InTeGrate Modules and Courses >An Ecosystem Services Approach to Water Resources > Instructor Stories > Meghann Jarchow
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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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Meghann Jarchow: Using An Ecosystems Services Approach to Water Resources in Sustainability and Society at University of South Dakota


About this Course

One of two core, introductory courses (200-level) for a sustainability major and minor; course also fulfills a social science general education requirement.

22
students
Three 50-minute lecture sessions per week

Sustainability & Society syllabus (Acrobat (PDF) 454kB Jun21 16)

Using models to frame public discussions

My course is one of two introductory, core courses for a sustainability major and minor. The course focuses on the environmental aspects of sustainability and is taught using team-based learning methods. My goals for the course include teaching students how to use some of the many scientific tools that have been developed for the public and teaching students how to translate the output from those tools into forms that can be used to effect positive environmental change. This module was an effective way to combine these two goals.

Watersheds and the hydrologic cycle are especially clear examples of systems. Through this module my students learned basic systems terminology and how systems can be modeled.

My Experience Teaching with InTeGrateMaterials

I made only limited modifications to the module. My primary modifications were editing the PowerPoint presentations to fit my presentation style and reinforce content previously discussed in the course.

Relationship of InTeGrate Materials to my Course

My course was arranged into four modules. This module was taught as the third module of the course, after the climate change and energy modules and before the built environment module. This module built upon systems terminology introduced earlier in the course and built upon the summative assessments of the previous two modules where the students gave group presentations to the class.

Assessments

I had my students complete almost all of the formative assessments described in the module, which ended up being a lot of assessments for the students to complete and for me to grade. In the future, I would not assign all of the formative assessments. I assigned the summative assessment as described. Because my students had been doing similar summative assessments for previous modules, this assessment worked well in my course.

Outcomes

Students often think that modeling is necessarily abstract and mathematically complex. Through this module, I hope that my students were able to realize (1) that there are many different ways to do modeling and (2) that there are many tools that have been developed to allow the public to use relatively complex models to quantitatively evaluate environmental processes.

Classroom Context

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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 »