Vulnerability of Human and Natural Systems
Assignment 2: Vulnerability of Human and Natural Systems (10%) – Instructions and Submission
Details of each section follow.
Section A: Short Critical Reflections (30 marks):
Select one of the assigned readings in each topic in Module 2 and write a short critical reflection (about 250 words) for each (a total of three critical reflections; ten marks for each reflection). You may find it helpful to use one or more of the focus questions included in the activity as a guide.
The critical reflection should present your own thoughts and responses to the reading. Thus, it is an interaction between the ideas in the reading and your own interpretation and response to what you have read. The critical reflection is a polished piece of writing that will be assessed using the same criteria as any piece of writing. It should include an introduction, a body that presents your thoughts clearly and logically, and a conclusion. You may write in the first person but be sure to refer to some of the ideas that are introduced in the reading.
Section B: Essay (70 marks)
Using some of the concepts introduced in Module 2, write an essay of 750–1000 words on a topic related to vulnerability of human or natural systems. You may use content from the required readings (any module), but you must include at least two new references as well. Course resources that are not required readings may be regarded as new references. For example, if you are examining the impact of climate change on Arctic wildlife, you may consider the ACIA report as a new reference provided you are using content beyond the required reading. A strong paper will incorporate the concept of vulnerability and associated terms that were introduced in this module.
If you are having a hard time deciding what to write about, here are just a few examples of topics you might consider within the context of the potential impacts of climate change:
• Rising sea levels and a vulnerable location (e.g., Florida, Bangladesh, small island states)
• Canadian sovereignty issues in the Arctic and the implications for Indigenous peoples
• Arctic wildlife in general, or you may want to focus on a particular species such as polar bears or caribou
• The culture of the Indigenous peoples of the Mackenzie basin
• Alpine plants, cloud forest species, coral reefs, or any other vulnerable species or ecosystem
• Drought-prone countries (or country) in Africa or Asia
• Ocean acidification and the potential impacts on shell forming organisms
TRU Library offers general guidelines on conducting research and writing essays
If you have any questions about the assignment, consult your Open Learning Faculty Member. When you have completed the assignment, send it to your Open Learning Faculty Member for evaluation.
Refer to “Assignment Instructions” section under the Assignments Overview tab for details of the criteria for how the assignments are evaluated.
Here is the criteria for how the assignments will be evaluated. Details of the individual assignments are provided with each assignment.
Criteria for Evaluating Assignments:
The following criteria will be used to evaluate the essay portion of the written assignments.
Substance (75 per cent)
• The essay provides evidence of critical thinking and analysis as well as synthesis of researched information throughout and presents a logical and persuasive argument.
• The essay incorporates concepts and associated terms on the science of climate change that were introduced in this module.
• Research sources are relevant, current, and credible. They are clearly documented in the paper.
• The introduction offers a sense of direction for the paper and presents a clear thesis statement to the reader.
• The body develops the necessary aspects of the main idea and provides examples, support, or illustration for each aspect of the main idea.
• The conclusion summarizes the main points and ties them to the thesis; it also presents an impact statement and/or suggests direction for future research.
Writing Style and Format (25 per cent)
• Paragraphs are unified, developed, and coherent, with transitions between ideas.
• Sentences are grammatically correct; words are chosen for accuracy and impact.
• The writing follows the conventions of spelling and mechanics (punctuation, etc.).
• The format follows the APA documentation style accurately and consistently.
How Assignments Are Marked:
Some students believe they start with 100 marks on a given assignment and lose a mark for each mistake. This is not true. An assignment is judged not only on how well a student avoids grievous errors, but also on what original and worthwhile content and expression a student brings to the assignment. In marking your work for this course, your Open Learning Faculty Member will assess your ability to analyze the essay topic and develop and present a logical, persuasive, and insightful argument that is well supported by citing relevant, current, and credible sources. Your essay also demonstrates a comprehensive understanding of the material covered in the course module, and your writing is clear, concise, and grammatically correct and includes proper format and citations. A first-class, or “A,” paper (80–100 per cent) will meet this criteria, and all lesser grades miss at least one of the ingredients just described.
The critical reflection includes a succinct summary of the required reading and demonstrates an understanding of the key points in the reading. /4
The critical reflection also includes a thoughtful, insightful commentary in response to what was read. The commentary demonstrates an engagement with the reading and is the interaction between the ideas in the reading and the student’s own interpretation/response. /4
The critical reflection is a polished piece of writing, written in clear, fluent, and technically correct prose. (Note that the writing is less formal than an essay, so you may write in the first person.) /2