Resource Database: Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Title Video Assessment of Environmental Management Plans
Originator Dr Robert MacFarlane
Department Division of Geography and Environmental Management, Lipman Building, University of Northumbria, Newcastle upon Tyne. NE1 8ST
Tel. +44 (0)191-227-3750
Fax. +44 (0)191-227-4715
E-mail robert.macfarlane@unn.ac.uk

During a field week for year 2 Environmental Management students, which takes place near Loch Lomond in Scotland, students are required to work in groups to construct a plan to address land-use and land-user conflicts. The fieldwork area is characterised by high landscape value, strong ecological interest and intense recreational pressure, all set against a backdrop of productive forestry and agriculture. The groups are required to identify the various dimensions of the ecological, amenity and productive resources in the area, characterise the various conflicts and propose both the framework and substance of a management solution. The 'academic' context for this fieldwork is one unit in the preceding semester 'Land-Use and the Rural Environment', which deals with land-use and land-user conflicts and the concepts and techniques of integrated management, and an associated lecture programme which runs up to the field week (in semester two of level two), and focuses primarily on landscape ecology.

Rather than assess their proposals using group presentations, video has replaced a more conventional medium for the assessment of group work. The video produced is limited to ten minutes and clear guidelines for assessment are laid down from these guidelines. An excerpt from the guidelines:

The production and assessment of videos is not a gimmick. In this very visual age, with a global internet capable of transmitting video images, the use of such media can only increase. You are well used to essays, reports and verbal presentations as a means of presenting information and ideas. Successful use of video builds on many of the skills you already have but also opens up new opportunities. So the assessment criteria fall into two broad classes...environmental content (which could be much the same as in an essay or talk) and production values (unique to the visual medium).....or.....technical merit and artistic interpretation as they say in the world of synchronised swimming.
The fieldwork is very popular with students, but the use of, what is to most individuals, a new technology does pose real problems for them. However, most groups engage with both the 'academic-environmental' problem and the limited time-span/visual problem relatively equally, and produce videos that we are not afraid to show to, and invite comment from, local environmental managers for Councils, Scottish Natural Heritage and Forest Enterprise.

Keywords:

Assessment
Environmental management
Group work
Land use
Video


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Page updated 9 November 1999
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