AP1AE20-Humans and the Environment

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:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Martin Lukac

Email: m.lukac@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

Ever wondered about the hidden workings of the world, where are its limits, how do humans fit into the big picture? You will leave your comfort zone to think through the mind-bending complexity of life on Earth. Through discussions, you will answer many questions about the fundamental principles that constrain the human race. There is no planet B, we all have to understand how to live within the limits of this world, for we are an integral part of it. Are we?

This module aims to provide the student with a basic understanding of each of the three main components of the natural environment: soils; climate and weather and their role as determinants of habitats and ecological niches. The module also aims to develop an understanding of the human influence on these and of major countryside and environmental issues. These issues are explored through individual study aimed at developing research and report writing skills.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that students will be able to:
- Describe and explain the main components of the natural environment.
- Discuss the influence of human activity on the natural environment and explain how negative impacts can be reduced.
- Describe how conditions and resources can influence organisms and their interactions.
- Explain the importance of ecosystem goods and services, and their valuation.
- Evaluate techniques for managing a range of wildlife populations in Britain.
- Identify, obtain and synthesise relevant literature on a major countryside and environmental issue.
- Explain and report findings on a major countryside and environmental issue.

Additional outcomes:

Outline content:
The module starts with an overview of the natural environment and identifies its main components. Each of these is then studied in turn. The main factors determining weather and climate are studied, including the causes and likely impacts of climate change. The module then focuses on the ecological principles governing the interactions and distribution of species. The study of soils includes their composition and properties with examples of major soil processes and human influences. The final se ssions explore the importance of ecosystem services and the monitoring of biodiversity, the management of wildlife populations in Britain, and how humans can mitigate and adapt to environmental change.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
There will normally be two 50 minute lectures per week. Project work involves researching an environmental issue.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Guided independent study: 80
Total hours by term 100
Total hours for module 100

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 70
Report 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:
One and a half hour examination in the summer term.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
A report on a selected environmental issue (100% of the coursework assessment).
Relative percentage of coursework: 30%

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (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.

Assessment requirements for a pass:
A mark of 40% overall.

Reassessment arrangements:
Re-examination 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: 27 July 2020


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