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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
SummaryThis course is based around intensive interactions between students and staff in weekly small group tutorials over S1 and the first part of S2.

Course description The goals of this course are:
- To discuss scientific issues, methods, processes and outcomes with an expert in a small group setting, based on analysis of peer-reviewed literature;
- For staff to provide direct feedback to students on their critical thinking, speaking and writing skills in a weekly forum;
- To introduce students to the research process in ecological and environmental sciences and to better prepare them for the dissertation process.

Students are required to prepare for each tutorial by completing the assigned reading and any specific tasks they are allocated. The first four tutorials are led by staff. The fifth session is a feedback session. The remaining tutorials are student-led.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed:
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students must be enrolled on Ecological and Environmental Sciences
Additional Costs No
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, 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 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) (i) Identification of a theme and set of ideas to warrant a written perspective [20%]
(ii) Selection of quality literature evidence in support and synthesis of ideas [20%]
(iii) An original figure, diagram or table to convey the synthesis of theme and/or evidence [20%]
(iv) Clarity of summary and a specific conclusion [20%]
(v) Structure, balance and quality of written communication within 1000 words [20%]

Feedback At the fourth tutorial each student will submit a piece (maximum 1000 words) on the following topic:
Which is more valuable for advancing ecological and environmental sciences: observations, experiments or models?
Each student will be expected to take a position and argue for one of the three options.
The piece will be provided with a mark for guidance, and personal feedback will be provided in the fifth session on its structure and content. Feedback will also be provided at this stage on the student's contribution in class sessions up to that point
Further feedback will be provided by staff after each student-led tutorial.
Examples of feedback can be found here:
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
Reading List
Reading lists for first four tutorials to be found on course page on Learn.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Presentation and communications, in writing, summarizing, and group working.
Study Abroad N/A
Additional Class Delivery Information First Meeting: Tuesday, week 1, Semester 1

Further meetings to be arranged between students and staff. We expect 8 meetings in S1 and 4 in S2, with some flexibility.
KeywordsEcological and Environmental Sciences
Course organiserDr Saran Sohi
Tel: (0131 6)51 4471
Course secretaryMiss Eilein Fraser
Tel: (0131 6)50 5430
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