SUSTAINABILITY - 2018/9

Module code: ENGL001

Module Overview

Sustainability is an extremely broad area, covering issues from, for example, biodiversity, food, and energy, to matters such as legal, regulatory and corporate management, and also encompassing social aspects, such how we can change behaviours. The module covers key aspects to give students a wide overview of the cross-disciplinary challenges of sustainability. The coherency of the course is achieved by considering how each issue may affect a case study family.  

Module provider

Centre for Environment & Sustainability

Module Leader

DRUCKMAN A Prof (CES)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: Global Graduate Award

JACs code: F750

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Module Availability

Year long

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

None

Module content

The course provides students with insights into a wide range of issues that are encompassed within sustainability. These are often thought of as the “three pillars” of sustainability: environmental, economic, and social issues.



Environmental issues include the problems of climate change and biodiversity loss, and resource management including water, food and energy provision.


Economic issues include how economic instruments such as taxes and subsidies can be used to encourage more sustainable practices, the dilemma of economic growth, and how and why companies engage in corporate social responsibility.


Social issues include the sociology and psychology of sustainability, and sustainable tourism - through these, students are introduced to how individuals, and society as a whole, might move towards more sustainable behaviours.



 

Topics are introduced by specialists, and the disparate themes are integrated by illustrating how each one affects a case study family. At the beginning of the course the basic details of the case study family, such as where they live, the number of children, the jobs that their parents do, and so on, are given. To bring this case study to life, the family members are given names – and even their pets are introduced! Students are encouraged to discuss how each topic might affect different aspects of the family. For example, the mother of the family might be involved in corporate environmental management in her workplace, and issues concerning sustainable energy generation may be illustrated by the family installing micro-generation renewable electricity on their house. Where appropriate, issues might be illustrated by relatives who live in varying parts of the world – for example, the family might have relatives living in Bangladesh who are affected by floods or food shortages.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENT 70
Coursework GROUP VIDEO 30

Alternative Assessment

Alternative assessment to replace the Individual Assignment: A report concerning how sustainability issues effect the case study family (3,000 words). Alternative assessment to replace the Group Video: A video (maximum 2 minutes) that presents the student’s critique of a film or music lyric that focuses on one or more aspects of sustainability.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate that they have understood the concepts of sustainability that they have been introduced to, and that they are able to convey the arguments in a concise manner.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

 

- Individual assignment: Two short pieces of work (max 250 words) presenting the highlights learnt from the week’s lecture.  Students are required to submit 10 short pieces of work over the duration of the module. The course consists of 16 lecture sessions, and students only need write short pieces of work for 10 of these. Of the 10 short pieces of work, only 2 will be marked, and the students will not know in advance which weeks’ piece of work will be selected for marking.
Students who do not submit all 10 short pieces of work will get a mark of zero for the Individual Assignment, and will not be put into groups for the Group Video. 

- Group project work: A video (maximum 3 minutes) that presents the group’s critique of a film or music lyric that focuses on one or more aspects of sustainability. Students may choose to critique one of the films shown during class or select their own film/lyric, in which case a copy must be provided for the course director, the rationale for the choice given, and approval of the choice granted by the course director. Examples of films that may be shown in class include: An Inconvenient Sequel (Al Gore), No Impact Man, and Pandora’s Promise. Group work is to be submitted before commencement of summer examinations.

Each student will have the opportunity to provide a rating assessing the contribution of each member of their group: this rating will be used to weight the individual marks awarded to each member of the group.

 

Formative assessment and feedback


The presenter of each session is encouraged to make the session as interactive as possible by asking questions both during the lecture and afterwards. This gives an opportunity for the lecturer to give formative feedback. Additionally, a discussion forum is provided on SurreyLearn through which students can discuss issues and exchange ideas.


 

Module aims

  • This module aims to give undergraduate students from a wide variety of backgrounds an appreciation and understanding of sustainability issues.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Explain and apply the concept of sustainability and breadth of issues it encompasses K
002 Explain and discuss how sustainability underpins every aspect of the economy and people's lives KT
003 Critically discuss and apply sustainability concepts to case study examples CP
004 To gain experience of communicating using digital media, such as through making a video T

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 120

Lecture Hours: 30

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:


Familiarise students with the concept of sustainability
Introduce students to a broad range of areas to which it can be applied
Expose students to the multi-faceted arguments and inherent complexity of the issues involved
Give students the opportunity to critically discuss the issues raised in a multi-disciplinary environment. This will be done in lectures and also in group work.
To test that students have understood and can apply what they have learnt through written, assessed work.
To test that students can communicate their ideas through making a video.
To give the students experience of working in groups.


 

The learning and teaching methods include:


lectures delivered by specialists from throughout the university and beyond
combinations of lectures, classroom discussions and exercises
group work, through which students will gain experience in discussing issues, and putting forward the particular perspectives that arise from their various academic and cultural backgrounds
sessions are for 1.5 hours on Wednesday afternoons during both semesters: 16 topic lectures and 4 film related sessions
reading and other relevant materials are made available on SurreyLearn

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

Reading list for SUSTAINABILITY : http://aspire.surrey.ac.uk/modules/engl001

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2018/9 academic year.