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2013/14 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SOEE1010 Introduction to the Environment

20 creditsClass Size: 14

Module manager: Yim Ling Siu

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 View Timetable

Year running 2013/14

This module is mutually exclusive with

SOEE1014Intro to Environmental Science
SOEE1015Intro to Env Sustainability
SOEE1460Env Science for Env Mgmt

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

It is a web based interdisciplinary module which spans over Semesters 1 and 2. This module is specifically designed to provide students with a comprehensive background in environmental science and an acute awareness of environmental sustainability. In the first semester, students study the different physical and biological processes which generate the Earth's environment and which support life as we know it. In the second semester, students study various aspects of the exploitation, utilisation and management of the environment and its resources, in the context of environmentally sustainable development. The module is taught through a purpose built website with one compulsory introduction session (2 hours) which is scheduled in the first teaching week of Semester 1 and two compulsory meetings (one progress meeting on each semester; a durationof 2 hours for each meeting see the online module timetable for details – date, time & location). Student attendance of this compulsory introduction session will be monitored. The rest is self-study working through the course materials and completing the online test. This module requires self-discipline and skills in time management. Support is provided through emails and drop in sessions for any problems or inquiries. Just-in-time guidance is provided to give further support to students (e.g. announcements, reminders, deadlines, progression checks, etc.) Student's comments have included: I have learnt more from this module than any other during my first year - A great deal of information is packed into the diagrams which provides a good foundation for many other modules - It helps being able to follow the course at your own pace and not being restricted to a timetable - Really interesting subject matter.


On completion of this web based module, students will:
- have a broad-based understanding of the (typically complex) nature of environmental science and environmental sustainability
- be in a position to recognise threats to environmental sustainability, and contemplate possible alternatives
- have developed the skills necessary for independent, self-managed learning, and will have developed an adaptable and flexible approach to study and work.

Skills outcomes
The module places considerable emphasis on:
- developing the skills necessary for self-managed and lifelong learning (e.g. working independently, time management and organisation skills);
- developing an adaptable and flexible approach to study and work.

The module places moderate emphasis on:
- analysing, synthesising and summarising information critically, including prior research;
- receiving and responding to a variety of information sources (e.g. textual numerical, verbal, graphical).

The module places some emphasis on:
- using the Internet critically as a means of communication and a source of information.


1. Our Environment: An exploration of the evolution of the Earth's environment and of the progressive exploitation of environmental resources by humankind
2. Atmosphere: An introduction to its structure, composition, energy and circulation
3. Hydrosphere: An appreciation of the world's water environment
4. Earth: An understanding of the world's geological structure and composition
5. Biosphere: An introduction to the rich diversity of life on Earth: its composition, evolution and interrelationships
6. Air: an investigation of climate and air quality problems caused by human activity (notably industry and transport) and of possible solutions.
7. Water: an overview of water supply, quality and treatment, and of water resource management issues.
8. Land: sustainable development issues surrounding agricultural and forestry resources.
9. Energy: an investigation of current patterns of energy use, and of sustainable energy options.
10. Industry: an understanding of environmental drivers on industrial development and of environmentally sustainable development options for industry.
11. People and the built environment: the evolution of human-environment relationships, of contemporary pressures and opportunities.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Induction Session12.002.00
Drop-in Session111.0011.00
Private study hours183.00
Total Contact hours17.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

183 hours
- 3 hours per week engagement with purpose-built website covering each of the units listed in the syllabus
- 3 hours per week related reading and consolidation.
- 11 hours MCQ tests
- 40 hours revision

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Self-administered MCQ tests on each of the units, with diagnostic feedback
- There are drop in sessions and just-in-time guidance

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course AssessmentComputer based MCQ tests (Continual assessment)40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)40.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)1 hr 30.00
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)1 hr 30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)60.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 03/02/2014


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