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Physical Geography Slovenia Field Trip

Module titlePhysical Geography Slovenia Field Trip
Module codeGEO2307F
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Dr Steven Palmer (Convenor)

Dr Thomas Roland (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

The Slovenia field trip provides an opportunity for you to develop and apply your physical geography research skills in a real world environment. Slovenia has been called ‘Europe in miniature’ because this tiny country has a bit of everything – coast, caves, plains, as well as some spectacular mountains and rivers in the Julian Alps, which are the main focus of this trip. The Julian Alps are predominantly located in NW Slovenia, with a small part of the range extending into Italy, and we will spend time in the Triglav National Park, where the abundant wildlife coupled with spectacular scenery makes for plenty of photo opportunities. The Julian Alps are mostly composed of Triassic limestone, which, because it is highly porous, has a dramatic effect on the topography of the landscape. Complex systems of caves and channels exist within and below the mountains, which we will experience with a trip to Europe’s largest show cave at Postojna. The field trip focuses on the physical processes that have shaped the dramatic mountain terrain, and how these processes drive landscape evolution. Learning activities will mostly take place in the highly dynamic So?a river valley, with some time in and around the picturesque lake-side town of Bled. The trip will finish with a night in Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana.

It normally consists of two main parts:

  • Pre-trip preparation: this involves a mix of lectures, group presentations and self-directed study that provide you with the necessary background information and data to successfully undertake the field class.
  • The trip itself lasts six full days (plus travel) and consists of a mix of staff-led, student-led and group-based project activities.

The trip will involve walking up to several kilometres each day over uneven ground, so a minimum level of fitness is required. The weather in late-March can be wet with temperatures close to freezing at night, so suitable clothing and footwear is required.

Geography FCH students may elect to take this module if they are taking 60 or more credits in Geography at stage 2 including GEO2331 Research Design in Physical Geography (15 credits) and GEO2332 Numerical Methods for Physical Geographers (15 credits). If a trip is oversubscribed priority will be given to students based on Stage 1 grades, priority to students for which GEO2307 is a compulsory module and availability of other trips.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The field trip has the following main aims:

  • To provide you with an opportunity to apply the knowledge gained through lecture-based modules to field-based geographical study
  • To enable you to acquire skills in measurement techniques and research design.
  • To help you to develop and extend your awareness of the importance of taught, learnt and observational skills, in strengthening employability potential.
  • To develop transferable skills, including effective communication, time management, presentation skills.
  • To give you further preparatory training for undertaking your dissertation (GEO3321/GEO3322), especially in experimental design and execution of a research project.
  • To conduct a complete research project from start to finish (developing numerous skills including, project planning, management, data analysis).

The field aspects of the module aim to develop the following graduate attributes:

  • Leadership and group co-ordination through team-based field research
  • Confidence in assessing the robustness of scientific evidence and in generating and delivering verbal presentations
  • Problem-solving through quantitative data collection and analysis
  • Critical assessment of appropriate methods for scientific data collection and processing.

The teaching contributions on this module involve elements of research undertaken by the module convenor, such as work on glacial sediments, landforms, and reconstructions of glacier change through time.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Describe selected field-based methodologies and techniques used in collecting, analysing and presenting geographical information within the specific context of field based geographical research, and apply these with limited guidance
  • 2. Identify, formulate and evaluate questions or problems
  • 3. Design, execute and report on a short research project (with due consideration of safety and risk assessment)
  • 4. Discuss specific case studies and examples relevant to specific themes relating to the field class
  • 5. Describe and explain the results of practical fieldwork and relate results to existing bodies of geographical knowledge
  • 6. Apply, interpret and use with limited guidance numerical and statistical (geographical) information
  • 7. Take a systematic approach to accuracy, precision and uncertainty

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Identify a diverse range of approaches to the generation of knowledge and understanding
  • 9. Apply geographical concepts in different situations
  • 10. Outline the nature of change within physical environments
  • 11. Discuss reciprocal relationships between physical and human environments
  • 12. Explain the significance of spatial relationships as influences upon physical environments

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 13. Communicate ideas, principles and theories effectively and fluently by written, oral and visual means
  • 14. Use technologies effectively and appropriately and with limited guidance to select, analyse, present and communicate geographical information
  • 15. Undertake independent/self-directed study/learning (including time management) to achieve consistent, proficient and sustained attainment
  • 16. Work as a participant and leader of a group and contribute effectively to the achievement of objectives
  • 17. Reflect on the process of learning and evaluate personal strengths and weaknesses

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

The trip will visit the Triglav National Park in Slovenia. The syllabus will be delivered in a series of site visits and field lectures. You will have two days to conduct an independent group project. Topics covered by this module include:

  • Mountain terrain and tectonics
  • Catchment hydrology
  • Fluvial sediments
  • Floodplain vegetation and succession
  • GIS analysis of DEM and satellite image data
  • Field surveying techniques

Details of specific locations, activities, and content of the fieldtrips will be issued during the previous semester.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching5Preparatory lecture sessions – background and group presentations
Scheduled Learning and Teaching54Field trip – directed learning in the field and small group projects, evening discussion, analysis sessions, group discussions, student-led presentations
Guided Independent Study91Reading, research and completing coursework


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Field-based group presentation, peer-teaching on topics assigned prior to the trip10 minutesAllOral
Group-based presentation on the trip, outlining survey strategy and experimental design for data collection exercise20 minutesAllOral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Pre-trip report, based on pre-trip workshops and exercises25700 words2-15, 17Written
Individual field report, based on group data collection exercise752000 wordsAllWritten


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Pre-trip report, based on pre-trip workshops and exercisesSee notes below2-15, 17August Ref/Def
Individual field report, based on group data collection exerciseSee notes belowAllAugust Ref/Def

Re-assessment notes

These notes define what will happen in three re-assessment scenarios:

If you are unable to attend the field trip for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee or you are too late to be transferred to the Virtual Field Trip module (GEO2307E), you will be re-assessed for field work skills via two new assessments to be submitted for the August deferral period:

  • A 2000-word essay, related to key themes introduced in the pre-departure workshops;
  • A 2000-word project report, based upon desk-based research on a theme, site, or issue related to Slovenia.

Both pieces of assessment will be devised in discussion with the module convenor.

If, having participated in the field trip, you are unable to complete the individual field report for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will be required to undertake an individual field report using an alternate dataset in the August deferral period. If you are deferred in the pre-trip report, you will be required to submit the pre-trip report in the August deferral period.

The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

If you fail the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%), you will be required to submit a 3000-word project report based upon desk-based research on a theme, site, or issue related to Slovenia The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will count for 100% of the final mark and will be capped at 40%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Reading lists appropriate to each fieldtrip will be issued during the previous term.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Field trip

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites

GEO2331 Research Design in Physical Geography and GEO2332 Numerical Methods for Physical Geographers

NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date