Resource Database: Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Title The University of Bristol 'Quantitative Skills' Programme
Originator Heidy Mader
Department Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, UK
Tel. +44 (0)117 9545445
Fax +44 (0)117 9253385
Email h.m.mader@bristol.ac.uk


The Quantitative Skills programme of the Department of Earth Science at the University of Bristol is a 2nd year programme aimed at improving the mathematical skills of the Geology and Environmental Geoscience undergraduates. Staff at Bristol were concerned because some students seemed unable to do even very simple mathematical manipulations reliably and confidently, had little feel for magnitude and trend and were generally unable to interpret quantitative information, despite the fact that they are regularly presented with quantitative information and theory relating to Earth Science topics.

Aims/Constraints:

Structure:
TAUGHT COURSE: 6 practicals in first 3 weeks of 2nd year on errors, calculus and statistics.
INDEPENDENT ASSIGNMENTS: 12 in total, 1 every two weeks throughout the 2nd year.

Sources of Support:

Assessment:

The Quantitative Skills programme is designed to place the onus on the student for their learning and to emphasise to the student the importance of mathematics to their subject. It was also important to put together a programme that, whilst supporting the students, is not overly demanding of staff time. It runs throughout the 2nd year and involves 6 taught practicals and 12 independent assignments. There are no formal lectures. Some 15 teaching staff are involved in producing material for the programme. Assessment is based on the practicals and termly tests. Students are supported in office hours with teaching staff and through tutorials with 3rd year mathematics undergraduates who take these tutorials as the practical part of a mathematics teaching option.

Keywords:

Quantitative skills
Skills development


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Page created 5 June 2000
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