 13-03-2017

Fundamentals II: demography, and the environmental problem of people.

Textbook Ch 8 (and our Week 2 study notes).

Nominations for Online Oral Presentation session times opens at 6:00 pm Friday March 17, 2017.

Week 3 20-03-2017

Fundamentals III: the chemistry and physics of Earth systems.

Textbook Ch 2 (and our Week 3 study notes).

Week 3 Forum Post opens 9:00 am AEST Monday, March 20, 2017 and closes 9:00 am AEST Monday, March 27, 2017.

Nominations for Online Oral Presentation Session times close at 6:00 pm Thursday March 23, 2017. Student sessions and presentation times will be announced on Sunday, March 26, 2017.

Week 4 27-03-2017

Fundamentals IV: biological resources and interactions.

Textbook Ch 3 & 4 (and our Week 4 study notes).

Home Sustainablility Audit (HSA) Task 1: conduct the audit from Friday 31 March, 11:59 pm AEST until Sunday 2 April, 11:59 pm AEST.

Week 5 03-04-2017

Major global issue: fuels and energy.

Textbook Ch 19 (and our Week 5 study notes).

Home Sustainability Audit Task 2: Submit online worksheets and spreadsheets completed for HSA Task 1 and download comparisons before 11:59 pm AEST, Wednesday 6 April, 2017.

Week 5 Forum Post opens 9:00 am AEST Monday, April 3, 2017 and closes 9:00 am AEST Monday, April 10, 2017.

Vacation Week 10-04-2017
Week 6 17-04-2017

Major global issue: alternative energy solutions.

Textbook Ch 20 & 21 (and our Week 6 study notes).

Home Sustainability Audit Task 3: Upload your final report, including comparisons and all required items to Moodle by 11:45 pm Tuesday, April 18, 2017.

Week 7 24-04-2017

Major global issue: mining and resource extraction.

Textbook Ch 23 (and our Week 7 study notes).

Week 7 Forum Post opens 9:00 am AEST Monday, April 24, 2017 and closes 9:00 am AEST Monday, May 1, 2017.

Week 8 01-05-2017

Major global issue: air pollution (and basic atmospheric science).

Textbook Ch 17 (and our Week 8 study notes).

Online Oral Presentation slides (3 to 4) are due by 11:45 pm AEST Thursday, May 4, 2017. Slides are to be submitted online via Moodle.

Week 9 08-05-2017

Major global issue: accelerated global climate change.

Textbook Ch 18 (and our Week 9 study notes).

Online Oral Presentations occur during this week. Your session and presentation time are available on Moodle.

Week 9 Forum Post opens 9:00 am AEST Monday, May 8, 2017 and closes 9:00 am AEST Monday, May 15, 2017.

Week 10 15-05-2017

Major global issue: waste (part 1 - generation).

Textbook Ch 22 (and our Week 10 study notes).

Week 11 22-05-2017

Major global issue: waste (part 2 - management).

Textbook Ch 22 (and our Week 11 study notes).

Week 11 Assessable Forum Post opens 9:00 am AEST Monday, May 22, 2017 and closes 9:00 am AEST Monday, May 29, 2017.

Week 12 29-05-2017

Major global issue: sustainable communities (then brief unit review).

Textbook Ch 24 (no study notes).

End of term Online Test opens at 11:45 pm AEST Thursday June 1, 2017 and closes at 11:45 pm AEST Saturday, June 3, 2017. Please allow 6 hours to complete this assessment.

End-of-term Online Test Due Thursday (01 Jun 17) 11:45 PM AEST
Review/Exam Week 05-06-2017
Exam Week 12-06-2017

There is no formal examination in this unit (but see end-of-term online test requirement above).

1 Group Discussion

Assessment Title Forum Posts
Task Description

Forum Posts (20%)

You will need to access the specific requirements, dates, and resources published on the Moodle site (click on the appropriate link in the 'Assessment' box), however a general description is published here.

Every other week of the term, beginning in Week 1, you are required to participate in an online discussion that will relate to the previous two weeks' lecture content.A 'model' answer and other feedback will be posted by the teaching team once the period for student posts has closed. Posts after the close date will not receive any marks.

There is a word limit on each post of 500 words, excluding citations. Dot points are acceptable.

Past experience indicates a strong relationship between student participation (especially forum participation) and student success in this unit.

Assessment Due Date Forums will open at 9.00am AEST on Monday of weeks 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11 and the forum will close one week later on Monday 9.00am AEST of weeks 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12, respectively.
Return Date to Students Week 12 Friday (02-Jun-2017)
Forum posts will be read in detail and feedback and marks provided on a fortnightly basis. All marks for this assessment activity will be collated in Week 12.
Weighting 20%
Assessment Criteria

In this unit you will be graded on your constructive participation rather than solely on the accuracy of your answer (i.e. there is no one correct answer).

Note that 'constructive participation' is defined here as providing a reasoned rationale based on environmental science principles and supported by evidence (not just stating agreement or disagreement with an earlier post or the topic question), and means a post must include some new relevant information (not simply restating or paraphrasing the views expressed in earlier posts to the forum).

Note that the Week 1 forum is not graded but please contribute just the same. You should participate constructively and within the relevant timeframes in the remaining 5 forums to score full marks (i.e., at 4 marks per forum for a maximum 20% of total unit marks).

  • 1 mark — A disorganized response marred by spelling and grammar mistakes that is otherwise reasonable;
  • 2 marks — a well-organized and reasonable response with few errors in spelling and grammar;
  • 3 marks — a well-organized and reasonable response with few errors in spelling and grammar and appropriate references; and
  • 4 marks — a well-reasoned and well-organized response with few errors in spelling and grammar containing arguments supported with appropriate references.
Conditions Minimum mark or grade - 40%
Referencing Style Harvard (author-date)
Submission Online

Make at least one post to each fortnightly 'Forum Post' before that discussion closes.

Graduate Attributes
This section can be expanded to view the assessed graduate attributes

1. Communication

2. Problem Solving

3. Critical Thinking



2 Practical and Written Assessment

Assessment Title Home Sustainability Audit (HSA)
Task Description

Home Sustainability Audit (HSA, 20%)

You will need to access the specific requirements, dates, and resources published on Moodle (click on the appropriate link in the 'Assessment' box), however a general description is published here.

This assessment requires you to conduct a home sustainability audit (HSA) of your home and your activities (e.g., resource consumption, waste generation and disposal) over a weekend (April 1 and 2, 2017), and to use that data to put your ecological footprint into context. You will be able to perform the HSA irrespective of your location at the time - even if you are on a mine site, in college accommodation, etc. - this location will represent your 'home' at the time for the purposes of this activity. If you have questions about what constitutes a 'home', please email me.

This assessment activity involves three tasks, with each task requiring completion on a different date, as follows.

1. Undertake the home sustainability audit by recording the required data and answers to questions in worksheets and Excel spreadsheets downloaded from the Moodle site. The audit period for all students will be from 2359 hrs (11.59 pm) AEST Friday 31 March, 2017 through to 2359 hrs (11.59 pm) AEST Sunday 2 April, 2017.

2. Upload the completed worksheets and spreadsheets to the Moodle site by 2345 hrs (11.45 pm) AEST Wednesday 5 April, 2017. At the same time, download from the Moodle site the comparison audit results provided by the lecturer for the purposes of comparing with your audit results (Task 3 below).

3. Complete your HSA report as describe on Moodle, and upload your final report (comparisons, graphs/charts, and answers to the questions) by 2345 hrs (11.45 pm) AEST Tuesday 18 April, 2017. Uploading your final report completes the Home Sustainability Audit assessment task.

Please note that it is assumed you have basic word processing skills and chart construction using Microsoft Word and Excel, respectively. Short videos on these topics are available on the Environmental Science Gateway Moodle site.

Assessment Due Date HSA Task 1 — Undertake Home Sustainability audit over Week 4 weekend (from 11:59 pm AEST Friday 31 March, 2017 until 11:59 pm AEST Sunday 2 April, 2017); HSA Task 2 — Submit your completed HSA worksheets and spreadsheets to Moodle by 11:45PM AEST Wednesday, April 5, 2017; HSA Task 3 — Upload your final report, including comparisons and all required, items to Moodle by 11:45PM Tuesday, April 18, 2017.
Return Date to Students Week 9 Monday (08-May-2017)
Marked assignments will be returned to students and grades will appear in Moodle gradebook.
Weighting 20%
Assessment Criteria

Tasks 2 and 3 of this assessment (Task 2 and 3) will receive marks (Task 2: using criterion 1 below & Task 3: using criteria 2-4 below) that put together will provide you with a total mark (out of 20 possible marks) for the entire assessment activity.

Your work will be assessed according to the following four criteria (5 marks each):

  1. Evidence of your ability to collect (i.e. Task 1), collate and present data accurately and in a manner interpreted easily by others;
  2. Your demonstrated knowledge of scientific content related to issues of energy, water and waste as appropriate to our coverage in the course lectures, your ability to research the relevant topic areas in our textbook and elsewhere, and your answers to questions asked;
  3. Your demonstrated ability to find information and evidence from your spreadsheets, documents and lecture notes, and elsewhere, and to apply this to higher-level questions provided to you (such as those questions asking for your 'educated opinion' as a trainee environmental scientist, etc.); and
  4. Evidence of your ability to communicate scientifically and clearly using appropriate terminology, the quality of your writing and technical presentation skills, and the correct use of references, formatting of references and bibliography.
Conditions Minimum mark or grade - 40%
Referencing Style Harvard (author-date)
Submission Online

There will be multiple links on Moodle for this task. Please pay close attention to instructions provided on the Moodle site throughout the term, and to required (multiple) submission dates.

Learning Outcomes Assessed
This section can be expanded to view the assessed learning outcomes

1. Apply scientific understanding to a discussion of environmental problems.

2. Evaluate possible solutions to environmental problems.

4. Use practical skills for the scientific study of the environment.

5. Acquire, interpret, present and report basic experimental data.

Graduate Attributes
This section can be expanded to view the assessed graduate attributes

1. Communication

3. Critical Thinking

4. Information Literacy

6. Information Technology Competence



3 Presentation

Assessment Title Online Oral Presentation
Task Description

Online Oral Presentation at the 'Annual ENVR11011 Conference' (20%)

You will need to access the specific requirements, dates, advice and resources published on the Moodle site (click on the appropriate link in the 'Assessment' box).

Your task is to prepare a PowerPoint presentation on a topic of your choice (but within the requirements laid out on Moodle). This will be delivered online to a live audience of other ENVR11011 students and a member of the teaching team. You must also attend your presentation session (see below) and view all other presentations in your session.

There are three requirements:

  1. Nominate your preferred presentation sessions (nominations open at end of Week 2 and close in Week 3);
  2. Submit 3 to 4 completed PowerPoint slides by 2345 hrs (11.45 pm) AEST Thursday 4 May (Week 8); and
  3. Attend the entirety of your nominated 'conference' session, including your own presentation, in Week 9.

The setting for this assessment activity is the 'Annual ENVR11011 online conference', a mock online environmental conference that will run over a series of days in Week 9. Like a 'real' conference, this conference will be divided into sessions, within which you and your fellow students will present. You will be able to nominate (via the Moodle site) which of the conference sessions you would like to present in. There will be weekday, evening, and weekend slots available. However, numbers permitted in each session will be limited so choose early to to get a session that best fits your schedule. Session nominations will be open from the end of Week 2 until Thursday, Week 3. The session you are in will be confirmed at the end of Week 3.

You will be required to attend your online session 15 minutes before the published start time, and to remain in attendance for the allocated time (maximum three hours). In order to present your work and participate in the conference, you will employ an online conferencing system known as Zoom (free). Details about how to access and use Zoom will be provided by Week 3.

You will only transmit your PowerPoint slides and audio during the presentation. This will minimise bandwidth to ensure students with poor internet connection are not disadvantaged.

Assessment Due Date Nominate your presentation session starting at the end of Week 2 and ending 11:45 pm AEST Thursday, March 23, 2017; Submit 3 to 4 completed PowerPoint slides by 2345 hrs (11.45 pm) AEST Thursday 4 May, 2017; Attend the entirety of your nominated 'conference' session and deliver your presentation in Week 9.
Return Date to Students Week 10 Friday (19-May-2017)
Marks and feedback delivered in Moodle gradebook.
Weighting 20%
Assessment Criteria

Your online oral presentation will be assessed using the following criteria:

  1. Have you accurately identified and explained the environmental problem/need for a modified approach (i.e., what is the problem?) (10 marks);
  2. Have you identified and explained the scientific background of this environmental problem/need for a modified approach (i.e., the science of why it is a problem) (10 marks);
  3. Have you described in layperson's terms the new 'approach' (10 marks);
  4. Have you described, with evidence, how the implemented new 'approach' reduced or fixed the problem (10 marks);
  5. Have you developed a high quality presentation including staying within prescribed constraints (10 marks); and
  6. Have you handled questions ably and demonstrated knowledge and research of your topic area and the related scientific principles (10 marks).

Please note 'pretty' slides do not attract more marks, but clear presentations with simple text, good quality pictures or diagrams, and simple design, etc., are much more desirable!! Information to help you with this will be available on Moodle.

The criterion sheet/marking sheet to be used for this assessment will be available on Moodle by Week 3.

Conditions Minimum mark or grade - 40%
Referencing Style Harvard (author-date)
Submission Online

Choose and research your topic, and construct and upload your finished PowerPoint slides (only your slides and not the actual text of your spoken presentation), and nominate online your preferred conference session (in which to present in Week 9), no later than 2345 hours (11.45 pm) AEST Friday, 6 May (end of Week 8).

Learning Outcomes Assessed
This section can be expanded to view the assessed learning outcomes

1. Apply scientific understanding to a discussion of environmental problems.

2. Evaluate possible solutions to environmental problems.

3. Communicate the scientific basis of environmental processes to general audiences.

Graduate Attributes
This section can be expanded to view the assessed graduate attributes

1. Communication

2. Problem Solving

4. Information Literacy

5. Team Work

6. Information Technology Competence

8. Ethical practice



4 Online Test

Assessment Title End-of-term Online Test
Task Description

End-of-term Online test (summary assessment of content from ENVR11011) (40%)

This test may take up to 6 hours. Please plan accordingly.

You will need to access the specific requirements, dates, advice and resources published on Moodle (click on the appropriate link in the 'Assessment' box), however a general description is published here.

In Week 12, you will complete and submit an online test presented to you electronically via Moodle. The test consists of three scenario-style questions drawn randomly from a question bank and each worth 50 marks. The test will total 150 marks. Each question will comprise a number of parts that attempt to elicit critically reasoned and evidence-based answers from you based on information presented in the unit. Each of your answers should be no more than 800 words (excluding the questions and sub-questions). All questions as a whole and parts of questions will have the maximum number of marks achievable indicated. This test is 'open book', however, your answers must be your own and references or external sources must be cited appropriately.

The test will open to all students at 2345 hrs (11.45 pm) AEST Thursday, 1 June, 2017 and you will have a 48 hours from that time to complete and submit this assessment activity. You will be required to complete and submit your answers online (via Moodle) by 2345 hrs (11.45 pm) AEST Saturday, 3 June, 2017. You essentially have all day Friday and Saturday to peruse and complete the test, but please allocate at least 6 hours to complete this exam.

Assessment Due Date Week 12 Thursday (01-Jun-2017) 11:45 PM AEST
The online test questions will be made available via Moodle at 2345 hrs (11.45 pm) AEST on Thursday 1 June. Final submissions are due anytime within the ensuing 48 hours and before 2345 hrs (11.45 pm) AEST on Saturday 3 June.
Return Date to Students Online test marks will be returned to students within two weeks of the end of the online test, although online test marks are subject to moderation and no marks are final until certification of grades occurs.
Weighting 40%
Assessment Criteria

All parts of questions and each question as a whole will have the maximum number of marks achievable indicated. Each major point/scientifically accurate 'fact'/scientifically valid point in your reasoning or rationale (as relevant to the question) will accrue one mark. In this way, you will be marked on your demonstration of knowledge of unit content, and your ability to apply your knowledge to unfamiliar situations or problems, and you can accrue marks up to the maximum indicated for that part of a question. A guide to features of different quality answers (from 'Fail' to 'High Distinction') will be published on Moodle.

Please note that failure to submit responses or the entire test (for whatever reason) will be equivalent to not attempting that portion of the test. Also, any submissions (including updated versions) received (by any form of communication/transmission) after the 48-hour period for submissions has closed cannot be accepted and will be deemed 'failure to submit'.

Please note there is a minimum achievement level set for this assessment task, i.e., you must equal or exceed the set minimum achievement level for this assessment in order to be considered for a passing grade for the course overall (irrespective of your achievement level in other assessment activities).

Conditions Minimum mark or grade - 40%
Referencing Style Harvard (author-date)
Submission Online

View (and, we recommend, copy) the online test questions after they are made acccessible on Moodle (2345 hrs (11.45 pm) AEST Thursday night, Week 12, i.e., the beginning of the 48-hour period for submissions), prepare your answers offline (e.g., in Microsoft Word), and then submit (copy and paste into online answer form) online well in advance of the deadline for submissions (2345 hrs (11.45 pm) AEST Saturday night, Week 12) so as to avoid any IT or other problems/mishaps.

Learning Outcomes Assessed
This section can be expanded to view the assessed learning outcomes

1. Apply scientific understanding to a discussion of environmental problems.

2. Evaluate possible solutions to environmental problems.

Graduate Attributes
This section can be expanded to view the assessed graduate attributes

1. Communication

2. Problem Solving

3. Critical Thinking




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