GV3IFC-Iceland Expeditionary Fieldclass

Module Provider: Geography and Environmental Science
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Summer term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Stuart Black

Email: s.black@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
This is a field-based module to enhance training and experience of in-situ investigations. The field class is based in Iceland and will allow students to experience a range of natural environments and will include a day long expedition including such activities as: ice cave formation, glacier walking, volcanic tephra sampling, volcano monitoring and archaeological investigations.

The module aims to provide students with additional field experience to investigate natural hazards and their impact on human societies both past and present. Following the field class the students will have a detailed understanding of archaeological, physical and environmental evidence for both climate and natural hazards and how they have impacted on society.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that students will be able to:
• Collect, organise and analyse a range of types of field data including their own observations.
• Describe and explain the fundamentals of geology and physical geography of Iceland.
• Describe and explain the nature of human society and its changes over time in Iceland.
• Select and apply appropriate methods in the study of a range of natural landscapes.
• Outline the key features of the volcanic history of the study area, and evaluate data in respect of past and future volcanic eruptions.
• Select and apply appropriate methods in the study of climate, soil quality and the economy on past societies.
• Evaluate the historical and archaeological data for the region with respect to geohazards and the impact upon human populations.
• Competently use maps and other navigation aids in the field and use these in remote environments.
• Record information in a field notebook.
• Synthesize findings into a digital log and produce a blog summarizing an expedition/study day
• Present findings of a group activity at an Iceland Presentations and Awards (IPA) event after the field class.

Additional outcomes:
Fieldwork necessitates teamwork and also requires a high level of ingenuity and tenacity. Students will further develop these skills through working in teams directly gathering field data. The analysis, interpretation and presentation of the field data acquired during each of the days will be conducted in the evening sessions. The students will further gain team work experience by taking part in day long expeditions to challenging environments: an active volcanic centre, ice cave exploration, glacier ice formation, coastal ice fields, tephra analysis, and archaeology of Viking settlements.

Outline content:
The field class will comprise fieldwork with students divided into small, supervised groups. An overview of the geology and the main geomorphological features of Iceland will be completed on a familiarization day. Each subsequent day will be composed of data collection on a specific theme, including volcanism, geohazards, historical development of the landscape and economy, impacts of natural hazards on human communities both past and present. The evenings will involve data analysis and presentation.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The module comprises 8 days of work in the field including travel time. Students are required to complete electronic field records (using tablets), and each evening there will be a short briefing to review the day’s work, and to introduce the following day’s programme as well as giving time to work up any data collected. Students will be required to give a short team presentation each evening. Prior to departure, the students will attend preparatory sessions and safety briefings. Upon return, the students will also attend tutorials to prepare them for writing their video blog and attend University training sessions to prepare themselves. Students will also give their expedition presentations at a late afternoon session where they will present their video blog followed by the presentation of expeditionary awards and a formal dinner.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 3 2
Seminars 4 1
Practicals classes and workshops 3
Fieldwork 80
Guided independent study 107
Total hours by term 197.00 3.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 50
Project output other than dissertation 35
Oral assessment and presentation 15

Other information on summative assessment:
Coursework: One essay of up to 3000 words on an expedition undertaken on the field class to include data collected (50%); One group oral presentation reporting on field work activities (15%); Submission of a video blog (35%) for Facebook or other social media platform.

Formative assessment methods:
This field class offers enormous opportunities to develop independence as well as valuable field experience to a remote location in challenging environments. The experience and opportunities on offer will be extremely valuable in team building and personal development for the future as well as offering something unique.

Penalties for late submission:

In accordance with University policy
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.
  • 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 for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    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.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-submission of coursework components during the following assessment period.

    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: The field class will require a contribution to the travel and accommodation costs for those attending.

    Last updated: 31 March 2017

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