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Human and Wildlife Track Analysis


Course Syllabus

RMS 095 / WFB 185 Human and Wildlife Track Analysis

Credits: 1
Instructors: Jesse Jacobs, College of Nursing and Health Sciences,
Rehabilitation and Movement Sciences
Mike Kessler, Rubenstein School of Environmental
and Natural Resources


May 2123, 2015

Rehabilitation and Movement Sciences Human Motion Lab
Class room (TBD)
UVMs Jericho Research Forest, 127 Tarbox Road, Jericho, VT

Course Description:
Hands-on experience in the study of human and wildlife motion and gait using state-of-the-art
technologies in the UVM Human Motion Lab is immediately integrated and applied to outdoor field
research. The scientific basis of human and wildlife locomotion, including principles of kinesiology
and geotechnical engineering (i.e. soil mechanics), are investigated through pressure-release
Key concepts of posture and locomotion are introduced in the classroom, researched in the motion
lab, and applied on the landscape of the UVM Jericho Research Forest. Data recorded and
analyzed in the motion lab are associated with details observed within tracks of an animal and
person. The forces of motion analyzed in the lab are reconciled with the forces of soil mechanics
displayed within the tracks.
The students comparison of their own movement with that of wildlife kindles greater awareness of
oneself and, tangentially, of the wildlife studied. Students also develop an eye for detail, a sense of
context, and an appreciation for the rigor of scientific research essential skills for academic,
forensic, and scientific investigation.
No prerequisite.
Correlate the examination of human forces (i.e. of the students themselves) in the human
motion lab with the examination of forces in the soils of the UVM Jericho Research Forest
Experience first hand the application and economy of energy by humans and wildlife
through analysis of single tracks and series of tracks, i.e. gait
Identify mechanisms of standing balance and gait, as well as human and animal adaptations
associated with changes in the environment and task
Learning Outcomes:
1. Comprehend and appreciate aspects and strategies of motion displayed by humans and
2. Understand and participate in laboratory data collection for studying gait and balance
3. Appreciate the role of the environment in human and animal motion and its influence upon
adaptive and compensating strategies
4. Understand how both human and wildlife tracks represent body movements through
analysis of how movement-associated forces ultimately manifest in the track
A. Accurately identify and record details of the track
B. Correctly interpret details of tracks and reconcile through supporting evidence
C. Understand factors that affect standing balance and gait, and how those factors
manifest as changes in standing sway and gait patterns
D. Recognize track anomalies as distinguishing indicators of physical characteristics or
adaptations of motion and gait to environmental conditions

Human and Wildlife Track Analysis


Required Reading Material (available as online Reading Packets):

Motor Control: Translating Research into Clinical Practice (4th Edition)

Anne Shumway-Cook PT PhD FAPTA, and Marjorie H. Woollacott PhD; ISBN-10:
1608310183 | ISBN-13: 978-160831018.
Chapters 7, 12

Principles of Animal Locomotion

R. McNeill Alexander MA, PhD (U. of Cambridge) and DSc (U. of Wales); ISBN-10: 0-69112634-0; ISBN-13: 978-0-691-12634-8.
Chapters 1, 5.1, 5.2

The and Science Art of Tracking

Tom Brown, ISBN-10: 0425157725; ISBN-13: 978-0425157725.
Chapters 6, 7

Student Evaluation/Assessment
The overall class grade is a summation of the following:

Understanding and performing human and wildlife tracking represents a skill that
requires active practice and participation, so attendance will be a key component to
learning outcomes.


Assessment of opening lectures through an online quiz taken individually outside
class through the Blackboard course site multiple question formats that may
include (but not limited to) essay, multiple-choice, true-false, matching, and fill-in-theblank questions that assess understanding of basic classroom principles of human
posture and gait as well as human and wildlife tracking.


Lab Journal
The class will collect data to compare conditions of gait using laboratory instruments
and then discuss findings in class as well as post a written lab journal to the
Blackboard course site that describes the experimental observations and provides
interpretation of the data.


Field Work
Assessment of track evidence collection and analysis is performed in the field
individually with the instructor.

Scoring Rubrics:
Attendance: Presence for meeting time (i.e. class, lab, and field-work sessions) will be equally
weighted into a total score that amounts to 20% of the course grade.
Quiz: Scoring on individual questions will be weighted as identified on the quiz sheets based on
format and depth/breadth of understanding required by the question. Scoring of each question will
be based on the accuracy and completeness of answers based on all material covered by reading
assignments or in class.
Lab Journal: Written journal will be assessed on (1) on-time completion, (2) demonstrated
application of concepts regarding mechanisms of balance and gait to interpretations of observed
instrumented data, and (3) demonstrated application of concepts regarding track analysis to
interpretations of observed instrumented data.
Field Work: Oral explanation of track formation will be assessed on (1) the degree to which track
formation can be described by the forces that made the track (2) the sequencing of motions

Human and Wildlife Track Analysis


evidenced by the tracks, and (3) the identification of the conditions previously observed and
recorded by the laboratory instruments.
General Course Information
Course Policies
Prior experience There are no prerequisites for this course, and it does not assume nor
require that a student have prior tracking experience. Students are simply asked to exhibit an
open mind, positive attitude, thirst for knowledge, and respect for others.
Level of Instruction This course is a general introduction to the scientific study of human and
animal motion through modern instrumented technologies as well as the ancient technology of
tracking. During field tracking, the level of instruction will be tailored to each persons level of
skill. Both the beginner and the expert tracker will be fully engaged. Assessment of individual
competency is not based on the degree of difficulty but rather on the students demonstration
of the process as well as understanding of the principles and awareness of how to progress in
Preparation and Participation There will be excursions from the campus classroom that
require hiking in the hills of the Jericho Research Forest in seasonable weather. Students are
expected to dress accordingly and provide for their own specific needs, e.g. food, hydration
etc. There will be a lab session in the Human Motion Laboratory in Rowell; non-reflective
clothing and shorts and t-shirts will enable effective data collection.
Transportation Students are responsible for their own transportation to and from the Jericho
Research Forest and are strongly encouraged to share rides.
Instructor Communications The UVM Blackboard online learning system and the Banner Student
system (both of which use UVM email) are the two modes of instructor communication for this
course. Students are responsible for using the Blackboard system and also for receiving messages
sent to their UVM email account and/or insuring that their UVM email account is setup to forward
messages accordingly.
Attendance Policy
Students are expected to attend all regularly scheduled classes and labs. It is the responsibility of
the student to inform the instructor regarding the reason for absence or tardiness from class, and to
discuss these with the instructor in advance whenever possible. Circumstances that require the
student to be absent for any length of time should be discussed with the faculty member so that a
plan can be made for make-up work or extensions of due dates. Courses taken in summer term
may not allow for significant absences or extensions due to the short duration of the summer
Intellectual Property Rights: Recording of class (audio or video/picture/camera-phone, etc.)
is PROHIBITED in ALL cases without explicit instructor approval!
Consistent with the Universitys policy on intellectual property rights, teaching and curricular
materials (including but not limited to classroom lectures, class notes, exams, handouts, and
presentations) are the property of the instructor(s). Therefore, electronic recordings and/or
transmissions of classes or class notes are prohibited without the express written permission of the
instructor. Such permission is to be considered unique to the needs of an individual student (e.g.
ADA compliance), and not a license for permanent retention or electronic dissemination to others.
If screencasts of class lectures or PowerPoint slides in .pdf format are provided on Blackboard, this
content is intended for use by registered students as a private study aid and is not to be shared or
Classroom Code of Conduct
Faculty and students will at all times conduct themselves in a manner that serves to maintain,
promote, and enhance the high-quality academic environment befitting the University of Vermont.
Details of the code of conduct are outlined on the UVM website.
Student Course Evaluation


Human and Wildlife Track Analysis

As a matter of professional responsibility, all students are expected to complete a course and
instructor evaluation at the end of the course. Evaluations will be posted on Blackboard and are
anonymous and confidential.
Religious Holidays
Students have the right to practice the religion of their choice. Each semester (or summer course
term) students should submit in writing and in advance to their instructors their documented
religious holiday schedule for the semester or summer term. Faculty will permit students who miss
work for the purpose of religious observance to make up this work.
Academic Honesty
The principle objective of the policy on academic honesty is to promote an intellectual climate
and support the academic integrity of the University of Vermont. A full statement of the policy
can be found in The Cats Tale (http://www.uvm.edu/~dos/?Page=office/catstale.php). Each
student is responsible for knowing and observing this policy.
ADA Student Accommodations
Reasonable accommodations are provided for students with appropriate documentation from the
ACCESS Office. ACCESS coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with documented
disabilities. They are located at A170 Living/Learning Center, and can be reached by phone 802656-7753, or by e-mail access@uvm.edu. Visit their website http://www.uvm.edu/access. To
receive accommodations in this course, please bring the primary instructor a copy of the letter
provided by the ACCESS Office and speak to him/her about a plan to implement the
Electronic Submissions/Internet Use
The UVM Blackboard online learning system is used for all course-related materials, including but
not limited to course: announcements, materials, assignments, submissions, exams and grades.
Sequence of Instruction




May 2015
















- Jesse (human)
- Mike (wildlife, tracking)
QUIZ (online after class)







- Trials



- Human tracks (2 hr)
- Wildlife tracks (2 hr)
- Review & recap (2 hr)