From UBC Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Urban Watershed Management
SOIL 516
Section: 001
Instructor: Julie Wilson
Office: MCML 112A
Office Hours: By appointment
Class Schedule: Online

Discussion: Wednesdays 2 - 3:30pm

Classroom: ORCH 3052
Important Course Pages
Lecture Notes
Course Discussion

Urban Watershed Management

Course Overview

More than 50% of the global population now resides in cities and this number is expected to increase rapidly. This puts enormous pressure on water resources and without effective conservation and water reuse, many cities will face major water challenges. This online/blended course presents a comprehensive approach to urban watershed management, and covers themes such as drinking water, waste water, riparian buffers and urban stream health, climate change adaptation, and more. It is intended for community leaders, professionals and graduate students interested in integrated water resource management in urban areas.

SOIL 516 is offered as a blended learning course using an online e-textbook which contains the course material, and the UBC Canvas Learning Management System for class discussions, updates and assignments. There is a weekly face-to-face discussion period for on-campus students.

The course is equivalent to a 3-credit graduate level course and students can register for UBC academic credit in SOIL 516.

The course has the following components:

  • A multimedia e-Textbook that can be accessed online from your desktop and most mobile platforms (iOS, Android) - see "E-Textbook" section below.
  • All course information is posted on the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS), which contains course announcements, discussion boards, links to resources, review questions, etc.
  • Assignments will be posted on Canvas.
  • Discussion period: Wednesdays 2:00 - 3:30pm (ORCH 3052)

Course Instructor: Julie Wilson (

SOIL 516 is offered in Winter Term 1.


As this is a graduate level course, a Bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as environmental sciences, engineering, planning, geography or biology is recommended. Fourth-year undergraduate students may contact the instructor to request permission to take the course. Academic or professional experience related to land and water resource management in an urban context is desirable.

There are no course prerequisites.

Relation to the Watershed Science Course

UBC also offers a blended learning course in Watershed Science (LWS/SOIL 515), which covers the principles of watershed management in a more general manner. The Urban Watershed Management course is different in that it focuses on urban watersheds and their specific land use, hydrology and water quality issues, and also the role of community groups and local governments. The Watershed Science course is not a prerequisite to taking this course; however, those with limited knowledge about watershed issues may wish to take LWS/SOIL 515 first, since it is an introduction to the topic. Those who have already taken LWS/SOIL 515 and are interested in urban issues will find this course a great follow-up. There is limited overlap in content between the two courses.

For further interest, the Watershed Management course series also offers SOIL 518 - Water in International Development (next offering January 2020) and SOIL 520 - Agricultural Watershed Management (next offering January 2021).


The main readings for the SOIL 516 course are based upon the Urban Watershed Management online e-textbook, developed by Dr. Hans Schreier's online learning team. The e-textbook can be accessed through your web browser on your desktop and most mobile devices (iOS, Android). Access to the e-textbook is restricted to students in the SOIL 516 course, and is password protected.

The access link and password will be sent to students during the first week of class.

Assessment and Grading

This is a blended learning course and students are expected to complete all the assigned readings, as they correspond to the weekly discussion schedule. Grading will be based on two written assignments, participation in the discussions, and a final examination.

Component Grading
Participation in Discussions 20% of final grade
Written Assignments (2) 40% of final grade
Final Examination 40% of final grade


Each week we will have an in-class discuss on one of the units outlined in the e-textbook. This will be followed by an online discussion question in Canvas. Registration for the Discussion (SOIL 516 D01) is mandatory for students on campus.

Date and Time: Wednesdays, 2:00 - 3:30pm

Location: Orchard Commons (6363 Agronomy Road) ORCH 3052

Each session will cover a different unit in the e-textbook with small group break out discussions, facilitated by the instructor. Each discussion period will have a follow-up question posted online on Canvas, which students must answer before the following discussion period for participation marks. We expect students to take an active role and respond to each question as well as comment on other students' responses.


Criteria for evaluation of assignments:

  • Read and answer all questions carefully
  • Provide clearly stated objectives
  • Employ appropriate methods to address the issue raised in the assignment. Show your calculations where necessary.
  • Provide comprehensive subject matter coverage
  • Cite relevant literature documentation
  • Discuss strengths and weaknesses of the alternative findings
  • Present clear conclusions

Final Examination

The final examination will be based on the materials presented in the e-textbook, assignments and discussions throughout the term. This is a take-home exam. A document will be emailed to you after the final week of classes. There are 7 questions and you must answer 6 in your final exam submission. Be concise in your responses, with no more than 500 words (~1 page) per answer, 12-pt font, single-spaced. You must submit your completed exam to the instructor before the deadline.

All assignments and exams will be marked using the UBC grading scale. Final mark for UBC graduate credit = 3 credits.

University Policies

UBC provides resources to support student learning and to maintain healthy lifestyles but recognizes that sometimes crises arise and so there are additional resources to access including those for survivors of sexual violence. UBC values respect for the person and ideas of all members of the academic community. Harassment and discrimination are not tolerated nor is suppression of academic freedom. UBC provides appropriate accommodation for students with disabilities and for religious observances. UBC values academic honesty and students are expected to acknowledge the ideas generated by others and to uphold the highest academic standards in all of their actions.

Details of the policies and how to access support are available on the UBC Senate website.

Other Policies

Academic Integrity

The academic enterprise is founded on honesty, civility, and integrity. As members of this enterprise, all students are expected to know, understand, and follow the codes of conduct regarding academic integrity. At the most basic level, this means submitting only original work done by you and acknowledging all sources of information or ideas and attributing them to others as required. This also means you should not cheat, copy, or mislead others about what is your work. Violations of academic integrity (i.e., misconduct) lead to the breakdown of the academic enterprise, and therefore serious consequences arise and harsh sanctions are imposed. For example, incidences of plagiarism or cheating may result in a mark of zero on the assignment or final exam and more serious consequences may apply if the matter is referred to the President’s Advisory Committee on Student Discipline. Careful records are kept in order to monitor and prevent recurrences.

All course assignments and final exam will be reviewed with the TurnItIn application, where they will be compared to information on the Web and other material submitted to the database. It is recommended that you review “Tips to Avoid Plagiarism” hosted by UBC’s Learning Commons.