Detecting change in terrestrial ecosystems using the Google Earth Engine

Activity and assessment
To define the focus of your projects we will use a problem-based learning approach. Students on the module will work in common topic groups to develop a collaborative approach (partnership with staff and student team-working with peers) to tackle your project, breaking it in to manageable components and then work through an idealised 7-task process:
1. discuss the component and make sure everyone understands the problem
2. identify the questions that need to be answered to shed light on the component
3. brainstorm what the group already knows and identify potential solutions
4. analyse and structure the results of the brainstorming session
5. formulate learning objectives for the knowledge that is still lacking
6. do independent study, individually or in smaller groups: read articles or books, follow practicals, or attend lectures to gain the required knowledge
7. discuss the findings, reflect on the process, evaluate strengths, limitations and performance and their impact; set targets and plans for tackling weaknesses and developing strengths; formulate your individual assessment criteria

Summative coursework in the format of a scientific paper (2000 words) on environmental remote sensing and geospatial data analysis using a suitable application of the Google Earth Engine which includes
a. Introduction to your specific application which describes the environmental change that you intend to detect;
b. Methods section which describes the method and data you will use to detect change in space and / or time;
c. Results section which presents your findings by mapping change over space and / or a time series;
d. Discussion which compares your results with those in the scientific literature which you should cite;
e. Conclusion which describes what you now know from your findings that you didn’t know before;
f. Reference list of the literature you have cited;
g. Appendix 1: Earth Engine code used to produce the results
h. Appendix 2: self-assessment mark (0-100%) with justification (max 1 page A4) against assessment criteria.
To understand the level expected read the SEEC (2016) credit level 5 = year 2 undergraduate descriptors (Table 1). Please pay particular attention to the Summary and Setting of those year 2 descriptors.
To understand how to write your scientific paper, I have used the module learning outcomes guided by those year 2 descriptors to produce assessment criteria which you will also use in your self-assessment (Table 2).
Skills that will be practiced and developed during the module:
• Identify, access, use and explain remote sensing data to describe and detect a change in terrestrial ecosystems.
• Collaborate with others to become proficient in handling and analyzing geospatial data.
• Use IT and coding skills through utilisation of Cloud-based technology using the Google Earth Engine as appropriate to investigate terrestrial ecosystems.
• Reflect on and evaluate own strengths, limitations and performance and identify the impact of them in relation to own knowledge, learning methods, values and employability. Seek, evaluate and use feedback.
• Take responsibility for setting targets, initiating and implementing plans and activities for improving performance.

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