Teaching and Learning
Learning through experiments in year 1
The University Central Teaching Laboratories (CTL) has revolutionised teaching in Geography. I took a leading role in the development of a new Year 1 Physical Geography curriculum, which underwent a fundamental overhaul. We designed two new 15 credit laboratory modules delivered on a whole day basis entirely in the CTL. Modules Experiments in Physical Geography I and Experiments in Physical Geography II make full use of the laboratories and the array of state-of-the-art equipment. The students form research teams and are set a weekly challenge, rotating through the menu of practical exercises each week. For these efforts, the team were nominated for and won a Faculty Learning and Teaching Award (2013). Thus I teach on both and lead one of the Year 1 Experiment in Physical Geography modules.
Environmental Change (MSc fieldclass)
Our MSc programmes for the parallel 1. Climate and Environmental Change and 2. Environmental Sciences programmes begin with a 7-8 day residential fieldclass to the English Lake District. Students gain a practical training in methods and approaches to characterising current and past environments drawing on coastal, wetland and lacustrine environments. The aims of the programme are to:-
To teach techniques of soil and sediment sampling and field description
To provide examples in the field of how sedimentary deposits can be used for palaeoenvironmental reconstruction
To provide an introduction to various laboratory techniques for analysing soils and sediments
To provide an introduction to the regional environmental history
To use a combination of the above to define and execute a small research project
To provide an overall introduction to recent and past environmental changes, our understanding behind these changes, forcing and feedback mechanisms as well as an overview of recently developed methodological tools for reconstructing past climates and environments.
Field Geomorphological/Geological Skills
Across a range of modules I deliver and contribute practical skills training in Physical Geography including:-
Bespoke day course teaching sediments and soil description and logging (Thurstaston on the Wirral) and geomorphological theory in upland Britain (Howgill Fells).
Geomorphological mapping training for our Geology Physical Geography students on the Isle of Skye during year 2 as preparation for their independent mapping projects.
As part of a new glacial environments module, we are developing a fieldclass to southeast Iceland, where students will gain practical experience of glaciological processes and glacial landsystems.