GV1E1-Soils in the Environment

Module Provider: Geography and Environmental Science
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites: Only available to students with suitable science qualifications i.e. Biology, Chemistry or Environmental Science to A-level. Maths, Biology and Chemistry are needed to GCSE standard.
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Steve Robinson

Email: j.s.robinson@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:
This module provides an introduction to the wide ranging scientific processes that explain why soils are so variable in terms of their properties and functions in the wider environment.

This module comprises a series of lectures, laboratory classes and a field class designed to introduce students to the importance of soils and their role in the environment.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module, it is expected that the student will be able to:

• Discuss the major physical, biological and chemical processes of soil formation.

• Analyse and describe the properties of soils in the field.

• Perform simple laboratory experiments and data analysis to examine and evaluate the physical properties of soils.

• Define and explain the importance of soil structure in relation to the availability of soil air and water to plant roots.

• Illustrate and discuss the nature and functions of soil colloids in relation to the availability of nutrients to plant roots.

Additional outcomes:
Students will enhance their data handling and reporting skills in both laboratory and field practice.

Outline content:

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
There will be two 35-40 minute lectures (divided by a short break) each week, followed some weeks by laboratory work of about 2 hours. In week three there will be a 3.5 hour field class. Outside of these 25 hours of contact time, it is intended that you spend approximately 75 hours of your time engaged in guided independent study; e.g., background reading, consolidating your notes, writing up practical reports, revising and taking the module examination (summer term).

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 12
Tutorials 3
Demonstration 1
Practicals classes and workshops 6
Fieldwork 3
Guided independent study 75
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 70
Report 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:
A one and a half hour examination.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Formative assessment methods:
Approximately two hours of formative assessment will be provided in the form of small group feedback during the tutorial sessions; this feedback is additional to that provided during the lectures, and in written form on the reports.

Penalties for late submission:

Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy.
The following penalties will be applied to coursework which is submitted after the deadline for submission:
• where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark;
• where the piece of work is submitted more than one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.
(Please refer to the Undergraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guideUG.aspx)

Assessment requirements for a pass:
40% overall

Reassessment arrangements:
Re-examination or re-submission of coursework in August/September

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: 20 April 2018


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