About this Course(1) 200-level lab/field/lecture course; size varies by year from 8 – 15 students
(2) A 200-level co-taught interdisciplinary course; size: 17 students
(1) Two 1 hour and 20 minute lecture blocks and a 3 hour weekly lab; (2) One full day weekly meeting which included field trips to various ecology research and artistic instillation sites around New England, class project work, and lecture.
I was not expecting to use the InTeGrate modules in my Art & Ecology course and was pleasantly surprised to find modules that fit the bill for helping me develop the course content in a meaningful way. Although I did not use all parts of the Cli-Fi: Climate Science in Literary Texts module, it helped to frame that aspect of the course.
My Experience Teaching with InTeGrateMaterials(1) I used a modified version of the Systems Thinking module in my Ecosystem Ecology course. Students in this course came from a variety of backgrounds ranging from several classes in the sciences to no scientific background, which meant that the course had to both communicate fundamental scientific information on climate change and appeal to students who wanted to delve deeper into the primary literature and data analysis from their laboratory project studying the influence of land use type (two differently managed fields and two forests) on soil qualities.
(2) I used a modified version of the Cli-Fi: Climate Science in Literary Texts module in my co-taught Art & Ecology course. Students in this course came from a variety of backgrounds ranging from several classes in the sciences to no scientific background and a strong background in art or design to no experience in these areas. This meant that the course had to both communicate fundamental scientific information on climate change and to teach basic skills in art interpretation and design (which included tasks as varied as sign creation, audio-/visual-scapes of global change study sites, artistic interpretation of data from primary literature, and creative writing).
Relationship of InTeGrate Materials to my Course
(1) I covered the Systems Thinking module – modified to fit the course needs – incorporated into 3 class days. I did not use the Stella model units due to class time constraints.
(2) I covered the Cli-Fi: Climate Science in Literary Texts module – modified to fit the course needs – in one full course session plus part of an introductory session on foundational climate science information earlier in the semester. For a final project, students were allowed the choice of a cli-fi final project, which several students pursued. These projects were presented to the class on a final day.
Assessments(1) Assessments included reading reflections, in class discussion, in class 'gallery walks' that allowed students to share their system diagrams, and formal assessment of laboratory reports, as well as pair-sharing exercises.
(2) Students turned in detailed reflections on all assigned readings and were given verbal and written critiques on their projects. Class discussion also demanded participation from all students, which demonstrated their understanding of the material.
Outcomes(1) Systems thinking is a critical skill across the sciences and is especially pertinent in an ecosystem ecology/global change ecology context. While I have previously taught about system linkages and stabilizing/destabilizing feedbacks in my Ecosystem Ecology course, I found this module to be very helpful in helping students to understand systems terminology interpret systems diagrams, and diagram systems that they were learning about. I plan to redesign the course to incorporate all of the units into the course.
(2) Students responded well to the Cli-Fi: Climate Science in Literary Texts module, which helped to draw students into pursuing a deeper understanding of climate science through written work that is not necessarily solely based in primary scientific literature. Students were motivated to create their own cli-fi pieces (some are considering further pursing this type of project during their undergraduate studies) and delve into pieces intended for non-scientific audiences. I plan to incorporate this module into other climate science courses I teach.