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Description

California Hazards, Environments and Sustainability Studies Field Course

Module titleCalifornia Hazards, Environments and Sustainability Studies Field Course
Module codeGEO2323A
Academic year2020/1
Credits15
Module staff

Professor Rolf Aalto (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks

11

Number students taking module (anticipated)

45

Description - summary of the module content

Module description

The California Hazards, Environments, and Sustainability Studies Field Course aims to provide experiential research training through exploring the reciprocal relationships between hazards, physical environment, and sustainability – with a research focus on California, a physically and culturally diverse environment experiencing extreme climatic change, geological risks, and human impacts. Themes will likely include: seismic and volcanic activity, rivers and floods, habitat impacts and management, geologic and climate risks, and sustainable energy and environments. These themes will be supported by online resources and optional day trips to locations in South West England (if possible), such as the Eden Project, the River Exe and the River Otter, and the South Devon coast – to study environments and processes similar to those found in California.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The field course aims to enable you to develop knowledge and skills for critically researching a range of topics across physical environment, hazards, and sustainability, found in exceptionally diverse Californian landscapes – also representative of similar dynamic environments and challenges globally. You will work in groups online (and in person, if possible) to develop a research presentation on a relevant theme and to undertake online research and analysis to prepare your presentation. We offer group-based and individual research using online methods (with optional face-to-face classes and local excursions). The module will enable you to work collaboratively online to:

  • Develop research presentations on a theme selected from a list provided by staff.
  • Research in-depth a theme related to environment, hazards, and sustainability in California and to develop critically engaged knowledge about this theme.
  • Acquire skills of research collaboration, analysis, synthesis, presentation, and reflection.
  • Reflect critically on the process of developing, implementing, analysing, presenting, and writing-up research.

You will develop a set of research skills throughout the module and will be assessed through presenting your research orally and visually, along with individual reflections in the form of a research journal.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Identify, formulate and evaluate research questions or problems with limited guidance.
  • 2. Describe selected methodologies and techniques used in collecting, analysing and presenting geographical information, and apply these with limited guidance.
  • 3. Discuss specific case studies and examples relevant to specific themes relating to the module.
  • 4. Describe and explain the results of practical fieldwork and relate results to existing bodies of geographical knowledge.
  • 5. Collect, interpret, evaluate and combine different types of geographical evidence and information.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 6. Identify and apply a diverse range of approaches to the generation of knowledge and understanding in physical geography.
  • 7. Apply geographical concepts in different situations.
  • 8. Discuss reciprocal relationships between physical and human environments.

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 9. Communicate ideas, principles and theories effectively and fluently by written, oral and visual means.
  • 10. Undertake independent/self-directed study/learning (including time management) to achieve consistent, proficient and sustained attainment.
  • 11. Use technologies effectively and appropriately and with limited guidance to select, analyse, present and communicate information.
  • 12. Work as a participant and leader of a group and contribute effectively to the achievement of objectives.

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

The module will be based around hazards, environments, and sustainability studies, with a focus on the exceptional insights into dynamic at-risk landscapes provided by California. This will be undertaken through staff-led workshops, student-led group analysis and presentations, technical skills development, and field experiences (face-to-face or online) that are intended to give in-person experiences that support further understanding and technical skills around main module themes:

  • Theme 1: Hazards: earthquakes, floods, wildfires and landslides.
  • Theme 2: Environment, Geology: tectonics and volcanic activity.
  • Theme 3: Environment, Rivers: processes, riparian habitat and management.
  • Theme 4: Environment, Climate: flooding, wildfires and management.
  • Theme 5: Sustainability, Environments: human and climate impacts.
  • Theme 6: Sustainability, Energy: geothermal, wind, solar, and storage.

Learning and teaching

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

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad
501000

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching8Pre-field course workshops (face-to-face or online).
Scheduled Learning and Teaching14Student-led workshops during field course week (face to face or online).
Scheduled Learning and Teaching20Face-to-face or online field experiences.
Scheduled Learning and Teaching8Work on supporting methods and data to build understanding and technical skills (face to face or online).
Guided Independent Study100Additional reading, research and preparation for the module assessments before and after the field course.

Assessment

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Oral group presentation6 minutes1-12Oral and written
Draft poster workshop10 minutes1-12Oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams
10000

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group research poster30A3-sized poster1-12Written
Individual presentation307-10 minutes1-11Written
Individual research journal40One A5 notebook, or equivalent1-11Written

Re-assessment

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Group research posterIndividual research poster1-12August ref/def
Individual presentationScripted presentation1-11August ref/def
Individual research journal1500-word report1-11August ref/def

Re-assessment notes

If you are unable to engage with the field course for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will be re-assessed for field work skills via two new assessments to be submitted for the August deferral period:

  • Individual research poster related to key module themes;
  • A scripted PowerPoint presentation related to key module themes;
  • A 1500-word report based upon desk-based research on a theme, site, or issue related to the field course.

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

If, having completed the field course learning activities, you are unable to complete the individual research journal for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will be required to submit a 1500-word report in the August deferral period. If you are deferred in the individual presentation, you will be required to submit an individual scripted PowerPoint presentation in the August deferral period. If you are deferred in the group research poster, you will be required to submit an individual research poster 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 an individual research poster related to key module themes, a 1500-word report based upon desk-based research on a theme, site, or issue related to the field course, and a scripted PowerPoint presentation related to key module themes. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will be capped at 40%.

Resources

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Reading lists appropriate to the field course are provided on ELE.

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

California, hazards, environment, sustainability, fieldwork

Credit value15
Module ECTS

7.5

Module pre-requisites

None

Module co-requisites

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

NQF level (module)

5

Available as distance learning?

Yes

Origin date

26/11/2020

Last revision date

01/12/2020