Environmental and Community Biology is a first-year course that features a unique opportunity for hands-on learning. Resources from this award-winning course are available to educators on a new website.
Open to all students during Semester Two, Environmental and Community Biology covers global climate change and its effects on biodiversity, sustainability and food security, biological interactions, conservation and human ecology.
Learning is made fun in this course. For instance one of the practical assignments asks students to play detectives using pollen analysis in a CSI-style forensic investigation.
Students also participate in group projects researching a topic of their choice drawn from thirty current environmental issues. Some group projects offer the opportunity to visit a local site. Last year’s group projects included visits to a puffin island in the Forth, a local chicken farm, and a beaver estate in Perthshire.
This was my favourite first-year course.
Students thoroughly enjoy this course. In fact, the Edinburgh University Students' Association awarded Environmental and Community Biology runner up for the best course in 2010.
One student reviewing the course said, "Our group project was definitely the most enjoyable assignment of first year. The fieldtrip that we took to see an area where beavers had been released was amazing."
The Biosciences Investigative Group Project Inventory website, funded by the UK Centre for Bioscience, now compiles details and photos from Environmental and Community Biology projects for use and adaptation by other educators. Whether you are a student looking for a dissertation topic or an educator looking to spice up your curriculum, this website offers great resources.
This article was published on Feb 11, 2011
This article was published on Apr 18, 2013