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Durham University

Faculty Handbook 2022-2023

Module Description

Please ensure you check the module availability box for each module outline, as not all modules will run each academic year.

No such Code for prog: LMV1
No such Code for prog: LMV2
No such Code for prog: QRV0
No such Code for prog: QRVA

Department: Geography

GEOG3691: ICELAND: FIELD RESEARCH IN GLACIAL ENVIRONMENTS

Type Tied Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2022/23 Module Cap 18 Location Durham
Tied to F800 Geography
Tied to F803 Geography with Year Abroad
Tied to FGC0 Natural Sciences
Tied to CFG0 Natural Sciences
Tied to CFG1 Natural Sciences with Year Abroad
Tied to CFG2 Natural Sciences with Placement
Tied to LA01 Liberal Arts
Tied to LA02 Liberal Arts (with Year Abroad)
Tied to LMV0 Combined Honours in Social Sciences
Tied to LMV1
Tied to LMV2
Tied to LMVA Combined Honours in Social Sciences (with Year Abroad)
Tied to QRV0
Tied to QRVA
Tied to X1F8 Education Studies - Geography
Tied to X2F8 Education Studies - Geography (with Year Abroad)
Tied to X3F8 Education Studies - Geography (with Placement Year)

Prerequisites

  • GEOG2462 SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH IN GEOGRAPHY, OR GEOG2531 GLACIERS AND GLACIATION, OR GEOG2571 RECONSTRUCTING ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE

Corequisites

  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • GEOG3491 ALPINE LANDSCAPES AND PROCESSES; GEOG3581 TERRITORY AND GEOPOLITICS; GEOG3971 GEOGRAPHIES OF ENERGY TRANSITION; GEOG3501 BERLIN: CULTURE, POLITICS AND CONTESTATION; GEOG3521 THE ARCTIC; GEOG3731 DYNAMIC MOUNTAIN ENVIRONMENTS; GEOG3701 MOUNTAIN HAZARDS; GEOG3551 CHIGAGO: SITES OF GLOBAL CHANGE

Aims

  • The aim of this module is to provide an advanced level training in the collection and interpretation of field data as part of enquiry in physical geography, related specifically to glacial processes and forms. It is chosen as a third year module so that students can follow up on their basic grounding in relevant substantive material from Years 1 and 2, particularly in Glaciers and Glaciation, and develop this and apply this through holistic investigation of the glacierized landscapes of Iceland. The environment chosen reflects the research interests of the relevant teaching staff in Geography.

Content

  • This module is a field-based exploration of glacial processes and forms with an emphasis on Icelandic case studies: Our aim is to give students a unique experience of what doing research is like in such an environment as well as training in a wide range of relevant research skills
  • Example topics that may be covered include: glacial geomorphology (processes and reconstruction); glacifluvial geomorphology (processes and reconstruction); glaciers and climate; glacial sedimentology.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • The diversity of global environments and the operation of, and inter- relationships between physical and biological systems over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales
  • Patterns and processes of environmental change and their inter-relationships with human activities
  • The theory and application of quantitative, visualisation and other spatial techniques across a wide range of geographical contexts
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Plan, design, execute and report geographical research both individually and as part of a team
  • Undertake effective laboratory and field work (with due regard for safety and risk assessment)
  • Employ a variety of technical and laboratory-based methods for the analysis and presentation of spatial and environmental information (e.g. GIS, aerial photograph interpretation, geomorphology mapping, field sedimentology etc)
  • Collect, interpret and synthesise different types of quantitative and qualitative geographical data
Key Skills:
  • Critical analysis and interpretation of data and text
  • Solving problems and making reasoned decisions
  • Learn in familiar and unfamiliar situations
  • Communicate effectively (in writing and through graphical presentations)
  • Apply numerical and computational skills to data
  • Use information technology effectively (including use of spreadsheet, database and word processing programmes; Internet and e-mail)
  • Identify, retrieve, sort and exchange information using a wide range of sources
  • Work as part of a team and to recognise and respect the viewpoints of others
  • Manage time and organise work effectively

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Briefing lectures and small group discussions before the field class will help students to formulate the field-based project that they will undertake. This will require them to demonstrate that they can take complex literature, synthesize it and use it to formulate a realistic project. The outcome of this will be a literature review which will be assessed in the individual report
  • The module will begin with introductory lectures and preparation at the end of Term 3 in Level 2. This will prepare students for the field class in September.
  • Students will go to Iceland for one week, where they will learn about environmental processes and change in their field class location and implement the preparatory work undertaken
  • Students will have some autonomy in choosing the topics that they address. The field class will give them a dataset that they will explore back in Durham during their third year, with support on data handling and interpretation during specially-designed computer-based classes. This will lead towards a final report and a group presentation at the end of the module
  • The field trip will be used to allow the students to acquire the data that they need to complete their report. In the field, students will be trained in good practice in field note taking and measurement techniques, which will be assessed in the submitted field notebook. They will also be given training in relevant environmental processes and the linkage to environmental change, under the key theme of using environmental records to infer both present and past processes. This will provide a theoretical underpinning for their project work and will be assessed in the individual report
  • The collected data will be analysed in the timetabled computer sessions. This will allow the students to acquire an understanding of advanced data analysis, with our guided support, and also in how to link empirical material to hypotheses and research questions. This will be assessed in the individual report as well as the group presentation.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 3 2 hours 6
Practicals 6 2 hours 12
Fieldwork 1 9 days 8 hours per day 72
Tutorials 1 Dates chosen by students 1 hour 1
Seminar (poster presentations) 1 3 hours 3
Preparation and Reading 106
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Field notebook Component Weighting: 10%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Field notebook 100%
Component: Group poster Component Weighting: 30%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Group poster 100%
Component: Report Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Report Max 6 x sides A4 100%

Formative Assessment:

Formative assessment will be provided in the following ways: On the initial project outline. During the field course on student field notebooks. During follow-up practical classes. Formative feedback is also provided on the oral presentation of the poster.


Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University



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