Organisms in their Environment - BIO00036I

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  • Department: Biology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Pen Holland
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20

Module summary

The module has two parts: a set of workshops in the autumn and spring terms, followed by a residential field course in continental Europe during the Easter vacation (York-based non-residential option available for students with individual requirements). The module is primarily taught through workshops including brief lecture presentations to introduce and contextualise the topic under consideration.

Active learning by the students to build their own skills and mental model will be sandwiched in between, and further built upon in structured private study and formative assessment using Lego communities and an online repository of class outputs.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2019-20 to Summer Term 2019-20

Module aims

The module has two parts: a set of workshops in the autumn and spring terms, followed by a residential field course in continental Europe during the Easter vacation (York-based non-residential option available for students with individual requirements). The module is primarily taught through workshops including brief lecture presentations to introduce and contextualise the topic under consideration. Active learning by the students to build their own skills and mental model will be sandwiched in between, and further built upon in structured private study and formative assessment using Lego communities and an online repository of class outputs. Topics cover the practical and theoretical aspects of plant and animal sampling, and data analysis and interpretation for populations and communities. Strong emphasis is placed on critically interpreting the data and information gained by these techniques and understanding their limitations. Participation will be monitored via outputs from directed private study on the VLE, with formative feedback from peers and staff.

During the field course, the students will have the opportunity to discover more directly how plants and animals live in their environment, and to develop and execute an ecological investigation in small groups for 5 days. After introduction to a range of habitats, the students, under the supervision of a member of staff, will be responsible for (1) defining the aim of their study, (2) coming up with a sensible scientific design in one of the available sites, (3) carrying out the survey or experiment, (4) processing the samples and analysing the results, and (5) communicating their findings from the field course and taught course by means of an individual poster presentation.

Module learning outcomes

1. Choose, use and critique sampling techniques for plants and animals in their environment.

2. Choose, use and critique analysis methods for ecological sample data.

3. Interpret and discuss (with reference to theory) patterns of ecological populations and communities in their environment.

4. Work in a small group to develop and carry out a field research project.

5. Communicate and discuss ecological field work methods, results and implications to a scientific audience via written and poster presentation.

Module content

The module builds on ecological knowledge and skills from Animal and Plant Biology and Scientific Skills, the module develops practical skills and relates these to theory, and extends knowledge of applications and limitations of methods used for ecological data collection and analysis.

It provides students with essential field, practical and analytical skills and relates to theory, to support research projects and further field courses in Stage 3/4.

An alternative field course for exceptional circumstances (e.g. for students with caring responsibilities, visa restrictions etc) can be organised and this will be a day trip based field course / assessed practical in week 7 of the summer term.

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Poster
N/A 50
Open Examination
Individual Open Assessment
N/A 50

Special assessment rules

None

Additional assessment information

Formative assessment will include VLE based MCQ/numeric tests for analysis and informal feedback on workshop activities, to prepare students for summative work.

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Poster
N/A 50
Open Examination
Individual Open Assessment
N/A 50

Module feedback

Marks for open assessments will be made available to you and your supervisor via e:vision. Individual comments will be added to your script and/or on separate summary feedback document. Histograms of module marks will be posted on the notice boards outside the Biology Student Services office. You should take the opportunity to discuss your marks and feedback with your supervisor.

During the teaching of the module you will receive feedback that may be at a whole class or individual level. Forms of feedback may include: model answers and discussion of workshop questions, summaries of performance in practicals, VLE-based quizzes, individual spoken comments during workshops, individual written comments on formative work.  

Indicative reading

These are available through the VLE module site.



The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.