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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Ecological Science

Undergraduate Course: Critical Thinking in Ecological and Environmental Sciences (ECSC10034)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryStudents are required to prepare for each tutorial by completing the assigned reading and any specific tasks they are allocated. These tasks could include
- write a 300 word ¿news-and-views¿ piece to explain the science to a broader audience;
- research and summarise background on a key method or technique;
- prepare questions for discussion;
- write a critical review on a paper in an open online discussion;
- determine the academic impact of the paper;
- outline the societal and economic impact potential of the research;
- Generate a review of an online discussion paper and contribute to scientific peer review process.

Over the course each student would undertake 6 such tasks
and receive feedback. Online tools would allow students to share their task outputs before the meeting. The tutorial would be led by the staff member, who
would moderate discussion involving all students, and
provide feedback on their
preparation and understanding.
The novelty of this approach is that each student is
guaranteed weekly one-to-one and small group interaction on research.
There would be 12 tutorials in total, 8 in semester 1 and 4 in semester 2.
Course description Individual syllabus are specific to tutor, and linked to peer reviewed literature.

Our goals in this course are:
1. To have students discuss scientific issues, methods, processes and outcomes with an expert in a small group setting, based on analysis of peer reviewed literature.
2. To provide direct feedback to students on their critical thinking, speaking and written abilities in a weekly forum.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs No
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2015/16, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Full Year
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 12, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 86 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 100 %, Coursework 0 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework: «br /»
Final mark capped at 50% if fewer than 10 tutorials are«br /»
attended at a required standard of participation, and if the«br /»
6 tasks are not addressed adequately.«br /»
«br /»
Open book Exam: 100%«br /»
One written piece of work (word-limited) completed in an«br /»
open book exam (non-regulated) during a week-long«br /»
period after dissertation submission. The exam topics would require students to summarise and synthesise material from the literature to address a current research question. Two choices would be provided, generated by the full staff team.
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. To develop broader and deeper knowledge of cutting edge research in ecological and environmental sciences.
  2. To improve critical capacity in relation to assessing value and originality of research.
  3. To understand the process of structuring a scientific manuscript, and so support the dissertation process.
Reading List
Specific to tutor, linked to peer reviewed literature.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Presentation and communications, in writing, summarizing, and group working.
Study Abroad N/A
KeywordsEcological and Environmental Sciences
Course organiserDr Mathew Williams
Tel: (0131 6)50 7776
Course secretaryMiss Christine Lee
Tel: (0131 6)50 5430
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