Course Title: Environmental Biotechnology

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Environmental Biotechnology

Credit Points: 12.00

Terms

Course Code

Campus

Career

School

Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)

BIOL2324

City Campus

Undergraduate

135H Applied Sciences

Face-to-Face

Sem 1 2015,
Sem 1 2016

BIOL2324

City Campus

Undergraduate

171H School of Science

Face-to-Face

Sem 1 2017

BIOL2370

City Campus

Postgraduate

135H Applied Sciences

Face-to-Face

Sem 1 2015,
Spring2016

BIOL2370

City Campus

Postgraduate

171H School of Science

Face-to-Face

Sem 1 2017

Course Coordinator: Dist. Professor Andy Ball

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 6594

Course Coordinator Email: andy.ball@rmit.edu.au

Course Coordinator Location: 223.1.53A

Course Coordinator Availability: Email for appointment


Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

There are no prerequisites for this course; however you will find that knowledge of biology and chemistry at VCE level will be an advantage, as will completion of courses in cell structure and function, microbiology, genetics, molecular biology and/or plant and animal physiology.


Course Description

The nature of this course is such that students from a wide range of backgrounds including biological, chemical, physical, social and health sciences will all have background knowledge relevant to some aspects of the course. The course represents a stand-alone, progressive topic leading you through the key aspects of environmental microbiology prior to its subsequent application within environmental biotechnology.

This course firstly explores the diversity, function and ecological adaptations of microorganisms within the environment. Subsequently it explores the application of these environmental microorganisms, products and processes within the environmental biotechnology sector for the benefit of both human society and the environment. It aims to provide an understanding of the central importance of microbial life to key ecosystem processes and systems and, in turn, how microbiology can be applied to address the key environmental and biological challenges facing society through the integration of biology and environmental science with consideration to important legal, regulatory and society issues.

Key themes within this course include Biogeochemistry and Biodegradation, Waste Management and Processing, and Bioenergy. Underpinning the course are: 1) the importance of Microbial Diversity as an immensely rich resource for biotechnological application and; 2) the importance of molecular biology approaches that have transformed our understanding of environmental microbiology and that are, in turn, now being applied for the development and/or enhancement of a range of environmental biotechnology tools and approaches, including wastewater treatment, bioremediation and bioenergy production.


Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

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

  1. explain the importance of microbial diversity in environmental systems, processes and biotechnology as well as the importance of molecular approaches in environmental microbiology and biotechnology
  2. describe existing and emerging technologies that are important in the area of environmental biotechnology
  3. describe the principles and techniques underpinning the application of biosciences to the environment
  4. describe biotechnological solutions to address environmental issues including pollution, mineral resource winning, renewable energy and water recycling
  5. analyse case-studies representative of key areas of environmental biotechnology
  6. implement a range of practical approaches relevant to environmental microbiology and biotechnology and record, report and discuss data


This course contributes to the School of Applied Sciences Program Learning Outcomes at AQF Level 7 for BP226 Bachelor of Science (Biotechnology): 

  • PLO-2 Scientific knowledge 
  • PLO-3 Inquiry and Problem Solving 
  • PLO-4 Communication 
  • PLO-5 Personal and professional responsibility

This course also contributes to the following Program Learning Outcome at AQF level 9

  • PLO 1.1 a body knowledge that includes the understanding of recent developments in both the understanding of environmental processes and the technological advances in measurement techniques, remediation processes and pollution control
  • PLO 2.4 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 3.4 to plan and execute a substantial environmental research based project.


Overview of Learning Activities

The learning activities included in this course are:

  • attendance at lectures where syllabus material will be presented and explained, and the subject illustrated with demonstrations and examples
  • participation in practical laboratory sessions and tutorials/workshops designed to give further practice in the application of theory and procedures, and to give feedback on your progress and understanding
  • private study, working through the course as presented in lectures, tutorials and learning materials

Total study hours

In a total of 120 hours, you should undertake 24 hours of lectures/tutorials/workshops & 15 hours of practicals as about 40 hours of teacher-guided activities. In addition, you are expected to spend a minimum of 80 hours of independent, self-directed learning.


Overview of Learning Resources

You will be able to access course information and learning material through Canvas via myRMIT. You will be provided with details of relevant texts and literature, library resources (including appropriate journals) and freely accessible internet sites.  Additional material will be provided in class. 


Overview of Assessment

Note that: This course has no hurdle requirements.

Assessments are as follows:
Two MCQ tests (20% of course assessment)
This assessment supports CLOs 1-6.

2. Practical write-ups: 2 assessments
a) Results Section (10% of course assessment)
b) Scientific Paper (30% of course assessment)
This assessment supports CLOs 1, 3 and 6.

End-of-semester examination (40% of course assessment)
Short answer questions and essay questions, supporting CLOs 1-6.