EARTHSCI 320 : Practice in Earth Sciences 2


2022 Semester One (1223) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

A practical and field based course that embeds theory and work flows to enable students to read, document and interpret complex and vulnerable landforms and landscapes in 4-D. Students will be required to participate in a residential field experience and undertake independent field work.

Course Overview

Earth Science has undergone a revolution within the last decade, with the integration of digital and physical field data. Here we aim reflect these exciting changes through a semester long course that integrates studios with a 6-day residential field trip to world class Taranaki field sites. The course focusses on understanding the evolution of the region from the Miocene to today, how these changes continue to shape contemporary surface processes, resources, and impact the people of the region.

Earth Science 320 builds directly upon Earth Science 220 to provide a coherent platform to develop the skills to be a professional Earth Scientist. The course involves a series of studio and field-based exercises that will develop skills in geoscience and geomorphic data collection, analyses, and interpretation. Students will relate digital and physical field data to generate logical Earth system models.  The course will focus on critical analysis and contextualization of data, and development of logical interpretations. These learnings are embedded within the social and cultural considerations in which the practice of Earth Science is conducted in Aotearoa-New Zealand.

This course is suitable to Earthscience, Geology, Physical Geography, Environmnetal Change, Environmental Science students, essentially anyone who has completed Earth Science 220.

Learning Objectives:

•    To develop experience and skills in data collection and analysis including the collection, management, quantitative analysis and visualization of spatial and temporal data.

•    To develop experience and skills in interpretation through the application of general and specialist scientific knowledge to interpret Earth processes using both qualitative and quantitative data. This will focus on the critical analysis of landscapes and their evolution within the context of past and present surface and subsurface processes.

•    To develop personally by providing opportunities to foster empathy and tolerance of individuals to operate effectively within teams. To gain deeper appreciation for cultural heritage and the environment, health and safety considerations and awareness and ability to communicate the importance of Earth Sciences within a socio-economic context.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: EARTHSCI 220 Restriction: EARTHSCI 301, GEOG 330

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Collect, quality control, manage, analyse and visualise spatio-temporal data. Initial desktop analysis of remote or pre-existing datasets and literature will contextualise any data analysis and evaluate the impact of methodology, dataset completeness, bias or uncertainty on results. (Capability 1, 2 and 5)
  2. Interpret qualitative and quantitative data logically to develop models of surface and subsurface processes through space and time. This will focus on reading a landscape within the context of past and present earth surface and subsurface geologic processes. (Capability 2, 3 and 5)
  3. Understand your own working style and appreciate the diversity of styles to be able to develop effective strategies for group work. (Capability 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  4. Appreciate cultural and environmental heritage of Aotearoa and be able to work safely, sustainably and considerately within this context. (Capability 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  5. Integrate a broad range of existing and new information and communicate it effectively to a variety of audiences. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Test 10% Individual Test
Assignments 90% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5
Assignments consist of:

30% Fieldtrip data
10% Fieldtrip Interpretations
50% Data synthesis summary

Key Topics

Evolution of Taranaki from 25 Million years ago to today; Geoethics and how Earthscience shapes policy, sustainable resources, energy transition, physical and digital field skills, surface processes on active volcanic landscapes, Mount Taranaki, paleoclimate, deep and shallow marine environments, volcanic hazards, Earthscience careers.

Special Requirements

Taranaki Field Trip dates are 27th April - 1st May, 2022. 

A virtual fieldtrip option is available for overseas students.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 150 hours involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 36 hours of studios, 48 hours of work during the fieldtrip, and 66 hours of reading and thinking about the content and preparing for tests and assignments.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including studios and the residential field trip to complete components of the course.

Studios will be available as recordings, where a lecture component is included.  The course will not include live online events.

Attendance on campus is required for the test.

The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable, and the fieldtrip is delivered as a 6 day block during the mid-semester break.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

•    Book: The mapping of geologic structures – Ken McClay.
•    GNS Science have prepared a series of useful Geotrips that including several sites in Taranaki.  This resource is very useful for providing context and a quick overview of what to expect in the field:
•    Book: Sedimentary Rocks in the Field; a colour guide, Dorrick A.V. Stow

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Other Information

Studios are 3 hour sessions that comprise of a mix of lectures, and guided labs (computer and physical labs).  Studio guidance, instructions, and exercises can be accessed via Canvas. In person attendance is optimal as there will be in-class discussion and debate.  However given the ongoing uncertainty with Covid-19 all labs can be accessed and completed off campus.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 26/10/2021 02:45 p.m.