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The current and official versions of the course specifications are available on the web at http://www.usq.edu.au/course/specification/current.
Please consult the web for updates that may occur during the year.

AGR3304 Soil Science

Semester 1, 2019 On-campus Toowoomba
Short Description: Soil Science
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Student contribution band : Band 2
ASCED code : 010709 - Soil Science
Grading basis : Graded

Staffing

Examiner: John Bennett

Synopsis

A knowledge of soils as a resource in both natural and agricultural ecosystems is important to science, arts, education and engineering professionals involved in the sustainable management of biological systems. This introductory course focuses on soils as a medium for plant growth and investigates the nature and role of the soil chemical and physical properties, clay mineralogy, and soil biology as limiting factors on soil fertility. It also provides a comprehensive investigation of the processes of soil formation and the methods of soil description and classification. Both the physical and chemical processes of soil degradation are investigated and management practices to prevent, ameliorate and rehabilitate degraded land are discussed.

Objectives

The course objectives define the student learning outcomes for a course. On completion of this course, student should be able to:

  1. describe the processes involved in soil formation and the techniques involved in soil description and classification;
  2. explain the soil components and the nature of the interactions between these components;
  3. discuss the factors and processes influencing structural stability, water availability and movement, and temperature fluctuations in soils;
  4. demonstrate an understanding of the factors and processes influencing fertility and nutrient cycling in soils;
  5. analyse the factors and processes that lead to the degradation of soil resources and explain the management practices used to minimise and rehabilitate degraded soils.

Topics

Description Weighting(%)
1. Pedogenesis, soil description and classification 15.00
2. Soil components and interactions 25.00
3. Soil physical processes (structural stability, soil-water, temperature) 35.00
4. Soil fertility and plant nutrition 10.00
5. Degradation and management of soils 15.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (https://omnia.usq.edu.au/textbooks/?year=2019&sem=01&subject1=AGR3304)

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (https://omnia.usq.edu.au/info/contact/)

Singer, MJ & Munns, DN 2006, Soils, an introduction, 6th edn, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
Charman, P & Murphy, B 2007, Soils: their properties and management, 3rd edn, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne.
Isbell, RF 2016, The Australian soil classification, 2nd edn, CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Vic.
(second edn available as an e-book.)
McKenzie, NJ, Grundy, MJ, Webster, R & Ringrose-Voase, AJ 2008, Guidelines for surveying soil and land resources, 2nd edn, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, Vic.
McKenzie, NJ, Jacquier, D, Isbell, R & Brown K 2004, Australian soils and landscapes: an illustrated compendium, CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Vic.
(Electronic version: http://ezproxy.usq.edu.au/login?url=http://www.USQ.eblib.com.au/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=714045.)
Young, A & Young, R 2002, Soils in the Australian landscape, Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Assessments 50.00
Examinations 2.00
Lectures 52.00
Private Study 51.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Objectives Assessed Notes
Assignment 1 200 20 16 Apr 2019 1,2,3,4,5
Discussion Group 300 30 30 May 2019 1,2,3,4,5 (see note 1)
2 Hour Closed Examination 500 50 End S1 1,2,3,4,5 (see note 2)

Notes
  1. Further details about due dates for this assessment will be provided by the examiner via the Introductory Book for this course.
  2. Student Administration will advise students of the dates of their examinations during the semester.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks or a grade of at least C-. Students do not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to be awarded a passing grade in this course. Refer to Statement 4 below for the requirements to receive a passing grade in this course.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure http://policy.usq.edu.au/documents.php?id=14749PL (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must obtain at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course (i.e. the Primary Hurdle), and have satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), i.e. the end of semester examination by achieving at least 40% of the marks available for that assessment item.
    Supplementary assessment may be offered where a student has undertaken all of the required summative assessment items and has passed the Primary Hurdle but failed to satisfy the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), or has satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised) but failed to achieve a passing Final Grade by 5% or less of the total weighted Marks.
    To be awarded a passing grade for a supplementary assessment item (if applicable), a student must achieve at least 50% of the available marks for the supplementary assessment item as per the Assessment Procedure http://policy.usq.edu.au/documents/14749PL (point 4.4.2).

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the weighted aggregate of the marks (or grades) obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    In a Closed Examination, candidates are allowed to bring only writing and drawing instruments into the examination.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at http://policy.usq.edu.au.

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner.

  2. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be despatched to USQ within 24 hours if required by the Examiner.

  3. In accordance with University Policy, the Examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances.

  4. If electronic submission of assessments is specified for the course, students will be notified of this in the course Introductory Book and on the USQ Study Desk. All required electronic submission must be made through the Assignment Drop Box located on the USQ Study Desk for the course, unless directed otherwise by the examiner of the course. The due date for an electronically submitted assessment is the date by which a student must electronically submit the assignment. The assignment files must be submitted by 11.55pm on the due date using USQ time (as displayed on the clock on the course home page; that is, Australian Eastern Standard Time).

  5. If the method of assessment submission is by written, typed or printed paper-based media students should (i) submit to the Faculty Office for students enrolled in the course in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail to the USQ for students enrolled in the course in the external mode. The due date for the assessment is the date by which a student must (i) submit the assessment for students enrolled in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail the assessment for students enrolled in the external mode.

  6. The Faculty will NOT normally accept submission of assessments by facsimile or email.

  7. Students who do not have regular access to postal services for the submission of paper-based assessments, or regular access to Internet services for electronic submission, or are otherwise disadvantaged by these regulations may be given special consideration. They should contact the examiner of the course to negotiate such special arrangements prior to the submission date.

  8. Students who have undertaken all of the required assessments in a course but who have failed to meet some of the specified objectives of a course within the normally prescribed time may be awarded one of the temporary grades: IM (Incomplete - Make up), IS (Incomplete - Supplementary Examination) or ISM (Incomplete -Supplementary Examination and Make up). A temporary grade will only be awarded when, in the opinion of the examiner, a student will be able to achieve the remaining objectives of the course after a period of non directed personal study.

  9. Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded IDS (Incomplete - Deferred Examination; IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  10. Harvard (AGPS) is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use Harvard (AGPS) style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (AGPS) style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide. http://www.usq.edu.au/library/referencing

Other requirements

  1. Students will require access to e-mail and internet access to UConnect for this course.