Postgraduate Course: Connecting Environment and Society (BIME11141)
|School||Deanery of Biomedical Sciences
||College||College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
|Course type||Online Distance Learning
||Availability||Not available to visiting students
|Summary||This course explores key topics in relation to sustaining healthy ecosystems and human populations. It will examine the interdependency of environment and society and discuss the ecological, social, political and economic complexities of managing current environmental problems.
The central theme of this course is to provide students with an understanding of how the inter-relatedness of environment and society can impact both ecosystem and human health. There is increasing awareness that human health and wellbeing cannot be viewed in isolation from ecological systems, such as in the concept of 'Ecohealth', which takes a transdisciplinary approach to understanding how environmental change impacts human health.
This course will focus on viewing problems holistically, as part of a complex system rather than isolated components. Mechanisms to explore these ecological and societal interdependencies will be discussed, such as systems-thinking. The idea of 'wicked problems' will be introduced, as those issues that lack simplistic solutions due to their interdisciplinary nature and social complexity. In today's society, climate change, poverty, biodiversity loss, habitat restoration, urban planning and wellbeing, have all been described as wicked problems, among many others.
Using a case study approach, students will learn about current issues impacting ecosystem and human health, what makes these problems 'wicked' and the role of interdisciplinary strategies for their sustainable management.
The course relies heavily on reading primary literature as well as key publications from the conservation sector. Both assessed and non-assessed online discussion fora provide further content and reflection and students are expected to engage with group discussions for both learning and assessment purposes.
Course notes are released on a weekly basis and contain links to or references for further reading on the subject of sustainable health. The course requires a time commitment of 12-20 hours of study each week. Students may also source and recommend further reading for the course to their peers by posting relevant links within the VLE.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1)
|Course Start Date
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 10,
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10,
Online Activities 25,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
40% Online Assignment; 60% Written Assignment
||Feedback will be provided by the course tutor throughout the course in the online discussion boards. Students will also receive formative feedback on each assignment.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of how ecosystem and human health is a part of a complex, dynamic system.
- Critically analyse complex issues affecting environmental and human health and argue that they are 'wicked' problems.
- Differentiate and critically appraise the benefits and challenges associated with interdisciplinary approaches for managing these complex problems for a sustainable environment and society.
Ecology and society: https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/
Environment and society. http://www.berghahnjournals.com/view/journals/environment-and-society/environment-and-society-overview.xml
Environment and Society (2013) by Robbins, Paul Hintz, John Moore, Sarah A. Moore. John Wiley & Sons.
Wicked environmental problems; managing uncertainty and conflict (2011) by Peter J. Balint. Washington, DC; Island Press.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||The course will provide opportunities for students to improve and develop their skills in critical analysis. Communication skills will be developed through discussion boards and by communication of research in a written assignment.
|Keywords||Environment,society,ecosystem health,human wellbeing
|Course organiser||Dr Ellie Devenish-Nelson
Tel: (0131 6)50 3508
|Course secretary||Mr Andrew Le Tissier
Tel: (0131 6)51 4075