Module Information

Module Identifier
GS00820
Module Title
Understanding Change - Environment, People, Places
Academic Year
2023/2024
Co-ordinator
Semester
Semester 2
Reading List

Course Delivery

 

Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Field Project Report  Students will develop a project that can be conducted during a short site visit to a nature reserve in north Ceredigion. They will use data collected during this visit to produce a 1,500 report that will include the following: site description, purpose of data collection (research goals and questions), methods used (including ethical factors and limitations of methods chosen), result analysis and visualization, conclusions.  60%
Semester Exam Blackboard Exam  based on the lecture content of the module. 90 Minutes  40%
Supplementary Assessment Field Project Report  Students will develop a project that can be conducted during a short site visit to a nature reserve in north Ceredigion. They will use data collected during this visit to produce a 1,500 report that will include the following: site description, purpose of data collection (research goals and questions), methods used (including ethical factors and limitations of methods chosen), result analysis and visualization, conclusions.  60%
Supplementary Exam Blackboard Exam  based on the lecture content of the module. 90 Minutes  40%

Learning Outcomes

Demonstrate a broad understanding of the themes of the module and their chosen degree subject.

Demonstrate an understanding of the role of methods, rigour and analysis in conducting a field work based research project.

Engage with information from a range of different sources (e.g. textbooks, academic papers, digital media, published environmental data, spatial and qualitative)

Collection, analysis and presentation of quantitative data in a report format

Describe and evaluate the current and evolving challenges in the management of environmental change

Brief description

The module develops skills and ideas introduced in either the Semester 1 modules GS00420 (Environmental Management) or 'Introduction to Social Sciences', as well as sitting alongside the skills and research proposal elements of Semester 2's 'How to be a Student 2'.

It will provide students with a foundational understanding of key terms, ideas and contemporary debates related to understanding, monitoring and responding to environmental change. The role of different forms of scientific study (natural, social and psychological sciences) in underpinning contemporary debates and attempts to manage 'change' is foregrounded.

It has two strands. Weekly lectures are organised in thematic blocks (see below) and focus on debates, terminology, and baseline knowledge about the biophysical world and humanity’s relationships within it necessary for higher education degree study. Workshops focus on analytical skills and the role of disciplinary methods for understanding forms of environmental change.

Content

Content is delivered over 34 hours of contact time through a series of 2 * 1 hour weekly lectures, 4 * 2 hours workshops, and a full day field trip.

Lectures focus on ideas, terms, debates and linking the themes of the teaching blocks to the subject disciplinary interests of the students.

Teaching blocks are organised around the following framework
• Global change and the dynamic earth
• Habitats and humanity – ecological and socio-ecological systems, and the ethics of biodiversity
• Exposure and risk – environmental justice, political ecology, psychological resilience, natural and man-made disasters
• Cycles, scarcity and excess – water, food systems and socio-ecological cycles
• Responding to change – sustainability, environmental psychology, resilience and behaviour

Workshops focus on disciplinary methods for understanding forms of environmental change. They will:
• Consider the utility of different ways of knowing the world through forms of data collection typical for different disciplines, and their limitations.
• Examine pre-prepared data and materials about a site in mid Wales (the Dyfi Biosphere Reserve) from an array of perspectives (geological and habitat maps, indicator species, UNESCO designation, cultural and economic value) to enable students to extract material relevant for their own project report.
• Examine ways of gathering data for a field project (ranging from biological recording to site mapping to psychological tools) that examines the management of environmental change and place of nature in the social world at a protected site within the Dyfi Biosphere Reserve.
• Designing a simple and realistic research project to be conducted during a field trip to the site. The emphasis is on collecting data, analysing it and presenting it in a written report format. Learning outcomes emphasise the need for rigour in data collection and analysis.


Field Trip to local nature reserve
A focal point for skills development and practice is a site visit towards the end of Semester 2.

Students will develop a project that can be conducted during a short site visit to a nature reserve in north Ceredigion. Each student project will be suitable for their chosen degree of study.

These projects will focus on data collection and examining the relationship between the site, habitats, management and people.

Example methods students may use include bird, insect and plant species observation (e.g. forms of transect), habitat and hydrological sketch mapping, site management practices (hydrology and geology), site links to local community and economy, site design and the (psychological) ‘affect’ of nature (trail design, feeding stations, hides, toilets, sound) using observational and self-report techniques such as ethnography, interviews and surveys.

Students will be guided in the identification of topic, methods and pre-site visit research. A portfolio of data sources (geological maps, habitat maps, species maps, visitor numbers, economic assessments) will provided for students to draw from.

The report will identify: site, purpose of data collection, methods used (including ethical factors and limitations of methods chosen), result analysis and visualization, conclusions. All reports will include some element of quantitative data and presentation.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Adaptability and resilience Students will be supported in their development of confidence in their abilities, encouraged to reflect upon the real world practical challenges encountered in conducting their work and to respond to feedback proactively.
Creative Problem Solving Students will identify problems they might encounter in the conduct of data collection and evaluate advantages and disadvantages of solutions to overcome them.
Critical and analytical thinking Students will be required to research, evaluate and analyse information for the production of a research report. Students will undertake an analysis of academic and non-academic sources and produce an academically appropriate report that also integrates the data from their own research project.
Digital capability Students will be provided with and required to access and interrogate data from a variety of digital sources. Students will use word processing technology to produce their report.
Professional communication Students will be required to discuss their ideas and development of their research proposal in a small group seminar setting. Students will present their written work in an appropriate academic register.
Real world sense Students will develop awareness of their personal skills, beliefs and qualities.
Subject Specific Skills The lectures, workshops, field trip and assessments address key debates and themes in the student’s subject area and across the social and natural sciences more widely. Students will demonstrate a basic capability to present and manipulate data.

Notes

This module is at CQFW Level 3