Teach the Earth > Oceanography > Course Descriptions > OCEAN320 Oceans of Change

OCEAN320 Oceans of Change

Stephen Schellenberg

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

Summary

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)
Earth System Topics: Oceans
Theme: Teach the Earth:Incorporating Societal Issues:Public Policy, Teach the Earth:Teaching Environments:Intro Geoscience, Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Environmental Science, Oceanography
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:

  • Students should be able to specify how science differs from other ways of knowing (e.g., central role of testability, etc.)
  • Students should be able to explain the basic concept of Tragedy of the Commons and identify potential examples.
  • Students should be able to describe the phenomenon of Shifting Baselines and identify potential examples.
  • Students should be able to use a first-order mental model of general circulation of the ocean-atmosphere system to contextualize phenomenon experienced in their lives directly and indirectly (e.g., news, web, etc.).
  • Students should be able to explain the process of the greenhouse effect, appraise its impact on the ocean, and contextualize/compare mitigation options.
  • Students should be able to explain the process of ocean acidification, appraise its impact on the ocean, and contextualize/compare mitigation options.
  • Students should be able to apply basic ecological principles of "pristine" ecosystems to to contextualize phenomenon experienced in their lives directly and indirectly (e.g., news, web, etc.).
  • Students should be able to assess the impact of industrialized fishing on species and ecosystems and contextualize the impact of their seafood selections.
  • Students should be able to appraise the potentials and perils of aquaculture and contextualize the impact of their seafood selections.
  • Students should be able to generalize the conditions necessary for development of oil and gas reservoirs to understand the finite nature of such non-renewable natural resources.
  • Students should be able to describe the myriad impacts of plastics and other pollutants on the ocean, the challenges of reducing such impacts, and their individual impacts on the issue through personal choice, advocacy, and legislation.


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.

Assessment


Syllabus:

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