Intro to Global Change

Erica Bigio,
The University of Arizona


This is primarily a lecture-based class. Yet, we do hands on in-class activities as teams or small groups every other week.

Course Size:

Course Format:
Integrated lecture and lab

Course Context:

This is an introductory course with no pre-requisites. It may serve as a prerequisite for the second tier of general education science courses. 90% of students are taking this to satisfy a gen ed requirement.

Course Content:

Introduction to Global Change presents the basics of physical science within the context of global environmental changes (greenhouse effect, climatic variability, global warming, ozone depletion, deforestation, etc.) that impact Earth and its inhabitants. The course involves traditional lecture combined with in-class activities and discussions.

Course Goals:

I want students to be able to understand time-series data and to understand the longer-term context of environmental change. I want them to understand the greenhouse effect and how humans are impacting global change by burning fossil fuels.

Course Features:

This is a lecture-based course. This course has a low-stakes to high-stakes grading structure, where students are tested on lecture material. There are several low-stakes online review quizzes, followed by four multiple choice tests per semester. The tests help prepare the students for the mid-term and final.

Course Philosophy:

I adopted this from previous professors I have TA'd for.


By how well they do on the mid-term and final.


Course Syllabus (Acrobat (PDF) 273kB Jun3 14)

Teaching Materials:

Course schedule (Acrobat (PDF) 93kB Jun3 14)

References and Notes:

A custom text with Chapters from the Earth System by Kump et al., 2010
Good explanation of topics (graphics are okay).

Dire Predictions by Mann and Kump (2009). This book is well-written and has good graphics, that I scanned for lectures. However, it is a bit too brief on some topics and jumps around a lot.