Michelle Kinzel: Using Ocean Sustainability in GEO 101 — Introduction to Physical Geography at Southwestern College
About this CourseAn introductory course for non-majors.
Geo 101 Course Syllabus (Acrobat (PDF) 406kB Aug5 16)
A Success Story in Building Student Engagement
This module was piloted with a dynamic and enthusiastic group of non-majors students in a science course. These students began the semester with trepidation and a fear of science, and after completing this unit, they were confident in speaking and writing about ocean sciences and issues of sustainability. I am confident these modules help develop strong environmental stewards who are empowered to make good citizen decisions regarding our oceans.
My Experience Teaching with InTeGrateMaterialsI modified this module for time in my courses. Since I had the leisure of using these modules in a three-hour laboratory course, I was able to present homework, preparatory materials as well as wrap-up or follow-up materials in the same class session. For some modules, I taught two on the same day.
Relationship of InTeGrate Materials to my Course
My Geography 101 course is a 16-week long course, and covers basic physical geography on all spheres, atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere. Because the Ocean Sustainability Module included a focus on climate change, the information learned in the units was referenced in many other labs and class periods.
AssessmentsI used many of the assessments included with each unit, including the worksheets and posters created during the gallery walk. Because I had flexibility with my class time, I had students elect a delegate when they completed group work, and the delegate shared the major findings and conclusions orally with the class. For a summative assessment, I assigned them to complete concept sketches as part of their final exam, and allowed them to summarize all six units in diagrams out of class. The concept sketches were not successful overall, and have been replaced with a fact sheet that will be a clearer and more engaging activity for all students.
I had great expectations for the module. By participating in all stages of the units, either authoring, editing, or both, I had a very comprehensive and cohesive idea about the content of the module and how it addressed the learning goals. I was quite pleased with the results, on a weekly basis during the activities and overall with the summative assessments. The students enjoyed the units and provided terrific feedback for areas that just did not work in the classroom or with non-science majors. I had hoped to instill in my students a sense of empowerment to accompany a college-level knowledge base regarding climate change; I wanted them to know what was happening and more importantly, what role they, as consumers and global citizens, could play in the present and future. I was very satisfied with the feedback and results. I am confident my students will make wise consumer decisions based on their experiences with this unit.