CQUniversity Unit Profile
ENVR11011 Modern Environmental Issues
Modern Environmental Issues
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.
Corrections

Unit Profile Correction added on 20-08-21

The due date for Assessment 2 (Presentation) is Monday, September 6th, 11:45PM AEST. Feedback will be returned by Monday, September 20th.

General Information

Overview

In Modern Environmental Issues you will learn how scientific methods and knowledge inform issues of environmental concern. You will learn about different environments and their interaction with human population, resources and pollution, disturbance, atmospheric composition and air pollution, fossil fuels and renewable sources of energy, conservation and environmental management. You will begin to apply basic scientific knowledge and principles to researching and discussing environmental issues and 'wicked' problems.

Details

Career Level: Undergraduate
Unit Level: Level 1
Credit Points: 6
Student Contribution Band: 8
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load: 0.125

Pre-requisites or Co-requisites

There are no requisites for this unit.

Important note: Students enrolled in a subsequent unit who failed their pre-requisite unit, should drop the subsequent unit before the census date or within 10 working days of Fail grade notification. Students who do not drop the unit in this timeframe cannot later drop the unit without academic and financial liability. See details in the Assessment Policy and Procedure (Higher Education Coursework).

Offerings For Term 2 - 2021

Online

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).

Class and Assessment Overview

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

Bundaberg, Cairns, Emerald, Gladstone, Mackay, Rockhampton, Townsville
Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney

Assessment Overview

1. Online Quiz(zes)
Weighting: 20%
2. Presentation
Weighting: 30%
3. Take Home Exam
Weighting: 50%

Assessment Grading

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 Policy for more details of interim results and final grades.

Previous Student Feedback

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 from Students (Have Your Say)

Feedback

Assessment Return

Recommendation

The five Fortnightly Assessable Questions (FAQ's) engage students and are relevant to developing student's writing and critical thinking skills. They also represent a heavy marking load. The unit coordinator will either reduce the number of FAQ's, their delivery in a way that reduces the marking load but also ensures students are gaining the skills they need, or a shift to class feedback for each FAQ rather than individual feedback.

Feedback from Students (Have Your Say)

Feedback

Engaging lectures

Recommendation

Students enjoyed the new lectures this year and also the lectures from previous years. The unit coordinator will record new lectures from 2021 and also include interviews and panel discussions from partner organisations and industry experts as is popular in ENVR12001 (Soil Science and Conservation).

Unit Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
  1. Describe the underpinning science of environmental issues
  2. Discuss possible solutions to environmental issues
  3. Communicate the scientific basis of environmental issues to general audiences
  4. Discuss the ecological and scientific principles relevant to understanding natural and human impacts on the environment
  5. Synthesise information from scientific literature relating to modern environmental issues.
Alignment of Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Graduate Attributes
N/A Level
Introductory Level
Intermediate Level
Graduate Level
Professional Level
Advanced Level

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes

Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5
1 - Online Quiz(zes) - 20%
2 - Presentation - 30%
3 - Take Home Exam - 50%

Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes

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
9 - Social Innovation

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes

Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1 - Online Quiz(zes) - 20%
2 - Presentation - 30%
3 - Take Home Exam - 50%
Textbooks and Resources

Textbooks

Prescribed

Environment: the science behind the stories. latest edition (latest edition)

Authors: Withgott JH & Laposata M
Benjamin Cummings (imprint of Pearson)
San Francisco San Francisco , CA , USA
ISBN:
Binding: Paperback

Additional Textbook Information

Students may use the electronic or 5th edition of this textbook if it is easier for them to do so. Copies of the 6th edition can be purchased at the CQUni Bookshop here: http://bookshop.cqu.edu.au (search on the Unit code).

IT Resources

You will need access to the following IT resources:
  • CQUniversity Student Email
  • Internet
  • Unit Website (Moodle)
  • Recent (but not necessarily latest) versions of installed software including Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint; Adobe reader, etc.
  • Modern computer/laptop with sufficient hard drive & memory size, plus adequate Internet access and connection reliability to facilitate significant uploads/downloads/video streaming and sustained lengthy connections (e.g., for lecture downloads, Zoom tutorial sessions), with microphone and speakers (built-in or external) OR microphone+speaker headset (cheap '$20' set is suitable).
  • Camera or mobile phone capable of capturing video.
  • Access to video editing software (eg Blender (no cost version), iMovie, etc.)
Referencing Style

All submissions for this unit must use the referencing style: Harvard (author-date)

For further information, see the Assessment Tasks.

Teaching Contacts
Nathan Brooks-English Unit Coordinator
n.english@cqu.edu.au
Schedule
Week 1 Begin Date: 12 Jul 2021

Module/Topic

Unit welcome and introduction.

Introduction to concepts underpinning the discipline of Environmental Science and its application.

Chapter

Textbook Chaps 1, 2 & 5 'Science and sustainability: an introduction to environmental science' 'Earth's physical systems: matter, energy, and geology', and 'Environmental systems and ecosystem ecology' (parts - see lecture).

Events and Submissions/Topic

ALL students to make at least one constructive post to this week's 'fortnightly assessable questions' online forum, and to post each fortnight thereafter to that week's topic after reviewing the preceding forum.

Week 1 group discussion (fortnightly assessable questions) forum opens 9 am AEST Mon 12 July and closes 9 am AEST Mon 19 July.

Week 2 Begin Date: 19 Jul 2021

Module/Topic

Demography, and the environmental problem of people.

Chapter

Textbook Chap 8 'Human population'.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 3 Begin Date: 26 Jul 2021

Module/Topic

Impacts of disturbance.

Chapter

Textbook Chaps 4 & 6 'Species interactions and community ecology' and 'Environmental ethics and economics: values and choices' (part - see lecture).

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 3 group discussion (fortnightly assessable questions) forum opens 9 am AEST Mon 26 July and closes 9 am AEST Mon 2 August.

Week 4 Begin Date: 02 Aug 2021

Module/Topic

Fuels and energy consumption

Chapter

Textbook Chaps 19, 20 and 21 'Fossil fuels, their impacts and energy conservation', 'Conventional energy alternatives', and 'New renewable energy alternatives'.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 5 Begin Date: 09 Aug 2021

Module/Topic

Mining and resource extraction.

Chapter

Textbook Chap 23 'Minerals and mining'.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 5 group discussion (fortnightly assessable questions) forum opens 9 am AEST Mon 9 August and closes 9 am AEST Mon 16 August.

Vacation Week Begin Date: 16 Aug 2021

Module/Topic

Chapter

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 6 Begin Date: 23 Aug 2021

Module/Topic

Air pollution.

Chapter

Textbook Chap 17 'Atmospheric science and air pollution'.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 7 Begin Date: 30 Aug 2021

Module/Topic

Accelerated climate change.

Chapter

Textbook Chap 18 'Global climate change'.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 7 group discussion (fortnightly assessable questions) forum opens 9 am AEST Mon 30 August and closes 9 am AEST Mon 6 September.

Week 8 Begin Date: 06 Sep 2021

Module/Topic

Modern agriculture.

Chapter

Textbook Chaps 'Soil and agriculture' and 'Agriculture, biotechnology, and the future of food' (parts - see lecture).

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 9 Begin Date: 13 Sep 2021

Module/Topic

Waste generation and management.

Chapter

Textbook Chap 22 'Managing our waste'.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 9 group discussion (fortnightly assessable questions) forum opens 9 am AEST Mon 13 September and closes 9 am AEST Mon 20 September.

Week 10 Begin Date: 20 Sep 2021

Module/Topic

Aquatic and marine systems management.

Chapter

Textbook Chaps 15 & 16 'Freshwater systems and resources' and 'Marine and coastal systems and resources'.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 11 Begin Date: 27 Sep 2021

Module/Topic

Native vegetation and forest management.

Chapter

Textbook Chap 12 'Forests, forest management, and protected areas'.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 11 group discussion (fortnightly assessable questions) forum opens 9 am AEST Mon 27 September and closes 9 am AEST Mon 4 October.

Week 12 Begin Date: 04 Oct 2021

Module/Topic

Indigenous land management.

Chapter

Textbook Chap 6 'Environmental ethics and economics: values and choices' or 'Environmental ethics and economics: values and choices'  (part - see lecture).

Events and Submissions/Topic

Review/Exam Week Begin Date: 11 Oct 2021

Module/Topic

Chapter

Events and Submissions/Topic

Exam Week Begin Date: 18 Oct 2021

Module/Topic

Chapter

Events and Submissions/Topic

End of Term Online Quiz Due: Exam Week Monday (18 Oct 2021) 11:45 pm AEST
Assessment Tasks

1 Online Quiz(zes)

Assessment Title
Fortnightly Assessable Questions (FAQs)

Task Description

Fortnightly assessable questions (20%)

Every other week of the term, beginning in Week 1, you need to participate in the Fortnightly Assessable Questions (FAQ's) forum that will relate to the previous two weeks' unit content. The FAQ's assessment is designed to enhance learning, encourage peer-learning and help you develop new ways of thinking about modern issues in environmental science. Every other Monday (and the week following) you can access the FAQ's assessment via the link published in that week's tasks on the unit Moodle site, and follow the specific instructions for that particular forum task. A 'model' answer and other feedback will be posted once the period for student posts has closed and within one week. Posts after the closure date of a forum will not receive any marks. Forum responses in Weeks 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11 will attract a maximum of 4 marks each (20 marks total). The Week 1 forum will not be marked but allows students to introduce themselves to other ENVR11011 students and to get used to the FAQ's forum and format.

There is a word limit on each post of 400 words (just <1 page), excluding citations. I anticipate answers to the FAQ's will take up to 1.5 hours to research and up to 1.5 hours to craft. Dot points are acceptable when appropriate.

All group discussion (fortnightly assessable questions) forums open at 9 am AEST on Mondays and close a week later:

Forum Week # Opening date Closing date
1* Monday 12 July Monday 19 July
3 Monday 26 July Monday 2 August
5 Monday 9 August Monday 16 August
7 Monday 30 August Monday 6 September
9 Monday 13 September Monday 20 September
11 Monday 27 September Monday 4 October
*unmarked but required


Number of Quizzes

5


Frequency of Quizzes


Assessment Due Date

Forums will open at 0900 hrs (9.00am) AEST on Monday of weeks 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11 and each forum will close one week (7 calendar days) later at 0900 hrs (9.00am) AEST on the Monday of weeks 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12, respectively.


Return Date to Students

Forum posts will be read in detail and feedback provided on a fortnightly basis. Marks will be returned to students two weeks after the close of the respective FAQ..


Weighting
20%

Minimum mark or grade
Average of 50% or above.

Assessment Criteria

You will be graded in this assessment on your constructive participation rather than solely on the accuracy of your answer (because there will be no single correct or complete answer possible by you).


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 (to the forum) 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 time frames 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 — typically response(s) marred by multiple simple spelling or grammatical mistakes and/or is disorganised without clear points made or obvious reasoning and/or is a brief and superficial treatment of the issue or shows little relevance;
  • 2 marks — typically response(s) marred by several spelling or grammatical errors and/or by no citation of sources, and only a few relevant points or arguments made (or more made but insubstantially) often not integrated well;
  • 3 marks — typically response(s) displaying only a few spelling or grammatical errors, otherwise well-organised and considered/reasoned, exploring the issue adequately but no quantitative data or sources are limited and only textbooks and generalist websites and the like; and
  • 4 marks — typically response(s) display only a couple of spelling or grammatical errors, concise and excellent organisation of clear, salient and reasoned points and arguments exploring the issue in depth, and supported by quantitative data and citing numerous scientific sources and in the proper manner.

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).


Referencing Style

Submission
Online

Submission Instructions
Considering the assessment criteria, make at least one post to each fortnightly 'Forum Post (group discussion of fortnightly assessable questions)' before that discussion closes.

Learning Outcomes Assessed
  • Communicate the scientific basis of environmental issues to general audiences
  • Discuss the ecological and scientific principles relevant to understanding natural and human impacts on the environment


Graduate Attributes
  • Problem Solving
  • Critical Thinking

2 Presentation

Assessment Title
Video presentation of a local environmental issue

Task Description

This assessment task requires you to identify an important environmental issue in your local area that fits within one of our weekly topics in the unit, and to submit a video presentation of its cause (or causes), effects, and the most likely possible solution.

Your video presentation should be five (5) minutes long (±10% or 30 seconds).

There will be three broad components you will have to consider for this assessment:

  1. choice of suitable topic - fits within one of our weekly unit topics, a small enough topic to be adequately covered in 5 minutes (cause/effect/solution) and big enough to fill the 5 minute presentation without padding etc.;
  2. being entirely scientific and dispassionate in your approach to content (no value-laden language), including the use of relevant scientific concepts and terms (this will require considerable planning and research, e.g., construction of a script); and
  3. production of a reasonable video presentation (that will involve practice and shot planning so quality of the video production does not detract from the content).

Note you are not expected to become a professional videographer or video editor, but there must be an adequate level of continuity to your submission.


Assessment Due Date

Return Date to Students

Weighting
30%

Minimum mark or grade
50%

Assessment Criteria

Submissions will be assessed on the criteria in the table below (roughly content 56%, presentation 44%):

Criterion Maximum marks
Presentation topic fits within one of our weekly unit topics 5
Adequate detail of cause(s) 10
Adequate detail of effects 10
Adequate detail of solution(s) 10
Video duration is 5 mins ± 10% 5
Quality of oral expression (sentence construction, grammar, pronunciation, etc.) 10
How engaging is the presentation: High Medium or Low 5
Adequate video coverage of cause and effect components 10
General production quality of presentation (alignment of video and audio, video and audio are clear, etc.) 5
In-text source citation (5 marks max.) and reference list (5 marks max.) 10

Please note a minimum achievement level is set for this assessment activity (i.e., you must equal or exceed this set minimum achievement level for you to be considered for a passing grade for this unit overall, irrespective of your achievement in other assessment components in this unit).



Referencing Style

Submission
Online

Submission Instructions
Before the due date, the completed video presentation must be uploaded electronically to a cloud storage site (e.g. OneDrive, CQUni can provide you access) and the link submitted online in moodle (unless approval is granted for later submission via the online 'Assignment extension' system). The video presentation must be must be in one of the following electronic formats: (M4V), (MOV), (MOVIE), (MP4), (MPEG), (MPG), (WEBM) or (AVI) or it will not receive full marks.

Learning Outcomes Assessed
  • Describe the underpinning science of environmental issues
  • Discuss possible solutions to environmental issues
  • Communicate the scientific basis of environmental issues to general audiences
  • Synthesise information from scientific literature relating to modern environmental issues.


Graduate Attributes
  • Communication
  • Problem Solving
  • Information Literacy
  • Team Work
  • Information Technology Competence

3 Take Home Exam

Assessment Title
End of Term Online Quiz

Task Description

This take home exam will be delivered as an end of term online quiz with a combination of randomly selected short-answer and long-answer questions.  It will be open book, you will have 180 minutes to complete it and will only get one attempt. It will be delivered at a date and time in the Exam period to be determined and announced on Moodle. 


Assessment Due Date

Exam Week Monday (18 Oct 2021) 11:45 pm AEST

The date and time in the Exam period is to be determined and announced on Moodle.


Return Date to Students

Weighting
50%

Minimum mark or grade
50%

Assessment Criteria

No Assessment Criteria


Referencing Style

Submission
Online

Learning Outcomes Assessed
  • Describe the underpinning science of environmental issues
  • Discuss possible solutions to environmental issues
  • Discuss the ecological and scientific principles relevant to understanding natural and human impacts on the environment


Graduate Attributes
  • Communication
  • Problem Solving
  • Critical Thinking
  • Ethical practice

Academic Integrity Statement

As a CQUniversity student you are expected to act honestly in all aspects of your academic work.

Any assessable work undertaken or submitted for review or assessment must be your own work. Assessable work is any type of work you do to meet the assessment requirements in the unit, including draft work submitted for review and feedback and final work to be assessed.

When you use the ideas, words or data of others in your assessment, you must thoroughly and clearly acknowledge the source of this information by using the correct referencing style for your unit. Using others’ work without proper acknowledgement may be considered a form of intellectual dishonesty.

Participating honestly, respectfully, responsibly, and fairly in your university study ensures the CQUniversity qualification you earn will be valued as a true indication of your individual academic achievement and will continue to receive the respect and recognition it deserves.

As a student, you are responsible for reading and following CQUniversity’s policies, including the Student Academic Integrity Policy and Procedure. This policy sets out CQUniversity’s expectations of you to act with integrity, examples of academic integrity breaches to avoid, the processes used to address alleged breaches of academic integrity, and potential penalties.

What is a breach of academic integrity?

A breach of academic integrity includes but is not limited to plagiarism, self-plagiarism, collusion, cheating, contract cheating, and academic misconduct. The Student Academic Integrity Policy and Procedure defines what these terms mean and gives examples.

Why is academic integrity important?

A breach of academic integrity may result in one or more penalties, including suspension or even expulsion from the University. It can also have negative implications for student visas and future enrolment at CQUniversity or elsewhere. Students who engage in contract cheating also risk being blackmailed by contract cheating services.

Where can I get assistance?

For academic advice and guidance, the Academic Learning Centre (ALC) can support you in becoming confident in completing assessments with integrity and of high standard.

What can you do to act with integrity?