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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Exploring and Defining Problems
Module Code GC1EX
School 53
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Roman-Gabriel Olar
Semester 2: Roman-Gabriel Olar
Autumn: Roman-Gabriel Olar
Module TeachersRoman-Gabriel Olar
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 10
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only
Description

Understanding how the world works is of fundamental importance to solving Global Challenges. Observing the world is important, but social scientists need to acquire specialist skills to go beyond intuition and common sense. This ASC will develop and assess students’ skills and abilities in reading academic research, analysing data, and in producing rigorous original research aimed at a thorough understanding of the causes and consequences of global challenges. Students are introduced to various research designs, methods, and research skills. They will apply these newly acquired skills to address real world problems, answer meaningful questions and manipulate datasets.

Learning Outcomes

1. Collect, analyse, organise and critically evaluate information using data analysis.
2. Articulate the purpose, benefits, risks and principles of data acquisition and use.
3. Define problems and identify research puzzles and questions
4. Develop simple scenarios based on foundational modelling techniques and mathematical analysis to describe real-world data.
5. Recognise the world as a set of related systems, that problem solving contexts do not exist in isolation and that proposed solutions involve risks.
6. Introduce key concepts and theories of political science to global challenges.



Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Workshop28ASC contact hours
Independent Study87Assessments
Directed learning135Associated FLOs
Total Workload: 250

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Plan and assessment
This ASC provides students with an introduction to politics, global challenges, global development and research methods. This will equip students with the skills to define and explore problems using various research methodologies that are appropriate for their global challenges. Students will learn to review literature in building up an understanding of the subject, and to use and analyse data to address questions from this literature. These will include identifying existing data, collecting new data and analysing data by applying mathematical and statistical approaches. This will allow them to identify trends, patterns and changes in real-world applications by writing a research report. There will be weekly quizzes to support and reinforce mathematical skills fundamental to this program. Students will also work in small groups to co-create a small database of policies starting from a critique of existing data at national or international level. This database will be peer reviewed with feedback from both students and faculty. Finally, students will apply the knowledge acquired through these activities in a one week-long hackathon which will be followed by a reflection piece in a written and oral format.

Associated Facilitated Learning Opportunities (FLOs)
Politics and Global Development This FLO will introduce students to the study of politics and development. In exploring problems, it is critical to understand the factors affecting global challenges and the inter-relationships between these. Politics has played a central role in the development of the global challenges that face us; it must also play a central role in meeting those challenges. This FLO offers a variety of ways of thinking about politics, and provides some of the key concepts and analytical frameworks used in analysing politics. Politics also has an important role to play in global development. Students will study key concepts of Global Development and critically analyse their root causes and effects, exploring the interests and actions of the different actors involved. The FLO focuses on the centrality of politics for international development, poverty and inequality, and will look critically at some of the explanations provided by development studies for this reality, including key theories which have influenced development such as modernisation, dependency, neo-liberal and post-development theories, in addition to more contemporary trends. Introduction to Research for Global Challenges Students will be introduced to basic research skills and the basic elements of research design in Social Sciences and Engineering. This will be done first through developing their ability to search literature effectively and accurately to identify what we know, what gaps and opportunities for innovation and positive change exist. This will be followed by introducing students to the basic concepts and thinking in answering substantive research questions from a scientific perspective. Students will focus on developing their understanding of the evolution and development of the scientific process that produces knowledge aimed at addressing global challenges. Students will be introduced to the importance of research puzzles, the use of falsification as a scientific method, hypothesis development and testing, the basics of measurement and a number of different research designs Data and Mathematics of Change - This FLO explores the mathematical tools necessary to describe, model, visualise and analyse the world around us. Mathematical functions can be used to describe the physical and social world as well as defining characteristics such as exponential growth, oscillatory behaviour and linearity. An emphasis will be placed on visualisation and the ability to relate these abstract quantities to real-world data and phenomena. Students will be introduced to data analysis - this will help students to explore and define problems and to determine where the source of the problem lies.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Loop QuizMathematics quiz, using online platform such as Webwork10%n/a
AssignmentDatabase From a critique of existing data sources co-create a relevant and critical database of policies and data related to global challenges at both international and national levels. Group project30%n/a
Practical/skills evaluationStudents to peer review submissions.10%n/a
Report(s)Individual Report on database project30%n/a
Report(s)Report - Develop a solid and considered research question, and identify, explore and justify the data required to explore that question(s)20%n/a
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

    Other Resources

    None
    Programme or List of Programmes
    GCBSc in Global Challenges
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