Australia is currently experiencing a prolonged period of water scarcity that is challenging a diverse range of water-dependent activities ranging from household gardening to horticultural production to the viability of riverine ecosystems. The political and ecological importance of water in Australia is not, however, only a recent phenomenon. For the majority of Australia’s settled history, water politics, economics, culture and engineering have reflected and embodied a dynamic relationship between Australian hydrology and Australian society. This essay examines that relationship by first reviewing the work of the Australian historical geographer, Emeritus Professor J. M. Powell. For 40 years Powell has been writing about the process of natural resource appraisal and management in Australia and he has been Australia’s leading authority on the role of water in that process for most of that time. The essay then argues for an extension of Powell’s work by applying the insights provided by the scholars Karl Wittfogel, Donald Worster and Eric Swyngedouw. Their work, it is argued, suggests the possibility of a more nuanced understanding of water in Australia than that currently offered by the majority of the Australian literature, and ultimately provides some tools for thinking ourselves out of the current water crisis.
SOIL&WAT 3017WT - Soil & Water: Management & Conservation III
Waite Campus - Semester 1 - 2018
This course covers topics in soil and water management and conservation important to students of agricultural, viticultural, and environmental sciences. Processes that degrade the soil- and water-resources of Australia (e.g. erosion, salinity, alkalinity and sodicity, as well as acidification, water repellence, and degradation of soil structure) are examined, and their measurement, avoidance and management discussed. There is a strong focus on quantitative theory and practice of measuring and managing soil water using commercially available technology, particularly in relation to interception, storage and movement of water in dryland and irrigated agro-ecosystems. Broader issues in soil and water conservation (e.g. State and Commonwealth legislation) are also covered. Practical classes consist of laboratory, computer and field exercises designed to illustrate the concepts covered in lectures.
- General Course Information
Course Code SOIL&WAT 3017WT Course Soil & Water: Management & Conservation III Coordinating Unit School of Agriculture, Food and Wine Term Semester 1 Level Undergraduate Location/s Waite Campus Units 3 Contact Up to 6 hours per week Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y Prerequisites SOIL&WAT 2500 or SOIL&WAT 2500WT Course Description This course covers topics in soil and water management and conservation important to students of agricultural, viticultural, and environmental sciences. Processes that degrade the soil- and water-resources of Australia (e.g. erosion, salinity, alkalinity and sodicity, as well as acidification, water repellence, and degradation of soil structure) are examined, and their measurement, avoidance and management discussed. There is a strong focus on quantitative theory and practice of measuring and managing soil water using commercially available technology, particularly in relation to interception, storage and movement of water in dryland and irrigated agro-ecosystems. Broader issues in soil and water conservation (e.g. State and Commonwealth legislation) are also covered. Practical classes consist of laboratory, computer and field exercises designed to illustrate the concepts covered in lectures.
Course Coordinator:Dr Ron Smernik
Dr Ron Smernik
Phone: 8313 7436
Waite - CSIRO
The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.
- Learning Outcomes
Course Learning Outcomes
University Graduate Attributes
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:
University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s) Deep discipline knowledge
- informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
- acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
- accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
1,2,3,5,6 Critical thinking and problem solving
- steeped in research methods and rigor
- based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
- demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
3,8 Teamwork and communication skills
- developed from, with, and via the SGDE
- honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
- encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
4,9,10 Career and leadership readiness
- technology savvy
- professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
- forward thinking and well informed
- tested and validated by work based experiences
1,2,3,5,6,7,10 Intercultural and ethical competency
- adept at operating in other cultures
- comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
- Able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
- demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
4,7,10 Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
- a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
- open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
- able to negotiate difficult social situations, diffuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
4,10Successful students will learn:
- Theory & measurement of soil water content, movement, storage & plant availability.
- How to manage and measure salinity and sodicity in irrigated agricultural systems.
- How to solve quantitative problems in soil water management, specifically how to:
* conduct simple calculations of water content, porosity, density and hydraulic conductivity.
* analyse and interpret data on infiltration, available water, and storage of water.
- How to work effectively in small groups in the lab and in the field.
Successful students will be able to understand:
- The primary causes and consequences of a wide range of soil degradation problems, including soil acidity and alkalinity, erosion, salinity and sodicity, and nutrient loss.
- The impact of soil management on soil organic matter, soil structural stability, water quality and other important soil properties.
- Where soil conservation and management fit into the broader context of the South Australian Natural Resource Management Act.
- Develop an ability to collect and evaluate data in practical classes.
- Develop writing skills through essay and report writing.
- Learn how to provide and respond to “peer-review” feedback on a draft essay.
- Learning & Teaching Activities
Learning & Teaching Modes
This course will be delivered by the following means:
2 x 1 hour lectures consecutively on the same day in weeks 1-12
2 x 1 hour tutorial sessions in week 1 to introduce the essay exercise, including assessment and system of peer feedback
6 x 4 hour practical sessions
3 x 1 hour tutorial session in which quizzes will be held in week 6, 9 and 12, each followed by 1 hour tutorial session for feedback on quiz
4 x 1 hour tutorial sessions in same week as quizzes related to the essay (discussing progress, review and feedback)
2 x 1 hour tutorial sessions in week 12 on exam review
Lectures include the opportunity for open discussion, questions and problem solving activities with support materials provided online.
Practicals will be used to develop and support material covered in lectures as well as providing a forum for acquiring skills and knowledge necessary to complete assessment tasks. Practicals particularly provide an opportunity to acquire hands-on skills, to develop teamwork skills, to integrate information from different modules in the course and to increase understanding of concepts.
Quizzes will test student understanding of material from lectures and practicals held during the semester. Each quiz will deal with material covered in the preceding weeks.
Workshops sessions will directly follow the quiz. During these sessions feedback will be specifically provided on the quiz questions. Further, these sessions will provide an opportunity for students in groups or individually to follow up specific issues regarding practical assignments.
The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.
A student enrolled in a 3 unit course, such as this, should expect to spend, on average 12 hours per week on the studies required. This includes both the formal contact time required to the course (e.g., lectures and practicals), as well as non-contact time (e.g., reading and revision).
Learning Activities Summary
Lectures will focus on: (i) the theory behind and measurement of soil water content, potential and movement; (ii) causes of and management of the key soil limiting chemical conditions of sodicity, alkalinity and acidity; (iii) the importance and management of soil structure and structural stability, including the influence of soil carbon and sodicity; (iv) the importance and management of water repellence; (v) management of soils and water on the landscape scale; and (vi) soil and water conservation in relation to the SA Natural Resources Management Act.
Practicals will focus on the measurement (both in the laboratory and in the field) of soil properties directly related to the management issues covered in the lectures, including: (i) rates of water infiltration and how they relate to properties such as texture and structure; (ii) measurement of rates of water infiltration in the field; (iii) soil pH and pH buffering capacity; (iv) the influence of slope and cover on water erosion; and (v) the effect of management on soil structural stability
Tutorial sessions in the afternoon timeslot will be related to either feedback on quizzes or the essay assessment exercise, which includes peer review and feedback.
Specific Course Requirements
The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:
- Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
- Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
- Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
- Assessment must maintain academic standards.
Practicals (30% total assessment):
Five practical exercises (field or laboratory) will be completed during class time over six weeks. Each exercise will be undertaken in small groups (2-3 students) and will be written up individually as a short report (approximately 2 pages) outside of class time. Each practical exercise will be equally weighted (6% of total assessment). Prompt feedback (within 1-2 weeks) will enable early identification of any problems a student may be encountering in the area of practical skills for soil assessment or the reporting of these tasks, and give an opportunity to address these.
Three 1 hour quizzes (6.7% total assessment each) will occur during the semester. These will consist of a series of multiple choice questions to be answered online with feedback for students provided immediately after the quiz. These quizzes will allow students to continuously monitor their retention of important course material and highlight problem areas that can be addressed in the tutorial sessions following the quizzes.
The essay will require students to explain the importance of one key scientific law (i.e. one that can be expressed as a simple equation) to soil management and conservation in 500-600 words. Draft essays will be required by Week 4 and these will undergo review by both peers (double-blind review by other class members) and staff. Students will have an opportunity to revise their essay before it is marked by staff.
Final Exam (30%)
The final exam is a summative assessment and allows the student to demonstrate retention of basic information taught during the semester as well as the ability to integrate the information obtained throughout the course. Exam questions will include a series of short and long written answers, calculations based on real life examples, multiple choice, and true/false answers.
If an extension is not applied for, or not granted then a penalty for late submission will apply. A penalty of 10% of the value of the assignment for each calendar day that the assignment is late (i.e. weekends count as 2 days), up to a maximum of 50% of the available marks will be applied. This means that an assignment that is 5 days late or more without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the marks available for that assignment.
Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:
Grade Mark Description FNS Fail No Submission F 1-49 Fail P 50-64 Pass C 65-74 Credit D 75-84 Distinction HD 85-100 High Distinction CN Continuing NFE No Formal Examination RP Result Pending
Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.
Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.
Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.
Assessment Task Type of assessment Percentage of total assessment for grading purposes Hurdle: Yes or No Outcomes being assessed/achieved Approximate Timing of Assessment Practical exercise X 5 Formative & Summative 30% No 1-9 Wks 4,6,8,10,12 Quizzes X 3 Formative & Summate 20% No 1-3,5-7 Wks 4,8,12 Essay Formative & Summative 20% No 9,10 Wks 3,7,10 Examination Summative 30% No 1-3,5-7 Examination period
- Student Feedback
The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.
SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.
- Student Support
- Policies & Guidelines
This section contains links to relevant assessment-related policies and guidelines - all university policies.
- Fraud Awareness
Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.
The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.