GV1TGE-Techniques in Geography and Environmental Science

Module Provider: Geography and Environmental Science
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Mike Simmonds

Email: m.j.simmonds@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module provides all students in Geography & Environmental Science with an introduction to methodology and techniques across the discipline. The module will ensure that all students have the required skills for the analysis and interpretation of geographical and environmental data based on a series of lectures, laboratory and computer-based practicals and a compulsory fieldclass (-3 days) to Somerset.

To develop skills in the collection, analysis and interpretation of all forms of geographical and environmental data, using standard analytical techniques and equipment.

Assessable learning outcomes:

On completion of this module it is expected that a student will be able to:

  • Manage, evaluate and reflect upon their own learning

  • Demonstrate independent learning

  • Use online sources of literature and references correctly

  • Construct and manipulate data using Excel

  • Perform quantitative analysis using appropriate statistical software including GIS and interpret the results

  • Perform qualitative data analysis and interpret the results

  • Produce maps of good cartographic quality

  • Analyse data in the laboratory

  • Work independently and organise work assignments according to a standard format.

Additional outcomes:
The development of written and communication skills, together with time management and general organisation skills.

Outline content:

Autumn term:

The introduction to the module will focus on the university learning environment, for example: reading to learn, essay/report writing and note-taking, organisation and motivation, library skills etc. This will be followed by preparation for the fieldclass in Week 6 which will include information on writing a field notebook, fieldclass information etc..

Field Class: Somerset

The residential field class is a compulsory component of the module for all geography and environmental science students. The focus is on group work and student-centred solving of specific research problems. A variety of field research techniques are applied in order to develop subject knowledge and transferable skills, including:

• To apply subject knowledge to solving problems in the field.

• To use a range of field techniques and equipment to gain knowledge of the geological and landscape history, and a range of topics such as land-use and soil quality, impact of flooding on the environment, and resilience of human populations to flooding.

• To collect data and samples for subsequent laboratory and classroom practical sessions.

• To provide a comprehensive report on field observations using standard procedures.

• To develop transferable skills, including team-working.

On completion of the field class it is expected that a student will be able to:

• Collect, organise, analyse and present field data and to interpret it in the context of wider academic literature.

• Demonstrate good collaborative team-working skills, including planning work programme and selection of appropriate methods of working.

During the field class, students will use standard field equipment and techniques, including GPS recorders, maps, soil augers and questionnaires.

The final part of the Autumn term will be devoted to analysis of field data collected in Somerset using a range of analytical, laboratory and IT techniques (statistics, GIS) in both human and physical geography and environmental science. Students will complete a single field report.

Spring term:

The sessions in the spring term will continue the analytical sessions started in the second half of the autumn term. This will be achieved through a series of linked lectures and practical’s.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
A combination of lectures, lab and computer-based practicals and fieldwork. The module is 100% continuously assessed.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 14 4
Project Supervision 2
Practicals classes and workshops 8 12
Fieldwork 24
Guided independent study 54 82
Total hours by term 100.00 100.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 20
Report 50
Project output other than dissertation 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
The summative coursework will be submitted as individual or group reports.

Formative assessment methods:

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:
A mark of 40% overall

Reassessment arrangements:
Resubmission of coursework as specified by the Department

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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