Module 12: Sea-Level Rise Policy
The goal of Module 12, Sea-Level Rise Policy, is for students to learn how government and stakeholders can plan for and respond to chronic coastal hazards. After completing the module, students will be able to:
- Identify and compare policy options for preparing for and responding to chronic coastal hazards;
- Identify important coastal stakeholders;
- Assess ways that stakeholders can weigh the costs and benefits of policy options; and
- Identify and use techniques for determining where and when to apply these policy options.
Context for Use
Description and Teaching Materials
This module enables students to assess how government and stakeholders can plan for sea-level rise. Early in the module, students use a visualization tool to identify which areas of the Miami, Florida, metropolitan area have the highest physical and social vulnerability to sea-level rise, and therefore should be protected first. Later, they play the role of a local government official preparing to lead a participatory planning activity for sea-level rise in the Norfolk, Virginia, metro area. In this exercise, they identify stakeholders, build a short list of strategies to protect against sea-level rise, assess which of these strategies will be most cost-effective, consider the views of vulnerable stakeholders, and use maps to prioritize protection for the most vulnerable areas. Materials for students for this module are located at the link below. Teachers can find documentation of the activities at this location as well as rubrics for students. Rubrics for teachers are compiled under Assessment on this site. Suggestions for teaching and a list of the assessments are found below.
Teaching Notes and Tips
Like Module 11, this module is much more applied than conceptual, so students tend to understand and relate to the material easily. Students activate their learning and test their knowledge much more than in previous modules, giving them an opportunity to test and apply concepts as they gain them and to integrate those concepts with material they have learned in earlier modules. The more students engage when answering these questions, the more they get out of the module. It is also essential that students read the ancillary material because information from that material is integrated into the flow of the online text. The formative assessment introduces students to the NOAA Sea Level Rise Viewer, an easy-to-use tool for visualizing areas physically exposed to sea-level rise and the social vulnerability of those areas. The step-by-step instructions make answering the questions relatively easy. The summative assessment is also straightforward because the step-by-step instructions enable students to easily identify stakeholders, select strategies for protecting the shoreline, assess the costs and benefits of those strategies, consider the views of the different stakeholder groups, and prioritize places for protection. It uses NOAA's Sea Level Rise Viewer in prioritizing places for protection.What students found difficult
Students did not tend to have difficulties understanding the text or doing the formative or summative assessments.
Much of the material in this module complements and extends the material covered in Modules 10 and 11. That is, although Module 12 contains new material, it flows naturally from earlier modules and makes it easier for students to grasp integrated Earth systems thinking. This strategy of complementarity and extension also helps students become more comfortable with policy development and stakeholder interaction.
Students found the formative assessment easy and received good scores on it. It reinforced concepts from Modules 10 and 11, but transferred those concepts to sea level rise. However, because it covers ideas covered in previous modules, it is possible to eliminate Module 12 and still enable students to understand this module's major concepts. There is one caution, however: because the formative assessment features the NOAA Sea Level Rise Viewer and students need to use that tool in the summative assessment, instructors dropping the formative assessment must provide a tutorial for the viewer.
- Formative Assessment: Mapping Vulnerability: Students use the NOAA Sea Level Rise Viewer to identify areas in Miami that have the highest physical and social vulnerability to sea level rise, and therefore should be protected first.
- Summative Assessment: Sea-Level Rise Policy Options for Norfolk, Virginia: Students play the role of a local government official preparing to lead a participatory planning activity for sea-level rise in the Norfolk, Virginia, metro area.
References and Resources
- Student readings are provided in Student Materials — Module 12: Sea-level rise policy