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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Ecological Science

Undergraduate Course: Introduction to Ecological and Environmental Sciences (ECSC08011)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
Summary**This course is for first year undergraduates in Ecological and Environmental Sciences (and with Management) only.**

We use interactive practical and fieldwork activities to develop key quantitative, critical evaluation and communication skills which will provide the foundation for learning throughout the rest of the degree programme.
Course description A course involving all academics teaching on the Ecological and Environmental Sciences (and with Management) programme and aimed at introducing new students to the breadth and scope of the subject taught at Edinburgh. Each week, the course will be led by an individual academic on a topic where they are expert and which can be demonstrated/examined/discussed in individual sessions. Examples will be drawn from both ecological and environmental sciences. There will be a mixture of lab-, computer- and lecture-based topics including field sampling, species identification, scientific writing, data science and critical thinking. Student employability and careers will also be introduced.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed:
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Only students in their first year of Ecological and Environmental Sciences (UTBSCECOLE1F) and Ecological and Environmental Sciences with Management (UTBSCECOLM1F) programmes can register on this course. This course is compulsory in first year for students on these programmes.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %

The course assessment will be 100% coursework, comprising three components (practical report, digital diaries, online quizzes). Students must score a minimum aggregate mark of 40% for each of the three components to pass the course overall. 40% will be from a report on a practical and data analysis project. 40% will be from a digital diary, completed weekly, to practise different skills. 20% will be from an online quiz every week to check learning from the previous week's session.

Assessment deadlines

Practical reports: Formative in Week 6 (Thursday 12 noon, 27 October), Summative in Week 11 (Thursday 12 noon, 1 December). Marked by tutors with academic staff oversight.

Digital diary: Week 1 = formative, Weeks 2-7, 9-10 = 5% per week, no digital diary in Weeks 8 and 11. Marked by tutors with academic staff oversight. The deadline for submitting the digital diary every week is Monday at 12.00 noon.

Online quiz: Taken every week (Weeks 1-11) to test learning. Formative in Week 1. 2% per week for Weeks 2-11. Set and marked online. The deadline for submitting the online quiz every week is Friday at 12.00 noon.
Feedback Students will be working in small groups with demonstrators and academics throughout the course so there will be many opportunities for informal feedback. Each week the students will complete their digital diary to practise different skills and this will be assessed and written feedback given by one of the demonstrators with academic oversight. Students also take an online quiz every week to check learning from the previous week¿s session, and receive instant online feedback on their progress. To practise for the summative practical report assessment, students submit a formative assessment (report on an earlier practical) on which they receive written feedback. In Week 8 of the course there is a dedicated session to give feedback on the formative practical report and support the preparation of the summative practical report.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Appreciate the breadth and depth of ecology and environmental science by discussion/activities led by all academics teaching on the degree programme.
  2. Gain practical experience of field and laboratory skills and an appreciation of data quality and uncertainties.
  3. Use Excel/R to organise scientific data, determine summary statistics, visualise data and develop skills to critically evaluate graphs and charts.
  4. Write a structured report to a high-level of scientific literacy and employ critical approaches when evaluating different information sources
  5. Develop an ability to recognise the skills learned and to self-reflect on these throughout the degree.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills This is a course designed to introduce our undergraduates to what it means to be a professional ecologist or environmental scientist. It will develop skills they already have but with a view to teaching them how to be good, reflective learners and to give them skills they can build on in subsequent years in their degree programme. We want students to develop a critical approach to their learning and to be aware of the world around them both within their degree but also as preparation for when they leave.
KeywordsEcology,environmental science
Course organiserDr Lorna Street
Tel: (0131 6)51 7702
Course secretaryMiss Francesca Nadal Finnegan
Tel: (0131 6)50 4842
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