APMA107-What is sustainability

Module Provider: School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Caroline Rymer

Email: c.rymer@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
This distance learning module is available to students enrolled on the distance learning Sustainable Livestock Production programme. It aims to encourage students to critically analyse what is meant by ‘sustainability’, and the various frameworks that can be used to assess the sustainability of a particular system. A series of topics will be introduced using online interactive exercises and discussion fora. The knowledge and understanding gained from this module will form the basis of future considerations of sustainability in other modules of the programme.

To investigate in depth the issues associated with ensuring a system is ‘sustainable’, and develop means of assessing the sustainability of a system.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module, students will be able to:

  • critically evaluate the various definitions of the term ‘sustainability’
  • select appropriate frameworks for the assessment of sustainability
  • critically evaluate the sustainability of particular systems.

Additional outcomes:

  • use appropriate tools to identify reliable information and literature on a given topic
  • communicate research findings clearly
  • demonstrate good academic practice in the use, citation and referencing of source material

Outline content:
Topics within this module include:
•Definitions of sustainability and frameworks of assessment
•Issues and scoping
•Case study based on the student’s own business
•Ethical measures of sustainability
•Economic measures of sustainability
•Environmental measures of sustainability

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Each topic will be introduced with some interactive online material and downloadable materials that will be available to the student permanently. There will be a series of online discussion fora and exercises. Feedback and contributions from the module convenor or deliverer will be the main source of formative assessment.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Guided independent study 70
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Report 70
Set exercise 30

Other information on summative assessment:
A report on the case study of the student’s own business/farm will constitute 70% of the marks awarded for this module. A screencast will be produced that explores the concepts of economic, environmental and ethical sustainability will also be produced and uploaded, and this will constitute the other 30% of the module marks.

Formative assessment methods:
Online exercises and quizzes, and feedback and contributions from others in the online discussion fora will provide the basis for formative assessment.

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Length of examination:

Requirements for a pass:
A mark of 50% overall

Reassessment arrangements:
Re-submission of coursework

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 21 December 2016

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