This course will explore a variety of sustainable technologies with emphasis on understanding the fundamental scientific properties underlying each. Students will also examine appropriate applications of the technologies and evaluate their use with environmental and economic considerations.
The goal of this course is to teach basic geosciences principles through an exploration of environmentally sustainable technologies. The course consists of eleven modules, each of which can be used independently of the others. The course is designed to be open to all undergraduate students on a college campus and its interdisciplinary approach is served by a diverse enrollment. Students will explore how each technology works, its importance in addressing one or more grand challenges in the geosciences, and the social and economic implications associated with that technology and competing approaches.Pedagogy will stress hands-on experimentation and learner-centered approaches. The design will minimize the role of lecturing and promote a variety of active learning approaches in a flipped classroom setting.
Strengths of the Course
This course provides students with a unique approach to learning general scientific and geoscientific principles as they discover how green technologies work, and understand those technologies in the context of real-world problems. Students will use readings, hands-on experimentation, data they collect from their experiments, and authentic and credible geoscience data synergistically to explore and understand the application of technologies that promote sustainability. The modules teach the material with a systems-thinking approach that illustrates how each technology fits into the larger picture of building a sustainable world. Student work with data collection, analysis, and report writing teaches geoscientific habits of mind.
In addition to the unique and compelling content, a second major strength of this course is derived from a design built around the flipped classroom concept. While the course could be used in a traditional setting, it is built to take advantage of contemporary pedagogy that emphasizes the learner-centered approach. Student materials are tailored to allow the acquisition of the majority of the content outside of the classroom. The classroom and hands-on laboratory time is reserved for a diverse set of activities that put the student at the center of the action.
Table of Contents
- Instructor Materials: Overview of the Renewable Energy and Environmental Sustainability Course
Module 1Electricity, Work, and Power Using Wind to Do Work Module2 Thermal Energy from Light Module3 Creating Electricity from Light Module4 Passive Designs Module5 Energy from and to Earth Module6 Better Ways to Illuminate Module7 Efficiency and Conservation Module8 Hybrid and Electric Cars Module9 Energy from Biofuels Module10 Composting Toilets Module11 Capstone ProjectPlanning a Sustainable Community
- Student Materials
- Instructor Stories
- Join the Community
- Cuker B., Chambers R., Crawford M. (2019) Renewable Energy and Environmental Sustainability. In: Gosselin D., Egger A., Taber J. (eds) Interdisciplinary Teaching About Earth and the Environment for a Sustainable Future. AESS Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies and Sciences Series. Springer, Cham