Instructor Materials: Overview of the Coastal Processes, Hazards, and Society Course
- Develop geospatial skills and concepts
- Explain the evolution of coastal morphology
- Link physical and social impacts of coastal hazards
- Evaluate engineering options to mitigate coastal risks
- Assess vulnerability to coastal hazards
- Create a plan for responding to coastal hazards
Students will use real-world coastal data sets to evaluate coastal hazards such as hurricanes and tsunamis and effects on coastal populations. Coastal processes to be considered include tectonic settings, effects of glaciation, sediment supply, and wave and tidal energy. The impacts of sea level rise and its local effects on communities will be a focus. Engineering solutions to projected sea level rise impacts such as coastal flooding and habitat loss in coastal areas will also be examined. The students taking the course will participate in a student-centered active learning process, including analyzing (using geoscientific habits of mind) real data sets such as sea level rise records, shoreline erosion rates along barriers, comparison of wave data for Hawaii versus the East Coast, and other major influences affecting coastal evolution. Many of the activities will involve manipulating data in Google Earth; in addition we will use GeoMapApp and Microsoft Excel. Students will also be asked to apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills to real-world coastal issues that affect human populations. An example is how communities can effectively plan for emergencies such as catastrophic flooding of densely populated low-lying areas such as the Ganges Delta. Students will be exposed to Earth systems thinking including interactions between lithosphere (e.g., coastlines, tsunami generating earthquakes), atmosphere (e.g. hurricanes), hydrosphere (ocean), and anthrosphere (human populations, engineering), as well as feedbacks between these systems (for example, relative sea level rise leading to increased erosion by storms leading to more sea level rise). We will require students to reflect upon their learning via weekly blogs.
Section IV. Society and Policy Making
Adapting the Course to Different Structures, Formats, and Schedules
The course may be taught in its entirety, or individual modules may be extracted for use within other courses. This course works well as a "blended" course, with the modules being completed at home and the activities being completed or presented in a weekly in-person class meeting. It could also be taught entirely online, or the activities could be used in conjunction with lectures developed by the instructor to introduce the relevant concepts in a traditional lecture-based course.
- During its initial development a version of these materials hosted by Penn State University was used to support this course at three different institutions. You can learn more about the experience of these courses in our Instructor Stories, and also explore the Penn State course syllabus used at these institutions.
- Adapting InTeGrate Modules and Courses for Your Classroom, which outlines how to effectively use InTeGrate modules and courses.