Environmental Studies

Learn the foundations of environmental science and how to live a more sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle.

Course Code: VEN100
Fee Code: S1
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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  • Learn - What is Climate Change? What is Global Warning?
  • Explore practical ways to live a more sustainable, environmentally friendly lifestyle
  • Lay a foundation for further learning formally or informally (This course can earn you credits for longer study programs if you wish)
  • Self paced, 100 hour course

Learn about this and a lot more through this introductory course designed to provide you with a better understanding of the physical surroundings of the world we live in. By studying the environment you should increase your awareness and understanding of the world, you should begin to notice things in your surroundings which you didn't notice before, and you will increase your appreciation of the complexities and intricacies of the natural and man made world which you live in.

Student's comment: C. Cadena - Environmental Studies
The course was a valuable learning experience... "because it made me aware of environmental information I didn't know"... 'I didn't study for a career improvement, but to learn and implement the information on a daily basis".


Lesson Structure

There are 6 lessons in this course:

  1. Living Things
    • Classification of plants and animals
    • identifying living organisms
    • using identification keys
  2. Basic Ecology
    • Populations
    • communities
    • ecosystems
    • constituents of ecosystem
    • the ecosphere
    • the web of life
    • habitats and niches
    • humans in the environment.
  3. Global Environmental Systems
    • The Earth’s structure
    • the atmosphere
    • climatic systems
    • Gaia theory
    • the carbon dioxide cycle
    • El Nino.
  4. Environmental Problems
    • Deforestation
    • loss of agricultural land
    • loss of biological diversity
    • loss of water
    • loss of non renewable resources
    • environmental weeds
    • the Greenhouse Effect
    • Ozone depletion
    • ozone as a Greenhouse gas
  5. Conservation
    • The definition and goals of conservation
    • the history of conservation
    • natural resources (renewable and non renewable).
  6. Acting Locally: Thinking Globally
    • Humans and water
    • how to minimize water usage
    • energy use in the home
    • reducing household waste
    • domestic transport and its affect on pollution
    • building materials and their environmental impact.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • To understand the binomial system of classifying living things
  • To understand the use of keys to identify living things
  • To grasp the basics of ecology (the relationships between living organisms and their environment)
  • To have a basic grounding in Earth Science and an understanding of global environmental systems
  • To understand the Earth’s major environmental problems and how they have come about
  • To gain an understanding of conservation and its importance to individuals and the world
  • To learn a range of ways to reduce the environmental impact of ones’ actions at home and globally

What You Will Do

  • Classify a range of living organisms in your locality
  • Identify the genus and species names of plants in a nursery
  • Compose a food web for your local area
  • Carry out basic research into the weather in your area and what affects it
  • Carry out in depth research into at least one major environmental problem
  • Contact three conservation organisations to determine the issues they deal with
  • Survey a building to determine the types of building materials used
  • Design an environmentally friendly house

Tips for Saving Water

The watering requirements of your plants can be minimised in the following ways:

  • By choosing plant species and varieties that best suit the local climate 
  • By maintaining a well balanced fertile soil (appropriate to the plants selected)
  • By watering in the cool of the day
  • By using micro irrigation systems e.g. trickle systems where possible. These are much more efficient in their use of water. 
  • By slow thorough watering. A thorough deep watering once or twice a week will be more effective than light watering every day or two. 
  • By avoiding spraying water on windy days.
  • By considering soil type when selecting a watering system. 
  • Clay soils hold water well and will distribute it horizontally, so a drip system is suitable. Water runs quickly through sandy soil and a micro spray, which distributes water over a broader area than a trickle system would be more suitable. 
  • By reducing excess evaporation. This can be achieved by keeping bare soil covered. Mulches, as well as reducing weed growth will reduce evaporation. Compact groundcovers will slow evaporation from the soil but they will use a lot of water themselves. Larger plants will shade the soil and limit evaporation but they can make getting water to the soil in the first place rather tricky. 
  • Rainwater tanks are a useful method of gaining extra water. The use of tanks in the city may require permission from your local government authority. Unfortunately some local Governments will not allow them at all, and some may require that they be of only a limited size and out of public sight. But if you can get one it can help save water and it will collect fresh rain water to drink. In some cities, however, it is not recommended to use rainwater for the household if there is any likelihood of pollutants being present in the rain water or collected off your roof.
  • By covering swimming pools and directing storm water into them (subject to the conditions set out in the point above. Have the pool surrounds sloping back a little towards the pool so that any splashed water will run back into it.

 

Tips for Saving Energy

  • Use energy from renewable sources such as solar, wind and water power.
  • Use natural gas in preference to electricity, or use electricity generated by renewable means
    (hydro-thermal, geothermal, wind, or solar).
  • Conserve energy around the house:
  1. install insulation,
  2. seal gaps to minimise heat loss or gain,
  3. use curtains, blinds, awnings, etc. to reduce heat loss in winter, and heat gain in summer,
  4. use energy efficient appliances (many larger appliances will have an energy efficiency rating on them),
  5. don’t heat or cool rooms that are not in use (e.g. spare bedrooms),
  6. turn off lights and appliances that are not being used,
  7. turn the thermostat down in winter and up in summer by a few degrees,
  8. put on warmer clothing in winter instead of turning thermostats up,
  9. insulate hot water tanks and pipes, and turn down the water heater thermostat.

 

EVERYONE CAN HELP SAVE THE PLANET

There are a vast number of environmental problems in the world. Whilst one person single handed may not be able to reverse the greenhouse effect or other large problems, we are often able to vote at elections, and we are able to modify our own domestic habits to minimise the environmental damage caused. If enough people change their way of thinking and their way of living, then global change is possible. Whilst we may act locally, we can think globally about the consequences of our actions


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How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
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If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

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We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course has been designed to cover the fundamentals of the topic. It will take around 100 hours to complete, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and anything else that is contained in the course. Our short courses are a great way to do some professional development or to learn a new skill.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your login.training portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $55 (AUS) $50 (O/S) for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exam and you will be able receive your course certificate- a Statement of Attainment. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

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We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Dr Robert Browne

Zoologist, Environmental Scientist and Sustainability, science based consultancy with biotechnology corporations. Work focused on conservation and sustainability.
Robert has published work in the fields of nutrition, pathology, larval growth and develop

Maggi Brown

Maggi is regarded as an expert in organic growing throughout the UK, having worked for two decades as Education Officer at the world renowned Henry Doubleday Research Association. She has been active in education, environmental management and horticulture

Martin Powdrill

25 years working in Telecommunications, IT, Organisational Development, and Energy Conservation & Efficiency, prior to setting up his own Permaculture consulting business. Martin has a Bsc (Hons) Applied Science (Resources Option), MSc Computer Studies, P





Tutors

Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Timothy Walker

B.A.(Botany), RHS.M. Hort., Post.Grad.Dip.Ed.

Timothy is a Botanist, Horticulturist and Gardener. He is an Author, and also a lecturer at Somerville College, Oxford. After training at a number of gardens including Windsor Great Park and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Timothy commenced work at Oxford Botanic Gardens in 1986. Appointed as "Horti Praefectus" (Superintendent/Director) there in 1988, he held that position until 2014. Under Timothy's watch, the garden won four gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show, and developed 67 acres of MG5 wild flower meadow at the Harcourt Arboretum; a UK threatened habitat. Timothy remains an active practical gardener as well as a highly respected international academic in the fields of horticulture and plant botany.

Maria Schmitz Fontes

PhD (Marine Science), MSc (Environmental Engineering), BA Hons (Pharmaceutical Sciences and Biochemistry)

Maria has extensive experience in Environmental Science working in the private and public sectors. She has 6 years of experience teaching graduate and post-graduate students subjects as Marine Pollution, Microbial Ecology, Geochemistry, Oceanography, Methods in Aquatic Science and Benthic Ecology. She has published over 20 scientific articles and book chapters. She has also coordinated an innovative project in bioenergy production using simple-cheap methods to isolate microbes in laboratory. She has collaborated with scientists of Climate Change Cluster Group from University of Technology Sydney and has current interests in areas such as: sustainability and clean energy.

Sarah Berry

B.Sc.(Hons)

Sarah completed a Bachelor of Science (Zoology) with Honours from The University of Queensland in 2014. With an honours project focusing on glow worms in Australia, she then moved onto a PhD in Aquaculture from James Cook University working with Australian prawn farmers to grow bigger, better prawns. She has a wide range of scientific experience over the past 5 years in physiology, genetics, ecology, molecular technology, statistics, animal health, care, and nutrition. Sarah is currently continuing her work in research while publishing her PhD work.

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