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Unit information: Study and Field Skills B in 2015/16

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Unit name Study and Field Skills B
Unit code GEOG25070
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Wadham
Open unit status Not open

All units in Single Honours Geography Year 1


All of Year 2 B Syllabus units

School/department School of Geographical Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science

Description including Unit Aims

The unit includes 2 elements: 1. Study skills: Tutorials - comprising fortnightly small group tutorial sessions, and 2. Field class - comprising of a 7 day residential field course in Arolla (Valais, Switzerland).

Study skills: Tutorials

Fortnightly sessions in small groups (average 5-6) with academic staff to provide further training and practice in study skills as introduced in GEOG 15040. A programme of work is developed in tutorials to further students' understanding of coursework in Syllabus B, to provide training in written and oral presentations in a formative assessment context and to broaden and deepen their portfolio of transferable skills: group work; time management; project planning execution and reporting; self and peer-group assessment; written assignments, reports and oral presentation. Students will be given responsibility for preparing and running some of the sessions. Each group will have specialist tutorials linked to all courses taken, given by the members of staff who teach on the courses. As such, groups rotate between staff in both semesters according to a published timetable and get the opportunity to obtain specialist and targeted tutoring from each of the two staff that teach on each of Hydrosphere, Cryosphere and Environmental Change. In addition, each group will have a pastoral tutor who oversees general issues of welfare and progress in year 2. Tutorial attendance is compulsory unless good cause otherwise, as is submission of a minimum of 6 pieces of assigned work during the session.

Field Class

The field class will be six days duration, and include preliminary introductory lectures, group field discussion, directed group research and an independent research project session.

A combination of staff-guided and self-directed group projects, undergraduates will enable students to learn about the varied physical environments of Arolla, in the Valais region of Switzerland. Staff-guided projects on each of the first three full working days will focus on the geomorphology, snow cover, glaciology and hydrology of the Arolla valley, and take advantage of the current weather and snow conditons. They are likely to include: snow processes in the Arolla valley, fluvial processes and sediment transport, and glacier and groundwater biogeochemistry. Students will undertake self-directed projects, initially in liaison and with the approval of staff, on the final two working days. These projects usually extend on aspects of the field work during the first three days that capture the imagination of particular cohorts of students. These projects provide invaluable experience for those undertaking field work when conducting their Dissertations and Extended Research Projects. Full briefing on health and safety aspects of the projects are given by the staff.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On completion of this Unit students should be able to:

  • Plan and undertake independent field and research work;
  • present the results of such studies verbally and in written form.

The following transferable skills are developed in this Unit:

  • Written and verbal communication
  • Team work
  • Numeracy
  • Computer literacy
  • Problem solving
  • Analytical skills
  • Planning
  • Project management
  • Planning and delivering an oral presentation
  • Self and peer-group assessment

Teaching Information

Lectures, tutorials and fieldwork

Assessment Information

Percentage of the unit that is coursework: 100

Reading and References

  • Gray, D.M. and Male, D.H. (1991) Handbook of Snow, Principles, Management and Use.
  • R√∂thlisberger, H. and Lang, H. (1987) Glacial Hydrology, In, Glacial Fluvial Sediment Transfer:An Alpine Perspective, Eds. Gurnell, A.M. and M. Clark, 208-283.
  • Fountain and Walder. (1998) Water flow through temperate glaciers, Review of Geophysics, 299-328.
  • Sharp et al, (1988) Glacier hydrology and hydrochemistry, 1998, Advances in Hydrological Processes Special Issue eds. (Wiley and sons)
  • Tranter et al, (1993) A conceptual model of solute acquisition by Alpine glacial meltwaters, Journal of Glaciology, 39, 573-581.
  • Brown, G.H. (2002) Glacier meltwater hydrochemistry, Applied Geochemistry, 17, 855-883.