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,
Sem 1 2018

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 workshops will provide students with:

  1. An awareness of the interactions between humans and the 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 recommendations 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. Participation in group presentations and the 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.

Additional readings will supplement the lecture material. Assignments will be based on and extend 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. It is integral to the learning experience that students regularly log in to Canvas to access resources, such as the course guide, assessment tasks and readings. Students will also use Canvas to participate in small group work and submit assignments.


Overview of Learning Resources


Prescribed readings for each topic will be made available online through the course Canvas site.

Supplementary readings, which may be useful for assessment, can also be accessed through Canvas. 


This course will be continuously supported by a Canvas learning site ( All materials made available throughout the semester will be loaded on that site (no hard copies will be provided) and students are expected to check it regularly (at least once a week) for announcements relating to the course. In addition, written assessments must be submitted via Canvas. A discussion board will be available to enable online discussions within the student group. 


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.