Course Outline

GEO100 The Changing Planet

Course Coordinator:Theresa Ashford ( School:School of Law and Society

2024Semester 1

UniSC Sunshine Coast

UniSC Moreton Bay

Blended learning Most of your course is on campus but you may be able to do some components of this course online.


Online You can do this course without coming onto campus.

Please go to for up to date information on the
teaching sessions and campuses where this course is usually offered.

What is this course about?


If you are interested in exploring how the planet works then this is the course for you! This introductory physical geography course investigates the lithosphere, hydrosphere, weather and climate and the biosphere and how humans are impacting these ancient physical systems. You will develop “writing the earth” report writing skills using professional geographical tools and datasets.  

How will this course be delivered?

Activity Hours Beginning Week Frequency
Blended learning
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – On Campus Tutorial 2hrs Week 1 10 times
Learning materials – Weekly introduction and preparation material 1hr Week 1 13 times
Learning materials – Weekly introduction and preparation material 1hr Week 1 13 times
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – Synchronous tutorial 2hrs Week 1 10 times

Course Topics

The Geographers tool kit
The big picture: Climate Change
Lithosphere – deep history
Atmosphere – weather and climate
Hydrosphere – water and waves
Biosphere – biodiversity under threat
Physical geography investigations

What level is this course?

100 Level (Introductory)

Engaging with discipline knowledge and skills at foundational level, broad application of knowledge and skills in familiar contexts and with support. Limited or no prerequisites. Normally, associated with the first full-time study year of an undergraduate program.

What is the unit value of this course?

12 units

How does this course contribute to my learning?

Course Learning Outcomes On successful completion of this course, you should be able to... Graduate Qualities Mapping Completing these tasks successfully will contribute to you becoming... Professional Standard Mapping * Australian Learning & Teaching Council
1 Describe and apply foundational geographical concepts and principles of place, space, scale, interaction, environment and sustainability. Knowledgeable
2 Demonstrate spatial and temporal thinking and awareness. Empowered
1, 3
3 Describe and explain core physical geography systems and processes Knowledgeable
1, 3
4 Apply geographical knowledge to evaluate the sustainability of human-environment interactions in a region/place. Sustainability-focussed
5 Search, select, analyse and structure information to communicate geographical perspectives and knowledge using different textual forms including maps. Engaged

* Competencies by Professional Body

Australian Learning & Teaching Council
1 Knowing: Demonstrate a coherent geographical understanding of trends, processes and impacts that shape Australian and other environments and/or societies at different spatial and temporal scales.
3 Thinking: Apply geographical thought creatively, critically and appropriately to specific spaces, places and/or environments.
6 Communicating: Communicate geographical perspectives and knowledge effectively to specialist and non-specialist audiences using appropriately selected written, oral and visual means.

Am I eligible to enrol in this course?

Refer to the UniSC Glossary of terms for definitions of “pre-requisites, co-requisites and anti-requisites”.


Not applicable


Not applicable



Specific assumed prior knowledge and skills (where applicable)

Not applicable

How am I going to be assessed?

Grading Scale

Standard Grading (GRD)

High Distinction (HD), Distinction (DN), Credit (CR), Pass (PS), Fail (FL).

Details of early feedback on progress

There is an early (Week 3) low weighted quiz that sets the tone and the types of material covered in the course. 

Assessment tasks

Delivery mode Task No. Assessment Product Individual or Group Weighting % What is the duration / length? When should I submit? Where should I submit it?
All 1 Quiz/zes Individual 15%
2 hour window and should take less than an hour.
Week 3 Online Submission
All 2 Report Individual 40%
Four reports (10% each)
500 words each 
Figure titles, tables and references not included in word count
Throughout teaching period (refer to Format) Online Submission
All 3 Report Individual 45%
1200 words
Exam Period Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All - Assessment Task 1:Climate Change and COP26
This foundational quiz is designed for you to demonstrate your understanding of key IPCC scientific findings and related UN working groups.
Product: Quiz/zes
online multi choice and short answer
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Understanding geographical concepts
Understanding of human-environment interactions
All - Assessment Task 2:Physical Geography Systems
The purpose of this task is for you to demonstrate your competency to describe and apply knowledge of physical geography systems.
Product: Report
Each of the four exercises will be introduced in the tutorial. Each system description will be produced using relevant communication methods including maps, images, graphs and text.

Lithosphere due Week 4 Friday
Atmosphere due Week 6 Friday
Hydrosphere due Week 10 Friday
Biosphere due Week 12 Friday
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Description and application of geographic concepts
Use of spatial and temporal thinking
Communication of scientific data (including maps)
All - Assessment Task 3:Queensland Globe Investigation
You will evaluate the sustainability of environment-human interactions in a region or place. You will draw on primary data of the four physical systems and describe key relations, impacts, drivers of change and implications of climate change on your landscape.
Product: Report
Academic Report
1200 words – this is a sharp and concise piece of work.
APA referencing
Primary data used
All referencing, tables or figure titles are not included in the word count
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Description and application of geographic concepts
Evaluate the sustainability of human-environment interactions
Spatial and temporal thinking
Communication of scientific data

Directed study hours

A 12-unit course will have total of 150 learning hours which will include directed study hours (including online if required), self-directed learning and completion of assessable tasks. Student workload is calculated at 12.5 learning hours per one unit.

What resources do I need to undertake this course?

Please note: Course information, including specific information of recommended readings, learning activities, resources, weekly readings, etc. are available on the course Canvas site– Please log in as soon as possible.

Prescribed text(s) or course reader

There are no required/recommended resources for this course.

Specific requirements

Not applicable

How are risks managed in this course?

Health and safety risks for this course have been assessed as low. It is your responsibility to review course material, search online, discuss with lecturers and peers and understand the health and safety risks associated with your specific course of study and to familiarise yourself with the University’s general health and safety principles by reviewing the online induction training for students, and following the instructions of the University staff.

What administrative information is relevant to this course?

Assessment: Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the ethical standard of university participation.  It ensures that students graduate as a result of proving they are competent in their discipline.  This is integral in maintaining the value of academic qualifications. Each industry has expectations and standards of the skills and knowledge within that discipline and these are reflected in assessment.

Academic integrity means that you do not engage in any activity that is considered to be academic fraud; including plagiarism, collusion or outsourcing any part of any assessment item to any other person.  You are expected to be honest and ethical by completing all work yourself and indicating in your work which ideas and information were developed by you and which were taken from others. You cannot provide your assessment work to others. You are also expected to provide evidence of wide and critical reading, usually by using appropriate academic references.

In order to minimise incidents of academic fraud, this course may require that some of its assessment tasks, when submitted to Canvas, are electronically checked through Turnitin.  This software allows for text comparisons to be made between your submitted assessment item and all other work to which Turnitin has access.

Assessment: Additional Requirements

Your eligibility for supplementary assessment in a course is dependent of the following conditions applying:

The final mark is in the percentage range 47% to 49.4%
The course is graded using the Standard Grading scale
You have not failed an assessment task in the course due to academic misconduct

Assessment: Submission penalties

Late submission of assessment tasks may be penalised at the following maximum rate: 
- 5% (of the assessment task's identified value) per day for the first two days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- 10% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the third day - 20% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the fourth day and subsequent days up to and including seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- A result of zero is awarded for an assessment task submitted after seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. Weekdays and weekends are included in the calculation of days late. To request an extension you must contact your course coordinator to negotiate an outcome.


UniSC is committed to a culture of respect and providing a safe and supportive environment for all members of our community. For immediate assistance on campus contact SafeUniSC by phone: 07 5430 1168 or using the SafeZone app. For general enquires contact the SafeUniSC team by phone 07 5456 3864 or email

The SafeUniSC Specialist Service is a Student Wellbeing service that provides free and confidential support to students who may have experienced or observed behaviour that could cause fear, offence or trauma. To contact the service call 07 5430 1226 or email

Study help

For help with course-specific advice, for example what information to include in your assessment, you should first contact your tutor, then your course coordinator, if needed.

If you require additional assistance, the Learning Advisers are trained professionals who are ready to help you develop a wide range of academic skills. Visit the Learning Advisers web page for more information, or contact Student Central for further assistance: +61 7 5430 2890 or

Wellbeing Services

Student Wellbeing provide free and confidential counselling on a wide range of personal, academic, social and psychological matters, to foster positive mental health and wellbeing for your academic success.

To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 1226.

AccessAbility Services

Ability Advisers ensure equal access to all aspects of university life. If your studies are affected by a disability, learning disorder mental health issue, injury or illness, or you are a primary carer for someone with a disability or who is considered frail and aged, AccessAbility Services can provide access to appropriate reasonable adjustments and practical advice about the support and facilities available to you throughout the University.

To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 2890.

Links to relevant University policy and procedures

For more information on Academic Learning & Teaching categories including:

  • Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs
  • Review of Assessment and Final Grades
  • Supplementary Assessment
  • Central Examinations
  • Deferred Examinations
  • Student Conduct
  • Students with a Disability

For more information, visit

Student Charter

UniSC is committed to excellence in teaching, research and engagement in an environment that is inclusive, inspiring, safe and respectful. The Student Charter sets out what students can expect from the University, and what in turn is expected of students, to achieve these outcomes.

General Enquiries

  • In person:
    • UniSC Sunshine Coast - Student Central, Ground Floor, Building C, 90 Sippy Downs Drive, Sippy Downs
    • UniSC Moreton Bay - Service Centre, Ground Floor, Foundation Building, Gympie Road, Petrie
    • UniSC SouthBank - Student Central, Building A4 (SW1), 52 Merivale Street, South Brisbane
    • UniSC Gympie - Student Central, 71 Cartwright Road, Gympie
    • UniSC Fraser Coast - Student Central, Student Central, Building A, 161 Old Maryborough Rd, Hervey Bay
    • UniSC Caboolture - Student Central, Level 1 Building J, Cnr Manley and Tallon Street, Caboolture
  • Tel:+61 7 5430 2890