Capita Selecta, 5ECTS
1. Basic information
The course Capita Selecta deals with selected themes in natural resource management. It builds on other elective modules, focusing on 1) spatial ecology 2) agriculture and food security, and 3) forestry, including carbon and climate change. At the same time the course closely relates to the MSc thesis topic selected by the student. This implies that the student has substantial flexibility to shape this course, which should make her/him better prepared to successfully execute the MSc-thesis. For this reason, the MSc-thesis supervisor plays an important role in this course regarding guidance and examination, and will need to be identified before starting this course.
Because the course is tailored to individual students, upon registration the MSc-thesis supervisor will provide between 2 and 4 scientific articles, which describe current data processing or analysis methods that could possibly be applied during the MSc research. The student should complement this by searching for other relevant articles that describe advanced data analysis methods with relevance for the MSc topic. The articles should provide different alternatives for performing a specific key analysis of the MSc thesis. To clarify, these should not include basic methods like image differencing, but could be, for example, more advanced modelling tools. The student will then list the pros and cons of the identified methods. Then either a) one method will be selected supported by a justification of its selection; or b) the student will combine elements of different methods to come up with a new hybrid method for her/his MSc thesis (which also should be justified). Based on data already available for the student’s thesis work, or alternatively another (online) data source, the student will then gain experience in applying the method to real data. In most instances the data and the subsequent analyses should have a spatial and/or temporal component.
2. General information
The course is part of the internet based programme ‘GIS and Earth Observation for Environmental modeling and Natural resource management’ (iGEON). The course is an elective course for the double degree: Master of Science in Geographical Information Science and Earth Observation, University of Twente, Faculty ITC, the Netherlands and Master of Science in Geographical Information Science of Lund University, Sweden. The course is also given as a single subject course. The language of instruction is English. The course is fully based on distance learning, with all material distributed over the Internet. It is flexible in the sense that students can study full time (100%), half time (50%), or with a 25% study tempo.
3. Learning outcomes
By the end of the module participants should be able to:
- present and explain an overview of existing advanced research methods for data analysis and processing in relation to their upcoming MSc thesis work;
- critically evaluate and compare current data analysis and processing methods in natural resource management and examine their potential for their MSc thesis work;
- demonstrate practical skills in applying a selected or new hybrid method to real data (ideally data related to the MSc thesis);
- write an individual concise and coherent report on the analyzed literature (and its relevance for the MSc thesis) and the application of the methods.
4. Course contents
The course consists of the following parts:
- Interaction with thesis supervisor for direction to methodological papers relevant for the MSc research
- Literature search and study focusing on - and methods to be used in- the MSc thesis
- Practice to apply selected methods to thesis (or other) data
- Report writing
5. Teaching and assessment
Teaching consists of:
- Lecture 0 hours
- Supervised practical 0 hours
- Unsupervised practical 0 hours
- Group assignment (e.g. workshops, project) 0 hours
- Individual assignment 100 hours
- Self study 40 hours
- Overhead (e.g. QH, exam, opening) 4 hours
Assessment is by means of an individual report providing an overview of data processing and analysis methods examined, a critical analysis of why/why not these may be applicable in the thesis work, a demonstration of a specific method to real data.
The Capita Selecta course will be graded as pass or fail. The grade will be based on the individual report. First, the MSc thesis supervisor will approve (following the guiding questions below) and then the Capita Selecta course coordinator. Students may take this course in combination with the Proposal Writing course. Note however that the Capita Select report has different requirements, because of the main focus on the critical comparison and selection of methods, and the demonstration that you can apply those methods. To approve your report, the following questions are considered:
- Is a clear research problem and objective described? (Note that this will probably be part of the Proposal Writing course also, but these elements are needed here as well to understand the choice of methods.)
- Does the report clearly present existing advanced research methods for data analysis in a way that can be understood by a large audience? (Note that it should not only be written for the supervisor who already has background knowledge, but the description should be accessible and understandable for a wider public.)
- Does the report provide a critical analysis of alternative methods to achieve the same task?
- Does the comparison of different methods leads to a clear choice of methods (either a selection of a new approach) for the thesis work?
- Does the report sufficiently prove that the student is capable of applying the chosen method(s) to real data, as relevant for the MSc thesis? (Note that this would often be proven by presenting relevant figures and possibly programming code)
- Is the overall report clearly written, appropriately presenting and organizing text and figures, and providing the required references? (Note that typically a document would be between 10 and 20 pages, including figures, but may be longer in case it is an expansion of the report submitted and approved for the Proposal Writing course.)
7. Entrance requirements
The following are required for admission to the course:
- Basic admission requirements of Faculty ITC;
- Basic GIS and remote sensing corresponding to iGEON compulsory courses of semester 1 and 2 (35 ECTS).
- Research skills
- At least one of the following modules: Spatial biological modelling, Carbon climate change, or Food security;
- Thesis topic and supervisor need to be selected.
No standard literature. A limited number of key research articles and other information will be provided for by the MSc thesis supervisor. In addition, the student is expected to search her/his own literature