Module 1: The Societies and Economics of Coastal Regions
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
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.
- 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.
- Formative Assessment: Cities at risk for flooding — Students explore selected coastal cities using Google Earth and GeoMapApp.
- Summative Assessment: Cities at risk for coastal hazards — Students compare the physical and human vulnerability of two cities at risk to coastal hazards.
References and Resources
- Readings from Student Materials — Module 1: The Societies and Economics of Coastal Regions
- How Far Will Sea Levels Rise? Environment 360, Oct 21, 2013.
- Which Coastal Cities Are at Highest Risk of Damaging Floods? The World Bank, August 19, 2013
- Population Plus Climate: Why Coastal Cities Will Face Increased Risks From Floods: A new study names the global cities most at risk at coastal flooding—both today, and in a warmer future. Time Magazine, Aug. 20, 2013.