Maurice Crawford: Using Renewable Energy and Environmental Sustainability at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore
About this course
An elective for either environmental science or biology majors.
Syllabus (Acrobat (PDF) 238kB Jun21 15)
A Success Story in Building Student Engagement
This course is designed to introduce a variety of sustainable technologies that are currently available and to help them grasp the principles behind those technologies. The course was taught as a two-hour laboratory course that met once a week. One course module was covered each week. While the course was open to all students, including non-science majors, and served as an elective for either environmental science or biology majors, most of the students that enrolled in the course were upperclassmen majoring in biology.
My Experience Teaching with InTeGrate Materials
I used the InTeGrate materials as a course that was offered as a one credit hour laboratory that met for two hours once a week. It was open to all majors and served as a program elective for students majoring in biology or environmental science.
Relationship of InTeGrate Materials to My Course
The InTeGrate materials were used as a semester-long laboratory course during the spring semester. Because the course was open to both science majors and non-science majors, before we began the individual modules, I created an assignment that covered what science is and how it is conducted (this was more for the non-science majors enrolled in the course) What is science? (Acrobat (PDF) 560kB Jul31 16). Thereafter, I used the modules described in the course, but not necessarily in the order in which they are numbered. I shifted the modules to take advantage of good weather and move the classroom outdoors. I tried to remind the students that what they were learning during the laboratories had real-world applications and even had the potential of saving them money.
AssessmentsThe assessments for this course included the student-developed questions for each module, module reports, presentations, and the final capstone assessment. I used all of the assessments for the course but gave the module reports the most weight, followed by the final capstone assessment. For the latter, I had the students complete that assessment but also give an oral presentation on it.
I think after taking this the course that the students realized that (i) there are real alternatives to current technologies that depend on the use of fossil fuels; (ii) that we have choices in how we live and those choices have environmental effects; and (iii) grasped the science principles that are the foundations for the technologies discussed. Some of the students really appreciated how what we covered in class could be applied in their lives (e.g. the payback period), and I think that connection helped the students learn the material.