Credit points: 15

Subject outline

This is a field trip based subject conducted in February for seven days in total to be based at Falls Creek, Victoria. The field work will explore alpine and sub-alpine ecosystems in detail during daytime excursions, team based research work, and through evening discussions and lectures. Pre-trip materials including background reading and assessments will be provided online one month prior to the field trip. Your knowledge of the concepts and details will be assessed before the residency at Falls Creek. Post field trip commitments will involve completion of a report based on the project work you have conducted. Aspects of alpine geology, hydrology, soils, and aquatic and terrestrial plant and animal communities will be considered in detail. Potential and real threats to alpine ecosystems will be addressed. This subject is an introduction to field research and will be suitable for aspiring park rangers, ecologists and anyone interested in a career working in science and the environment.

SchoolSchool of Life Sciences

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorEwen Silvester

Available to Study Abroad StudentsYes

Subject year levelYear Level 3 - UG

Exchange StudentsYes

Subject particulars

Subject rules



Incompatible subjects ENV2ME, WEM2ALP, WEM3ALP

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Special conditions Students MUST check details of dates & costs of field trips with the department. This field course incurs additional costs.

Graduate capabilities & intended learning outcomes

01. Identify legal, cultural, biological and ethical considerations that constrain research activity in an environment and undertake appropriate steps to safeguard the environment.

Guest speakers, online and other resources will inform students of various aspects of significance relating to national parks and other high conservation value environments. Students will complete an application for permission to undertake research in a designated National Park, from several examples.

02. Distinguish elements of effective teamwork and group formation and apply these principles to perform collaboratively in a team to collect and analyse field data then critically evaluate their own and whole group behaviour.

Complete online exercises pre-trip relating to theory of group and team work including self analysis and introduction of self to group. Facilitated group work exercises will be conducted in the early part of the trip to assist in group formation and to demonstrate aspects of group theory. Work as a member of a small team during field work projects and participate in group assessment activities. Complete a personal reflection of the team work project at three points during the field trip - completed reflection to be submitted

03. Write a scientific report related to a field based project in accordance with professional and ethical standards.

Write a project scientific report according to established standards and guidelines. Students will be instructed in the elements of a writing rubric which will be used for marking. Complete Academic integrity module online. Statistical methods support and advice will be provided during the writing up and analysis phase.

04. Demonstrate knowledge of the extent of alpine environments in Australia and identify abiotic and biotic characteristics of these habitats

As well as completing their pre-trip quiz and research projects, students will gather a wide variety of information and artifacts (eg photos, specimen material under permit) during the field trip and submit a group report for use as an ongoing field trip resource.

Subject options

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Start date between: and    Key dates

Albury-Wodonga, 2018, Week 04-12, Blended


Online enrolmentYes

Maximum enrolment size20

Enrolment information Quota due to limited accommodation at Falls Creek. Merit based on academic performance.

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorEwen Silvester

Class requirements

Field Trip Week: 04 - 12
One 8.0 days field trip per study period on any day including weekend during the day from week 04 to week 12 and delivered via face-to-face.
"The subject is based at the alpine resort of Falls Creek, Victoria, approximately 130 km from the A-W campus. It will be conducted onsite at Falls Creek in the third week of February."

Unscheduled Online Class Week: 04 - 12
One 15.0 hours unscheduled online class per study period from week 04 to week 12 and delivered via online.
"Online components for preparation and assessment will be conducted from early January until mid-March."


Assessment elementComments% ILO*
Field work report (2000 words due four weeks after field trip)Hurdle Requirement: Students must achieve a minimum of 50% in order to pass the subject.40 01, 03, 04
Pre-field multiple choice quiz (1000-words equivalent)Tests student understanding of three modules: (i) mountain ecosystems, (ii) field techniques, and (iii) research design and analysis.20 01, 02, 04
Annotated bibliography (500 words)Each group is requested to review up to 10 journal articles (dependent upon number of members in each group) and create an annotated bibliography foe each article. The entire document is no more than 500 words (50 words for each article).10 01, 04
Teamwork (200-words equivalent)Combination of on-line and on-trip tasks that prepare students for working in team environments and assess their ability to take on different roles in teams. Assessment is via submission to on-line discussion forums (5%) and peer evaluation (5%).10 02
Ethics (200-words equivalent)Students will complete a series of on-line readings and tasks about ethical awareness and professional conduct. Assessment is via a series of questions integrated with each on-line activity.10 01, 02
Oral presentation (200-words equivalent)Oral presentations are delivered in groups on the penultimate day of the field trip.10 02, 04