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NES1100 : Sustainability in Practice

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Amy Proctor
  • Lecturer: Dr Fritha Langford, Professor Yit Arn Teh, Dr Beth Clark, Dr Sharron Kuznesof, Ms Katherine Smith, Dr Albert Boaitey, Dr Sarah Coulthard
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


This module aims to:

• Engage students in contemporary sustainable development challenges through problem-based learning
• Support students to build on the theoretical foundations and concepts taught in the Introduction to Sustainability (NES1201) module and apply the skills taught in the Academic and Professional Skills (NES1200) module.
• Help students to critically examine real-world sustainability problems and potential solutions from multi-disciplinary perspectives
• Help students to contextualise sustainable development challenges by introducing the role people, policy and practice play within these
• Enable students to develop interpersonal and intrapersonal skills through multi-disciplinary
team-based learning and reflective practice

Outline Of Syllabus

Students will be assigned real-world sustainability problems focused around four key Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Life on Land; Zero Hunger; Life Below Water; Responsible Consumption and Production.

Each of the four topics will be explored through problem-based case studies. These case studies will involve front-loading theory-based teaching and learning delivered through asynchronous and synchronous learning activities and resources. Through each case study, students will draw on the foundational theories and concepts delivered in NES1200 and apply the skills developed through NES1201. Multidisciplinary group working will allow students to explore, discuss and understand the role of people, policies and practices from different disciplinary perspectives, and begin to draw these perspectives together to identify interdisciplinary sustainable solutions.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion124:0024:00Reflective Essay
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials122:0024:00Asynchronous content (additional lectures, multimedia)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture21:303:00PiP and Synchronous 2 hour introductory lecture (S1) and 1 hour introductory lecture (S2)
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion19:009:00Summative infographic preparation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture81:008:00PiP and Synchronous. Problem based learning set-up lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion16:006:00Formative infographic preparation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops122:0024:00PiP and Synchronous. PBL Seminar sessions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork23:006:002 x Fieldtrips (N.Shields, NU Farm)
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study810:0080:00Independent reading/research on topics relating to the 8 case studies.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study116:0016:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The problem-based learning approach provides students with an opportunity to reflect on sustainable development issues from a peer focused range of different disciplinary perspectives. Students across disciplines will be encouraged to consider & discuss the problem from their disciplinary perspective within mixed discipline groups to facilitate inter-disciplinary working & collaboration.
Each case study will include a front-loading theory-based learning activity such as a lecture, seminar, guest speaker or field visit. This will help to frame each topic subsequently introduced in a case study & provide additional background and the necessary context to tackle the problem based learning. Following the front-loading session, a seminar-based session will begin with the introduction of a problem for learners to explore and/or solve.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Reflective log2A50Individual reflective essay focused on the learning outcomes of the module and skills developed throughout the module. (1000 words)
Prof skill assessmnt1M50Group assignment to produce an infographic on one of 11 assigned topics. Includes a peer assessed element with a +/- grade adjustment factor.
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Prof skill assessmnt1MInfographic concept and plan
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The infographic provides students with an opportunity to develop their written and presentation skills while showcasing their knowledge and understanding of the nature-based solutions explored in Semester 1. The group element enables students to work in an interdisciplinary environment and consider the topic under investigation from different viewpoints and disciplines. The infographic will test specific skills such as teamworking, research and data gathering, organisation, time management and creativity whilst simultaneously testing subject knowledge and understanding. This assessment format provides a platform for students to work both independently and in a group format. It also allows for the development of a common language across disciplines.

The formative assessment gives students the opportunity to receive feedback on the group's infographic concept and plan prior to finalising this for submission.

The reflective essay provides students with an opportunity to reflect on their learning journey throughout the module. This assessment format will test students’ interpretation of knowledge delivered throughout the module. It will provide an insight into student understanding and interpretation of the module learning outcomes and will require reflection on skill development and multidisciplinary ways of working. The reflective essay will require students to reflect on their learning journey evidencing clear links to explicit skill development. The reflective essay aims to assess the true value of active learning and problem-based learning activities.

Reading Lists