Course Title: Ecology

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2016

Course Code: EASC5057

Course Title: Ecology

School: 155T Vocational Health and Sciences

Campus: City Campus

Program: C4386 - Certificate IV in Tertiary Preparation

Course Contact: Namrita Kaul

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4309

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Nominal Hours: 30

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites


Course Description

The purpose of this module is to provide students with the knowledge and skills to be able to recall and apply key ecological principles underpinning issues of concern about any specific type of environment.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VU20954 Ecology


1 Explain the levels of classification used in plant and animal taxonomy

Performance Criteria:

1.1 The major levels of classification used in plant and animal classification are named 1.2 The scientific requirements needed for two organisms to be placed into the same species are summarised 1.3 The correct use of classification keys for both plants and animals are demonstrated


2 Outline the general characteristics of ecosystems

Performance Criteria:

2.1 The major components and terminologies associated with any type of ecosystem are identified 2.2 The biotic and abiotic features and other m


3 Interpret food chains and webs

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Specific features and major components of food chains and webs are categorised 3.2 Energy flow through an ecosystem is described 3.3 The different types of special symbiotic relationships that can occur within any ecosystems are listed 3.4 Nutrient recycling through living systems is described


4 Discuss key issues involved in major current ecological problems caused by humans

Performance Criteria:

4.1 The key issues surrounding an ecological problem caused by human activity is discussed 4.2 A detailed description of a major ecological problem and its environmental impact is provided using appropriate scientific terminology.

Learning Outcomes

Details of Learning Activities

Classroom worksheets, Practicals, Research, Field Data Gathering, Class Discussion

Teaching Schedule


Week No

Week beginning







4 July             


What is an Ecosystem?

Abiotic & Biotic components

Food webs





11 July

Ecology of populations and communities

 Field trip: urban park ecosystem

 Assessment task 1





18 July

 Classification and naming  of organisms





25 July

Key issues of Human Disturbance

Implications for ecosystems

Identifying and classifying water bugs. Building a food web

 Assessment task 2



1 Aug




8 August

 Assessment Week



Assessment Task 3

Theory Test (1 hr)








Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources


Odum, Basic Ecology,  (Eugene Pleasants) at   574.5 O27 in RMIT Library



Overview of Assessment

Assessment for this course may include worksheets, reports, assignments and tests

Assessment Tasks


Assessment Schedule

Assessment Task 1: Describing the major components of an ecosystem and associated management issues (25%)

Students are required to complete and submit by the due date a pro-forma worksheet that is provided. Students will visit a local park, as a group under supervision of the teacher, to investigate some of the components that make up this ecosystem. They will work in groups of 3 or 4 students per group. Using the data sheet provided students will identify, discuss then list five (5) ABIOTIC (non-living) and five (5) BIOTIC (living) components that play a role in the functioning of this ecosystem. Students then discuss and list three (3) functions that these components have for other components of the ecosystem into a category of FUNCTION (e.g. food or shelter). Finally, students will discuss and then list three (3) problems that managers of this ecosystem face in protecting and managing this park ecosystem and briefly write (3-4 sentences) a feasible solution for one (1) of the problems.

Worksheet submission – Due July 20, 2016


Assessment Task 2: Identifying freshwater invertebrates using a dichotomous key and developing a food-web. (25%)

In the laboratory students will identify freshwater macroinvertebrate animals (e.g. insects and crustaceans) using a dichotomous key, classify them as either juvenile or adult stage and construct a food-web labelling the feeding relationships between them.

Students will work in groups of 3 or 4. Using forceps, spoons or pipette animals will be removed from a water sample and placed into a suitable container. Using the biological descriptions and dichotomous keys provided students will identify (to ORDER level classification) the macroinvertebrates they have found and list them with their common name, and indicate whether they are juvenile or adult stages. Each student selects two different organisms found by the group and provides a clear sketch of each with label indicating Order name, common name and whether they are juvenile or adult stage. Using the reference information provided students discuss within their group and note down the types of food these organisms are likely to consume. As a class we will discuss each groups’ findings and develop a likely food-web for the animals identified. Each student will submit the list of animals identified by their group, labelled sketches and diagram of the food-web.

  Worksheet submission – Due August 3, 2016


Assessment Task 3: Written exam (50%)

Students will do a written theory exam. The time allocated will be 15 minutes reading time followed by 60 minutes writing time. The format of the exam questions will be multiple choice, true/false, table completion, and short answer. The paper will examine terms, concepts and knowledge covered and discussed during class.

Date : August 10, 2016

Assessment Matrix

Other Information

This course is graded in accordance with competency-based assessment, but which also utilises graded assessment
CHD Competent with High Distinction (80 – 100%)
CDI Competent with Distinction (60 – 79%)
CC Competent with Credit (50 – 59%)
CAG Competency Achieved – Graded (0 – 49%)
NYC Not Yet Competent
DNS Did Not Submit for assessment

• Extension of time for submission of assessable work- A student may apply for an extension of up to 7 days from the original due date. They must lodge the application form (available on the web ) at least the day before the due date. The application is lodged with the School Admin Office on Level 6, Bdg 51. Students requiring longer extensions must apply for Special Consideration (form available on the Web). 
• For missed assessments such as exams- you (& your doctor if you are sick) must fill out a special consideration form. This form must be lodged at the HUB or online with supporting evidence (eg medical certificate), prior to, or within, 48 hours of the scheduled time of examination.
• Late work that is submitted without an application for an extension will not be corrected
• If you miss an assessment task due to unavoidable circumstances, you need to follow the procedure of special consideration and apply within the allowed time frame.

Course Overview: Access Course Overview