Oceanography > Course Descriptions > OCEAN320 Oceans of Change

OCEAN320 Oceans of Change

Author Profile
Stephen Schellenberg

San Diego State University,
University with graduate programs, primarily masters programs


Upper-division General Education course exploring scientific, socioeconomic, and geopolitical perspectives on human impacts upon global ocean system, including global ocean warming and acidification, regional fisheries depletion, and local coastal issues.

Subject: Geoscience:Oceanography, Environmental Science:Policy, Geoscience:Oceanography:Marine Policy, Environmental Science:Oceans and Coastal Resources, Geoscience:Oceanography:Marine Resources
Resource Type: Course Information
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16)
Theme: Teach the Earth:Incorporating Societal Issues:Public Policy, Teach the Earth:Teaching Environments:Intro Geoscience, Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Environmental Science, Oceanography
Earth System Topics: Oceans
Course Size:
greater than 150

Course Context:

Upper-division General Education Natural Sciences course with no pre-requisites other than junior-standing and completion of lower-division General Education courses (though neither is enforced). Course also serves as an upper-division major elective for majors in Geological Sciences, Recreation and Tourism Management, Environmental Sciences, and Liberal Studies (Teaching Credential Program). Course has been designed for fully-online mode of instruction.

Course Goals:

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

Course design involves both scaffolding and looping among various topics and their related learning outcomes in order to promote an appreciation and understanding of the complex ocean system and broader earth system.

Frequent formative assessment include low-stakes multiple-choice/multiple-answer/true-false-based quizzes and reflective (anonymous) feedbacks for each of the eight course modules.

Summative assessments include higher-stakes multiple-choice/multiple-answer/true-false-based exams (revisiting concepts first assessed across multiple module quizzes) and microessays (300-500 words each) in response to situational questions that promote integrative thinking within and across the course content as well as connections to broader socioeconomic and geopolitical issues.

Skills Goals

Promote basic quantitative literacy including back-of-the-envelope calculations, interpretation of various graphical and visual representation of data, etc.

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

Course activities in service to these skill goals include calculation of residence times of water and carbon in the global ocean and atmosphere reservoirs in order to appreciate systems thinking, assessment of degree to which various graphical representations of data support given statement within lecture, etc.



SDSU OCEAN320 Oceans of Change Syllabus (Acrobat (PDF) 160kB Jun14 13)

SDSU OCEAN320 Oceans of Change Procedures for Course Assessments and Communication, Example Welcome Letter (Acrobat (PDF) 233kB Jun14 13)

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