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Unit outline_

BIOL3033: Insect and Human Interactions

Semester 2, 2022 [Normal day] - Remote

Insects effect almost every facet of our lives from vectoring major diseases like the plague, malaria and Zika virus to the billions of dollars of free ecosystems services they provide by consuming pest insects, pollinating agricultural crops and removing waste. This unit takes an applied approach to entomology by covering topics such as medical entomology, sustainable pest management, pollination ecology, insects as human/livestock foods and insect conservation. You will learn how to identify a variety of economically and medically important arthropods and how to sample insects in a variety of settings. You will also learn how insects are managed in agricultural, urban and natural environments as well as how we can use insects to solve some of humanities most pressing problems. You will learn about the many important ecosystems services that insects provide, as well as how practitioners can help encourage and support populations of beneficial insects. You will build your skills in research and inquiry through group research projects that you design and run. This unit will give you the basic skills needed to pursue careers in a variety of entomology-related fields.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Life and Environmental Sciences Academic Operations
Credit points 6
6cp of BIOL2XXX or ENTO2001 or MEDS200X or ANAT2XXX or PHSI2XXX or BMED240X or MIMI2X02 or IMMU2101
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Timothy Lee,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Online task Online discussion
Online posts
15% Ongoing Various, each a task of ~200 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4
Assignment Fact check video
15% Week 04
Due date: 28 Aug 2022 at 23:59
5-8 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO4
Assignment Consultant report
Written report
20% Week 07
Due date: 18 Sep 2022 at 23:59
8-15 pages (aprox. 2500-5000 words)
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5
Assignment Guidebook+ online collection
Written + online photo submission
25% Week 09
Due date: 09 Oct 2022 at 23:59
8-15 pages (aprox. 2500-5000 words)
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Assignment Final project
Written task
25% Week 13
Due date: 06 Nov 2022 at 23:59
3000-4000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4

Assessment summary

  • Discussion: This is an ongoing participation mark for the class. Participation requirements vary week to week, including taking canvas quizzes, submitting insect sighting to iNaturalist or participating in discussions. Please see Canvas for details of participation requirements for each week.
  • Fact Check Video: Insect-human interactions often include controversial topics- should pesticide use be more restricted? Can honey be used to treat illness? In this 3-minute video assignment you’ll present the facts about the topic and come to your own conclusion, in a style engaging for a general audience.
  • Consultant Report: Management of insect pests is a highly economically significant human-insect interaction. Increasingly Integrated Pest Management (IPM) solutions are used, where a range of control techniques are used to reduce plant damage and minimise harm to the environment. This task involves writing am IPM report on a real-world site (2500-500 words), assessing the situation and proposing IPM solutions. 
  • Guidebook: Identification of insects is crucial in many insect-human interactions, from pest management to forensic entomology, and even just as a means of appreciating the diversity in the world around us. This assignment involves preparing a 2500-500 word field guide around a theme (eg, aquatic insects), which will help other people to identify and learn about insects in their environment.
  • Final project: One of the most important skills for entomologists is grant writing. In these, a project is proposed, which must be practically achievable, with justified costs and a proposed benefit. This assignment comprises a 3000-4000 word grant proposal around a topic of choice related to insect-human interactions.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Course introduction; insect identification refresher Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO5
Week 02 Discovering and Describing insects: intro to taxonomy and insect ethics Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5
Week 03 Ecosystem Services Block teaching (5 hr) LO1 LO5
Week 04 Introduction to Integrated Pest Management: pesticides, regulation and impacts Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO1 LO3 LO5
Week 05 Alternatives to pesticides Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5
Week 06 Forensic Entomology Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5
Week 07 IPM for medically significant insects Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5
Week 08 Biosecurity Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5
Week 09 Animal ethics Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO1 LO4
Week 10 Conservation Entomology Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5
Week 11 Bio inspired technology Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5
Week 12 Further study in Entomology Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 13 Insects as food for humans and livestock Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5

Attendance and class requirements

Attendance: Attendance is expected for all in-person practical activities, which contribute to the in-class assessment. Alternatives are offered for students who cannot attend face-to-face.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. demonstrate a thorough understanding of key applications of entomology, including being able to discuss contemporary pest-control strategies
  • LO2. demonstrate the ability to convey complex information to a variety of audiences (clients, the general public, fellow scientists) in multiple formats
  • LO3. demonstrate an in-depth knowledge about integrated pest management in at least one Australian crop
  • LO4. critically assess scientific literature and apply this to entomological applications
  • LO5. demonstrate practical skills in identifying insects and their ecological effects.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

More laboratory activities are provided for students, in line with current COVID regulations.

Work, health and safety

We are governed by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 and Codes of Practice. Penalties for non-compliance have increased. Everyone has a responsibility for health and safety at work. The University’s Work Health and Safety policy explains the responsibilities and expectations of workers and others, and the procedures for managing WHS risks associated with University activities.


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