Integrate > Teaching for Sustainability > Advocacy > Designing Courses Around Issues

Designing Courses around Central Geoscience & Environmental Issues in your Community

Designing activities or courses around issues equips students to face earth resource challenges into the future. Courses might invite professionals in your community who work on or are affected by these issues to serve as guest speakers, and/or build your course around the skills and habits needed to address the challenge. Or you might have students explore current legislation (see:Congress.gov). Learning goals might include: analyzing relevant data, communicating to audiences, reflecting on societal implications, systems thinking, proposing solutions, and building relevant perspectives, habits, and skills of professionals. Students better master skills and habits if they are given multiple opportunities for practice. Instructors who already have familiarity with backward design might simply use the Planning Around Locally Relevant Issues Worksheet (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 16kB Mar2 17) to identify opportunities. Similarly, consider design around criteria from the AAC&U Civic Engagement VALUE Rubric. The Course Design Tutorial provides more details on developing overarching goals, ancillary goals, and aligning assessments.

InTeGrate materials help introduce students to earth and environmental issues relevant to community decision making and national policies. Materials explore environmental justice, community decision making, risk, coastal resilience planning, and communication barriers, and a selection of examples are included in Political Activities for Your Course. These are effective launch points for campus solution and advocacy-oriented projects. Project expertise can be integrated in multi-week efforts that investigate the local implications of policy change or Op-Eds, Blog, or Social Media assignments that give students an opportunity to communicate to new audiences.

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