InTeGrate Modules and Courses >Water Sustainability in Cities > Instructor Stories > Steve Burian
 Earth-focused Modules and Courses for the Undergraduate Classroom
showLearn More
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.
Explore the Collection »
How to Use »

New to InTeGrate?

Learn how to incorporate these teaching materials into your class.

  • Find out what's included with each module
  • Learn how it can be adapted to work in your classroom
  • See how your peers at hundreds of colleges and university across the country have used these materials to engage their students

How To Use InTeGrate Materials »
show Download
The instructor material for this module are available for offline viewing below. Downloadable versions of the student materials are available from this location on the student materials pages. Learn more about using the different versions of InTeGrate materials »

Download a PDF of all web pages for the instructor's materials

Download a zip file that includes all the web pages and downloadable files from the instructor's materials

Steve Burian: Using Water Sustainability in Cities at the University of Utah

About this course

The Human Dimensions of Water in the West is an interdisciplinary course with freshman and sophomore students. The module replaced the topics usually covered in weeks 6–9 in a course taught by Professor Ed Barbanell.

6
students

Three 50-minute lecture
sessions per week
Public, four-year institution
with undergraduate and graduate programs.
Syllabus (Acrobat (PDF) 505kB Sep27 15)

A Success Story in Building Student Engagement

The Water Sustainability in Cities Module provided the content for one module of an interdisciplinary course on water and sustainability. The fit of the module is perfect for the course and its needs. In particular, the focus on planning and design of buildings and neighborhoods complemented the other topics in the course. The team project provided an effective integrating activity for students to continuously come back to after each instructional unit.

I felt the use of data in active learning elements was an especially effective way to engage the students. Also, the emphasis on the local case study for in-class assignments and the project was well received by the students.

My Experience Teaching with InTeGrate Materials

The module was designed for upper-level undergraduate students. The course the module was incorporated into for my pilot testing was a freshman or sophomore course. To adjust, there was a need to reduce the expectations for in-class and out-of-class activities. Another modification was with active learning exercises. The small class meant a need to consider how to arrange teams and how to re-organize them throughout the module. The report out periods were also shorter because of the smaller number of responses.

Relationship of InTeGrate Materials to My Course

The course topic was water and sustainability. The module was inserted at weeks 6 through 9 of the semester. This timing meant that the introductory concepts of sustainability and water had already been covered. Therefore, the module had a solid foundation. It also meant some of the activities for Unit 1 had to be modified because definitions had already been covered. The students continued to refer to the case studies.

Assessments

I like using classroom assessment techniques so I used the minute paper in three of the units. I also like having students submit deliverables for pre-class and in-class activities. The module contains both of these assessments; I just built them into other places as well. The summative assessment project is a great way to let students apply their knowledge and learn new skills. I introduced it early in the module (Unit 1) and kept bringing students back to the work. The students were able to make modest progress, but they definitely had considered the project before Unit 9. I will find a way to modify the deliverables of the team project to make them align better with the other units — having something from every or most of the units be a required element.

Outcomes

The learning goals emphasized comprehension of concepts and terms. The module provides materials and activities to help the instructor accomplish this. The module also expects multiple skills with use of spreadsheets and online tools. The activities help students develop capacity with these important tools and their application. The use of the mind map and repeated return to the activity was highly effective at helping students to see the bigger system and think about the interconnections. The team project provided a significant opportunity to show that the knowledge and skills gained could be applied in a professional setting.

Explore other InTeGrate Instructor Stories

Classroom Context

Already used some of these materials in a course?
Let us know and join the discussion »

Considering using these materials with your students?
Get pointers and learn about how it's working for your peers in their classrooms »

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 »