Physical Environment of Birmingham

Description

This module aims to provide a practical introduction to some of the field, laboratory and analytical techniques (including the use of mobile technologies) required to investigate forms, patterns and processes in the physical environment.

Field data will be collected on campus and within easy distance of the University. Data will also be extracted from secondary sources (e.g. maps) and generated by laboratory experimentation. These data form the basis for group project work focused on mapping systems, meteorology and biogeography.

These group exercises are supported by a series of introductory lectures covering:

  • Scientific approaches to geographical enquiry
  • Experimental design
  • Field instruments and techniques
  • Measurement accuracy and precision
  • Interpretation and analysis of field data

This course forms a good foundation for all Year 2 and 3 physical geography modules.

Delivery

Rolling programme of three practical exercises prefaced byintroductory lectures (3x1-hour lectures); top and tailed by module introductory and concluding lectures (2x1-hour lectures).

Supported by a programme of:

  • Directed reading, interactive DVD, WebCT resources, practical sessions (2x3-hour classes)
  • Computer classes and postgraduate help surgeries (6 x3-hour help surgeries)

Assessment

Continuously assessed by group practical exercises (Workbook format):

  • Exercise 1 (33%)
  • Exercise 2 (34%)
  • Exercise 3 (33%)

Key skills

  • Practical experience of field data observation, measurement and recording, and laboratory analyses
  • Skill in use of mobile technologies
  • Map work, including use of the Global Positioning System (GPS) and Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
  • Desk- and computer-based data processing and analytical skills
  • Report writing
  • Critical reading and independent literature searching
  • Critical thinking, including applying theory in practice