Course Title: Ecosystems and Human Impact

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Ecosystems and Human Impact

Credit Points: 12

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


330H Social Science & Planning


Sem 2 2006


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies


Sem 2 2012,
Sem 2 2014,
Sem 1 2016

Course Coordinator: Dr Georgia Garrard

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 9986

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

Evidence of rapidly changing climates, diminishing surface and groundwater resources, and a catastrophic loss of global biodiversity illustrates the critical need to better manage human impacts on Earth’s ecosystems. This course explores the impact of humans on the environment, linking patterns of natural ecosystems to human ecosystems, their functions, inter-relationships, problems and potential solutions.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Lectures and tutorials will provide students with:

  1. An awareness of the impacts of humans on Earth’s ecosystems
  2. Basic knowledge of the principles of ecology, environmental problems arising from the working of modern urban-industrial societies, environmental research methods, environmental risk assessment and the broad social, economic and regulatory frameworks in which environmental problems are resolved;
  3. A range of skills related to the application of ecosystem management tools; translating general scientific principles into management plans for ecological systems;
  4. An opportunity to apply knowledge in problem-based learning exercises;
  5. Research and critical analysis skills, including the ability to perform database searches, critically read and revise writing, develop lines of argument supported by appropriate references; and
  6. Skills in leading and facilitating discussion groups, and ability to contribute to academic discussions.

Overview of Learning Activities

Students will attend 24 teacher-guided hours across the semester, consisting of lectures and interactive workshops. As this is an intensive course, teacher-guided hours will consist of four two-hour classes and a 2-day intensive workshop.

To supplement the lecture material, a course reading pack provides the basis for weekly reading and tutorial discussions. The assignments and test will be based on lecture material, tutorial discussions, tutorial activities and the material provided in the reading pack.

Students will be introduced to the use of the learning resources and facilities at RMIT. They will be provided with resources that will enable them to work through course topics at their own time and pace. The course involves on-line delivery of core content areas and associated web-based learning activities presented on RMIT’s Distributed Learning System (DLS). It is integral to the learning experience that students regularly log on to the DLS website to access resources.

Overview of Learning Resources

Prescribed text
There is no prescribed textbook for this course. A reading pack will be provided in the first lecture.
Note – Please Bring Your Reading Packs to Tutorials

Supplementary reading

  • A list of supplementary reading can be accessed through the course web page.
  • Each week, following the lecture, a basic summary of the powerpoint slides used in the lecture will be loaded onto the DLS website.

Distributed Learning System (DLS)
A DLS site will provide access to course announcements, course guide, summarised lecture notes, supplementary reading and use of the discussion board:

Overview of Assessment

Please refer to relevant section in the Supplementary Course Guide (PDF) which you can download by clicking on the link near the top of this page.