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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Biological Sciences : Postgraduate

Postgraduate Course: Professional Skills for Ecology and Evolution (ECLG11003)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Biological Sciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryIn this course, students will be introduced to an array of approaches that form the components of any major ecological project, in academia, government agencies, or third and private sector. It will comprise four modules:
- A data collection module that will focus on different types of surveys in different contexts, and will involve a one-week field course as well as database building, access and curation
- A GIS and remote technologies module, that will focus on ex-situ data (in contrast to the data collection module), and will address the different types of spatial data (raster, vectorial, GPS, satellite imagery, Lidar, aerial pictures, etc.), will train the students in using a GIS software, and in combining data from multiple sources with different formats and projections
- A data visualisation module, that will train the students in presenting their data in a spatial format (building on the GIS module) and exploring different non-spatial data visualisation approaches in R.
- A skills portfolio module (split between the beginning and end of the course) that will focus on employability skills (interview and CV), presentation skills, writing and navigating the job market. The delivery of the teaching material will vary among modules, and be a combination of field practicals, lectures, computing practicals and discussions.
Course description Given the major environmental crisis humanity is experiencing, ecological impacts are receiving considerable attention across sectors, extending beyond traditional ecological research and conservation, for example in environmental consultancy and financial reporting on sustainability. This course will focus on training in skills that are in demand and transferable across sectors and will maximise employability. Students will be trained in how to collect, manage, visualise, communicate about and put in context ecological data that will then be analysed as part of an ecological project, such as an environmental impact assessment. In this course students will develop a diverse set of skills including in-situ and ex-situ (GIS) data acquisition, data management and data visualisation. This course will provide the students with practical experience to combine these varied and complementary elements and integrate them in a single report. These applied skills will be complemented by soft skills, including writing for a variety of media, oral communication for different audiences, interview skills, and an overview of the job market and of funding opportunities in ecology. Students will be encouraged to reflect on the portfolio of hard and soft skills they acquire on this course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  30
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 14, Fieldwork Hours 40, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 122 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Report (100%)
Feedback Students will receive written and verbal formative feedback during practicals. Students will receive summative feedback on their report.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Identify the key steps and techniques required to conduct major applied ecological projects.
  2. Apply a combination of state-of-the-art approaches involved in ecological projects, including the treatment of spatial data, field data acquisition and data visualisation.
  3. Understand the complementarity of the different steps involved in major applied ecological projects.
  4. Communicate complex scientific data to stakeholders using a variety of media, including spatial maps and data visualisation tools.
  5. Collaborate with others to sample data in the field that can then be exploited by different users independently in specific projects.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills 1) Enquiry and lifelong learning The students will be taught state-of-the-art approaches to acquire, analyse, and present ecological data in various forms. This course will therefore provide the students skills applicable to most major ecological projects.

2) Aspiration and personal development: The combination of theoretical lectures, practicals and fieldwork will enable students to expand and fulfil their potential to tackle and communicate about ecological projects. The interpersonal skills module will enable students to reach their personal goals from an employment perspective.

3) Outlook and engagement: One module of this course will be dedicated to the communication of complex, scientific data to a broad audience using a variety of data visualisation tools. It will also include a lecture on writing for different media, to give the students the ability to reach an audience in the policy realm (with policy briefs) or a general audience (with press releases).

4) Research and enquiry: The course will combine interrelated lectures, practicals and field work, which will all be combined in a final project. This will enable the students to apply the learned skills, based on real data and published approaches, to make sure they will have the skills to apply state-of-the-art scientific methods to tackle concrete ecological issues resulting from environmental change.

5) Personal and intellectual autonomy: The formal course assessment will be in the form of a report, therefore assessing the personal and intellectual autonomy to critically present data in an informative fashion.

6) Personal effectiveness: This course will be composed of four different modules, enabling the students to develop their adaptive skills to apprehend and later combine together new topics.

7) Communication: The course will include lectures in which students will learn to develop their communication and presentation skills.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Guillaume Latombe
Course secretaryMr Alex Ramsay
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