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Global Change - Human Impacts

Course URL: http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange2/
Course Type:

Earth Systems Science

Course Size:


University of Michigan Gloabl Change Course

In this second semester of a three semester sequence students study the recent, explosive growth of the human population, and the impacts on land, air, and water resources and on biological diversity produced by human advances in technology and institutions. The course concludes by considering the political and policy considerations relevant to the transition to a more sustainable future. Hands-on simulations with Geographic Information Systems (ArcView) are used to investigate the spatial impacts of these activities.

Course Context:

This team taught course, offered in the Winter term of 2004 at the University of Michigan, has no prerequisites, but there are two other courses in this sequence (see below). It is a cooperative effort of several different departments (see below). The class includes 3 1-hour lecture sessions and 1 2-hour lab session per week.

Related courses:

Departments involved:

Related programs:

Course Content:

This course covers issues such as population growth, the human appropriation of the world's food and water supplies, deforestation, threats to biodiversity, global climate change models, urbanization, pollution and the roles of individuals and technology for offsetting future human impacts.

Teaching Materials:

There is no textbook required for this class but this page lists web resources that will be used over the course of the term. -- http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange_links/links.htm

The course web site contains:


All students are expected to participate in evaluation activities, which will occur throughout the term and can be accessed from the web page. These consist of short, weekly questionnaires and 2 term assessments.

The class uses a point system for determining final grades:

  • Midterms: 200 points
  • Final: 150 points
  • Lab/Discussion Sessions: 15 points each
  • Take-home assignments: 25 points each
  • Term Project: 150 points
  • Term Web Assessments: 10 points
  • Total: 700 points

References and Notes:

The University of Michigan is a NASA/USRA ESSE school