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Mark Naylor’s Blog

Mark Naylor’s Blog

I want to know how the Earth works…


I teach on a broad range of courses and try to build innovative teaching in throughout. I teach coding, traditional geophysics, have created our professional placement scheme for geophysics, manage student projects on the GeoScience outreach course and teach basic field skills on our earth science degree programs.

Teaching of coding

I have specific expertise and experience in the use of Jupyter notebooks and nbgrader for teaching and assessment of Python coding using Edinburgh University’s Noteable service. This includes its use for group projects and automated assessment and grading. The system has several advantages for online and in class learning including the ease for releasing assignments to a class because of its integration with learn, having a single notebook which includes the solutions that are removed automatically when the student version is compiled, the ability to auto and manually grade assignments, and a toolkit for providing and distributing feedback on submissions.

In order to ensure that all of the students on these courses have a common foundation, I also use the academic licence for DataCamp courses. This online learning resource allows learners to complete the interactive coding exercises at their own pace which is great for supporting a class of mixed ability. Students new to coding take the foundation courses whilst already familiar with Python can take more advanced modules.

If you are interested, I have written a blog post on how I have adapted my teaching to meet the hybrid delivery necessitated by COVID.

  • Geophysical Data Science (2nd year Geophysics): In this new course I teach an introduction to scientific computing and programming using Python. The focus is on data analysis and takes students with no previous experience through aspects of statistical and geospatial modelling. We use many real-world datasets to explore how coding is used in practise and conclude by recreating many of the classic graphics used to communicate Climate Change.
  • Mathematical and Computational Methods in Geophysics (3rd year Geophysics): I teach the computational part of this course which moves beyond data analysis and into the modelling of physical processes. We look at how to solve differential equations using Python, computational implementation of Fourier Transform and introduce Monte Carlo methods.

Geophysics Professional Placement

I have developed the professional placement route for our geophysics degrees which provides students with the option of taking a year long professional placement sandwiched in-between the 3rd and 4th years of the standard Geophysics degree as a route to obtaining an MEarthPhys with Professional Placement. Despite the impact of COVID, 2020 sees the first student undertake a placement with the Met Office as part of their Industrial Placement scheme. I recently ran an event where the next year’s cohort could find out how the placement at the is going, which I have explored in this blog post.

Geophysics, Hazard and Risk

  • Physics of the Earth (2nd year Geophysics): I teach the seismological component of this introductory course which also covers geomagnetism and gravity.
  • Natural hazards and risk (4th year Geophysics): Here I teach a component of earthquake risk assessment.
  • 4th year geophysics projects

GeoSciences Outreach Course

Our Geoscience Outreach Course provides students to undertake a year long 20 credit outreach project during their 4th year. This unique course provides students to take real ownership of their learning by creating their own outreach ideas, finding a client to realise their project with, delivering their outreach activity and hopefully leaving a legacy that can be taken up by others. Clients have been varied including schools, prisons, local conservation groups, refugee supporting organisations… This allows students the opportunity to develop real world skills that are not available on a traditional academic course.

Field Teaching

  • Lake District Field Trip (1st year Geology and 2nd year Geophysics with Geology):



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