InTeGrate Modules and Courses >Water Sustainability in Cities > Instructor Stories > Marshall Shepherd
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Marshall Shepherd: Using Water Sustainability in Cities at the University of Georgia

About this course

Applied Climatology in the Urban Environment: The Impact of the Urban Environment on Earth's Climate System is an upper-level course with a mixture of undergraduate and graduate students.

16
students

Two 75-minute lecture
sessions per week
Large, land grant, flagship state university

Syllabus (Microsoft Word 50kB Aug5 15)

A Success Story in Building Student Engagement

The module was implemented in components within my class. The overall class was focused on urban climate, but there were significant units on urban hydrology, precipitation, and extreme weather that were suitable for module implementation. The module unit on atmosphere and urban interactions was actually derived from previous usage in this class. The modules were particularly useful in the urban hydrology section of the class. In fact, the urban hydrology section of the class was very dependent upon module Units 2 and 8.

I think my class does illustrate that the modularity makes for seamless integration into any relevant course.

My Experience Teaching with InTeGrate Materials

I used a "plug and play" approach for my course. In other words, Units 2, 3, and 8 of the module were implemented into a broader urban climate course. All of Units 2 and 3 were implemented while pieces of Unit 8 were.

Relationship of InTeGrate Materials to My Course

My course is a full semester course taught every other year. Of the participants, this course enabled the team to evaluate the selective application of module resources rather than the entire class. Units 2 and 3 were "plug and play" into the course topics on urban hydrology. These two module units essentially became the basis for that portion of the course and were successfully implemented. We utilized the lecture notes and applied some of the activities.

Units 2, 3, and 8 were primarily utilized in the course directly but materials from the other modules were available as supplemental resources. The three modules were valuable materials, particularly in the course section on urban hydrology. I always felt that part of the course was weak because it was not my area of expertise, so the implementation of the module units provided a more robust discourse on urban hydrology. Unit 3 was already a part of the class, but the module simply formalized its application, and the course material helped guide the development of the unit for the module. I regret not being able to implement Unit 7 or Unit 9 into the class more formally. However, I will explore ways to do so when I teach the class again in 2016. Elements of Unit 7 and Unit 9 are present in my syllabus, but the focus on water in our modules did not lend them for application.

Assessments

The students were evaluated with standard testing on the units applied. I will admit that the evaluation and assessment was a bit awkward for me (and the students) since we were only using a portion of the module. I think that the program should think carefully about "one size fits all" for implementing the assessment.

The overall course evaluation/assessment tied to the module seemed a bit mismatched since I only used components of the module. In retrospect, I think that more unit specific assessment goals should be targeted. I felt that I had to apply the broader module assessment goals to the small components that I actually used so the students probably found some of the assessment to be a mismatch or awkward.

Outcomes

Overall, my vision was to significantly enhance an urban climate course with the expertise provided on urban hydrology. The urban atmosphere material was already native to the course, but the urban hydrology material was always a bit lacking. The module (using a "plug and play" approach) allowed me to provide the students with a much richer and more interactive exposure to urban hydrological concepts. This application is perfect for someone not trained in urban hydrology but with a desire to implement as a sub-unit of a larger class.

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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 »