Course Title: The Soil Environment

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: The Soil Environment

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


135H Applied Sciences


Sem 2 2006,
Sem 2 2007,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 2 2010,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 2 2013,
Sem 2 2014,
Sem 2 2015,
Sem 2 2016


City Campus


171H School of Science


Sem 2 2017,
Sem 2 2018

Course Coordinator: Dr Samantha Grover

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 1982

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 3.02.09

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment Monday, Tuesday, Friday

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

You should have satisfactorily completed ENVI1142, ENVI1146, CHEM1014, CHEM1015, ENVI1008, before you commence this course.

Alternatively you may be able to demonstrate the required skills and knowledge before you start this course. Contact your course coordinator if you think you may be eligible for recognition of prior learning. For further information go to Recognition of prior learning (RPL) in Higher Education.

Course Description

This course forms an integral part of a multidisciplinary approach to understanding earth system processes and the connections that exist between the atmosphere, pedosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere. In this course you will study soil formation, soil physics, soil chemistry and soil biology. You will explore how soil management interacts with critical global issues, including climate change and food security. Field work with Australian soils will develop your technical skills and industry-relevant assessment tasks will develop your communication and team work expertise.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

On successful completion of this course you will be able to:

CLO 1 explain how soils form and recognise and describe Australian soils

CLO 2 explain the physics, chemistry and biology of soil systems

CLO 3 discuss how management can affect soil and be able to apply concepts of land capability to environmental problems

CLO 4 describe the interconnections between soil health and critical global issues such as climate change and food security

CLO 5 communicate convincingly about soils to a range of audiences in written and oral format

For ENVI 1012 students this course contributes to the development of the following Program Learning Outcomes (PLO) at AQF level 7:

  • PLO 1: Understanding science. Demonstrate a coherent understanding of environmental science.
  • PLO 2: Scientific knowledge. Exhibit depth and breadth of environmental science knowledge.
  • PLO 3: Inquiry and problem solving. Critically analyse and solve problems in environmental science.
  • PLO 4: Communication. Be an effective communicator of environmental sciences.
  • PLO 5: Personal and professional responsibility. Be accountable for individual learning and scientific work in environmental science.

For ENVI 1217 students this course contributes to the development of the following Program Learning Outcomes (PLO) at AQF level 9:

  • PLO 1.2: Knowledge. Knowledge of research principles and methods applicable to studying the chemical, biological and physical processes occurring in the environment
  • PLO 2.1: Skills. Cognitive skills which demonstrate mastery of theoretical knowledge about environmental processes enabling critical reflection on environmental theory and professional practice or scholarship
  • PLO 2.4: Skills. Communication and technical research skills to enable you to justify and interpret theoretical propositions, methodologies, conclusions and professional decisions to specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • PLO 3.1: Application of knowledge and skills. Apply knowledge and skills with creativity and initiative to new situations in your role as an environmental professional practitioner and/or in your further studies

Overview of Learning Activities


As part of this Course, you will

  • regularly access the extensive range of on-line learning resources via Canvas;
  • attend lectures in which syllabus material will be presented and explained using a range of presentation techniques; topics will be illustrated with demonstrations and examples;
  • actively participate in small group activities during lectures;
  • participate in field excursions to relevant locations around Melbourne;
  • participate in peer-assisted learning activities, including constructively reviewing written and oral work;
  • develop your written communication skills by writing, reviewing and drafting a written assignment;
  • develop your oral communication skills by presenting to the class;
  • undertake private study, working through the coursework as presented in classes and other learning materials, developing independent leaning skills.

Total study hours

Teacher guided hours: 51 hours, Learner directed hours: 72 hours

Overview of Learning Resources

Resources for this course will be provided in the form of on-line materials via Canvas and relevant reference sources which will be listed in lecture materials and discussed in lectures.  A number of texts and scientific journal articles will also be used as recommended reading materials.

Overview of Assessment

In this course you will complete:

Assessment 1: Written assignment

(20%; CLO 5)

Assessment 2: an oral presentation

(10%; CLO 5) Week 12

Assessment 3: online quizzes

(40%; CLO 1-4) during semester 2

Assessment 4: an end-of-semester exam

(30%; CLO 1-4) during the semester 2 exam period


The quizzes and end-of-semester exam will provide you with structured revision and a staged assessment of your understanding of the course content. Opportunity for feedback and revision will be provided after each quiz, in order to strengthen your learning.

The written assignment and oral presentation will provide you with the opportunity to practise convincing communication of scientific concepts to a range of audiences. You will engage in peer assisted learning, giving and receiving constructive criticism. Assessment will be via combination of peer assessment and staff assessment.