KE6002 - Modelling, Computation and Data Manipulation

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What will I learn on this module?

In this module you will learn about a variety of approaches to model environmental systems. Following an overview of fundamental approaches to environmental modelling and a practical introduction to a number of specific models, you will apply one of the models to answer an environmental question as part of an individual study. In parallel with this, you will be introduced to a range of advanced techniques in computer programming which will allow data manipulation, analysis and presentation. As a result, this module will allow you to demonstrate:
- The use of numerical modelling as an important methodological tool in the physical environment.
- The role of modelling in gaining a better understanding of the interaction of processes driving change and in predicting the form and nature of the resulting response in a variety of environmental settings.
- The latest methodological design and application of modelling and the historical context of their development.
- The practice of model design: from conceptualisation of the model by understanding the main physical processes shaping the environment in question, through development of a computational algorithm to approximate environmental response to applied external forcings.
- Critical interpretation of model output.
- The importance of reproducibility in research.
- An appreciation of modelling as an emerging tool in understanding and predicting the impact of human activity upon physical and/or wider environmental processes.
- Computation and data manipulation skills using a wide range of computer packages (e.g. ArcGIS), including high-level technical computing languages (e.g. Matlab).

How will I learn on this module?

1. Data manipulation, analysis and presentation techniques, from beginner to advanced, using a high-level programming language (e.g. Matlab). An overview lecture demonstrating the capabilities of high-level computer programming will be followed by a series of guided IT workshops to facilitate development of code to demonstrate proficiency in data manipulation, construction of efficient, reproducible computer code, analysis and presentation skills.
2. The lectures are associated with taught practical sessions until mid-semester, introducing students to a range of modelling software packages each focusing on different environmental questions. From mid-semester students in IT sessions will be supported in the design and development of a modelling project. In addition, staff will provide directed learning and formative feedback for students and their projects through the provision of reading material in arranged meetings.

You will be supported academically on this module in the following ways:
- Formal lectures (Overview of computation in data analysis and presentation; Introduction of different models used for individual projects).
- Guided IT workshops to develop high-level computer programming skills.
- Formative feedback on individual modelling projects.
- Group and one-to-one feedback sessions on design and execution of individual modelling projects.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be supported academically on this module in the following ways:
- Formal lectures (Overview of computation in data analysis and presentation; Introduction of different models used for individual projects).
- Guided IT workshops to develop high-level computer programming skills.
- Formative feedback on individual modelling projects.
- Group and one-to-one feedback sessions on design and execution of individual modelling projects.

Module content and guidance will be made available by your module tutor in lectures as well as via the virtual learning platform, eLP. During IT sessions, you will interact closely with teaching staff who will provide formative support (demonstrations are often provided at the start of the class) and feedback on activities leading up to the assessment tasks. You will also benefit from interaction and problem solving with your fellow students in working through guided exercises.

Teaching staff operate an ‘open door’ policy for students meaning you can approach them anytime during normal office hours, or via email, to answer questions, receive feedback and support your learning on the module.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• MLO 1: Identify specific environmental questions and solve them using high-level computer programming techniques.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• MLO 2: Apply a range of computational tools to quantitatively solve environmental questions.
• MLO 3: Critically apply essential skills for graduate level careers in science: (1) Manipulation, analysis and presentation of data; (2) Provision of quantitative solutions to a wide range of environmental and non-environmental problems. (3) Awareness of assumptions applied in all areas of environmental modelling and the resulting limitations of the applied modelling technique, and (4) Qualitative and quantitative evaluation of uncertainties attached to modelling solutions.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• MLO 4: Create quantitative solutions to environmental questions using numerical models.
• MLO 5: Critically apply transferable problem solving and project delivery skills through independent research, and show innovation when applying models to complex environmental problems.

How will I be assessed?

Summative:
The first assessment will be a continuous assessment (50%) comprising task-based exercises to demonstrate proficiency in a high-level computer language (e.g. Matlab) (MLO1 and 3). The second assessment (50%) will be an individual assignment that allows you to demonstrate modelling skills addressing a bespoke environmental question (MLO1 and 2).

Formative:
On an on-going basis throughout the module your tutors will give formative feedback on development of computational skills in guided IT workshops, as well as group and one-to-one supervision of individual projects (MLO2 and 3). This formative feedback throughout the module will help reinforce your learning in a timely manner to support your assessments.

Pre-requisite(s)

KE5002: Cold & Palaeo Environments

Co-requisite(s)

None

Module abstract

This module will provide an essential foundation in computational data manipulation, analyses and presentation using high-level technical programming languages. Through a series of guided IT workshops you will develop efficient computer code to demonstrate your proficiency (assessment: 40%). In addition, through explanation of the role of numerical modelling, you will gain a better understanding of processes driving environmental change and in predicting the form and nature of the resulting environmental response. Through coupled lecture and IT sessions you will select a model and develop a modelling project (assessment: 60%). Tutors will provide you with directed learning and formative feedback to allow you to apply newly acquired modelling skills that demonstrate your ability to critically engage with research outputs as part of your research-rich learning. Employers are looking for graduates with computational programming skills who can analyse problems and design and apply effective programming solutions.

Course info

UCAS Code F840

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Geography and Environmental Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2020

Fee Information

Module Information

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