InTeGrate Modules and Courses >Coastal Processes, Hazards and Society
 Earth-focused Modules and Courses for the Undergraduate Classroom
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These materials are part of a collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The materials are free and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
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Coastal Processes, Hazards and Society

This material was developed and reviewed through the InTeGrate curricular materials development process. This rigorous, structured process includes:

  • team-based development to ensure materials are appropriate across multiple educational settings.
  • multiple iterative reviews and feedback cycles through the course of material development with input to the authoring team from both project editors and an external assessment team.
  • real in-class testing of materials in at least 3 institutions with external review of student assessment data.
  • multiple reviews to ensure the materials meet the InTeGrate materials rubric which codifies best practices in curricular development, student assessment and pedagogic techniques.
  • review by external experts for accuracy of the science content.


This page first made public: Dec 7, 2016

Summary

This blended and online course will provide students with a global perspective of coastal landscapes, the processes responsible for their formation, diversity, and change over time, as well as societal responses to current changes in the coastal zones around the world. Active learning elements include analyzing real data sets and applying critical thinking and problem-solving skills to real-world coastal issues that affect human populations. Students will complete a capstone project in which they integrate the key elements of the units in a systems thinking framework. The course comprises twelve modules, each lasting a week. Since there is no textbook that covers the course topics, the materials for students are the backbone of the course. The materials for teachers provide useful information on how to make the most of the student materials.

Strengths of the Course

Students who learn with these materials will:

  • Obtain a global perspective of coastal landscapes, the processes responsible for their formation, diversity and change over time,.
  • Understand impact of processes include tectonic settings, effects of glaciation, sediment supply, and wave and tidal energy on coastal evolution.
  • Appreciate socioeconomic and policy responses to current biophysical changes in the coastal zones around the world.
  • Recognize the impacts of sea level rise and its local effects on communities.
  • Understand engineering solutions to projected sea level rise impacts such as coastal flooding and habitat loss in coastal areas.

In working with data, students will:

  • Evaluate hazards such as hurricanes and tsunamis and effects on coastal populations.
  • Analyze sea level rise records, shoreline erosion rates along barriers, hurricane track maps, tsunami wave height data and other major influences affecting coastal evolution.
  • Apply critical thinking and problem solving skills to real-world coastal issues that affect human populations.
  • Design engineering and solutions for pressing coastal issues.

Overall, this course and embedded modules are intended to be used as a stand-alone blended or online general education or introductory-level course that would satisfy a science distribution requirement. The course would be appropriate for non-majors and undeclared students looking for a major. The authors expect that this course would be delivered as 12 weeks of content with 2-3 weeks additional for course introduction and assessment. As a general guideline, the delivery of content and assessment of learning goals/objectives have been designed to accommodate the logistics of large class sizes where students are expected to work approximately 3 hours per week covering lecture content with an additional 6 hours per week of additional reading, work on formative assessments, etc. Note that some students will require more or less time to meet the goals and objectives of the course. Alternatively, this course could be adapted for a 4-5 week intersession course (or summer class) where students would be expected to devote up to 12 hours for course lecture each week. This course which will be offered in both 100% on line and blended formats. The blended format will include on line lecture and weekly face to face labs. A quarter of the course focuses on the science of the coastal zone, a quarter on hazards, a quarter on engineering and the rest on coastal policy. At Penn State, this course will be required as part of proposed Undergraduate Certificate and Minor Programs in Earth Sustainability. There are no prerequisites.

Supported Earth Science Literacy Principles:

  • Big Idea 1: Earth scientists use repeatable observations and testable ideas to understand and explain our planet.

Supported Essential Principles of Climate Science:

2. Climate is regulated by complex interactions among components of the Earth system.

4. Our understanding of the climate system is improved through observations, theoretical studies, and modeling.

5. Climate varies over space and time through both natural and human-made processes.

6. Human activities are impacting the climate system.

7. Climate change will have consequences for the Earth system and human lives.

Addressed grand challenges in Earth and environmental science:

  • Recognizing the signal within the natural variability
  • Quantifying consequences, impacts, and effects
  • Effectively communicating uncertainty and relative risk

Addressed grand challenges in Earth system science for global sustainability:

  • Determine how to anticipate, avoid, and manage disruptive global environmental change.
  • Determine institutional, economic, and behavioral changes to enable effective steps toward global sustainability.
  • Encourage innovation (and mechanisms for evaluation) in technological, policy, and social responses to achieve global sustainability.


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These materials are part of a collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
Explore the Collection »