Human Impact on Past Ecosystems

ARC00047H

Module leader: Dawn Hadley

 

Overview

The purpose of the Assessed Seminar is to build upon the seminar skills developed in the 1st and 2nd years and, working together as a group, to allow students to organise and run a seminar on a subject of their own choice, within their seminar option. 
 
The Assessed Seminars aim to develop students’ understanding of the topic (particularly a critical understanding of the key themes, approaches and opinions), improve their knowledge of the subject area (through reading and preparation for their own seminar, their seminar contributions and involvement in the seminars), and develop their skills in chairing a seminar, presenting material and being involved in discussion (including ‘thinking on their feet’ about the topic being discussed, how to engage interest in the topic and stimulate debate).

Aims

The fundamental aims of this module are to investigate and critically assess how past human behaviours shaped ecosystems through time, and gain an appreciation for how archaeology can contribute essential long-term data for the conservation, management and restoration of ecosystems today. Through case studies from different time periods and geographic areas, students will develop knowledge and understanding of the varied sources of evidence for human impacts on plant and animal communities in the past, and develop a critical perspective on how humans have directly or indirectly influenced the abundance, distribution, genetic diversity and physical appearance of plant and animal species worldwide. 

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • demonstrate that they are familiar with the archaeological literature on human ecosystem impacts (focusing on plant and animal species)
  • exhibit a firm understanding of the theoretical and methodological issues related to the study of anthropogenic impacts in archaeology
  • show familiarity with a range of case studies 
  • demonstrate in depth knowledge of a topic of their choosing
  • pick out the key issues in their chosen topic 
  • prepare a worksheet which sets out key reading and issues for presentation, debate and discussion, and support the group in the preparation of the seminar
  • chair a seminar, engage interest in the topic, stimulate debate and structure discussion 
  • have a critical awareness of the process of collective debate on a specific topic 
  • be able to judge the general 'success' of the seminar, and to be able to reflect on this, through a written summary of a seminar
  • present PowerPoint presentations on other subjects within the general theme and contribute informed ideas and information to the other seminars

Employability

In this module you will develop key skills in presentation and chairing which should be of immense value in your future careers:
  • Self management: in this module you need to develop the ability to take initiative and you will need the will to succeed! There will be a lot of self management required whilst you plan your topic through the spring term- you should be spending about 3-4 days a week on this module and balancing this with finalising your dissertation (and any other commitments)
  • Communication: communication skills are vital and they will be assessed- through the previous 2 years you will should have practised and developed these skills in order to present clear and succinct PowerPoints. Your writing skills will be tested further in your self assessment document. Most importantly, you will have the chance to chair a seminar and you will need to be able to judge when to listen to your team mates, and how to encourage and stimulate debate, particularly from quieter members of the group
  • Team working: it is essential you can bring the team together to tackle your topic in depth and to create a stimulating and enlightening debate. It may be a wise move to set up your own study groups.
  • Problem solving: you will be faced with a lot of reading and it is essential that you develop the skills for retrieving information from relevant sources as well as critical evaluation
  • Creativity and innovation: this module enables you to be creative in your ideas of what topic to develop and how you plan to run the seminar
  • World of work awareness: this module will set you up for similar situations in the world of work where you might need to chair a meeting and will have to keep the team to the point and to time- you should understand the pressures of such meetings and think about ways of coping with them
  • Social, cultural and global awareness: many of you will be considering the international dimensions of your chosen subject, and in many cases you might want to think about the diversity of issues from other cultures and countries, as well as ethical issues related to your research
  • Application of IT: you will be tested on your effective use of PowerPoint as well as word processsing skills. You will also be expected to use the internet effectively with your research

Human Impacts on the Environment Y3 module, roc image.  Camilla Speller