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Module DXX-1000:
Academic Tutorials&Key Skills

Module Facts

Run by School of Natural Sciences

10 Credits or 5 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr James Gibbons

Overall aims and purpose

This module is designed to introduce a range of skills required for a degree in SENRGy and to encourage wider reading around the degree subject. The module also introduces key subject specific findings and literature.

Course content

During the welcome week (i.e. week 0 of the first year), students and their allocated tutor will meet and timetable 5 tutorial sessions to be spread throughout semester 1. In addition there will be a series of research talks given by academic staff in semester 1. In semester 2 there will be introductory GIS and information literacy sessions. During the first tutorial, tutors will discuss with their students the nature of the course, and the learning outcomes that are to be achieved. The tutor will lead a discussion on a topic for study, and the students will receive a list of suggested reading and a description of the task to be completed (i.e. essay or presentation). In subsequent tutorials, students will receive formative feedback on presented work, and the tutor will introduce the following topics and tasks. Topics covered will be chosen by the course director to be relevant and informative to the particular degree stream each student is following, thus the actual course content will vary between individuals. However, in order to ensure consistency across the school, the following overarching themes will be covered: the importance of factual accuracy when conveying information to the public and others, the role of a sound evidence base in policy making, the importance of interdisciplinary thinking.

Assessment Criteria


Demonstrate a basic understanding of the main points of the subject material through either verbal or written communication. Able to abstract a scientific paper demonstrating a basic understanding of source material.


Demonstrate a good understanding of the main points of the subject material through both verbal and written communication. Communicate ideas effectively without major omissions or deviations from the point. Able to abstract a scientific paper demonstrating good understanding of the source material.


Demonstrate a full understanding of the main points of the subject material through both verbal and written communication. Communicate ideas very effectively in a succinct yet thorough manner. Able to abstract a scientific paper demonstrating full understanding of source material.

Learning outcomes

  1. Write logical, well structured scientific essays drawing upon appropriate, and correctly referenced, information from the scientific literature

  2. Give short oral presentations using appropriate visual aids within a given time limit

  3. Use library facilities to undertake literature searches

  4. Summarise, précis or abstract longer scientific papers or journal articles

  5. Take an active part in discussions in subject-specific seminars.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
COURSEWORK Biblography 20
ESSAY Essay 40

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Private study 75

5*1 hour tutorials (5 per semester)


10*1 hour academic research talks 5 hours of information literacy

Practical classes and workshops

5 hours of introductory GIS


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Recognize and apply appropriate theories and concepts from a range of disciplines.
  • Consider issues from a range of interdisciplinary perspectives.
  • Apply subject knowledge to the understanding and addressing of problems.
  • Awareness of the concepts of spatial and temporal scale in understanding processes and relationships.
  • Appreciation of the reciprocal nature of human-environmental relationships.
  • Preparation of effective maps, diagrams and visualizations.
  • Engagement with current developments in the biosciences and their application.
  • Appreciation of the complexity and diversity of life processes through the study of organisms.
  • Engage in debate and/or discussion with specialists and non-specialists using appropriate language.
  • Understand the provisional nature of information and appreciate competing and alternative explanations.
  • Recognize the moral, ethical and social issues relating to the subject.

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: