InTeGrate Modules and Courses >Coastal Processes, Hazards and Society > Section 1: Introduction to the Coastal Zone: Forms, Processes and Society > Module 1: The Societies and Economics of Coastal Regions
 Earth-focused Modules and Courses for the Undergraduate Classroom
showLearn More
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.
Explore the Collection »
How to Use »

New to InTeGrate?

Learn how to incorporate these teaching materials into your class.

  • Find out what's included with each module
  • Learn how it can be adapted to work in your classroom
  • See how your peers at hundreds of colleges and university across the country have used these materials to engage their students

How To Use InTeGrate Materials »
show Download
The instructor material for this module are available for offline viewing below. Downloadable versions of the student materials are available from this location on the student materials pages. Learn more about using the different versions of InTeGrate materials »

Download a PDF of all web pages for the instructor's materials

Download a zip file that includes all the web pages and downloadable files from the instructor's materials

Module 1: The Societies and Economics of Coastal Regions

Dinah Maygarden, University of New Orleans
Author Profile

Summary

In this module, students will begin exploring coastal cities around the world using Google Earth and other online tools. They will examine data on vulnerability to coastal flooding in these places and consider factors such as elevation, proximity to tidal waters and population distribution, economy and demographics as factors in determining coastal risks to human populations.

Learning Goals

The goal of Module 1: The Societies and Economics of Coastal Regions is to build a sufficient understanding of the vulnerability of various coastal populations to natural hazards. Upon completing the module, students will:

  • Develop fundamental geospatial skills and concepts needed to explore key concepts and questions related to the coastal processes and hazards discussed in this course.
  • Use published data to analyze the vulnerability to coastal flooding of several major world cities
  • Use geospatial tools such as Google Earth and GeoMapApp to explore key coastal cities, create elevation profiles and glean important information to be used to inform and guide their work during this course.

Context for Use

Overall, this one-week module is intended to be used as a stand-alone lesson or as part of an online or blended general education or introductory-level course that would satisfy a science distribution requirement. The module would be appropriate for non-majors and undeclared students looking for a major. There are two formats: (1) Blended where the students meet at least once to perform the activities in teams; and (2) 100 percent online. As a general guideline, the delivery of content and assessment of learning goals/objectives has been designed to accommodate the logistics of large class sizes where students are expected to work approximately three hours per week covering lecture content with an additional six hours per week of additional reading and work on assessments. Note that some students will require more or less time to meet the goals and objectives of the module.

Description and Teaching Materials

In Module 1, the students look at ranking by a recent World Bank study of coastal cities in terms of vulnerability to coastal flooding and consider the multiple variables that determine a city's rank. They will then use geospatial tools Google Earth and GeoMapApp to explore the physical features of two major coastal cities that rank highest on the list: New Orleans, Louisiana, and Guangzhou, China. The students follow directions for creating an elevation profile in GeoMapApp for both cities, and make a comparison between them, considering the natural and human-made features observed. Materials for this module are located at the student materials link below. Teachers can find documentation of the activities at this location as well as rubrics for students. Rubrics for teachers are compiled on the Assessment page. Suggestions for teaching and a list of the assessments are found below.

Teaching Notes and Tips

What works best for the module?

  • Students must complete the orientation exercises before beginning this module. In particular they must do the tutorials for Google Earth and GeoMapApp.
  • The students must read the course materials and perform the Activate your Learning exercises before coming to the lab in order to successfully complete the assessments.

What students found tough and how we adapted.

Content:

  • Gaining content from the readings: Some students do not read the linked articles thoroughly, so content is missed. This applies particularly to the link between risk and economics. We stressed the importance of reading articles.
  • Some students skip non-essential tasks because other tasks are time consuming. The Science Time article summary is not graded, so they may not read it closely. We stressed the benefit of reading articles.
  • Some of the students do not read the World Bank article closely (or at all). This link is in the course Road Map, and was an important source of information on how the study ranked the coastal cities based on flood risk factors and GDP. We stressed the importance of reading articles.

The Assessment using Google Earth

  • Some students have trouble getting started — loading software, etc. and require technical help.
  • Not all students complete the tutorials during orientation and spend time learning the basics during the module assessments. Students must be reminded to learn the basics of Google Earth and to install the software during the orientation week.
  • The exercises using Google Earth were time-consuming and have been shortened/ simplified. The intention is in part for the students to take some time simply exploring using this powerful geospatial tool, in order to discover and make their own observations.
  • The students may need guidance on locating specific areas of interest, such as flood defenses.

The Assessment using GeoMapApp:

  • Some students had trouble getting started — loading software, etc. and had to seek technical help.
  • Not all students completed the tutorials during orientation so spent time learning the basics during the module assessment. Students must be reminded to learn the basics of GeoMap and to install the software during the orientation.
  • GeoMapApp is cumbersome in several ways, and the students need guidance. Use of this tool is limited to creating one elevation profile for a couple of cities at the most. Note: GeoMap software works best on the PC.
  • The students need guidance for locating the correct area in GeoMapApp, such as specific coordinates.

Assessment

Formative Assessment

Summative Assessment

References and Resources

Already used some of these materials in a course?
Let us know and join the discussion »

Considering using these materials with your students?
Get pointers and learn about how it's working for your peers in their classrooms »

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 »