APMA107-What is sustainability

Module Provider: School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Caroline Rymer

Email: c.rymer@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

Critically analyse what is meant by the term ‘sustainability’. Compare and contrast different frameworks that have been developed to assess the sustainability of a system.  Critically analyse the sustainability of your business and learn from the other members of the group about the sustainability of their business.

This online learning module is available to students on the following modes of study: students enrolled on the distance learning MSc by research in Animal Science programme; students enrolled on AgriFood Training Partnership programmes; students wishing to undertake independent study on a modular basis; students engaged in continuing professional development (CPD), taken as a stand-alone module with or without assessment. Students wishing to take the course as part of an unassessed CPD programme should ensure that they are enrolled on the CPD version of the module (APMA507).

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
Total hours for module 100

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Report 70
Set exercise 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
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:

Work that is submitted up to one calendar month after the submission deadline (and time) will be subject to a deduction of 10%.  Work that is submitted after one calendar month beyond the submission deadline will not be marked (unless extenuating circumstances have been agreed).

Assessment 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: 29 July 2020


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