Practical and Professional Skills for Environmental Sciences

Module summary

Module code: ENVI1039
Level: 4
Credits: 30
School: Engineering and Science
Department: Natural Resources Institute
Module Coordinator(s): Peter Burt



• To develop organisational and self-management skills.
• To develop a range of competencies including general transferable skills and technical skills in the laboratory and field.
• To extend the students’ skills in observation, measurement, data presentation and interpretation.
• To introduce students to more specialised techniques appropriate to simple environmental chemical analyses.
• To assist the development of the understanding of associated theory courses.
• To initiate the process of developing employability awareness and good practice.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course a student will be able to:

1 Select and use appropriate equipment and conduct experiments in an organised and safe manner
2 Select and apply an appropriate technique to the problem under investigation
3 Make observations with care and make accurate measurements
4 Present data in a suitable format, calculate results where appropriate and draw conclusions
5 Use computing and computing packages to aid study, obtain information and to present reports and data
6 Produce a reflective personal development profile using the MAHARA software platform

Indicative content

A selection of practical work will be associated with the appropriate theory courses. Detailed content will depend on a particular student’s programme of study and where appropriate involve field data collection as well as laboratory work.

Introduction to maps, map making and map projections; relationship between geology, landform and vegetation; the rock cycle and weathering in the development of landscape; introduction to aerial photographs and remote sensing; introduction to GIS; classification and identification of flora and fauna and ecological surveying; introduction to parametric statistics; environmental chemistry- sampling and analysis; development of field skills in ecology and physical geography, including field trips in both term 1 and term 2.

Self-awareness and the role of the personal development profile in enhancing employability; an introduction to the MAHARA e-portfolio software; an introduction to self-awareness using the Johari Window; CV development; essential writing skills including letter writing and e-mail etiquette; verbal and non-verbal communication; understanding labour markets; how professional bodies can help students; the importance of networking.

Teaching and learning activity

A series of laboratory and /or field practicals, are provided to build up practical competencies and computational skills. Some sessions will be entirely computer based. In addition basic numeracy, statistics, numerical manipulation will be introduced through a series of formal lectures and computer based interactive student centred learning. Practicals will be selected and grouped according to the appropriate co-requisite theory courses. Learning will come through the students own experience in performing the appropriate operations, integrating data and preparing reports on the exercises carried out. A series of 8 sessions will be used to implement the employability agenda.


Methods of SUMMATIVE Assessment: Practical exercises in geospatial interpretation skills
Outcome(s) assessed by summative assessment:1-5
Grading Mode: Numeric
Weighting: 40%
Pass Mark: 40%
Outline Details: Use of GIS, photogrammetry and mapping techniques.

Methods of SUMMATIVE Assessment: Environmental analyses of natural materials.
Outcome(s) assessed by summative assessment:1-5
Grading Mode: Numeric
Weighting: 40%
Pass Mark: 40%
Outline Details: Laboratory exercises and presentation of data.

Methods of SUMMATIVE Assessment: PDP Portfolio
Outcome(s) assessed by summative assessment: 6
Grading Mode: Numeric
Weighting: 20%
Pass Mark: 40%
Word Length: PDP Portfolio

Nature of FORMATIVE assessment supporting student learning:
In-class discussions, assisted practicals, and tutorials based on course material and presentational skills.