Undergraduate Course: Professional Skills in Ecological and Environmental Sciences (ECSC10032)
|School||School of Geosciences
||College||College of Science and Engineering
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||Professional skills in ecological and environmental sciences include both executing good scientific practice and effectively communicating science to audiences, which may or may not be scientifically literate. Further, there are many tangential skills to being a successful ecologist or environmental scientist, such as outreach. This course will attempt to prepare students to be practicing ecologists and environmental scientists. It will cover diverse topics from scientific writing and presentation to study design and data analysis.
In addition, the course covers topics that should help you to deliver an outstanding honours project. The continuous assessment for the course will take the form of a critical appraisal of an ecological/environmental science paper in the form of a briefing for colleagues as well as demonstrated skill in conducting data analysis. The sessions on research design, science communication, data analysis, and presentation will form the basis for an examination at the end of the course.
Week 1, Sept 19- Outreach and community building
Week 2, Sept 26- Effective presentation
Week 3, Oct 3- Science communication
Week 4, Oct 10- Critical thinking
Week 5, Oct 17- Designing a research Programme
Week 6, Oct 24- Presentations of project plans
Week 7, Oct 31- Analytical tools for social studies
Week 8, Nov 7- Statistical Analysis I
Week 9, Nov 14- Statistical Analysis II
Week 10, Nov 21- Statistical Analysis III
Week 11, Nov 28- Last session for extra stats and exam review
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
|Additional Costs|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 18,
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 3,
Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 9,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Written Exam: 33.3%, Course Work: 66.6%
Intermittent (66.6%): At the session on October 2nd you will be provided with a choice of two recent ecological/environmental science papers. You will be asked to read one of the papers, critically assess its merits, and write a clear and concise account of your findings as a briefing statement for the Scottish Government. Your report should be submitted online to Learn in week 7.
At the session on November 13th students will receive a statistical analysis exercise to be conducted using the R Statistical Software. This will be submitted on Monday of Revision week 1.
Examination (33.3%): The course will also be assessed by an examination designed to test your understanding of how to communicate science and to apply the scientific method to investigate ecological questions. Check the registry website for the exam timetable.
||Students will receive feedback from staff and peers on the presentation of honours or other project plans. The briefing statements and a statistical exercise will be marked and returned with feedback. During the exam revision session in the final week of the course students will have the opportunity to discuss any aspect of the course with staff.
||Hours & Minutes
|Main Exam Diet S1 (December)||2:00|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Effectively plan and design ecological and environmental science research.
- Execute cutting edge statistical analyses and visualise data and results.
- Give a formal presentation on a specialised topic to informed audiences.
- Communicate with your peers, senior colleagues and specialists through the effective use of scientific, professional level writing and oratory.
|R Core Team (2014) An Introduction to R. Available at http://www.r-project.org/ under manuals (documentation).|
Gardener M (2011) Statistics for Ecologists Using R and Excel: Data Collection, Exploration, Analysis and Presentation, Pelagic Publishing. UK. [ebook and hard copy from the university library]
Emden J Van (2001) Effective communication for science and technology. Palgrave, New York.
Ford ED (2000) Scientific method for ecological research. CUP Cambridge
Gotelli NJ & Ellison AM (2013) A primer of ecological statistics. Sinauer Associates Inc, Sunderland, USA.
Hairston NG (1989) Ecological Experiments: purpose, design and execution. CUP, Cambridge
Hughes IG & Hase TPA (2010) Measurements and their uncertainty. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
O'Connor M (1991) Writing successfully in Science. Chapman & Hall, London.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Additional Class Delivery Information
||1 three-hour session per week
|Keywords||ECSC10017 Prof Skills in EES
|Course organiser||Dr Gary Watmough
Tel: (0131 6)51 4447
|Course secretary||Miss Eilein Fraser
Tel: (0131 6)50 5430