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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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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.

1-5
students

One 120-minute lab
session per week
A public four-year comprehensive land-grant institution.

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.

The students liked the hands-on activities and being able to collect their own data, which I think gave them a feeling of "ownership."

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.


Assessments

The 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.

Outcomes

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.

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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 »