GEOGY102-22A (HAM)

A Planet Under Pressure

15 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
School of Social Sciences


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Paper Description

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Contemporary events in human and physical geography signal the collapse of distinctions between human history and natural history. Human activity is now the prime driver of change in the sum of the planet's interacting physical, chemical, biological and human processes. Humans have become geological agents, changing physical processes of the earth by modifying land uses, burning fossil fuels, expanding cities, altering diets, extinguishing species, influencing population dynamics, heightening consumption, increasing pollution and changing the climate. The slice of Earth’s history during which human-induced changes are evident in physical geography has been identified as a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene.

This paper examines human impact in the Anthropocene, focusing on the human motivations and actions that find expression in the geologic record. Lectures and laboratory classes are employed to explore the ‘Great Acceleration’, a period beginning in the mid-twentieth century characterised by profound transformations of the human relationship with the natural world. The effects of the accelerating human changes are discernible in all components of the global environment - oceans, coastal zone, atmosphere, and land. In addition to offering descriptions and explanations of contemporary human geography, students are encouraged to consider solutions to human-induced environmental crises.
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Paper Structure

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GEOGY102-22A is taught through a mixture of lectures and laboratories.

LECTURES: Lectures will be held in room S.G.01 on Mondays between 3:10 pm and 5:00 pm. Students are expected to attend all lectures. PowerPoint slides will be made available on Moodle BUT these are not sufficient to ensure successful completion of this paper. Staff recommend students take notes in lectures to ensure material is understood.

Due to Queen's Birthday being a public holiday, there will be no in-class lecture on Monday 6 June 2022.

LABORATORIES: There are eight laboratories during the paper, all of which involve the completion of compulsory items for assessment. Labs are two-hours in length and are held in different streams during each week, beginningbegin in Week 12 (23-24 March). Students are to attend one lab each week. The labs are held in room J.B.03 (computer labs).

Students are to sign up for a laboratory using the Moodle portal in iWaikato for GEOGY102. Instructions on how to access the Moodle portal for laboratory sign-up are available on the GEOGY102-22A Moodle page and will be discussed in lectures.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the role of humans as geological agents.
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Critically discuss the linkages between human behaviour and the environment.
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  • Develop a critical analysis of the dominant discourses relating to human history and environmental change.
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  • Demonstrate an understanding of drivers in environmental change.
    Linked to the following assessments:
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The internal assessment/examination ratio for this paper is 100:0.

Details on the internal assessment items are located on the Moodle course support site.

Turnitin is a software package that checks submitted work for plagiarism. When you upload your assignment for marking, the Turnitin software scans your assignment for matches with published materials, contents of webpages, and other students’ assignments. The Turnitin report to which your lecturers have access indicates where you have copied, word-for-word, someone else's writing, and where you copied it from. Lecturers are then are able to check if students have referenced the copied material as a quote or not.

Assignments do not have to meet the word limit requirements exactly. As a general rule, students may work within a margin of +/- 10%.

Laboratory exercises and the examination scripts are to be submitted on the day of completion.

Read all assignment instructions carefully. Seek clarification if you are not sure what is expected of you by a given assignment.


The University of Waikato is committed to upholding the highest degree of academic excellence for students enrolled in all its papers and programmes.

It is important that academic work submitted by students conforms to the Assessment Regulations which state that it is necessary to acknowledge the work of others used in an assessment item.

The Turnitin® software ascertains levels of academic integrity by checking for examples of plagiarism. The University of Waikato defines plagiarism asthe presentation of one's own work as the work of another, and includes the copying or paraphrasing of another person's work in an assessment item without acknowledging it as the other person's work (see

Assignments that have been designated to go through Turnitin® are submitted electronically via Moodle.

Once submitted to Turnitin®, student work is compared with material in academic databases and with student work previously submitted at the University of Waikato.

Once the comparison is complete, the lecturer receives a report from Turnitin®, where any matches found to other texts are highlighted, numbered and colour coded depending on the level of the match.

Information about Turnitin® is available on the University of Waikato website. Included on this 'Getting Started with Moodle' page is information on how to upload an assignment to Turnitin® via Moodle.

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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Moodle Quiz
17 Mar 2022
5:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
2. Bibliography
1 Apr 2022
5:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Group Test
11 Apr 2022
5:00 PM
  • Hand-in: In Lecture
4. Essay Template
15 Apr 2022
5:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
5. Essay
20 May 2022
5:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
6. Group Test
30 May 2022
5:00 PM
  • Hand-in: In Lecture
7. Laboratories (8 x 3%)
  • Hand-in: In Lab
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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There is no text book used in this paper. Reading material may be found in eBooks and material provided via the Waikato Readings List webpage.

The Waikato Readings List webpage can be accessed via the Moodle page for GEOGY102-22A or via the homepage of the University of Waikato Library.

In addition to the specific readings listed below, the following useful reference books are available as electronic books (eBooks) via the University of Waikato Library Catalogue:

Gregory, D., Johnston, R.J., Pratt, G., Watts, M. and Whatmore, S. (eds.) 2009: The Dictionary of Human Geography, 5th Edition. Blackwell, Malden, MA.

Thrift, N. and R. Kitchin (eds.) 2009: The International Encyclopedia of Human Geography. Elsevier Science, Oxford.

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Online Support

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Online support is via the paper management system Moodle.

Paper materials will be made available to students via Moodle. Such materials include important announcements and documents (including the paper outline and lecture notes).

PLEASE NOTE there is no University of Waikato requirement that lecture notes, in whatever form, be provided to students via Moodle. If lecture material is provided it may not be made available online until after a given lecture. Furthermore, the notes made available on Moodle may not be an exact copy of the lecture as presented in class.

Lecture material is also provided via Panopto recordings. Panopto is the tool the University of Waikato employs to capture audio and video from lectures. Panopto is integrated with Moodle which means lecturers can create recordings that are automatically available to students via Moodle. Recordings can be viewed directly from the Panopto server or they can be downloaded as stand-alone MP3 and/or MP4 files.

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The paper is held in the A Semester. It has four contact hours weekly – 2 hours of lectures and 2 hours of laboratory work. Students are expected to attend all sessions. If a ‘normal’ annual load for a Bachelor of Social Sciences is considered to be seven papers over two semesters then it can be calculated that on the basis of a 16-week semester (including recess and study periods) the student should spend around 10 hours a week on average working on the paper. This includes attending classes, completing assessed assignments, and undertaking associated reading.

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